Graduate Student Symposium
February 27, 2016
Images and Codes

The Problem of Reading Art

2015–2016 Graduate Student Symposium in East Asian Art

9 30 am
5 30 pm
101 McCormick Hall
Organized by the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art

Both text and image can be seen; the process of interpreting what is seen is often described as “reading.” Written language is a learned code, and thus it requires the knowledge of a specific set of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. In the field of art history, the method of “reading art” emerged out of the study of semiotics during the late eighties and continues to the present. By blurring the boundaries between text and image, “reading art” assumes that art objects, like texts, can be decoded and thus read. Moreover, “reading” presupposes that there are those who can read, those who cannot read, and those who determine how to read. Do images, however, require their own code of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary? This symposium aims to explore the intersections between reading and seeing, images and codes in East Asian art history.



Contact Skyler Negrete and Mai Yamaguchi ( with questions and concerns.

Symposium Program

Saturday, 27 February 2016
McCormick Hall
Princeton University

Registration and Coffee
8:30–9:30 am

Morning Session

9:30 am–1:00 pm

Welcome and Introduction

Mai Yamaguchi

Princeton University

Keynote Lecture
Reading Bijinga: Pictures of Beauties in Context

Julie Nelson Davis

Associate Professor of History of Art, University of Pennsylvania

Panel 1: Authorship

The Power of Ambiguity: Bada Shanren’s Personal Marks

Leqi Yu

Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania

The Limits of “Reading Art”: Methodology and Ideology in the Study of Fu Baoshi’s Landscape Painting of the 1960s

Kathy Yim-king Mak

Department of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles

Panel 2: Landscape and Architecture

Landscaping My Mind: New Perceptions on Representing the Idea of “You” in Early-Seventeenth-Century Garden Paintings

Jiaying Gu

Department of Art and Art History, University of California, Davis

The Architectonic Reading of Spatial Representation in “Three Paintings” by Chen Chi-Kwan

Zhenru Zhou

School of Architecture, Princeton University

Discussant: Professor Julie Nelson Davis
Moderator: Mai Yamaguchi

Afternoon Session

2:30–5:30 pm

Panel 3: Objects and Pictorial Representation

Pursuing Antiquity: Chinese Objects in Nineteenth–Century Korean Paintings

Ja Won Lee

Department of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles

Reading Text, Reading Tea

Skyler Negrete

Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University

From Kinnara to Kalavinka: On the Autonomy of Image in Buddhist Transmission from India to China

Guoying S. Zhang

The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Art and Conservation, The Courtauld Institute of Art

Discussant: Professor Julie Nelson Davis
Moderator: Mai Yamaguchi, Princeton University

Concluding Remarks
Skyler Negrete, Princeton University