Art, anthropology, and non-Han bodies: Pang Xunqin’s paintings of Guizhou in the 1940s


6:00 PM - 7:00 PM


  • 时间: 6:00-7:00pm
  • 日期: 2021年5月5日,星期三
  • 地点: 北校区中心楼博物馆CB23W


This talk examines the ways in which the painter Pang Xunqin 庞薰琹 (1906-1985) “translated” the bodies of the non-Han by examining his visual representation of the Miao people of Guizhou during the 1940s. Since Pang worked closely with Chinese anthropologists, his work, which was largely informed by an anthropological understanding of human diversity and the political orientation of racial classification, requires to be understood within the context of the history of anthropology in Republican China. Pang depicted Miao bodies by adopting the categorisation used by Chinese anthropologists of the Miao peoples under the heading of “Mongolian” or “Yellow” race type. His engagement with non-Han subjects in Guizhou coincided with the second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), when Chinese artists from coastal cities travelled and moved to the interior, and began to paint frontier subjects. By exploring the intersections of art and anthropology, this talk adds new dimensions to the significant role of anthropology in modern Chinese visual culture, whilst emphasizing the social and political practice of art during wartime China.


Dr Jin Zhu received her PhD of History from the University of Edinburgh (2018). Before joining XJTLU as Assistant Professor, she held her Postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Warwick, Humboldt University in Berlin and London Science Museum. Jing is interested in the history of images and material cultures, and her interdisciplinary research explores the intersections of history of empire, frontier studies, gender history, art history, anthropology, and history of sciences, which are featured in her recently published monograph, Visualising Ethnicity in the Southwest Borderlands: Gender and Representation in Late Imperial and Republican China (Leiden: Brill, 2020).