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Objects of Addiction: Collecting Chinese Art—Past, Present, and Future

November 18, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

 |  FREE


November 18, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Event Categories:


Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy St
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States


Harvard Art Museums
(617) 495-9400
A green jade disk mounted on a colorful metal stand.
Jade circular table screen with decoration, mounted on cloisonné stand, China, 19th century. Dark green nephrite (so-called spinach-green jade); cloisonné enamels on brass (stand). Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.124.


This event does not require registration; see further details below.

Why do the Harvard Art Museums have a collection of Chinese art? In conjunction with the exhibition Objects of Addiction: Opium, Empire, and the Chinese Art Trade, curators and specialists will explore early collecting of Chinese art in Massachusetts, historical interpretations of cultural heritage, and how contemporary museum collecting practices have changed and will continue to change in the future.

Objects of Addiction: Opium, Empire, and the Chinese Art Trade (September 15, 2023–January 14, 2024) explores the entwined histories of the opium trade and the Chinese art market between the late 18th and early 20th centuries. These two commodities—acquired through both legal and illicit means—had profound effects on the global economy, public health, immigration law, education, and the arts that are reverberating still today.

Soyoung Lee, Landon and Lavinia Clay Chief Curator, Harvard Art Museums

Nancy Berliner, Wu Tung Senior Curator of Chinese Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Amy Brauer, Curator of the Collection, Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art, Harvard Art Museums
Sarah Laursen, Alan J. Dworsky Associate Curator of Chinese Art, Harvard Art Museums
Lisong Liu, Professor of History, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Before and after the lecture, guests are invited to visit the exhibition on Level 3.

Free admission, but seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The lecture will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Doors will open for seating at 1:30pm.

The Harvard Art Museums are now offering free admission every day, Tuesday through Sunday. Please see the museum visit page to learn about our general policies for visiting the museum.

This program is presented in partnership with the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Support for Objects of Addiction: Opium, Empire, and the Chinese Art Trade is provided by the Alexander S., Robert L., and Bruce A. Beal Exhibition Fund; the Robert H. Ellsworth Bequest to the Harvard Art Museums; the Harvard Art Museums’ Leopold (Harvard M.B.A. ’64) and Jane Swergold Asian Art Exhibitions and Publications Fund and an additional gift from Leopold and Jane Swergold; the José Soriano Fund; the Anthony and Celeste Meier Exhibitions Fund; the Gurel Student Exhibition Fund; the Asian Art Discretionary Fund; the Chinese Art Discretionary Fund; and the Rabb Family Exhibitions Fund. Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund. Additional support for this project is provided by the Dunhuang Foundation.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at am_register@harvard.edu at least 48 hours in advance.