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The Sixty-Eighth A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts: End as Beginning: Chinese Art and Dynastic Time, Part 3: Conflicting Temporalities: Heaven’s Mandate and Its Antitheses

Wu Hung, Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Art History, University of Chicago. In the six-part lecture series End as Beginning: Chinese Art and Dynastic Time, Wu Hung explores the narratives of Chinese art and their relationship to artistic production while reflecting on a series of questions: How did dynastic time emerge and permeate writings on traditional Chinese art? How did it enrich and redefine itself in specific historical contexts? How did it interact with temporalities in different historical, religious, and political systems? How did narratives based on dynastic time respond to and inspire artistic creation? In the third lecture, “Conflicting Temporalities: Heaven’s Mandate and Its Antitheses,” delivered on April 14, 2019, Wu Hung discusses the art of the Han dynasty, which evolved through complex interactions with a new political ideology and historiography rooted in the concept of the Mandate of Heaven, either by legitimating dynastic power or by challenging it with antithetical visual modes.