Week 7 Journal

Thanks to the ACM curator Clement Onn, we had an amazing two hours visiting the Asian Civilizations Museum! What was your favorite object that you saw during our visit?

Mounted incense burner. Porcelain: China, Jingdezhen, around 1700. Gilded bronze mounts: France, mid 18th century. Asian Civilization Museum. Photo taken by Audrelia Lim.

Reflection

One thing that caught my attention was the horse that is being portrayed in this work is seated elegantly on a bench. The bright and warm colors of red and what it seems to be ivory or emerald green complements the overall work quite nicely. Furthermore, the use of bright colors was used in a way that it still appeal to the viewers’ eyes and less of an eye sore probably because of the tone the artists have chosen on their colors while painting this ceramic.

I love how the gilded bronze mounts is painted as motifs on the plain green bench and red pottery on the horse. It just helps to make this work stand out even more also allowing this work to appear more three dimensional in an elaborated way. Furthermore, the lines used to create for the motifs are very wavy especially the ones at the edge of the bench as they give a nice structure and decoration to it. The bench also provides a firm and well balance support for the horse that is carrying a pottery on its back . By well balance, it means that the work is reasonably firm and steady also in terms of composition where the weight between the subject matter and objects is evenly distributed, making it easy on the viewers’ eyes.

Overall, the look of this whole object gives me a very sophisticated and elegant feeling because of the bronze mounts, decorations and how the horse  is posing elegantly between the two objects.

Moreover, another reason why this is my favorite object is because of how the use of two different materials could make the work more dynamic and having a sense of variety  in terms of material and decorations. According to the articles I have read, scholars would say that the bronze material was from France because the Europeans were exposed to cultural exchanging relationship and trading relationship with China.  It is very nice and interesting to see how two different cultures could come together and bring out a piece of work that always look poised and polished with some sense of sophistication.

Free Writing (Updated)

Fig 1.

Visual Analysis

This pair of blue mounted jars is part of China’s popular blue and white porcelain series ever since the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). It is mounted with bronze material by the French around 1745-49 which was the start of the Chinoiserie period. Chinese blue and white porcelain have come a long way in terms of its techniques that allows the development of high fired temperature porcelains, types of decorations ranging from simple calligraphy to landscapes, animal motifs and other folklores or culture. Even though the Chinese blue and white porcelain declined during Qianlong’s grandfather reign, the Chinese still continued to produce these porcelains and managed to export to the European market, considering themselves very popular and highly demand up to this day.

By looking at this pair of blue mounted jars, one would attract most of their focus and attention to the dragon that is mounted on the jars. Because of the material used was bronze by the French, this dragon managed to have a striking bright colour of bronze attracting the viewers’ attention to the pair of jars. Furthermore, the French people’s way of making the dragon to appear emphasised in its three dimensional form allowing the dragon to stand out even more. Both dragons also have a pose that accentuates the curves of the jars very nicely. This is evident as shown for both dragons left and right are holding on a vine that is matching the outline of the jar and is curving inwards, giving the overall shape of the jar to look more balanced and evenly weighted.

Moreover, the image of the dragon stands out more than another image that is the hidden landscape on the jars. As a result, viewers would tend to look at the dragon first followed by the jar. They may not notice the landscape unless they were to look closely at the jars. To summarise, it is because of the bronze materials the French used that brings out a bright colour for the dragon and the ability to mount or gilded in this case, into a three dimensional figure, calling out attention to the viewers.

The overall colour of the jars are mainly a combination of deep blue hue and bronze which helps give the work a more elegant and sophisticated feeling towards the viewers. The deep blue is also in contrast with the striking bronze colour of the dragon, thus, hiding the landscapes that is painted by the Chinese during the Qianlong reign. If one could look closely, they could actually see hidden landscapes features such as mountains, trees, rivers, and so on.

Both jars appear to have an anthropomorphic human like feature including a head, neck, body and legs that is the base at the bottom made from the gilded bronze material. Because of the anthropomorphic figure, the lines do help complement the figure quite nicely making the jars more well-rounded and smooth. Moreover, the smooth and glazed texture also accentuates and complements the curves of both beautifully mounted jars giving it a more elegant and polished look.

