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Crisis and Visual Politics: The City of Great Peace Revisited

Professor Chin-Sung Chang, Department of Archaeology and Art History, Seoul National University

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Dodd 170
Los Angeles, CA 90024

The City of Great Peace, a screen produced at the court of King Sunjo (1800-1834) of the Joseon dynasty was largely inspired by Chinese urban landscapes, particularly the Qingming shanghetu (Spring Festival on the River). Showing an economically affluent environment with thriving commercial districts it creates an auspicious image of good governance. Ironically, however, when this screen was painted the Joseon court was in crisis: famines occured in 1809 and 1810, in 1812 the Hong Gyeongnae Rebellion severly weakened the government, and an outbreak of cholera in 1821 ravaged the capital. It is still a mystery why The City of Great Peace was commissioned and for what purpose the screen was painted at a time of political turmoil and social disruption. The significance of The City of Great Peace will be discussed within the larger context of East Asian painting, highlighting the relationship between crisis and visual politics. 

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies, Center for Korean Studies, Art History Department

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