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Research Postgraduate Seminar

From China to France: The Production and Reception of Chinese Paper-making Images in the 18th century

Date: 20 May 2021 (Thursday)
Time: 4:30-6:00pm
Venue: online (click here for the zoom link); Room CPD 2.45 (with a capacity of 20, first come first served)
Meeting ID: 965 0195 3034 (password: 469077)
Speaker: Summer Xiaomin Wen, Ph.D. candidate, HKU

Abstract

Paper traditionally is regarded as one of the “Four Treasures of the Study (Wen fang si bao 文房四寶)” and is considered one of the Four Great Inventions of China. Visual representations of paper production flourished in the 18th century Qing (1644-1912) empire. During this time, a series of independently produced albums dedicated to the production of bamboo paper were initiated and were sent from China to France and other European locations. My research focus on two paper-making albums in the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, presently entitled as the Fabrication du Papier (The Fabrication of Paper) and the Art de faire le papier à la Chine (The Art of Making Paper in the Chinese Manner). The former was given to the library by the Sinologist Stanislas Julien (1797-1873) in 1840, the latter was acquired through an auction of the late French book-dealer and King’s secretary Louis-François Delatour’s (1727-1807) collection. The primary interest of my research is to reconstruct the formation and reception of these paper-making albums to address issues such as the cross-cultural exchanges of technology, commodities, visual and material cultures between the Qing empire and France in the eighteenth century.