Representation and Self-Representation: Courtesan Culture in Ming Dynasty China (1368–1644) and its Artistic Production

During the Ming Dynasty, courtesan culture blossomed in the lower Yangzi River delta. The growth of a mercantile economy brought new prosperity to this region, where the surplus of wealth produced numerous entertainment establishments as well as a growing class of entertainers, including talented courtesan artists. This lecture examines three groups of paintings produced in this cultural milieu: (1) paintings documenting social interactions between scholars and courtesan artists, (2) historical allusions to male scholar-painters’ relationship with courtesans, and (3) self-representations of courtesan painters through visual metaphors.   

Thursday, April 4 at 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Walsh Building, 495 1221 36th St. NW, Washington, DC 20057

Event Type

Arts, Visual Arts, Academic Events


Students, Faculty/Staff, Alumni, Public


Georgetown College, Art and Art History, History, Theology




Professor Wu Hung, University of Chicago

Open to the public and the press?


Event Contact Name

Michelle C. Wang

Event Contact Email

Accommodations Contact Name

Michelle C. Wang

Accommodations Contact Email

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