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Stuart, Jan

Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art

Chinese Art and Art History, from the Tang dynasty to present, with special concentration in ceramics, lacquer, jades, textiles, and court arts of all medium, including paintings.  

Geographic Focus

Background And Education

Professional Biography

  • Since 2014 Jan has been the Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art at the Freer|Sackler. She served as the Keeper of Asia (Department Head) at the British Museum from 2006 to 2014, and was previously a curator of Chinese art at the Freer|Sackler, where she came after holding a Mellon Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has degrees in Chinese art from Princeton and Yale. At the British Museum, in addition to her role in senior management and curatorial work, she led the project to create a new gallery for the Sir Percival David Collection of Chinese Ceramics. Her major Freer|Sackler exhibitions and publications include, Challenging the Past: The Paintings of Chang Dai-chien (1991), Joined Colors: Decoration and Meaning in Chinese Porcelain (1993)Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits (2001)Return of the Buddha: Qingzhou Sculptures (2004), and Red: Ming Dynasty/Mark Rothko (2017). Jan Stuart co-curated and co-edited with Daisy Wang Empresses of China’s Forbidden City, 1644-1912, and the accompanying scholarly catalogue (2018), for which she was awarded the Secretary of the Smithsonian's 2019 Research Prize. She delivered the Tang Center Lectures at Princeton University in 2019 on "Arts of Assembly" --a study of interior display in the Ming and Qing dynasties. 

Awards And Honors

Research And Grants


Selected Publications

  • Article

    • Stuart, Jan. 2022. "Guiding Luminaries Charles Lang Freer and John A. Pope: Establishing the Freer Gallery of Art’s Chinese Ceramic Collection." Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, 86 109–127. 2022
    • Stuart, Jan. 2020. "Guan Ware Vase in the Freer Gallery of Art." Arts of Asia, 50, (1) 100. 2020
    • Stuart, Jan. 2016. "Red: Ming Dynasty/Mark Rothko." Orientations, 47, (6) 91–95. 2016
  • Blog Posting

  • Book

    • Allee, Stephen D., Bloom, Rebecca, Cort, Louise A., DeCaroli, Robert, Diamond, Debra, Eijermans, Johannes, Stuart, Jan, Ulak, James, Wilson, J. K., and Yonemura, Ann. 2017. Paths to Perfection: Buddhist Art at the Freer|Sackler. Giles. 2017
    • Stuart, Jan. 2015. Daying bowuguan: Nu shi zhen tu - British Museum Object in Focus: The Admonitions Scroll. London: Art Asia. 2015
  • Chapter

    • Stuart, Jan. 2015. "Enamelled Porcelains with Painterly Decoration: Observations on the Collection of the Freer Gallery of Art." In Pre-conference proceedings of the Palace Museum, Beijing, for the international symposium, Precious Collection of the Stone Moat 石渠寶笈. Beijing: Palace Museum. 2015
    • Stuart, Jan. 2014. "The Goryeo Incense Box and East Asian Lacquerwares." In An Introduction to the Collection of East Asian Lacquerwares in the British Museum. Asia Museum Institute, editor. 269–299. Seoul, Korea: Asia Museum Institute. 2014
  • Conference Paper

    • Stuart, Jan. 2015. "Art as a visual language: perspectives on UK-Chinese cultural co-operation." from Proceedings of International Sinologists Conference, Ministry of Culture, Beijing. Beijing: Ministry of Culture, Beijing. 2015

Editor Of

  • Book

    • Stuart, Jan, editor. 2018. Empresses of China's Forbidden City, 1644-1912. Salem, Massachusetts;Washington, District of: Peabody Essex Museum;Freer/Sackler, Smithsonian. 2018


  • Presentation

    • Stuart, Jan. 2019. A Global Taste for Chinese Blue-and-White Porcelain [presentation]. Peacock Room in Blue and White, December 14, 2019. Washington, DC.
    • Stuart, Jan. 2021. C. L. Freer and J. A. Pope: Guiding Luminaries Behind the Freer Gallery's Chinese Ceramic Collection [presentation]. September 18, 2021. Oriental Ceramics Society Centenary Lectures. Sotheby's New York City: Oriental Ceramics Society.
    • Stuart, Jan. 2020. Chinese Literati Culture in Wuxi [presentation]. Lecture for San Antonio Museum, January 13, 2020. San Antonio, Texas.
    • Stuart, Jan. 2022. Chinese Scholar Rocks in Gardens and Interior Display [presentation]. March 2, 2022. Virtual, Zoom: SOAS University of London.
    • Stuart, Jan. 2022. Coromandel Screens from the Chinese perspective/ Les écrans de Coromandel vus par les chinois [presentation]. Printemps Asiatique Paris, June 8, 2022. Virtual/Paris: Printemps Asiatique Paris.
    • Stuart, Jan. 2021. Freer and Pope: Guiding Luminaries in Building the FGA's Chinese Ceramic Collection [presentation]. September 18, 2021. Sotheby's New York: Oriental Ceramic Society, London.
    • Stuart, Jan. 2022. Palace Life Unfolding: A Chinese Lacquer Screen from 1672 [presentation]. April 28, 2022. The Mary Griggs Burke Center for Japanese Art, Columbia University: The Mary Griggs Burke Center for Japanese Art, Columbia University.
    • Stuart, Jan. 2020. Rocks as Art: A Chinese tradition [presentation]. Lecture at the San Antonio Museum of Art, January 14, 2020. San Antonio, Texas.
    • Stuart, Jan. 2019. The Art of Assemblage: Interior Display in Ming-Qing China [presentation]. Tang Lecture Series, Princeton University, November 5, 2019. Princeton, New Jersey.
    • Stuart, Jan. 2021. Women in the Imperial Palace, the Forbidden City at 600 [presentation]. China Institute, Forbidden City lecture series, March 17, 2021. New York, online.
    • Stuart, Jan. 2021. Ying-chen Peng, "Unveiling the Hidden: Exhibiting the Arts of Qing Imperial Women" [presentation]. Feminist Art History Conference, September 26, 2021. (zoom): American University, Washington, DC.