Representation and Self-Representation: Courtesan Culture in MIng Dynasty China and its Artistic Production

Sponsored by the Department of History with the Department of Art and Art History and the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.

During the Ming dynasty, courtesan culture or “Qinglou wenhua” (literally “Culture of the Brothel”) 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

Edmund A. Walsh Memorial, 495
1221 36th St., N.W., Washington

Event Type

Academic Events


Students, Faculty/Staff, Alumni, Public


Georgetown College, History


Wu Hung

Open to the public and the press?


Event Contact Name

Michelle C. Wang

Event Contact Email

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