Forbidden City

Understanding Authenticity in China’s Cultural Heritage

Conference at the University of Oxford, 28-30 May, 2020

What we deem to be genuine or fake is not an objective determination, but something that we agree upon as communities. Debates about authenticity, moreover, are often intimately bound to question who owns the past and its representation. Please join us at Oxford on May 28th-30th, 2020, for a discussion on the construction of “authenticity,” both historically and today, in relation to China’s cultural heritage. 

From contesting narratives about the mother trees of Big Red Robe tea, to the restoration of Qin terracotta soldiers; from the authentication of Warring States bamboo-strip scrolls, to best practices in reading transcriptions of medieval Dunhuang manuscripts; from the experience of visiting a replica Eiffel Tower in Hangzhou, to US-China diplomatic tensions over "originality" and "shanzhai 山寨 (imitation)” – "Understanding Authenticity in China's Cultural Heritage” brings together specialists from a broad range of professions and fields, to explore how questions about “authenticity” impact their work on objects, texts, and intangible cultural heritage in China. A preliminary schedule is available below, and on our website:

We warmly welcome attendance by any interested parties, regardless of professional background, including but not limited to university scholars and students, museum curators and conservators, antiquities dealers and collectors, art lawyers and insurers, and media. Attendance in the audience is free of charge, however spaces are limited. To book your place, click here. (Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis). If you would prefer not to use the online booking system, or have further questions, please contact:

 **“Understanding Authenticity in China’s Cultural Heritage” is generously sponsored by Oxford University’s Knowledge Exchange Seed Fund, TORCH Heritage Seed Fund, The British Academy, The Leverhulme Trust, Oxford China Centre, St. Hugh’s College, and Pembroke College.**

Preliminary Programme

SEAA Membership

Join or Renew

Membership can be considered for any individual, professional or non-professional, doing research related to the archaeology of East Asia (China, Korea, Japan) or otherwise interested in the field. Please click the button above to sign up or renew now.