AAS Annual Meeting

China and Inner Asia Session 124

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Session 124: Workshop: "A Pure and Remote View": James Cahill's Digital Narratives of Early Chinese Painting

Organizer: James Cahill, University of California, Berkeley, Canada

Discussants: Zaixin Hong, University of Puget Sound, USA; Jennifer Purtle, University of Toronto, Canada; Katherine L. Chouta, University of California, Berkeley, USA; Caverlee Cary, University of California, Berkeley, USA; James Cahill, University of California, Berkeley, Canada

Ground-breaking in its application of digital technology to the study of early Chinese painting, "A Pure and Remote View" is the capstone to art historian James Cahill’s many decades of research and teaching, and a model for the use of digital technology in art history. A thirteen-part lecture series on Chinese painting up to and including the Southern Song dynasty, "A Pure and Remote View" opens up the field to new audiences and interpretations. The multimedia features of this project not only enable viewers to study paintings in greater detail on screen than on silk or paper, but also facilitate wide distribution of a huge body of images that have heretofore been spread among many collections worldwide. The project unites scholarship and technology. A distillation of decades of study and connoisseurship by one of the world’s leading authorities combined with cutting-edge technique, "A Pure and Remote View" uses digital imagery to enhance and illuminate lectures. Motion and highlighting of images guides the viewer’s eye to the key points of each painting, achieving a depth and intimacy in the close study of works both familiar and rare. Extreme magnification reveals minute details that are telling as indicators of the painter’s method and intent. Art historians, librarians, museum personnel, and scholars are invited to this demonstration of the project by its creator, Professor Emeritus James Cahill, and discussion of the project and its implications for the field by representatives from publishing, education, and Chinese art history.