The Eternal Feast Banqueting in Chinese Art from the 10th to the 14th Century Zoe S. Kwok

Publication date:
14 Jan 2020
Princeton University Art Museum
196 pages: 279 x 235mm
137 color illus.
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An overview of Chinese culture, particularly visions of life and the afterlife, told through feast imagery from three historically transformative dynasties

Feasting was an important social and ritual activity in China beginning in the Bronze Age, and cuisine retains a strong cultural significance to this day. This book focuses on feasting in the 10th through 14th centuries, examining Chinese paintings of feasts from the Song (960–1279), Liao (907–1125), and Yuan (1279–1368) dynasties. Feast images, more so than works from any other painting genre, depict scenes from the past, the present, and the afterlife alike. More specifically, as author Zoe S. Kwok explains in the book’s insightful text, they portray a continuum between life and what lies beyond it; this volume is the first to make such a connection. Full-color plates highlight a rare group of paintings as well as complementary ceramic, metal, stone, and textile objects, and the nearly fifty individual catalogue entries touch on diverse topics—not only food and drink but dance, music, costume, burial practices, artistic patronage, and more.

Zoe S. Kwok is assistant curator of Asian art at the Princeton University Art Museum.