“Pillage is formally prohibited…” Provenance Research on East Asian Art
“Pillage is formally prohibited…”1
Provenance Research on East Asian Art #3 Workshop
8-9 November, 2019
Call for Papers
Deadline for submissions: 15 June 2019
The collecting of art and artifacts from East Asia has been in vogue in the Western world for hundreds of years with the forced opening of China, Japan and Korea from the mid-19th century onwards, creating a market boom that resulted in thousands of objects entering collections worldwide. China in particular, during the first three decades of the 20th century, became subject to the most intensive spate of collecting on the part of museum institutions and private collectors.
In the past 20 years, the movement of these objects and the circumstances of their translocation have been increasingly the focus of curators and scholars investigating purchases related to the politics and market mechanisms under the Nazi regime. Despite research and numerous projects, we still do not know enough about the destiny of significant private collections dispersed between 1933 and 1945, the acquisition policies of museums at this time and the key actors and institutions involved in the art market for East Asian art in the first half of the 20th century.
The current international debates around the handling of objects that found their way into museum collections in connection with the colonial period present new challenges for collecting history and provenance research. This includes the revaluation of historical contexts, the reconstruction of looted and displaced collections in East Asia and the layout of a legal or ethical framework to address these issues.
Since 2017, German scholars and museum professionals have been meeting annually in Berlin in order to discuss challenges in researching the provenance of objects originating from East Asia, present current projects and discover similarities in collecting practices and object biographies. During these meetings, a strong wish to connect with colleagues from Europe and abroad has been articulated.
This year’s workshop is open to international colleagues. It aims to create a platform for the exchange of ongoing research in the field and connect colleagues from around the world in a sustainable network.
We welcome papers focusing on the following topics:
• The translocations of objects from East Asia abroad during the colonial era
• Case studies related to objects or collections that have been unlawfully
confiscated during the Nazi era
• Actors in the field of dealing and collecting the arts from East Asia that have
influenced several museum collections
• Methods in researching the provenance of East Asian art Conference language is English.
The workshop will take place on Friday, November 8th from ca. 10 AM to 7 PM and on Saturday, November 9th from 10 AM to 1PM at the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Takustr. 40, 14195 Berlin).
Following the workshop, a meeting of the German network for the study of the provenance of objects from East Asia will take place on Saturday afternoon (ca. 2 – 5 PM), to which international colleagues are also invited. This meeting will be conducted in German.
Papers should be of 20 minutes in length maximum. Please send proposals (max. 300 words) with a short academic CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 June 2019 at the latest. Selected speakers will be notified by 15 July 2019 (a maximum of 12 papers will be selected for presentation).
- H.C. Thomson, China and the Powers, London: Longmans, 1902, p. 130