Chinese scholar presents on Libraries’ Yao Collection

On February 27, 2013, He Hongyi, professor at South-Central University for Nationalities (CSUN), will be presenting “A Cultural Interpretation of the Yao People Ritual Images” at Alden Library.

Designed by Tyler Stabile, graduate student in the School of Visual Communication.
Designed by Tyler Stabile, graduate student in the School of Visual Communication.

In her lecture, Professor He Hongyi will provide an introduction of Yao culture and beliefs, the types and functions of Yao ritual images, and will touch on the research opportunities that the Yao Ceremonial Artifacts Collection has to offer.

Housed in the Ohio University Libraries, the Yao Collection contains ceremonial and temple art pieces that represent a mix between Chinese Taoism and ancestor worship native to the Yao people of North Vietnam and southern China. It is comprised of several kinds of unique objects such as hand scrolls, hanging scrolls, headdress-type objects, textiles, and books.

“This collection provides a unique crosswalk for a number of disciplines,” said Gary Ginther, fine arts librarian. “The potential for a dialog at the confluence of art, religion, and cultural studies is considerable.”

Professor He Hongyi has been working at the Library of Congress on a Chinese National Social Sciences Grant to study the Yao culture.

“It was there that she learned about the collection at Alden Library,” Ginther said.

She has been teaching and researching traditional Chinese folk arts and handicrafts for over 20 years, and has lectured at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University, to name a few. Professor He is the author of three published books and over 40 scholarly journal articles.