Color at the Qing Court: Understanding the Penchant for Polychromy, the Development of New Colorants, and the Dissemination of Material Knowledge Under the Kangxi and Yongzheng Emperors


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Early Career Fellowships


This project examines the multifaceted understandings of color in Qing China through the publication of a series of peer-reviewed articles. While the study of color has been developing as a field in the West for a few decades, only a handful of studies focus on color in China, and none address the shifting ontologies of polychromy specific to the Qing dynasty. The articles examine the imperial court’s drive toward colorful decorative arts in the early eighteenth century, the dissemination of material knowledge through workshop organization, and the impact of new vibrant hues and contrasts on emerging discourses of color and vision. This project stands to substantively contribute to China studies through the histories of art, science, and material culture of the Qing dynasty.