The China Project Workshop

The China Project Workshop, founded in 2011, is open to anyone interested in premodern Chinese art or archaeology. It takes place monthly at the Institute of Fine Arts, 1 East 78 Street. The Workshop meets eight times each year, from September to December and February to May, attracting on average an audience of around 40 people. Presentations are usually in English but are occasionally in Chinese. Meetings are generally held on a Friday from 6pm to 8pm, and begin at 6 p.m. sharp.

Add your name and email address to the mailing list

Check the events calendar to RSVP.


February 16, 2018
Susan Naquin, Department of History, Princeton University will talk about methods for using temple objects to study regional material culture in the Ming and Qing periods.
The discussion will be moderated by Jonathan Hay, Institute of Fine Arts

March 30, 2018
Daniel Greenberg, Department of Art History, Columbia University, will discuss two models of envisioning Qing empire within time in eighteenth-century Chinese court painting.  
The discussion will be moderated by Michael Hatch, Miami University and Metropolitan Museum of Art

April 13, 2018
Mei Mei Rado, Freer/Sackler Gallery, will present on the representation of textile in late Imperial Chinese Art Postdoctoral fellow at the Freer/Sackler Gallery

May 11, 2018
*Cancelled - will be rescheduled in the Fall

Wang Cheng-hua, Department of Art History, Princeton University will discuss the Qingming shanghe as a painting theme
The discussion will be moderated by Robert E. Harrist Jr. Department of Art History, Columbia University


December 8, 2017
Zhang Fan, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, will speak on the topic "Reinventing Ear-cups: the Impact of Sino-Iranian Interaction on Northern Wei Drinking Culture." 
The discussion will be moderated by Annette Juliano, Rutgers University

November 10, 2017
Chen Kaijun, East Asian Studies, Brown University will speak on the topic "What kind of art did bannermen make and why?" 
The discussion will be moderated by Michele Matteini, New York University/Institute of Fine Arts

October 6, 2017
Nancy Steinhardt, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania will present a project titled, “The Borders of Chinese Architecture and Decoration”
The discussion will be moderated by Wenshing Chou, Department of Art and Art History, Hunter College, City University of New York

May 5, 2017
Yu-chih Lai, Academia Sinica
will speak on the encounter between Chinese baimiao "plain-line" painting and European drawing.
The discussion will be moderated by Michele Matteini, Department of Art History and Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

April 28, 2017
Lü Pengliang, Bard Graduate Center and The Metropolitan Museum of Art
will speak on Yuan dynasty bronzes
The discussion will be moderated by Jonathan Hay, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

March 31, 2017
Sophie Volpp, Department of East Asian Languages and Literature; Department of Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley,
will discuss the problems of cross-disciplinary engagement, using as a case study the interest of art historians and scholars of literature in considering  Dream of the Red Chamber (Honglou meng) in tandem with the panoramic paintings (tongjing hua) of the Forbidden City.
The discussion will be moderated by Michele Matteini, Department of Art History and Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

March 3, 2017
Guo Jue, Barnard College
will speak on Baoshan Tomb 2 and Chu culture in the fourth century BCE
The discussion will be moderated by Lillian Tseng, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU

February 15, 2017
Ellen Huang, University of California, Berkeley
will speak on Jingdezhen porcelain makers' discoveries about surface, with examples from early Kangxi transitional wares and Qianlong double-layered vases
The discussion will be moderated by Lee Ambrozy, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

December 9, 2016
Zoe Kwok, The Art Museum, Princeton University
will speak on a planned exhibition on the theme of banqueting
The discussion will be moderated by Freda Murck, independent scholar

November 11, 2016
George Fan, independent scholar
will speak on his project to reconstruct the Qianlong collection of archaic bronzes
Moderator to be announced.

