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March 29, 2012

Winter 2012 CCS Noon Lecture Series - Ellen Laing


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Ellen Laing
Center Associate, U-M Center for Chinese Studies
Professor Emerita of the History of Art, University of Oregon

"Living Wealth Gods" in the Chinese Popular Print (年画) Tradition

April 3, 2012
Tuesday 12 noon to 1:00 pm
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
1080 South University

Depictions of a host of different Wealth Gods were standard items in the popular print (nianhua) inventory of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Substantial literature exists on these Wealth God representations. One special wealth theme, however, has largely been overlooked-the “Living Wealth God” (huo caishen). In the popular print imagery, the “Living Wealth God” has three dimensions. The first is the depiction of a generic, anonymous “Living Wealth God;” the second is the connection between the anonymous “Living Wealth God” and the practice of “counting the nines” (“nine-nines disperse the cold” jiujiu xiaohan); the third is the representation of identifiable fabulously wealthy people, some of whom earned the appellation “Living Wealth God.” This lecture explores the context and significance of these three categories of “Living Wealth God.”

Ellen Johnston Laing, an Associate at the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan, received her Ph.D. in Far Eastern Art History at the University of Michigan in 1967. Specializing in Chinese painting and material culture, she has published 60 articles in scholarly journals, as well as presenting numerous papers for academic and general audiences in the United States and abroad. She has published nine books, the most recent of which is Divine Rule and Earthly Bliss: Popular Chinese Prints: The Collection of Gerd and Lottie Wallenstein (Berlin: Museum für Asiatische Kunst, 2010).

Posted by zzhu at March 29, 2012 02:21 PM