 

Contextual Analysis

As mentioned in my visual analysis, both jars have a deep range of blue colour. This colour, blue is imported from Persia and was initially imported as cobalt oxide as cake form which was then grounded into powder. [1] The Chinese would then use these powder to produce their blue and white porcelains that was arguably started around the early 14th century in Jingdezhen. The porcelains were at first underglaze and low fire temperature. It was only until the Yuan Dynasty, where the advancement of pottery making starts to develop, the people in China, especially in Jingdezhen, made way for better and advanced technique that allows high fired temperature leading to larger size porcelains as shown in my image. [2]

Both jars were made during the Chinoiserie period which most likely started after the 13th century where Marco Polo described about Chinese blue and white porcelains in his notes to the West. However, these blue and white porcelains did not get the high exposure and demand until 200 years later, the Portugese Da Gamma discovered the sea route to India [3]allowing Europe to pave more trade routes and imports from East Asia. Furthermore, during the 15th century or Yongle period of the Ming Dynasty, China’s great navigator Zheng He decided to establish close political and trading relationships between China and Europe. The political friendships that both China and Europe have would then be influenced on the decorations that the French had decided to imitate on the Chinese porcelains.

The Chinese porcelain we see here is a dragon that has wings and posing at the top of the jar. This dragon is actually a mythical creature which the French tried to imitate and apply on the Chinese porcelains which they imported from China. There had been a series of cultural exchange between the two countries which led to a fascination of chinoiserie motifs inspired from Chinese folk art and culture. Scholars may point out that because of Zheng He “brought out porcelains to Europe an made them fully understand the Oriental Dragon China “and expanded cultural exchanges.”

As for the landscape, it is a coastal scenery that is painted in an impressionistic style that we are actually seeing, that is probably decorated to suit the European market. The designs on porcelains have actually developed to become more elaborated and stylised as they have evolved from calligraphy prints to images of animal motifs and landscapes to stylised and elaborated animal motif and landscapes. [4]It is the style that we are seeing that changes the appearance of motifs on the porcelains which helped China made way for a more prosperous trading economy. Because they are able to change their way of decorations to suite the European market, China managed to receive higher demands and an increased trading relationship with Europe.

Additionally, these beautifully decorated and mounted porcelains were meant for the Europeans as dining wares or collection items. [5] Surprisingly, as the demand for porcelain increased, more Europeans got engaged with Chinese art and made their own porcelain. The first attempt was made by architect Bernado Bountalenti and it was decorated with very early chinoiserie motifs. Like the image below, the porcelain is decorated in blue and white with chinoiserie motifs of flowers which the Europeans were mostly inspired by the Chinese during their cultural exchange to include features of landscapes in their porcelain works that is the floral patterns.

In conclusion, I can say that because of cultural exchanges between China and Europe, this trading relationship has an influence in the style on their porcelain works that is the motifs and the material implanted on the Chinese porcelain. Overall, this work gives viewers a sense of dynamism in terms of material and rich in culture that makes both jars look different aside from the usual blue and white Chinese porcelains we always see.

Fig 2.

 

Bibliography

[1] Sargent, William R. 2003 “Blue-and-white ceramic.” Grove Art Online. 3 Nov. 2018. http:////www.oxfordartonline.com/groveart/view/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.001.0001/oao-9781884446054-e-7000009347.

[2] Xue-Hui Li. “History and Craft of Chinese Export.” Ceramics Technical, no. 40 (May 2015): 82–87. http://ezlibproxy1.ntu.edu.sg/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=103115668&site=eds-live&scope=site.

[3] Xue-Hui Li. “History and Craft of Chinese Export.” Ceramics Technical, no. 40 (May 2015): 82–87. http://ezlibproxy1.ntu.edu.sg/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=103115668&site=eds-live&scope=site.

[4] Riccardi-Cubitt, Monique. 2003 “Chinoiserie.” Grove Art Online. 3 Nov. 2018. http:////www.oxfordartonline.com/groveart/view/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.001.0001/oao-9781884446054-e-7000017240.

 

[5] “Chinese Ceramics” China Online Museum. 3 Nov 2018. http://www.comuseum.com/ceramics/

Image Source

Fig. 1. Pair of mounted blue jars. Porcelain: China, around 1736–45. Gilded bronze mounts: France, around 1745–49. 2014-00709. Asian Civilization Museum. 3 Nov 2018. https://discover.acm.stqry.com/v/pair-of-mounted-blue-jars/s/ac1131f1-1747-45cd-8725-62f16b9b80d1

 

Fig. 2. Medici Porcelain Factory. Italian, Florence, ca. 1575–87.  Soft-paste porcelain. 8 × 4 1/4 × 4 7/8 in. (20.3 × 10.8 × 12.4 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. 4 Nov 2018. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/194432

 

 

Colonial History of Peaches

I never knew that one of my favorite fruits had such great and interesting history behind its rich and sweet flavor. Peaches, that is their name, is one of my favorite fruits because of its sweetness and juiciness. This round doughnut shaped is sweet and juicy that you can put it in any forms of dessert, drink , salad, pastry or even as a garnish on baked food. It has so many variety of cooking and it is so versatile! And speaking of variety, this fruit also comes in various forms of varieties based on the countries they came from which I will further elaborate in the next section on their history.

