The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society, in cooperation with the Vancouver Art Gallery, present Prof. Patricia Berger.

Multiple Identities: The Many Faces of the Manchu Emperors of China

  • UBC Robson Square | Theatre-Room C300 (lower level) 800 Robson Street
  • Tuesday, October 28 | 7 – 9pm

Berkley-based scholar and author of Empire of Emptiness, Patricia Berger will present a lecture that looks at the important role of Buddhist painting, sculpture, and decorative arts produced by Imperial Qing court artists and distributed throughout the empire.

The Manchu emperors of the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) ruled over a multi-ethnic, polyglot empire. They understood that art could be used to convey untranslatable messages across cultural boundaries. This lecture will look at the creative visual strategies that the Qing emperors developed to use in their diplomatic exchanges with the Mongols, Tibetans and other peoples. The lecture will also consider imperial self-fashioning, paying particular attention to imperial portraits in the exhibition Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Short bio:

bergerPatricia Berger, Professor of Chinese Art, received her Ph.D. in the History of Art in 1980 from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining the Berkeley faculty in 1997, she served as Curator of Chinese Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (1982-1994) and taught at Oberlin College and the University of Southern California.

Continuing her interest in hands-on art history and museum practice,Berger has participated in the development and staging of a number of international exhibitions over the past decade, including the London Royal Academy of Art’s Three Emperors (2006) and the Zurich Rietberg Museum’s Luo Ping: Visions of an Eccentric (2009-10). Her book, Empire of Emptiness: Buddhist Art and Political Authority in Qing China (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2003), a study of the 18th-century Qing court and its ties to Tibet and Mongolia, was awarded the Shimada Prize for Best Book in Asian Art in 2008. She is currently finishing a new book dealing with visual encryption in 18th-century China.