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“Here Be Dragons!”: Welcoming the Chinese New Year

This is not a talk about Chinese New Year, but about the best-known and most widely researched and depicted of all 12 animals found in the Chinese New Year cycle—the dragon, to the extent that our speaker has named her talk the confirmatory “Here Be Dragons!” Although the only mythological animal in the 12-year cycle, she reports that ‘dragons’ have been spotted in more countries than the average inhabitant of Mother Earth can probably name and in a surprising number of forms and shapes. So, while we will begin with a very short history of ‘possible dragon sightings’ and their possible historical doppelgangers, we will quickly focus on how dragons have been depicted in various Chinese media over the past two thousand years ranging from how the Shuowen (an ancient Chinese dictionary compiled during the E. Han Dynasty, 25-206 BCE) informed us they should appear to the role they play today.

About the speaker

Patricia Bjaaland Welch is a former University lecturer in Chinese religion, philosophy and art, and has been a docent for over two decades in prominent Asian art museums in Boston, Bangkok and Singapore. Despite once leaving academia for the private business world to head up regional and global marketing teams for such companies as American Express, Time Magazine Group, ABN AMRO Bank and the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, she remained passionate about Asian art and continued studying, collecting and writing on the subject. Today, she has returned full-time to the field, and is a frequent author and speaker on subjects relating to Chinese art and history. She is the author of five published books and dozens of articles, including a book on Chinese New Year traditions for Oxford University Press, and Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery with Tuttle. She and her husband Mathew have been Singapore residents since 1995 but maintain a condo here in Bangkok, where they once resided in the 1980-90’s.


Thursday, 8 February 2024 at 19:00


Lecture Room, 4/Floor, The Siam Society


Members and Students (to undergraduate level) — Free of charge
Non-Members — THB 200

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To book your place, please contact Khun Pinthip at 02 661 6470-3 ext 203 or

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