Colonial History of Peaches

The first thing I found out was that peaches were actually originated from China. I usually would think peaches would be from Japan because most of the peaches I bought were from Japan.  But they were actually cultivated from China since the 1000 B.C.E.. It is from China that the spread of peach cultivation goes to Persia to Europe and finally to America.

To start off , a fun fact I know was that peaches had a special significance in the Chinese culture. The peach tree is a symbol of life and peaches are symbols of unity and immortality. Thus, this could show  that peaches are originated from China because of their symbolic meaning that is already given by China.

Moving on to their history, peaches were first cultivated in China and were introduced to  Persia between the 1st to 2nd century B.C.E..  This spread of peach cultivation to Persia led to an extent whereby this fruit was later named as the Persica fruit by the Persians. That is why some people nowadays would also think that peaches were made from Persia because of this famous commercial route from China to Persia. The seeds were brought by the Chinese who traveled west via the silk roads to Persia. The trees in Persia are mostly self pollinated which is mostly suitable for growing peaches.

Then, in Persia, the peaches were discovered by Alexander the Great who introduced them to the Greeks in Europe during the 322 B.C.E.. By the 50 to 20 B.C.E. , the Romans started to grow their own peaches and transport it to west and other parts of their European empire.

It is also believed that the Spaniards in Europe introduced peaches to South America after the conquests of Cortez and then eventually to England and France where people would take it as a sweet treat in their meals.

Finally, in the early 17th century, a horticulturist George Minife brought the first peaches from England to America. From then on wards during the 19th century, a group of American Indian tribes start to spread the growth of peach cultivation in all parts of America.

Nowadays, you can see peaches in various forms such as yellow flesh would probably be found in Europe and North America. As for the white flesh which is much sweeter is most popular in Europe.

Bibliography

J, Janick. ” The origins of fruits, fruit growing, and fruit breeding. “Purdue University. 2005. Last Accessed October 29th 2018.  https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/origins%20of%20fruits.pdf

“Peach facts: Peachy Keen. All About Peaches.” The Nibble, Great Find Foods. August 2006. Updated on July 2008. Last accessed October 29th 2018. http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/fruits/peach-facts.asp

“Peach. Tree and fruit. ” Encyclopedia Britannica. Updated on July 8, 2018. Last Accessed October 29th, 2018.

https://www.britannica.com/plant/peach

Week 10- Contextual Analysis (Free Writing)

Pair of Mounted Blue Jars. Porcelain, China , (1736-45).  Gilded bronze mounts, France, (1745-49).

This elegant piece of object stands out with a beautiful anthropomorphic figure of a human being. That is having the head to be the top connected to a thick neck at the first half followed by the shoulders which are the edges of the jars protruding out then the body and legs at the bottom. The edges of the jars seem to be very smooth curvatures that enhances the elegant shape of this jar.

Furthermore, if one were to look from afar, both jars have striking colors of deep blue and bronze. Both colors seem to represent  wealth and people of higher class because these jars were made during the Qianlong reign. During this period, the Qianlong Emperor expanded trade to more countries including Europe and Mongolia. As a result, the colors appear to be different as compared to previous blue and white Chinese porcelain we always see from China.  The blue is much darker and there is a new addition of rich bronze color that adds brightness and contrast to the whole jar.

Moreover, the  jars also have animal motifs including the dragons which were probably cast by the Europeans in Paris during the Louis XV reign. Louis XV, a prince in France who became the owner of the Vincennes factory in France that produces soft paste porcelain body in France during 1759.  As a result, this bronze mount was named under Prince Louis XV to indicate  ownership. As for the dragon, this animal motif chosen as a dragon  shows great sophistication for Chinese porcelain that European could have had as they were inspired by Chinese porcelain.

