Christensen Fellow in Chinese Painting, Eastern Art Department

Dr Yan Liu
Dr Yan Liu

Email: yan.liu@ashmus.ox.ac.uk
Academia.edu: https://oxford.academia.edu/YanLiu


Research summary:
At the Ashmolean, I conduct new research in the field of Chinese painting and prepare regular exhibition rotations of works on paper in the Later China and Chinese Painting Galleries. I contribute to the curatorial oversight, cataloguing and publication of Chinese painting. I also co-organize workshops and symposiums, give gallery talks and lectures, and provide content expertise and support for education programmes and public events. My growing interest in modern Chinese painting has resulted in three exhibitions: Collecting the Past: Scholars’ Taste in Chinese Art (2017); Beyond the Brush: Abstract Ink Painting since 1960 (2017); Qu Leilei: A Chinese Artist in Britain (2017-18). Using Chinese paintings as historical source for the study of social history, my current research is dealing with art and cultural identity in modern China and its diaspora. It explores how immigrant Chinese artists developed their individual styles through borrowing, modifying and reinventing art traditions of both the East and the West, and investigates their identity formation through art creation in the host countries.
My wider research interests include display of power and identity, materiality of excavated texts, technology transfer and cultural interactions between the East and the West in ancient China and beyond. I am also intrigued by representations of early Chinese empires in the modern world - in literature, film and art - and the interplay between cultural heritage, growing nationalism, and contemporary arts.


I am the 6th generation Christensen Fellow in Chinese Painting at the Ashmolean. I am trained as both an art historian and an archaeologist. I was awarded the PhD in Art History at Tsinghua University, Beijing (2012), and the Dphil in Archaeology at the University of Oxford (2015) respectively. Before the Ashmolean, I was a leading researcher at Chinese University of Hong Kong and assistant professor in the history of Art at Beijing Union University.


Featured publications


2017 Qu Leilei: A Chinese Artist in Britain, exhibition catalogue, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum.

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

2017 Exotica as Prestige Technology: The Production of Luxury Gold in the Western Han Society. Antiquity 93 (360), forthcoming.

2012 Preliminary Study of the Han Dynasty Official Workshops based on the Inscribed Lacquer Wares for Imperial Use (Chinese). Zhuangshi vol.8, pp. 76-77.

2008 Local Identity and Religious Meaning: the Ceramics Discovered from the Six Dynasties Tombs in Fujian Province (Chinese). Southeast Culture vol.3, pp.77-85.

2006  Images of Elite Women in the Six Dynasties (Chinese). Southeast Culture vol.5, pp. 59-64.

Chapters in Edited Books

2018 Emblems of Power and Legitimacy: Chinese Han Lacquer Wares Discovered in the Borderlands in Patricia Frick & Annette Kieser eds. Production, Distribution and Appreciation: New Aspects of East Asian Lacquer Wares. Leiden: Brill, forthcoming.

2017 Style and Provenance: the Han Chinese Lacquer Ear-Cups Discovered in the Xiongnu Elite Burials at Noyon Uul, Mongolia (Chinese) in Retrospect and Prospects of Chinese Lacquer Art Research, Hangzhou: Zhejiang Renmin Meishu Chubanshe, pp.69-79.

Conference Papers

2017 Technology Transfer in the Iron Age Altai and China, A Case Study on Prestige Gold,  The Second Conference of the European Association for Asian Art and Archaeology, jointly organized by the European Association for Asian Art and Archaeology and the University of Zurich.

2016 The Khoan & Michael Sullivan Collection of Chinese Art: An Introduction, International Conference Chinese Painting since 1900: Scholarship, Exhibitions & Collections, organized by the Ashmolean Museum and China Center, University of Oxford.

2016  Journey to the West: Artists from the Ashmolean Collection, The 21st biennial conference of the European Association for Chinese Studies, jointly organized by St Petersburg State University, the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts RAS and the State Hermitage Museum.

2016 Crafts and Images in Contact: China and Altai in the Early Iron Age, International Symposium of Trans-Eurasia Cultural Contact, jointly organized by Beijing and Sichuan Universities, 13 Aug. 2016.

2016 Exotic Elements as Seen in Gold Ornaments of Han Elite Tombs, The Seventh Worldwide Conference of the SEAA (Society for East Asian Archaeology), jointly organized by Harvard and Boston Universities.

List of site pages