Preserving China’s Past: Oct. 31st – Dec. 13, 2015

The work of conservators is celebrated in these beautifully restored paintings from the Ming and Qing dynasties.

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October 31  – December 13, 2015
Opening: October 31, 7 – 9 pm
Scripps College has a large collection of paintings from China dating to the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1644 and 1644-1912). In recent years, over 30 paintings have been painstakingly conserved through grants from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, as well as the Jean and Arthur Ames Fund.

These conserved Chinese paintings will be on display at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, many with photographs showing the works before restoration.  Daoist paintings depict sages and immortals; Buddhist paintings feature monks and bodhisattvas; several images show butterflies, birds and flowers, or scholars and ladies in garden settings. Delicately detailed pictures of birds and flowers are contrasted to quickly brushed impressions of nature. One colorful painting of life-size peacocks is attributed to the Jesuit priest and artist Giuseppe Castiglione, who worked for the Qianlong Emperor, bringing Western style painting to China in the mid-18th century.

SYMPOSIUM: Preserving China’s Past
October 31, 2015,  2 to 5 pm
Scripps College Humanities Auditorium (Change of venue!)
In conjunction with the exhibition, there will be a symposium on conservation practices for Chinese paintings at Scripps. Speakers will include Dr. Mimi Gardner Gates, Director Emerita of the Seattle Art Museum; Nicholas Dorman, Chief Conservator Seattle Art Museum; Xiangmei Gu, Chinese painting conservator and Andrew Hare, Japanese and Chinese painting conservator, both from the Smithsonian’s Freer/Sackler Museums of Asian Art, Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, Wash., D.C.

The exhibition brochure and symposium are made possible by generous gifts from John Regan, Professor Emeritus, Claremont Graduate University.

At Scripps College’s Performing Arts Center
World Premiere of
Snowflakes, Blossoms: Friends of the Way
November 1, 3 – 4:30 pm
Snowflakes, Blossoms: Friends of the Way, a vocal chamber work based on 17th century Chinese poetry, will be performed.
The event is free and open to the public, but may require tickets or reservations. For more information on the concert, please call Becky Ackley at (909) 607-3267. 

Concert Reception at the Williamson Gallery
November 1, 5 to 6 pm

A reception for the concert will be held in the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, allowing concertgoers to see paintings from the same historic period.


Events are open to the public.

Image, before and after conservation: Attributed to Giuseppe Castiglione, Peacocks, mid-18th c., paint on silk, 76 7/16 x 32 7/16 in., Scripps College, Claremont, CA,  Gift of Dr. William Bacon Pettus

Image on Homepage: Anonymous, China, Birds and Flowers (Peony with Swallows, detail), n.d., 56 1/4 x 16 9/16 in., Gift of Dr. William Bacon Pettus, Scripps College, Claremont, CA