2019 Honoree Jessica Rawson

Jessica Rawson

Jessica Rawson had a long career at the British Museum. She moved to Oxford University in 1994 where she was elected as the Warden of Merton College. She is also Professor of Chinese Art and Archaeology at the University of Oxford. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and was made a Dame by her Majesty the Queen in recognition of her work on Asia. She has been a member of several major boards in Britain and holds honorary professorships at several universities, including most recently Peking University. She is also a Fellow of the American Academy.

Professor Rawson has published extensively on early China, specializing at first on ancient Chinese bronzes and jades. In her years in the British Museum and subsequently, Professor Rawson organized several major exhibitions, Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing and Mysteries of Ancient China; China: The Three Emperors 1662-1795; Treasures of Ancient Chinese, Bronze and Jades from Shanghai. She also made major contributions to exhibitions of the Qin dynasty Terracotta Warriors at the British Museum, 2006-2007 and at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities at Stockholm, 2010.

Over the last ten years, Jessica Rawson has turned to a new area, namely early China’s interaction with the peoples of the borderlands and the steppe. On this project she has collaborated both with archaeologists and researchers in China and with Russian scholars. This work has involved extensive visits to the north and west of China and to Siberia and Mongolia as well as St. Petersburg and Moscow.

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