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Home /  Learn & Create / Programs & Events / Playthings of Femininity: The Origin and Development of High Qing Trompe l’œil Porcelain
Red and black Chinese covered ceramic bowl

Playthings of Femininity: The Origin and Development of High Qing Trompe l’œil Porcelain

Tue February 01, 2022 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Bell Lecture
Part of the Gardiner Signature Lecture Series

Speaker: Dr. Chih-En Chen


Tickets are PWYC, starting at $5.

Discover the little-known history of trompe l’oeil porcelain (made to fool the eye) produced in High Qing China. Dr. Chih-En Chen will discuss its production, reception, purpose, and aesthetic, and its connection to physical and symbolic spaces. Qing trompe l’œil porcelain was a vehicle for representing High Qing intermediality and transculturalism, and has always been understood as playthings in gendered terms.


Dr. Chih-En Chen is a Lecturer of East Asian Art History at the University of Toronto (UofT), Canada. He was awarded a PhD by the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS, University of London. His research interests lie primarily in Chinese ceramics and material culture, artisanal knowledge, art in Eurasian context, gendered spaces and objects, Chan Buddhism, and the relationship between art and medicine.

His doctoral thesis, entitled The Origin, Development and Classification of Trompe l’œil Porcelain in High Qing China, sets its focus on exploring trompe l’œil works of art in the long 18th-century imperial China. Before he arrived at his current position, he worked in Tim Yip Studio and Blue Dragon Art Company in Taipei (2009-2012), Christie’s Toronto Office (2013-2014), and Waddington’s Auctioneers in Canada (2014-2018).

He received his first degree from Tzu-Chi University (Taiwan) in Biology and graduated with an MA in History of Art from UofT. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Beckman Institute (2008) and Academia Sinica (2018), awarded SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship and Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship from Canada (2017-2021), GSSA Fellowship from Taiwan (2018-2019), The BADA Friends Prize in Memory of Brian Morgan (2020), The Oriental Ceramic Society (OCS) George de Menasce Memorial Trust Award (2020-2021), and the Chiang Ching-kuo CCK Fellowships for PhD Dissertations (2020-2021).