The emperor was at the center of Chinese political theory throughout the imperial period. Sometimes this theoretical position found expression in an announcement to the realm. The First Emperor, for example, made his power known in 221 BCE by means of a widely-distributed inscription in his own voice. My examination of excavated documents the Han central government promulgated in its northwestern border region, however, suggests that the emperors’ theoretical potency was not matched by conspicuous utterance, at least not in those contexts. What emerges instead is taciturnity, constraint, silence. In this presentation, I consider example documents and discuss what the imperial voice in these texts tells us about the nature of rule and rulership in the Han dynasty.
From 1253, when Mongol armies invaded the independent Dali Kingdom in the southeastern foothills of the Himalayas, its capital, Dali, was transformed into a remote periphery of Yuan and then Ming empires. By the sixteenth century, Dali's gentry families, both indigenous and migrant, were increasingly educating their sons in the classical tradition, to enroll in the civil service examinations and take positions as Ming officials. How did their experiences transform the ways that Dali's literati wrote about their hometown, about its people, and about themselves?
The Princeton University Art Museum presents an exhibiton focused on the transformation of feasting in the Song, Liao and Yuan dynasties.
Highlighting the artistic traditions of diverse cultural regions, this new installation brings together a stunning array of objects from India, Nepal, Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia. (Exhibition dates: October 1, 2017 – October 1, 2020)
A new installation, Pure Amusements: Wealth, Leisure, and Culture in Late Imperial China features Chinese works ranging from prints to sculpture and furnishings to ceramics drawn from SAM's collection and focused on objects created for, and enjoyed during, the intentional practice of leisure. (December 24, 2016 - Ongoing)