|Since the middle and late 19th century, the international circulation of cultural relics has become more and more frequent, and a large number of Chinese cultural relics have been dispersed to various countries. Correspondingly, overseas Chinese art collections have gradually become large-scale, among which Charles Lang Freer, the American EastAsiancultural relics collector, is one of the most famous.Under the influence of artists, sinologists and archaeologists, such as James McNeill Whistler, Ernest Fenollosa and Berthold Laufer, Freerhas gone through the process of moving his interestsfrom Europe to the EastAsianand paying more attention to China from Japan. He respectivelytraveled to China in 1895,1907,1909 and 1910-1911. On the basis of the analyzingthe relevant literature and historical materials such as Freer’sdiary and the archives of the Smithsonian Institute, combingwith the thoserelics collected in Freer Gallery of Arts, the author intends tosort outFreer’s academic background, travelling and collectinghistory in China, and then sort out the trajectory of his travel, collection and investigation,analyze the relationship between the modern collectors represented by Freerand the academic community, also the relationship with the cultural-relicscollectingmarket. Then figure out the mode and operation mechanism of cultural relics outflow and collection, show the formation process of overseas Chinese cultural relics collection and the important role of archaeology.The article mainly discusses from the following five parts :
The introductionreviews the general processof Freer's cultural relics collectinghistory, briefly reviewsthe research results of both Chinese and foreign scholars on Freer’sseveral trips, collection and investigation activities in China and his collection of Chinese cultural relics, then analyzes the research status and research space, and expounds the research significance, ideas and methods of this article.
The chapter one analyzes the situation of East Asian art research and cultural relics collection in the United States at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. On this basis, this chapter discusses the beginning, social background and aesthetic preference of Freer’s involvement in cultural relics collection.
The chapter two takes time as a clue, discusses Freer’s the first two trips, cultural relics collection activities and related achievements in China in 1895 and 1907 under the influence of art and archeology theories though by Whistler and Fenollosa.
Thechapter threediscusses Freer’s travel, collecting programsand investigation activities in China during 1909 and 1910-1911 along the time line. Through the analysis of Freer’s communication with Duanfang, John Ferguson and other famous collectors, the collection of cultural relics, the circulation process ofajadeobjects numberedasF1917.396.1, and the sightseeing and investigation of historical sites such as Longmen Grottoes and Gongxian Grottoes, it shows Freer’s history of travel, collection and investigation in China, and his collection mode and operation mechanism of Chinese cultural relics and the influence of archeology.
The conclusionsummarize the research results of the article.