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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

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.