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Discourses of Feminine Ideals in China: Literati Fantasies and State Politics

Prof Eva Kit Wah Man, Chair Professor in Humanities, Hong Kong Metropolitan University, Director, Hong Kong Art School

Co-hosted by RMIT CAST and the Australasian Network for Asian Art 

10 April 2024, 12:40-13:30 (GMT + 10:00) | 124 La Trobe St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia


This keynote lecture examines the intersection between the development of female aesthetics and the notion of the feminine ideal in China. Interrogating the ways in which Chinese traditions and the patriarchal system have informed the male imagination, this lecture considers the construction of the idealised woman as the product of male wishes, regrets, and fantasies. These projections have been captured and represented over the years by the literati. Exploring the development and construction of the feminine ideal from the courtesan culture of late Imperial China through to contemporary Chinese society, this lecture concludes with a comparative study of gender representations in China and the cosmopolitan West.


The lecture recording is available here.

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