Bibliography

Jeffrey Munger, “French Porcelain in the Eighteenth Century” , October 2003. Accessed 20th October 2018.

https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/porf/hd_porf.htm

Asians Civilizations Museum, “Pair of Mounted Blue Jars”. Accessed 20th October 2018/

https://discover.acm.stqry.com/v/pair-of-mounted-blue-jars/s/ac1131f1-1747-45cd-8725-62f16b9b80d1

Week 5 reflection

Week 5 Reflection

Thanks to team 2, today we learned about contemporary artists using traditional mediums like Mughal miniatures. Who are some other contemporary artists who use traditional materials, genres, or subject matter from the past? Why are they engaging with the premodern?

Contemporary art means that works are made from the artists today using materials and subject matters that respond to the global issues surrounding them everyday and currently. Materials used can also be in digital form since technology is advancing and this also shows that art is also progressing in terms of variety for mediums. Premodern art would be art using traditional mediums and subject matters that are sometimes stylised as shown in the Romanticism and Baroque Period. As I have read the question, I am quite surprised to see how contemporary artists are making way for traditional art forms in their work. Because preferably for contemporary artists to use contemporary art for their works as a sign of progressing forward and more relatable to audiences today.

Aside from Mughal miniature paintings, one contemporary artist called Caroline Archaintre, a French artist working in London. She is a mixed media artist but started working with traditional medium such as ceramic 5 years ago in London.

Below is an example of her work which she used ceramics as the medium. She thought that using ceramics would be a more spontaneous and interesting to work with to create a more textured feel for her work.

Fig 1.

Caroline Archaintre. Chubber. 2013. Ceramics. Arcade, London.

It is interesting to see how artists like Archaintre is going back to using traditional art because of the interaction between her and the material. For contemporary artists to go back to traditional arts so they could reminisce the past feel and texture is probably a good reason why artists these days would want to combine the art today with traditional art.

Image source

“Caroline Archaintre -Why I Create ” . UK Phaidon. last accessed 15 November 2018.

https://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/art/articles/2017/november/13/caroline-achaintre-why-i-create/

Week 3 Reflection

Week 3 Reflection

What are your thoughts to this video about the bronze plaques from Benin?

In this video, George the poet seems to be representing the people of Benin who produced the bronze plaque. This is because he is standing infront of the bronze plaques and explaining the tragedy and history behind these beautiful bronze plaques in Benin.

The bronze plaque which was never meant to be for sale attracted the attention from many traders especially the Europeans and British. Thus, most of the bronze plaques were taken over by the British and sold to their museums. I think these bronze plaques must have been really valuable to the people in Benin as the reason could be because of the representation of these bronze plaques.

In the video, there was one bronze plaque that depicts Oba’s wealth and status as a king in the Benin kingdom. This is because through the portrayal of Oba wearing a crown and being the center of the composition makes him more dominant.

As we have previously learnt from Year one to Year 3, art objects including sculptures, paintings, illustrations can depict a story or a narrative of everyday peoples’ lives. It can also be a symbolic representation of wealth and power which applies to the bronze plaques in Benin. Additionally, based on my research, the bronze plaques show all men and women from different roles and functions in the kingdom.

However, these glorified descriptions could only depict one side of the kingdom. From my research in The British Museum website, the bronze plaques only depict the wealth and power Oba had but not when he misused his authority as he set trade agreement with the British but never expected them to loot the royal palace and seized the bronze plaques instead. Thus, I feel that these bronze plaques were only meant to show a sense of authority and status towards the king.  Furthermore, it gives Oba a sense of pride for his own status in the kingdom too.

Week 2 Reflection

Art in The Age of Colonialism

This week, we watched a video by PBS Education called Explorers: Age of Encounter. Apart from Zheng He and the Arab navigator in Malindi, who else is missing from these Eurocentric narratives? Hint: Watch the video on Magellan!

 

Week 2 Reflection

Another missing navigator is a famous Arab traveler of the 1300s, Ibn Battuta. As mentioned in class, he is similar to Zheng He who has also travelled across the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives but only stayed for a while before continuing his journey to China.

From a source I read in HISTORY, the author mentioned that Battuta had been through lots of challenges as a traveler during the 1300s. For example, the source mentioned ‘ he was later kidnapped and robbed of everything but his pants.’ This incident happened during Battuta’s trip to the Orient. He even fell sick during his journey to North Africa. However, he still persevered during his journey by tying himself on the saddle to prevent himself from collapsing.

