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Thursday, November 13, 2008 - 19:30

Yin Yu Tang, the Many Lives of a Chinese House

Dr. Nancy Berliner

Curator of Chinese Art,

Peabody Essex Museum

Embassy of Czech Republic 

捷克共和国大使馆 日坛路2号

Jieke Dashiguan 2 Ritan Lu

Yin Yu Tang, merchant's house from a small village in the mountainous region of southern Anhui Province, embraces within its walls layers of lives and decorations from two centuries: strikingly designed and carved 18th century windows, 19th century chairs and beds, early 20th century kerosene lamps and Cultural Revolution posters. Today the house stands at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, where visitors can explore the architecture, decor and stories of the family who inhabited this home for eight generations. The project of dismantling, researching, conserving, and re-erecting Yin Yu Tang, this sixteen bedroom, two story post-and-beam house, took seven years and involved many Chinese and American craftsmen, engineers, architects and historians as well as family members. In her talk, Nancy Berliner, Curator of Chinese Art at the Peabody Essex Museum, will present the multiple layers of lives and moments of Yin Yu Tang, making use of photographs, historic images, family archives and letters.

Nancy Berliner, Ph.D., is the author of Yin Yu Tang, The Architecture and Daily Life of a Chinese House (Boston, Tokyo, Tuttle, 2003) selected by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2003, and has written books and curated exhibitions on Chinese art, culture and furniture for the Peabody Essex Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts and many other institutions. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard University, and also studied at the Central Academy of Art in Beijing.