Reproducing Elite Art in Imperial China: Rubbings from the Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery Collection with Dr. Sarah Ng

Date :
Saturday, 15 February 2014
Time :
15:00 – 16:30
Venue :
1/F, Fung Ping Shan Building, UMAG, HKU
Cost :
Free admission. All are welcome

This lecture focuses on rubbings, which are one of the most influential art reproductions in China. The artistic value of calligraphic rubbings could be comparable to the original calligraphy yet not many people, including art historians, pay attention to this kind of art reproductions. In fact, rubbings occupied a central place in Chinese visual culture, and allowed the elite practices of calligraphy and antiquarianism to be shared with relatively wider audiences in imperial China. Now, however, esoteric rubbings are rarely displayed by the museums that house them. Why are rubbings, such as those of the Hong Kong University Museum & Art Gallery’s (UMAG) collection little known? By using selected rubbings from UMAG as examples, Dr. Sarah Ng will help us understand the significance of rubbings, their roles in the transmission of classical tradition, and how they can best be appreciated and used.

Instead of using traditional art historical approach such as authenticity and originality, the Q&A session of this talk will be a platform for art enthusiasts, artists, art historians and the public to discuss the issues on the transformation of Chinese art reproductions from a socio-cultural perspective.


Dr. Sarah Ng received her doctorate in History of Art at the University of Oxford with a thesis on calligraphic rubbing collections in the Ming dynasty. She is a former visiting scholar at the Institute of History & Philology (IHP), the Institute of Modern History (IMH) at the Academia Sinica, and the Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS) in Taiwan. Her recent research is on Ming dynasty royal rubbing collections, and on modern paintings and calligraphy from the UMAG collection. She has a passion for the preservation and promotion of Chinese art and possesses a strong museum background with almost ten years of experience working and volunteering in various museums (the British Museum, Museum of London, the Rare Book Collection of UCL, Archaeological Museum in Greece, Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Art Museum CUHK, etc.) before joining UMAG as a research fellow.