Highlights of Past Programs
ontemporary Chinese Society: A View from the Films of Zhang Yimou
Dr. Wendy Larson
May 6, 2017
Zhang Yimou (1951-), who directed the spectacular opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is one of China’s most acclaimed cinematographers. His films, such as Raise the Red Lantern, Happy Times, and Hero, revolutionized Chinese cinema and are often closely connected to issues within Chinese society. This lecture will trace the links between several of his films and such issues.
Guardians of the Dharma ...or of the Empire?
Dr. Ann Wetherell, Art History,
PSU and Willamette University
June 13, 2015
How exciting is it to come across a worthy work of art which has been languishing and not fully acknowledged? Dr. Ann Wetherell discusses and explores an unpublished hand scroll of Buddhist luohans (stream crossers) in the collection at Pacific University. Signed by the professional artist Zhou Xun (1649-1729), who worked in Nanjing in the early part of the Qing dynasty, this energetic painting has much in common with the gently humorous images of luohans that gained popularity in the late Ming and Qing periods. However, aspects of this painting, in light of the biography of the artist, suggest a darker message of protest against the Manchu state.
The Literati Studios: Perspectives, Insights, Implements and Connoisseurship
Donald Jenkins, Curator Emeritus for Asian Art,
Portland Art Museum
March 7, 2009
Donald Jenkins will share with us the unique ideals of a Chinese Scholar during the Ming and early Qing periods, what items they valued and used, and other accoutrements which they collected in their private studies. Very importantly, the significances of these many different objects and implements will be noted.
A Mountain Out Your Doorway
December 6, 2008
An essential part of the design of a classical scholar’s garden is the architecture and how it is integrated into the overall scheme or plans. To help us appreciate this significant component, we will have a unique opportunity to hear from Ken Diener, a long time docent of the Garden and an architect by profession. During the review of future plans for the Garden, a representative with the Suzhou Design Institute made a cryptic comment to Ken: “Yes, it is good to have a mountain out your doorway.” What was meant by such an expression? Was this just a casual commentary or was this a disguised perception, which called out for disclosure? While we understand that architecture serves as a part of the skeletal framework for a Chinese scholar’s garden, did this person have other, unique, cultural ideas about the purpose of architecture? What is the inspiration for such a summary statement? Please join us as we explore answers to these interesting questions.
The Ginkgo: A Living Fossil
Martin Nicholson, Curator, Hoyt Arboretum
June 4, 2016
A nature walk guided by the Curator of Hoyt Arboretum to discover and focus on Hoyt’s collection of Ginkgo trees. Along the White Pine trail, we will observe and learn about many other tree species, including the wild, “scary” Monkey-Puzzle tree and the ancient Bristlecone Pine.
Nurture and Healing: Chinese Medicine for Summer
Dr. Elise Wong
June 14, 2014
Traditional Chinese medicine is a broad range of medicinal practices sharing common concepts developed in China and based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise and dietary therapy. Such doctrines are rooted in books such as the “Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon” (1st century BCE) and the “Treatise on Cold Damage,” as well as in cosmological notions about yin-yang and the five phases. Starting in the 1950s, these precepts were standardized in the People's Republic of China. Like much of Chinese heritage, its medicinal arts are linked closely to nature, the environment, and a respect for the different seasons. Discover its historical philosophy of treating the individual rather than the disease through insight and nurturing; and how practices, while carried forward, have evolved between the pre- and current Communist eras. This lecture will focus on Chinese medicine for summer.
Carving Authority and Creating History
Lu Kesi (Dan Lucas)
September 14, 2013
For over 3,000 continuous years in China, chops, or seals, have been used in lieu of signatures on personal and official documents, contracts, and art for acknowledgment or authorship. The earliest known seals date from the Shang Dynasty (1600- 1046 BCE). By the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 AD), they were an essential part of Chinese culture and eventually spread to Korea and Japan. Seals are carved from various materials and used with red cinnabar paste. The carving and collecting of chops was a part of the Chinese literati milieu.
Understanding and Appreciating Chinese Music
Dr. Jerry Lin
June 2, 2007
Music has played a prominent role in China and is acknowledged in its early written history in the Book of Etiquette and the Book of Rites. The practice and knowledge of music were, and are still, considered attributes of a gentleman. Music played an esteemed role in court rituals and religious ceremonies. Confucius considered music an essential ingredient in the order of the state. A basic Taoist concept compares the individual human essence with a musical tone. Garden retreats of the literati often served as venues for enjoying music. The myriad instruments of China, their unique sounds, as well as music, traditional and modern, will be highlighted.