Fellows' Presentation

“Oh My Heaven”: How Does Chinese Art Domesticate the Above?

Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo

Part of the 2016–2017 Fellows' Presentation Series

Lecture by Eugene Y. Wang RI '17

At Radcliffe, Eugene Y. Wang is uncovering how heaven is differently imagined in traditional Chinese art by asking why heaven often appears in unexpected places such as tombs and caves and why going up often involves going down. The larger question he gets at is the Chinese primacy of temporality, often overlooked: is heaven more of a spatial concept or temporal one in Chinese artistic imagination? Can we imagine heaven, as the traditional Chinese did, as a rotating wheel rather than a stable region out there? What is the cognitive mechanism of heaven sighting in earthly omens? Why is the notion of heaven as the apocalyptic vision relatively alien to the Chinese habit of thought?

Free and open to the public.