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This special event features a much-anticipated return of the Qianlong-era Pictures of Tilling and Weaving (Geng zhi tu 耕織圖) that are currently in the Huaihai Tang 懷海堂 Collection of Hong Kong. Through the generosity of their owner, rare imperial rubbings of the Pictures of Tilling and Weaving will be on display for viewing after a lecture by Dr. Roslyn Hammers of the University of Hong Kong.

With grandiose ambition that typifies much of Qianlong’s art commissions, the Pictures of Tilling and Weaving were flamboyantly embellished and glorified by this emperor. Dr. Hammers, in this lecture, explores the appeal of the Pictures of Tilling and Weaving and Qianlong’s motivations for dedicating a garden in one of his imperial palaces to their display. With Qianlong’s enthusiastic patronage, the Pictures of Tilling and Weaving became a canonical subject for art in the Qing era, and served the Qing court as an emblem to announce its just and prosperous agricultural policies. The Pictures of Tilling and Weaving were emblazoned on many surfaces of countless objects to demonstrate recognition of the great achievements of Qing governance. In this lecture, Dr. Hammers explains how Qianlong, ever inspired and energetic, personally introduced an iconographic twist, a change to the imagery, harnessing the authority and power of the canonical Pictures of Tilling and Weaving to announce the supremacy of the Qing imperium in all matters political and cultural.

Dr. Roslyn Lee Hammers is an Associate Professor at the University of Hong Kong in the Department of Fine Arts. A specialist in Chinese painting, her research interests include imagery with technological content. She has written Pictures of Tilling and Weaving: Art, Labour, and Technology in Song and Yuan China (2011, HKU Press) and has published articles on other aspects of the presentation of labour, techniques, and tools in visual culture from the Song to Qing eras. She is presently working on a book-length manuscript entitled “Ennobling Labour: The Imperial patronage of the Pictures of Tilling and Weaving in eighteenth-century China.”

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