Imperial Monochrome Porcelains of the Yuan to Qing Dynasties with Richard Kan (簡永楨)

Date :
Saturday, 25 February 2012
Time :
15:00 - 16:30
Venue :
1/F, T.T. Tsui Building, University Museum and Art Gallery, HKU
Cost :
$120 Member, $180 Non-member, Free for student with valid ID

For over six centuries starting from the Yuan Dynasty, Jingdezhen has been the centre of Chinese porcelain production, particularly catering to the needs of the Imperial Court. Monochrome porcelain’s popularity had been recognized as early as the Five Dynasties, some 1000 years ago.

In this lecture, Richard W.C. Kan will showcase a selection of colours/hues of monochrome porcelains in a power-point presentation to demonstrate the effects from different firing temperatures. Emphasis will also be placed on specific achievements through the ages, including the simple taste of the early Ming emperors, the innovations of the mid-Ming Dynasty, and the ultimate success attained in the reigns of Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong between the 17th and 18th centuries.

Kan will present an overview on the subject of imperial monochrome porcelains and discuss how such spectacular colours could have been developed in such an unpretentious art form.


Richard W.C. Kan (簡永楨) is a successful chartered engineer and a modern renaissance man whose interests include comparative philosophy, Chinese and European history, Greek numismatics, Chinese monochrome ceramics and photography.

In 2004, he was appointed Visiting Professor at the Academy of Chinese Culture, and was Project Director of a series of cultural symposiums in Beijing. He founded the Cambridge-China Development Trust with two Cambridge University professors and 15 major corporations to sponsor international forums for business, educational and cultural exchanges between China and Britain. He was also one of the forces in bringing Picasso's huge stage curtain “le Parade” to Hong Kong, attracting 2 million visitors within a period of 3 weeks.

In 2009, he embarked on a lecture tour to Oxford University, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France and Tuebingen University on the topic "An Attempt to Reconstruct Global Values by Drawing Reference from Confucianism on The Post-financial Crisis".

He is Governor of the Hong Kong Local Records Foundation and a member of the History Museum Advisory Panel for the HK government. He was a Title Sponsor for French May's film events. The Foreign Ministry and the Tourism Board of Mexico endorsed his solo photography exhibition titled "The Mayan Enigma" at the IFC in 2011.

His publications include History Re-stored: Ancient Greek Coins from the Zhuyuetang Collection; Shimmering Colours: Monochromes of the Yuan to Qing Periods – the Zhuyuetang Collection; A Festschrift on a Unique Lysimachus Hemidrachm (coauthored with Professor Francois de Callatay); and A Glimpse of the Mayan Civilization Through a Photographic Odyssey.