The Place of Woodblock Illustrations in the Late-Ming Media Landscape
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About the talk:
Block illustrations allow the reader of a printed book to experience a space of visual and tactile relishing, an actual or aspirational connoisseuristic gesture that renders information, texts, or knowledge in the form of beguiling “things.” The late Ming (mid-sixteenth to mid-seventeenth centuries) is known as the golden age of Chinese woodblock illustrations. What claims on viewer-consumers’ attention and behavior were made by these illustrations, and how? This talk takes on a specific set of illustrations as sites of inter-media crossing, to explore the efficacy of illustration, and attempts to find moments when illustrations’ dialogic relations with book-printing, painting, and particularly with the theater afford insight into the structure of knowledge and consumption in late Ming China.
About the speaker:
Yuming He received her BA and MA from Peking University and PhD from UC Berkeley. She taught at Reed College and the University of Chicago before joining the faculty at UC Davis. Her recent work is focused on the history of the book, theater, and epistemological processes in late-imperial China. Her book Home and the World: Editing the “Glorious Ming” in "Woodblock-printed Books of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries" was awarded the Joseph Levenson Book Prize.