“Treasure viewed by the Qianlong emperor,” imperial seal impressed on the handscroll The Shu River, National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Sneak Peek: New Research from the National Museum of Asian Art
Qianlong: Imperial Collector and Connoisseur
National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution
Online presentation, Tuesday, February 8, 12-1pm
The Qianlong emperor (1711–1799; reigned 1735–1796) ruled the world’s largest and most prosperous empire in the eighteenth century. He was also a passionate collector of art. In this talk, Keith Wilson, Jan Stuart, and Stephen Allee, curators of Chinese art at the National Museum of Asian Art, highlight select antiquities, ceramics, and paintings in the museum that were part of his imperial collection. The three curators briefly discuss aspects of the formation of Qianlong’s collection; its meticulous documentation, which is reflected in imperial catalogues; and its strategic use. The talk sheds light on his habits of inscribing collected art objects and how intrusive his ownership marks can seem to modern audiences.
This talk is part of the monthly lunchtime series Sneak Peek: New Research from the National Museum of Asian Art, where staff members present brief, personal perspectives and ongoing research, followed by discussion. In 2022, the series will focus on collecting practices and the collections of the National Museum of Asian Art.
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