2014 / LACMA curator to talk about “Chinese Paintings from Japanese Collections” May 31, 2 pm

LACMA Chinese Paintings Two Patriarchs

Shi Ke, traditional attribution, Two Patriarchs Harmonizing their Minds (detail), China, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century, One of a pair of hanging scrolls; ink on paper, 35.6 x 64.4 cm., Important Cultural Property, Tokyo National Museum

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Chinese Paintings from Japanese Collections

Lecture by Stephen Little, Curator and Head of the Chinese and Korean Art

Saturday, May 31, 2 pm

LACMA, Brown Auditorium
Free and open to the public

Stephen Little, Curator and Head of the Chinese and Korean Art Department at LACMA discusses Chinese Paintings from Japanese Collections, the first major exhibition in America to explore the history of collecting Chinese paintings in Japan.

The presentation features over 30 masterpieces from the Tang (618–906), Song (960–1279), Yuan (1260–1368), and Ming (1368–1644) dynasties owned by Japanese museums, a period of collecting that spans the Kamakura through early Shōwa periods. The majority of these works have never been displayed outside of Japan since their arrival in that country many centuries ago.

The exhibition illuminates Japan’s role in preserving key parts of China’s cultural and artistic heritage, aspects of Japanese identity that derive from traditional Chinese culture (as these paintings embody Chinese cosmology, mythology, and religion), the use of Chinese paintings as models for key traditions of Japanese painting (e.g., Zen, Kanō, and Nanga), and the use of Chinese paintings as status symbols in Japan. 

Stephen Little is Curator and Head of the Chinese & Korean Art Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art since 2011. An authority on Asian art, he grew up in Southeast Asia and the Near East.

He received his BA from Cornell University (1975), MA from UCLA (1977), and PhD from Yale University (1987). Little served as Curator of Chinese Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (1977–82) and the Cleveland Museum of Art (1987–89), Curator of Asian Art at the Honolulu Museum of Art (1989–94), Pritzker Curator of Asian Art at the Art Institute of Chicago (1995­–2002), and Director of the Honolulu Museum of Art (2003-10) before coming to LACMA in 2011.

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