Symposium on “‘8 Brokens’ Rediscovered: Painted Collage from China, ca. 1900” at Museum of Fine Arts

Untitled (detail), Chinese, 1900. Ink and color on paper. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Time: 10 am–5 pm, Friday October 15, 2017

Venue: Museum of Fine Arts Boston


Bapo (or “8 brokens”) painting is a revolutionary artistic genre that emerged in China during the mid-19th century. All but forgotten by the late 20th century, these paintings hyper-realistically depict damaged cultural ephemera, worm-eaten calligraphies, partial book pages, burned paintings, remnants of rubbings and torn-open letters. This symposium was being held in conjunction with the first-ever exhibition on bapo painting at the Museum of Fine Arts, China’s 8 Brokens: Puzzles of the Treasured Past. A contemporary bapo artist from China joined the dialogue and demonstrated the technique.


  • Nancy Berliner (Wu Tung Curator of Chinese Art, MFA)
  • Shana J. Brown (Associate Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa)
  • Geng Xuezhi (Contemporary bapo artist, China)
  • Eric Lefebvre (Director, Cernuschi Museum, France)
  • Eugene Wang (Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art, Harvard University)
  • Wang Yifeng (Curator, Zhejiang Provincial Museum, China)
  • Zheng Yan (Professor of Cultural Heritage, Central Academy of Fine Arts, China)

Works and Projects Conducted or Partially Conducted by Gan Yu (as a co-designer or project manager)


Download the event poster here.

See original event posting here.

The symposium is organized by Harvard University and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and supported by Bonham, Rockefeller Fund for East Asian Art, and the Tianzhu Global Network in Buddhist Studies.