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SOAS University of London, Thornaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H 0XG

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China has a unique history of celebrating people withdrawal from society. These recluses were often scholars who had either chosen not to or been prohibited from serving in the imperial bureaucracy. Instead, they inhabited rural spaces, where they focused on cultural, moral and spiritual cultivation. This course explores the unique contribution these individuals made to Chinese art history, the material and visual culture that surrounded them in reclusion, and explores how this historic ideal of reclusion has been refracted in contemporary art.

This course runs consists of six weekly lectures from 16 June – 21 July 2020. Each lecture is followed by an extended Q&A, moderated by either the course tutor or a guest speaker. The course including contributions from the leading scholars, museum curators, art dealers and auction house specialists. It is offered in series of weekly online lectures, followed by tutor led Q&As. The lectures explore themes of reclusions in paintings, calligraphy, scholars’ objects, and ceramics. The course concludes with an examination of the relationship between these historic objects and contemporary art. Join us to reflect on the resonance between this pre-modern cultural practice and our current global predicament.