Session - 26 November 2020
The present session, moving across time and space, explores the noncanonical collecting tradition in a mature account of connoisseurship. Beginning with the West, WONG shows how Ernest Grandidier tried to abandon the imperialist and exotic mindset in collecting and displaying Chinese porcelains, setting a more academic and aesthetic mode. By looking at his collecting criteria, the paper illustrates Grandidier’s efforts in both absorbing Chinese-constructed knowledge and standard of porcelains and representing parallels between Chinese and French aesthetics. Turning to Asia, MA observes the reception of Kosometsuke wares in the 17th -century Japan. The elevation of the wares symbolizes the newly constructed aesthetic of rusticity in Japan. Through this case study, the introduction of a noncanonical object through the transnational derivation should unveil. YANG demonstrates the discourse of collecting Xu Wei’s painting, from ignorance to highly appraised, through the advocation of yimin, in the late Ming to the early Qing period. Yet, the inconsistent ranking and commentary included in Shiqubaoji adequately reflects a noncanonical collecting activity. CHEN examines the so-called jia object in the collection of the Qing imperial household. The ideology of jia, which means “fake,” and its relevant works of art, suddenly became a majorly broad category manufactured by the Qing imperial workshops at the beginning of the Yongzheng reign. Delving into the classification and the associated nomenclatures in Huoji dang, this paper aims to decipher this “faux aesthetics” and its corresponding art patronage. The formation of a canon in collecting tradition is a process of authorization, marginalization, and institutionalization. In this narrative, those noncanonical collectibles, which were “invented” and became a legitimate part, repetitively, demythologize the theoretical discourse and collecting doctrine. By attending to not only the invention but also the reception, this panel opens new intellectual spaces and reconsiders the presence of historical collectibles.