Sylvia Tongyan Qiu to deliver lecture for the Center for 17th- and 18th- Century Studies’ Kenneth Karmiole Endowed Graduate Research Fellowship program

Sylvia Tongyan Qiu, Art History Ph.D. student and recipient of the 2023–24 Kenneth Karmiole Endowed Graduate Research Fellowship, will be delivering a lecture entitled, “Imaging Diplomacy: The Meridian Gate and the Making of European Perspectives on China (1655–1795)” on Tuesday, March 12th at 1pm.

Lecture Description:

In 1692, Evert Ysbrants Ides, a Danish merchant living in the German quarters of Moscow, was sent to the Kangxi Emperor by Peter the Great as his ambassador. An account of his journey, Three Years of Travel from Moscow to China: thro’ Great Ustiga, Siriania, Permia, Sibiria, Daour, Great Tartary, &c. to Peking was published in 1706 together with fascinating illustrations. Ides wrote: “coming to the outer Gate of the Castle, there is a Pillar, with some Characters Engraven on it, where I was told I must alight, according to their Custom; so that I went on foot through five outer Courts.” As Ides recounts his audience with the Manchu emperor—a brief episode in his long and treacherous journey across various terrains of the Eurasian landmass—the engraved images in the book trace the embassy’s passage into the innermost spaces of the Forbidden City, from the Meridian Gate, through the Gate of Supreme Harmony, and finally to the Hall of Supreme Harmony. By comparing the visual representations of European embassies’ entry into the Forbidden City in printed ambassadorial fictions with Qing court archives, Qiu will discuss how the architecture of the imperial palace was transformed into a theatrical backdrop, an optical device, a topography of overlapping fantasies, and a prototype for chinoiserie through the re-enactment of Eurasian diplomacy in printed media.

The presentation is open to all and will take place on Zoom. For more information, please click here. To register for the event, please click here.

The Embassadors Introduction into the Audience Hall, Ides, Evert Ysbrants. Three Years Travels from Moscow Over-Land to China: Thro’ Great Ustiga, Siriania, Permia, Sibiria, Daour, Great Tartary, &c. to Peking. London: W Freeman, 1706. Clark Library DS708 .I19E 1706.