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Chinese Art in the Barnes Collection

Online / On-Site / Art in Context

Tuesdays, October 11 – November 1, 12 – 2pm


Yungang Grottoes, Shanxi, China. Photo by Xiuqin Zhou

$220; members $198
(4 classes)

About the Class

This course offers a taste of 5,000 years of Chinese art and history. Survey major art forms and artistic achievements exemplified by important archaeological finds from key periods in Chinese history, with a focus on stone sculpture, which is featured in the collections of the Barnes and other museums in Philadelphia. The course also examines the social and political circumstances under which Chinese art objects were collected by American museums and private collectors in the early 20th century.

This course takes place at the Barnes in the Maguire Pavilion but is also available for online enrollment. All students, whether on-site or remote, will have the opportunity to participate in class discussions. More about online classes.

On-site capacity: 50

Note: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to attend this class; please check Safety Guidelines for current masking information.


Xiuqin Zhou

Zhou holds an MA in museum studies from Arizona State University and a PhD in East Asian languages and civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania. She has 40 years of museum experience, both in China and America, and has served as registrar and senior registrar at the Penn Museum and is currently consulting scholar of the Penn Museum’s Asian Section. She is author/contributor of multiple books and several articles on museum history, Chinese art, and art collecting. Zhou is writing a book featuring her in-depth provenance research on the most important Chinese objects in the Penn Museum collection.

Art in Context

Art in Context courses connect works of art to history: What was happening politically, socially, and culturally at the time a piece was made? How did these circumstances shape the artist’s formal choices?