Highlights of Past Programs
Notable Women of Portland
Tracy Prince & Zadie Schoffer
September 8, 2018
Based on their recent book, Notable Women of Portland (Images of America), the authors will uncover overlooked parts of Portland history by focusing on women who shaped Oregon. While highlighting Chinese American stories, there will also be references to more than 10,000 years of the contributions of women in Native American, pioneer, Progressive Era, World War I, World War II, and post-war history, as well as arts and politics.
Contemporary 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.
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.
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 Ann Wetherell discusses and explores an unpublished hand scroll of Buddhist luohans (stream crossers) in the collection at Pacific University.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.
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.
The Porcelain of China: Window into Chinese Gardens
April 7, 2012
Dr. Michael Riley shares his perspectives of the porcelains of the Qing Dynasty as icons of Chinese culture by looking at the depiction of nature and garden scenes on them. Through the evolutionary use of designs, traditional forms, colors, glazes, enameling techniques, symbolism, and iconography, the unique characteristics of the Chinese culture are revealed.
Lingnan Gardens: Another Regional Garden Style of Southern China
May 7, 2011
Dr. Ina Asim, a University of Oregon professor who has studied gardens in China for years, presents the Lingnan Gardens, built along the Pearl River delta and coastal areas of Guangdong province in southern China. Endowed with a unique climate, this area is a school of its own in terms of language, theatre, music, painting, and arts and crafts, Lingnan Gardens reflect their local traditional culture and are unique in their architecture, layout, and ornamentations.
Music in a Literati Garden:
An Echo from the Human Heart to Nature
October 2, 2010
Dr. Juwen Zhang of Willamette University discusses ancient Chinese music and gardens: “catch the lasting rhythmic qi and the rare sound in an effort to keep a calm heart distant within the surrounding clamor.” Dr. Zhang explains how artistic pursuits in poetry, painting, calligraphy, and gardens developed into one entity a millennium ago, and embodied the core beliefs and values in Chinese culture. Following the talk, Dr. Zhang inconspicuously plays ancient wind instruments in the Garden.
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.
Chinese Opera in Portland
March 1, 2008
During the Tang Dynasty, Emperor Taizong established an opera school with the poetic name, Liyuan, or Pear Garden. To this day, operatic professionals are still referred to as “Disciples of the Pear Garden.” Mary Leong, a fourth generation Chinese resident of Portland, introduces us to Chinese Opera in Portland. She reminisces about the plots, costumes, makeup, colors, dances, acrobatics, and the distinctive dialectical music unique to the Chinese opera.
All of Nature’s Splendors: Some Thoughts on Chinese Gardens, Past and Present
March 3, 2007
The topic covers the key traditional ideals of a Chinese garden, which are reflective of cosmological concepts and literati ideals. In addition, it touches upon how the Qing Imperial gardens broadened these themes in a more overtly political realm. The presentation concludes with some thoughts on modern Chinese gardens in North America (like Lansuyuan) and further interpretations of how they add to China’s centuries’ old garden traditions.
Scroll: Read the Landscape
February 4, 2006
The ubiquitous calligraphy over the Moon Gate, “Read the Landscape” or “Read the Painting” is always intriguing to the visitors of the Garden. Dr. Eddy, one of our original docents, will reinforce the understanding of this ancient metaphor by digitally unrolling the hand scroll, “Colorful Lanterns at Shangyuan” (currently on exhibit in the Boathouse pavilion) just as the Chinese literati would when sharing such a prized possession with a few close friends in his private studio. By exploring an antique and penjing market, we will gain insights as to what a scholar-official might envy or procure for his Study to complement his garden and his Four Treasures.