via Louise Tythacott / Northumbria University: A PhD scholarship opportunity to study Chinese bronzes in the Woon Collection of Asian Art at the Northumbria University Gallery. Deadline for applications is 1 June 2020.
Northumbria University Gallery holds the Woon Collection of Asian Art, which includes a significant number of rare ancient Chinese bronzes including a standing and a seated Acuoye Guanyin both from the late Nanzhao Kingdom (AD 653-902) and an Amitabha Buddha and a Vairocana Buddha, both seated in Dhyanasana pose, from the Dali Kingdom (AD 937-1253). The project would further our understanding of the histories, iconographies, collecting and display of ancient Chinese bronzes in the Woon Collection and other collections around the world, as well as their composition and methods of manufacture. The successful PhD student would help shape our understanding of the best approaches to the care, interpretation and exhibition of ancient Chinese bronzes in museum collections and the influences on the technology used. Although there is research on the history of early Chinese bronzes from this area, there is little from the technological perspective.
Louise Tythacott is the Woon Tai Jee Professor of Asian Art at Northumbria University. Her research focuses on the collecting and display of Chinese and Buddhist art in museums. She was previously Professor of Curating and Museology of Asian Art at SOAS and Curator of Asian collections at National Museums Liverpool.
Jean Brown is the Director of the University Art Collection and is an experienced practicing conservator who has developed and delivered an MA in Preventive Conservation for over 14 years. She worked at the British Museum and the National Museum of Wales before joining Northumbria University where she is an Associate Professor.
Kate Nicholson is a scientist who has supervised the development of portable spectroscopic techniques and instrumentation for non-invasive analysis in situ of objects of historical and artistic interest.
Richard Mulholland is a Research Fellow at Northumbria University.
• Direct access to a small, but significant collection of Chinese bronzes
• Experienced academics and well-equipped science and conservation laboratories including: XRF, X Ray, FTIR, GCMS, Scanning Electron Microscope/EDX etc.
• Access to portable analytical equipment to study ancient Chinese bronzes in other UK collections.
• A close relationship with the Woon family in Singapore, providing access to networks across Asia.
• A unique relationship with the V&A through John Clarke, Curator of South and Southeast Asian collections and Visiting Professor at Northumbria University, providing support for the supervisory team.
Avenues that might be explored, amongst others, include:
• Interpretations of the iconographies of the bronzes
• Analysis of the histories of collecting and display
• Approaches to the care and interpretation of ancient bronzes from the Yunnan province and South West China in museum collections
• The material and structural characteristics of ancient Chinese bronzes from the Yunnan province and South West China
• A comparison of archaeological and reagent induced patinas
• Knowledge exchange in casting techniques etc. via trade routes