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The Hairpin

Asian Art History: Behind the Silks

Stabile Building

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Stabile Building 10:30am
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Lecture

The Hairpin


Asian Art and History: Behind the Silks
Artis—Naples Lifelong Learning


Dr. Eugene Wang, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art, Harvard University

Physically, a Chinese hairpin may not weigh much. Conceptually, however, it carries a lot of weight. As a key piece of ceremonial paraphernalia in the rites of passage towards adulthood, it defines a personhood. It signifies class status, as the number of hairpins in an imperial consort’s elaborate headdress would reveal. Daoist oculists even regard it as a magical wand. The Chinese hairpin has over time gathered more weight than we can imagine.


This lecture will be followed by lunch and a discussion with the lecturer that is included in the ticket price. This presentation is part of the Asian Art and History lecture series.

Eugene Wang

Eugene Wang


A native of Jiangsu, China, Eugene Yuejin Wang studied at Fudan University in Shanghai (B.A. 1983; M.A. 1986), and subsequently at Harvard University (A.M. 1990; Ph.D. 1997). He was the Ittleson Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in Visual Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., (1995-96) before joining the art history faculty at the University of Chicago in 1996. His teaching appointment at Harvard University began in 1997, and he became the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art in 2005.

He has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies and postdoctoral and research grants from the Getty Foundation.

His book, Shaping the Lotus Sutra: Buddhist Visual Culture in Medieval China (2005), has received the Academic Achievement Award in memory of the late Professor Nichijin Sakamoto, Rissho University, Japan. He is the art history associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Buddhism (New York, 2004).

His 30 or so articles published in The Art Bulletin, Art History, Critical Inquiry, Res: Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics, Public Culture and elsewhere cover a wide range of subjects, including ancient bronze mirrors; Buddhist murals and sculptures; reliquaries; scroll paintings; calligraphy; woodblock prints; architecture; photography and films. He has also translated Roland Barthes’ Fragments d’un discours amoureux into Chinese and wrote the screenplay for a short film, Stony Touch, selected for screening in the 9th Hawaii International Film Festival.

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