PORTLAND ART MUSEUM and Asian Art Council presents

The Zodiac Animals in the Garden of Perfect Brightness:
Orientalism, Occidentalism, and Cultural Patrimony


Dr. Lillian Li, Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot Professor Emerita of History, Swarthmore College
Sunday, August 23 at 2pm, Whitsell Auditorium, in the Portland Art Museum

This summer, visitors to the Art Museum have been dazzled by the gilt bronze zodiac heads by internationally renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Why did he choose this subject, and why would it resonate so strongly with modern Chinese? The answer lies in the history of the Yuanmingyuan, the “Garden of Perfect Brightness” in Beijing. Learn the astonishing history of the zodiac heads, their destruction by British and French troops in 1860, and their recent reconstruction as a national icon of the PRC.

An internationally known scholar of Chinese history, Professor Li has written about the international silk trade and Chinese economic history; more recently, she co-authored Beijing: From Imperial Capital to Olympic City (2007, 2008).

No charge for Museum members; $15 for others includes Museum admission. For all, advance ticket purchase is recommended; tickets are available online. [click here]