WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
have announced that Patricia Buckley Ebrey, a leading scholar of Chinese civilization, will receive the 2010 Shimada Prize for her book Accumulating Culture: The Collections of Emperor Huizong (University of Washington Press, 2008).
The Shimada Prize is awarded for distinguished scholarship in the history of East Asian art every two years by the Freer and Sackler and The Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies in Kyoto, Japan. It was established in 1992 to honor professor Shimada Shujiro, who, as a distinguished teacher and researcher in Kyoto and at Princeton University, received international recognition for his contributions to the field of Chinese and Japanese painting and calligraphy. Ebrey will receive the prize, which includes a cash award of $10,000, March 28 at 5 p.m. in the Freer's Meyer Auditorium. Following the award ceremony, Ebrey will speak on the topic of "Emperor Huizong-Collector, Painter, Poet, and Daoist." The event is open to the public.
A professor of history at the University of Washington, Ebrey is the author of numerous books and articles, including The Cambridge Illustrated History of China and The Inner Quarters: Marriage and the Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period. Ebrey's book Accumulating Culture focuses on the profoundly influential cultural practices of the Chinese Emperor Huizong (1082-1135). In China, starting in the late sixth-century CE, the royal courts and the educated elite collected works of art, particularly scrolls of calligraphy and paintings done by known artists. By the time of Huizong, both scholars and the imperial court were cataloging their collections and collecting ancient bronzes and rubbings of ancient inscriptions. The surviving catalogs of Huizong's painting, calligraphy and antiquities collections list more than 9,000 items, and the tiny fraction of the listed items that survive today are among the masterpieces of early Chinese art.
"This year's Shimada Prize honors a book that makes an extraordinary contribution to our understanding of Chinese art and cultural history," said Robert E. Harrist Jr., the Jane and Leopold Swergold Professor of Chinese Art History at Columbia University and a member of the Shimada Prize Selection Committee. "Based on exacting and exhaustive sinological research, Ebrey's study of Emperor Huizong's collections illuminates the essential bond between the aesthetic and the political in imperial China. Accumulating Culture offers an important new interpretation of Huizong's political and aesthetic agendas."
Ebrey received her doctorate from Columbia University in 1975, where she studied with Hans Bielenstein, David Johnson and William Theodore De Bary. Among the honors she has received are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation. This year she holds the Humboldt Foundation's Research Award, given to outstanding scholars at the peak of their careers.