I find that as a traveler, he could overcome these challenges by going out all means is a bold decision to take. Holding a dream to roam across the earth, he told himself to not just stop at one destination but continue travelling across many continents such as Africa and China. Many people may say that Marco Polo or Christopher Columbus would be one of the most famous travelers of all time. However, I say that Ibn Battuta could also be part of this name as he fought against all challenges and won the hearts of locals in Muslim controlled lands.

His journey never seemed to stop as he even held a multiyear excursion across the Sahara to the Mali Empire in Timbuktu proving his passion for travel and the desire to fulfill his dream is true.

Week 1 journal

After watching the video, I have learnt that art history is not just what we always think it should be. It is not just sitting in dark lecture rooms and lookin at images of paintngs, listening to peoples’ names we may or may not know.

Art history is mostly talking about influences, the borrowing of ideas that leads to the variety of artworks we see. The exchanging of materials could allow us to be more exposed to different materials for 3d sculptures, clay works.

Because art is an aesthetic, therr is no one fixed way of looking at art. In fact, there ae many ways including iconographically, psychoanalytically. One can study a painting and have different interpretations giving critiques. This is similar to our art works we present in our school as many will have different opinions.

 

Hebe Tien’s Ni Hai Shi Yao Xing Fu

Self evaluation

I think I did have some improvements when comparing to my last rehearsal and my last presentation.

Initially, I did not know which are the songs I should be singing. I did pick a few songs including Halo by Beyoncé and 背判 by 曹格. I tried singing these two songs but I realised Incould not hit the high notes.

For 背叛, the song may seem slow and it started off low. But as it reaches the chorus, it gets higher. As for Halo, it is mostly high and I felt my throat straining afterwards.

The reason of me choosing this song is because I thought the speed of the song was just right for me. Also, I find myself able to adjust my voice slightly lower than the singer to suit this song.

During my practices, I have been using the MC of this song as a guide . I was at first afraid I could not sing along with the music. Thus, I thought it would be better for me if I practiced with the MV. However, I realised the result worked otherwise. During my first rehearsal in front of Ms Leona, I was not singing along with the music. I was singing later than the music and I was also trying my best to sing as fast as I could but it shows. I was even singing with a high voice and straining my throat because I practiced singing with the singer’s voice. Thus, it made me wanting to imitate her voice and thinking I have reached the high notes which I did not.

After the first rehearsal, Ms Leona told me that I was straining my throat and I was too nervous. However, my pronoun citation was clear but it was made too clear as I was too busy emphasising on the pronunciation. Which was true because I thought I should make my words clear so that audiences will know what I am singing about. That was why I practice those jaw exercises and looking in front of the mirror making sure the words I am singing are clearly shown.

But the pronunciation is not really the most important because the most important factor towards a good performance is a singer with sincerity. My group mates even told me that I should try to feel the music.

Hence, I heeded their advice and managed to find a link for an instrumental version of the song. I even adjusted the pitch through Audacity to make it even lower so I can practice better. With the music, I could concentrate on the beat and melody of this song and know when I should start and stop. I also know how to adjust my voice at a suitable pitch and level to suit the music. Then, I practiced hard during the following days whenever and wherever I could.

During the performance, I felt quite nervous but it I was not that shaky compared to the first rehearsal. I could sing with ease as I felt the music and my posture was not as still as before in presentation 1.

But of course, there still can be some room for improvements when I wanted to reach the high note for 幸福. I think I could have done better if I could widen my mouth a bit more to get the effect. And there could have been more emotions as I was a little nervous but I did not show, which was good

不確定就別親吻
感情很容易毀了一個人
一個人若不夠狠
愛淡了不離不棄多殘忍
你留下來的垃圾
我一天一天總會丟完的
我甚至真心真意的祝福
永恆在你的身上先發生
你還是要幸福
你千萬不要再招惹別人哭
所有錯誤從我這裡落幕
別跟著我 銘心 刻骨
你還是要幸福
我才能確定我還得很清楚
確定自己再也不會佔據 你的篇幅
明天 開始 這一切都結

Do not kiss if you are unsure
for love destroys a person easily
Be heartless, staying together
when love turns pale is cruel
The unwanted you left behind,
little by little I will discard them all
I truly wish you will
find forever before I do
I wish you happiness,
do not cause tears to fall from another cheek
All wrongs will end here,
do not follow and stay with me forever
Be truly happy,
so I know I have return it all
Know I will never be part of your life
All this will end when tomorrow comes