CfP: The Provenance of Asian Art: Symposium & Workshop

Date of event:   15/01/2023 − 15/01/2023

Event duration: 1-4 November 2023
Deadline: 15 January 2023
Organized by: Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, Washington, D.C., USA, and Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s Museum of Asian Art and Central Archive, Berlin, Germany

Building on the momentum established by the webinar series Hidden Networks: The Trade of Asian Art (2020–2022), the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s Museum of Asian Art and Central Archive are pleased to announce an in-person symposium, occurring Wednesday, November 1 through Saturday, November 4, 2023, in Washington, DC. For the first time, a global community of Asian art provenance researchers will gather to explore the complexities of translocation and how to best research, share, and debate these histories.

The symposium seeks to advance provenance studies focused on East, South, and Southeast Asian art by highlighting active provenance projects, research challenges, and available resources. The conference will also include workshops to discuss challenging questions, share materials, and develop collaborative tools. Organizers invite both early career and established professionals to submit twenty-minute presentations on current provenance issues. Please send a 300-word proposal and a 250-word professional biographical statement as a single Word document to by January 15, 2023.

Selected speakers will be notified by February 15, 2023. Preference will be given to proposals that stimulate dialogue and engage with broader topics.

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Specific dealers of East, South, and Southeast Asian art
  • Provenance case studies focusing on single objects, collections, or networks
  • Current provenance research projects
  • How museums, galleries, public institutions, and dealers communicate provenance histories with their public
  • Ethical issues that arise in provenance histories, including those relating to the illegal trade of art and seizures during the colonial era and WW2
  • New directions in provenance research
  • The future of objects in Western collections, addressing questions such as: Who will tell their stories? Should objects be restituted to their communities of origin?
  • Sharing and communicating provenance stories clearly and dynamically
  • The roles of conservation scientists, archivists, politicians, activists, and other interested parties in the field

The conference will be conducted in English. For questions or to request more information, please email Financial assistance for selected participants may be available (subject to grant approval).

Organized by:
Joanna M. Gohmann, Provenance Researcher & Object Historian, National Museum of Asian Art
Christine Howald, Deputy Director of Central Archive and Provenance Researcher, Asia Collections


CfP in PDF