Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


  • Color in Ancient and Medieval East Asia
  • Symposium
  • 3/8/2013-3/9/2013
  • 09:00-17:00
  • Spooner Hall
  • Host: The Commons, Spencer Museum of Art
Event Description
Led by Spencer Museum of Art Research Curator Mary Dusenbury, this two-day symposium brings together an international and interdisciplinary team of scholars to explore the roles of color in the society, politics, ideas, art, and ritual practices of ancient and medieval East Asia. Color was a critical element in ancient and medieval East Asian life and thought. In contrast to Western thought-in which color has been associated with light at least since the time of Aristotle-ancient and medieval East Asian beliefs suggested that the primary colors were earth-bound, associated with specific plant or mineral substances. Many of these materials were also potent medicines, toxins or primary ingredients in Daoist elixirs of immortality. The idea that these colors shared the transformative powers associated with the substance from which they originated-that they possessed a life-force or energy of their own-permeated early religious, political, and social thought and practices. "Color in Ancient and Medieval East Asia" is the natural outgrowth of a fall 2010 colloquium at KU supported by The Commons Research Initiative in Nature and Culture. This symposium is supported by the Henry Luce Foundation and the Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. Registration is free and can be completed via an online form available at spencerart.ku.edu.