Comparativism in Relief | Museum Workshop

This workshop draws on the extensive collection of carvings held at the Beijing Stone Carving Art Museum as a basis for a comparativist discussion on “relief” in all its conceptual, material, cultural, and religious significance. It is an object-based counterpart to the more discursive conference, held one day earlier at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing and bearing the same title as the workshop. Participants of the workshop session are required (as fit in with their schedule) to attend the latter seminar (2pm-5.30pm, September 14) which consists of four papers delivered on relief sculpture produced between 8th century BCE and 5th century CE, and across the ancient civilizations of Assyria, China, and Greece.

It is hoped that by basing this second session on a collective empirical encounter with artifacts and objects, more practical problems with regards to the method of comparison—both between disparate objects and between different intellectual backgrounds of those who compare—and the study of relief as an artistic medium or category could be raised and tackled.

Given the dual focus of this workshop (comparativism and relief), we will divide the participants into 3 groups and ask each group to give a brief collective presentation based on one chosen object or a comparison of no more than 3 objects. A group discussion involving all participants will then ensue. All are encouraged to throw in ideas.

General Information

Time: September 15, 9.30am-12.30pm
Venue: Beijing Stone Carving Art Museum 北京石刻艺术博物馆 (24 Wutasi cun, Haidian District | 海淀区五塔寺村24号,近动物园⻄北⻔)
Language: English (occasionally Chinese if needed)

How to get here
Line 4 National Library Station 国家图书馆站 Exit C. Walk 100 meters South and turn left, then walk 500 meters into Wutasi Road 五塔寺路, the entrance of the museum on your left hand side opposite the northwest gate of Beijing Zoo.

Qian Wenyi: +8613816382302 (please contact this number in case of emergency or late arrival on September 15)


Jaś ELSNER                                                                                                                                               Oxford University

                                                                                                                                      2017 OCAT Institute Annual Lecturer

WU Hung                                                                                                                                             University of Chicago 

                                                                                                                                       Executive Director of OCAT Institute

Team Members

Participants (surname in alphabetical order)

CHEN Yu                                                                                                                     Doctoral Candidate at Peking University
FAN Zhen                                                                                                                    Doctoral Candidate at Fudan University
FENG Fan                                                                                                                  Assistant Professor at Tsinghua University

GAO Ming                                                                                                                   Doctoral Candidate at Peking University
GUO Chunning                                                                                               Associate Professor at Renmin University of China
JIA Yan                                                                                                                        Assistant Professor at Peking University
JIAO Lin                                                                                                       Assistant Professor at Luxun Academy of Fine Arts
KANG Chong                                                                                                 Doctoral Candidate at Université Paris 1-Sorbonne
LI Xiao                                                                                                                     Doctoral Candidate at Shanghai University
WANG Yudong                                                                                                     Professor at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts
WU Yanan                                                                                                Doctoral Candidate at Université Paris-Diderot Paris-7
XIAO Shiying                                                                                                        Postgraduate at Central Academy of Fine Art 
XU Zhijun                                                                                                                    Doctoral Candidate at Peking University
ZOU Qingquan                                                                                      Associate Professor at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts

Workshop Coordinators

GUO Weiqi                                                                                                                            Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts

Brief Schedule

- All participants arrive at the entrance of Beijing Stone Carving Art Museum.

- All participants introduce themselves and their research interest in relation to the

- Participants assigned their group number.


- All groups explore the collection at the museum, select their objects or comparison, and devise their presentations.

- Among the three groups, one group is encouraged to use the main site of Zhenjue Temple and its carving as one of its starting points.

- All participants reconvene in front of Zhenjue Temple.


- Three sets of presentation and group discussion (45 mins each)


- Closing remarks by Workshop Leaders

- End of Workshop


In the afternoon (at 1.40pm) on September 15, we will arrange a shuttle bus to take interested participants from National Library to the OCAT Institute, where the opening ceremony of the Institute’s 2017 Annual Exhibition will be held. See brief schedule for opening ceremony and please RSVP for your attendance of the opening and the dinner reception on that day.

The shuttle bus will depart at 1.40pm. All interested participants must reconvene after brief lunch at National Library Station Exit B at no later than 1.35pm to attend the opening ceremony.

Related Events

2017 OCAT Institute Annual Exhibition
Sites and Images: Two Research Projects of Oxford University and the University of Chicago
September 16-December 31 2017

Section One
Section Two


Site • Object • Biography: Archaeology and Photography
The Buddhist Cave Temples and Sculptures of Tianlongshan: Historical Photographs and New Imaging Technology

OCAT Institute
Historic Environment Image Resource (HEIR), Oxford University Center for the Art of East Asia (CAEA), The University of Chicago
Opening Ceremony
September 15

Welcome address
Curators' Tour (led by Jaś Elsner and Wu Hung)
Dinner Reception (upper terrace, 2nd floor, OCAT Institute)