|Title:Study Group Autumn 2014: The Song Dynasty 960 to 1279|
Fifty years of strife followed the Tang Dynasty until the Song re-established unity. China enjoyed peace for three centuries leading to intellectual, artistic and technical innovation. While Europe endured the dark ages, China was the leading society in the world. Nothing Marco Polo saw in his travels compared with the agricultural productivity, industrial technology, urbanization and standard of living in China at that time. Painting, literature and philosophy flourished and fine artifacts were produced. Expansion of the civil service examination system led to a large class of scholarly elite and printing allowed families to read and collect books. Literacy, increased prosperity and changes in the legal system opened new possibilities for women while at the same time, foot binding and Neo-Confucianism limited their lives. Song emperors were successful diplomats but in 1127 they were forced south to Hangzhou where they ruled for another one and a half centuries before being defeated by the Mongols.
Presentation topics might include Northern Rivals – Liao, Jin, Xi Xia and the Mongol Empire, Emperor Taizu, Marco Polo and other foreign visitors, science and technical innovations, the architecture of pagodas, the Beijing Qingming Schroll, Ju ware ceramics, Tiger Cave Kiln and Guan ware, women’s lives, apparel, or the outlaw – Song Jiang.
|Title:Study Group Spring 2014 : The Tang Dynasty 618 TO 907|
This period, considered a golden age of cosmopolitan culture, will provide us with a wealth of information to research and describe. The Tang Dynasty was one of the greatest empires in the medieval world, and an open and fruitful period of Chinese history. During this time foreign influences from India, Persia, Arabia, Syria, Korea and Japan affected Chinese culture and art. Well-documented, with many artifacts still in existence, study of the Tang Dynasty will offer participants a wide variety of choice in topics.
These might include terracotta figures, landscape painting, wood block printing, the Beitung shipwreck, foreign influence and expansion, clothes and fashion, Tang women, eunuchs, Nestorian Christianity, Manicheism, the Tang legal code, horses, public works, agricultural practices and the military rebellion of 755-763.
Study Group meets every Tuesday at 10:00 AM at the Helena May on Garden Road. Each participant researches and prepares a 30 to 45 minute presentation on a selected topic. Two topics are usually presented each Tuesday.
Enquiries and registration: Contact Susan Kreidler at email@example.com