October 7, 2016
Micki McCoy, History of Art Department, University of California, Berkeley
will speak on the topic "Thinking with the Kharakhoto Astral Mandala"
The discussion will be moderated by Elena Pakhoutova, Rubin Museum of Art

May 6, 2016 
Olga Panova, Russian University of the Humanities, Moscow
“Early Northern Song Painting as a Social Practice through the Lens of Liu Daochun’s Evaluations of Song Painters of Renown“

April 23, 2016
Pop Up Graduate Student Symposium
Full schedule and a list of speakers 

April 8, 2016 
Katherine Tsiang, Associate Director, Center for the Art of East Asia, University of Chicago
will present on the use of virtual reality techniques in an exhibition of early Buddhist sculpture

March 25, 2016 
Jeffrey Moser, Assistant Professor, Dept. of History of Art and Architecture, Brown University
will assess the potential of skeumorphy as a conceptual device for integrating histories of Chinese bronze and ceramic manufacturing

January 29, 2016 
Julia Orell, Postdoctoral Fellow, Academia Sinica
will present on the German-language historiography of Chinese art

February 6, 2015
Freda Murck, Independent Scholar
Is Cui Bo's Magpie and Hare of 1061 an Allegory?

March 13, 2015
Clarissa von Spee, Curator, China, British Museum
Multiples in Chinese Painting

April 24, 2015
François Louis, Associate Professor, The Bard Graduate Center
Picturing Antiquity in China's Middle Period: Nie Chongyi's Illustrations to the Rites Classics

May 8, 2015
Yunru Chen, Curator of Chinese Paintings, National Palace Museum, Taipei
The Legacy of Song Huizong in East Asian Art

February 21, 2014
Qianshen Bai, Associate Professor, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Boston University
Wu Dacheng (1835-1902) and the Modern Fate of Chinese Literati Culture

March 7, 2014
Hiromi Konishita, Associate Curator of Chinese Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Reinterpreting the Chinese Architectural Galleries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

March 26, 2014
Co-sponsored by the Colloquium for Spanish and Latin American Art
Shane McCausland, Reader in the History of Art of China in the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS, University of London
“About 1638: Artists and Networks in the Early Modern World”

April 4, 2014
Roderick Campbell, Assistant Professor of East Asian Archaeology and History, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU
The Wild and the Numinous: Animals in Shang Art

May 9, 2014
Eileen Hsiang-ling Hsü, Independent Scholar.
Thus Have I Heard: Writing and Picturing the Dharma

September 12 , 2014
Susan Whitfield, IDP, The British Library
“The Silk Road Contextualised: Stupas, Silk and Slaves”

October 10, 2014
Dr. Susan L. Beningson, Assistant Curator of Asian Art, Brooklyn Museum
“Bridging Past and Future: The New Chinese Art Galleries at the Brooklyn Museum”

October 24, 2014
“Painting under the Five Dynasties, Liao, and Northern Song Dynasties”
7 papers by IFA students, and one by Jonathan Hay
Hsueh-man Shen and François Louis will act as discussants.

December 5, 2014
Tao Wang, Senior Vice President, Department Head, Chinese Works of Art, Sotheby’s
“Collecting Antiques, Collecting Friends: The Collectors of the Owl-Headed Hu”

February 22, 2013
Nicholas Grindley, Nicholas Grindley Works of Art Limited
“A possible chronology for the dating of Chinese yokeback armchairs”
Moderated by Jonathan Hay (Institute of Fine Arts)

March 1, 2013
Alain Thote (Ecole pratique des hautes études, Paris)
Early Chinese Manuscripts in Archaeological Context
Moderated by Lilian Tseng (Institute for the Study of the Ancient World)

April 5, 2013
Denise Leidy (Curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Extreme Practices: Shakyamuni and other Ascetics in Buddhist Art
Moderated by Hsueh-man Shen (Institute of Fine Arts)

May 3, 2013
Joe Scheier-Dohlberg (Assistant Curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Non-portrait Paintings by the Portrait Painter Yu Zhiding (1646-1716)
Moderated by Lulu Brotherton (SUNY, New Paltz)

October 18, 2013
Michael Hatch, PhD candidate, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University
“Clarity and Quietude: Literati Aesthetics between Tea and Painting in the Work of Qian Du (1764-1844)”

November 15, 2013
Zheng Yan, Professor of Chinese Art, Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing
The E-Pang Palace: Memories and Imaginations

