Dr. Hongxing ZhangSenior Curator for China at the Victoria and Albert Museum
Chinese Painting and the Chinese Iconographic Thesaurus: New Directions in Art Historical Research
This special OCS talk is our annual Sonia Lightfoot Memorial Paintings Lecture.
In his talk Dr Hongxing Zhang will address a foundational aspect of art historical research, i.e. the image resource. The talk will be divided into two parts. In the first part, Dr. Zhang will trace the close connections between Chinese painting studies and the establishment of image collections, especially in the West since World War II. He will also look at the digital turn in art history that throws the existing image collections’ inadequacies into sharp relief. The second part of the lecture will focus on, as a case study, the Chinese Iconography Thesaurus (CIT, https://chineseiconography.org/), an ongoing resource project aiming to support research in a new and systematic manner. Three questions will be addressed in this talk: Why is it imperative to revamp the pre-existing image resources for Chinese painting studies? What are the sources and construction principles of the CIT? How may the CIT help researchers?
Dr Hongxing Zhang, a native of Jiangsu, China, is the Senior Curator of Chinese Collections, Asia Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where he has curated several headline exhibitions including Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700-1900 in 2013. From 2016 he has been working with a research team to build the Chinese Iconography Thesaurus (CIT), a classification scheme with a complementary image archive for the Chinese visual culture. Published by Brill in 2019, the CIT is a freely accessible online resource and is updated regularly.