Wed, Sep 26, 2018 - Page 3 News List

MOST promotes research in Chinese art history

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

The study of Chinese art history is not exclusive to Chinese researchers and should be treated as part of world history, National Taiwan University art history professor Hsieh Ming-liang (謝明良) said yesterday.

Hsieh was invited by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to share his studies about Chinese ceramics at a media event in Taipei.

The ministry is working to promote the results of its humanities research to help people better understand how they relate to daily life, said Cheng Yu-yu (鄭毓瑜), director of the ministry’s Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Song Dynasty can be said to be the peak of Chinese ceramics, Hsieh said, when asked why a Northern Song Dynasty brush washer that was owned by former United Microelectronics Corp chairman Robert Tsao (曹興誠) could sell for a record HK$294.3 million (US$37.7 million at the current exchange rate) at an auction by Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October last year.

Many tableware made in the dynasty feature an “ice-crackle” pattern — a network of fine cracks, which might have been produced incidentally, but came to be viewed as an artistic trait by people in the succeeding dynasties and inspired endless imitations, he said.

When artworks with such crackles were introduced to Europe, they were associated by Europeans with the mosaic collage featured in ancient Roman buildings, he said, adding that the 18th-century New Palace in Potsdam, Germany, has a wall adorned with similar crackles.

The crackles were frequently used by Japanese in the Edo period in combination with botanical patterns, such as maple leaves and chrysanthemums, to embellish their handicraft, Hsieh said.

Asked to comment on National Palace Museum Director Chen Chi-nan’s (陳其南) statement that the museum should be more relatable to Taiwan, Hsieh said Taiwanese academics should bolster their discourse power in the area by producing more quality research.

While Taiwan used to be a stronghold of Chinese art studies, more Chinese academics are gaining leverage in the area, he said, but added that the quality of researches are more important than the number of researchers.

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