December 13, 2013
Lothar von Falkenhausen, Professor of Art History, UCLA
Culture and Personality in Early China

February 10, 2012
Hsueh-man Shen, Assistant Professor, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU
“Between One and Many: Interpreting Large Numbers in the Buddhist Art of China”

March 1, 2012
Alain Thote (Directeur d’Etudes, Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris),
Early Chinese Manuscripts in Archaeological Context

April 13, 2012
James Lally (J.J. Lally and Co.)
Ancient Chinese Silver and Gold: Dating and Attribution

May 4, 2012
Lihong Liu, PhD student, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU
The Path in Mid-Ming Landscape Painting

September 14, 2012
Dorothy Ko, Professor of History, Barnard College
Body, Text, and Stone: The Crafting and Connoisseurship of Inkstones in Eighteenth-Century China
Moderated by Jonathan Hay (Institute of Fine Arts)

October 5, 2012
Judith Zeitlin, Professor of Chinese Literature, University of Chicago, and Yuhang Li, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Grinnell College
Performing Images: Opera in Chinese Visual Culture
Moderated by Susan Naquin (Princeton University)

November 9, 2012
Linda Lin, object conservator, Fellow, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Study and Conservation of the Asian Amber Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Moderated by François Louis (Bard Graduate Center)

December 7, 2012
Wen-shing Chou, Hunter College
History and Memory in the Visionary Landscape of Qing-Dynasty Wutai Shan
Moderated by Denise Leidy (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

September 9, 2011
Jonathan Hay, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Professor, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU
Early Ming Beijing: What Did It Look Like?

October 14, 2011
Jeehee Hong, Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Music Histories, Syracuse University
Shifting Margins of the Sacred Realm: Commonalities Between Tombs and Buddhist Architecture in the 1oth – 14th Centuries

November 11, 2011
Bruce Rusk, Assistant Professor, Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University
Reignmakers: Ming Imperial Production and Its Imitators

December 9, 2011
Colin Mackenzie, Senior Curator of Early Chinese Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Rethinking the Display of Chinese Art in a Museum Setting: The Nelson-Atkins Museum as an (ongoing) Case Study


New York has an extraordinary concentration of expertise in premodern Chinese art and archaeology. New York is also an important destination for expert colleagues living elsewhere. The China Project workshop is designed to be an ongoing forum where those with a serious interest can meet regularly to keep up with new developments in the field and engage in informed discussion. In order to ensure that the range of presenters reflects the full spectrum of expertise on Chinese art and archaeology, projects are presented at the Workshop by invitation. Each year's line-up draws from a diverse pool of art history professors, archaeologists, historians, museum curators, leading dealers, auction house specialists, and graduate students. 


Lectures on Chinese art and archaeology are by no means uncommon in New York City, and it is not the purpose of the China Project Workshop to add to their number. Important as lectures are, the experience of giving a lecture rarely changes very much the publication that the lecturer eventually authors. Correspondingly, for most audience members the experience of hearing a lecture tends to be rather passive. The scholarly purpose of theWorkshop is to provide an opportunity for someone working on a particular project to receive informed, constructive feedback at a point where it can really make a difference.

For this reason the China Project Workshop operates on a discussion principle using the following format:

•1-2 weeks in advance we circulate to everyone on the mailing list an explanatory text (maximum 1,000 words) by the upcoming presenter. The presenter briefly introduces a project in progress, explaining why s/he is undertaking the project, and what s/he sees as the challenges. 

•On the day of the workshop, the presenter takes no more than 30 minutes to present the project in slightly more detail, with a heavy emphasis on visual material, whether in the form of images or, occasionally, actual artifacts. 

•Following the initial presentation, the rest of the session is devoted to a general discussion lasting up to 80 minutes led by an invited moderator.

•A reception follows at 8 p.m.


From time to time the Workshop also sponsors events at the IFA such as the livestreamed graduate student workshop on Painting under the Five Dynasties, Liao, and Northern Song Dynasties held on October 24, 2014. These events are also open to the public and announcements are sent to everyone on the China Project Workshop mailing list.

The China Project Workshop acknowledges the generous support of an anonymous donor.