The Intersection of Art History and Archeology: An Exploration of the Chinese Landscape Art

Sunday, March 3, 2024 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The University of Chicago Center in Beijing
20th floor, Culture Plaza
No. 59A Zhong Guan Cun Street
Haidian District Beijing 100872


On March 3, 2024, the University of Chicago Center in Beijing hosted a prominent scholarly seminar titled “Chinese Shanshui as a Medium: The Intersection of Art History and Archaeology”.

The seminar brought together eminent figures from the fields of art history and archaeology to explore the profound theme of Chinese “Shanshui”, which represents Chinese landscapes. The exceptional panel was coordinated by Professor Zheng Yan at Peking University’s School of Arts, featuring a lineup including Professor Wu Hung from the Art History and the College of Chinese Art at the University of Chicago, Professor Peng Feng, Dean of the School of Arts at Peking University, Professor Li Meitian from the Department of Archaeology and Museology at Renmin University of China, Professor Qu Jingdong from the Department of Sociology at Peking University and Professor Huang Xiaofeng from the Liberal Art College at Central Academy of Fine Arts.

The seminar revolves around the concept of Chinese landscapes, which permeates Chinese culture and spans a multitude of domains including literature, art, philosophy, religion, geography, and architecture across Chinese culture. Since the Song and Yuan dynasties, landscape paintings have been universally acknowledged as the epitome representing Chinese people’s understanding and expression of nature. However, as archaeological work advances, an increasing number of early landscape art pieces have been brought to the public and incorporated into academic research. Scholars gathered at the seminar and engaged in an in-depth dialogue that discussed the Chinese landscape as a visual image. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, they shed light on the rich and ever-changing connotations of the Chinese landscape within Chinese cultural and artistic traditions. 

Over two hundred people attended the event in person and for those who could not attend offline, it was accessible through live streams on Sanlian Bookstore’s video channels on WeChat as well as on its Bilibili and TikTok account, further promoting the event and magnifying its impact.

The seminar at UChicago Center in Beijing not only showcased the Center’s vital role as a bridge for interdisciplinary academic exchange but also facilitated the communication between art history and archaeology in understanding and appreciating traditional Chinese landscape art. This thought-provoking seminar broke the boundaries among different disciplines and provided fresh insights into the ongoing discourse on Chinese cultural traditions.