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Innovation, Chaos, and Luxury

November 16, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

A Professional Development Program for K-12 Educators

Today, as humankind celebrates advancements in technology and science, we look back and ask what was the most advanced technology in the Bronze Age? How did it impact life back then? And why should we try to understand ancient technologies? China’s history from more than 2500 years ago offers a story linking chaos, innovation, and extravagance.

By 771 BCE, the pressure of the nomadic tribes culminated in the sacking of the capital of the Western Zhou ruling house at Hao near Xi’an, forcing the founding of a new capital to the east at Luoyang-initiating the Eastern Zhou period.

This shift sapped the temporal power of the Zhou ruling house, now relegated to a ceremonial role. The fiefs originally ruled by loyal aristocracy emerged as feudal states that consolidated greater power by gobbling up weaker rivals. This competition led to constant warfare, a breakdown of society, eventually creating chaos. Remarkably, these conditions spawned enormous innovation. New production methods allowed bronze vessels to be mass produced by using stamped clay molds and the “lost wax” casting techniques. The visual vocabulary on the bronze vessels included taoties but also overlapped and interlaced bands and more interplay between fantastic creatures and realistic animals. Bronze vessels became less important to rituals, more secularized and inlaid with gold and silver, becoming symbols of prestige and luxury objects filling lavish tombs. By the 5th century BCE, bronze vessels, inlaid with gold and silver; quite suddenly offered representation of humans engaged in human activities which appear on these bronzes as well. Finally, society’s chaotic conditions inspired the flowering of philosophical thought with the goal of re-establishing harmony. Although this phenomenon is often referred to as the “One Hundred Schools of Philosophy,” only the teachings of Confucius and Laozi’s Daoism survived to form two of the pillars of ancient Chinese culture and into the modern world.

Educators and CI Members: $10 / Session
General Public: $15 / Session
Free for NYS public school teachers and China Institute educational partners upon application

Limited full scholarship is available for NYS public school teachers to attend the entire series.

Apply for Scholarship

Register Here

New York University Project Developing Chinese Language Teachers (DCLT)
NYS Statewide Language Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBE-RN) at NYU
Contact: Yongqiang Lin, [email protected]

Designed for K-12 educator participants, discussion section at the end of each session will draw attention to new vocabularies and enduring questions to be learnt and asked in K-12 classrooms, as well as resources to enrich the teaching and learning of teachers and students of open mind and curiosity.

In partnership with New York University Project Developing Chinese Language Teachers (DCLT) and NYS Statewide Language Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBE-RN) at NYU, 12 hours of CTLE credits are offered for New York State teachers attending this program. Limited scholarship is available for NYS public school teachers to attend the entire series.

This program is part of a 6-session series, “Art, Ritual and Religion: Bronzes Vessels to Buddha Images, The Bridge Between the Living and the Dead”:

  1. October 5: Art, Ritual and Religion: An Introduction
  2. October 19: Taoties, Dragons, and Ancestors: Shang Dynasty (1600-1050 BCE)
  3. November 2: Birds, Nomads, Continuity and Change: Western Zhou Dynasty (1050-771 BCE)
  4. November 16: Innovation, Chaos, and Luxury: Eastern Zhou Dynasty (771-256 BCE)
  5. November 30: Age of Empire and the Afterlife: Qin (221-206 BCE) and Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE)
  6. December 14: Opening of the Lotus: Emergence of Buddhism (25-420 CE)

All sessions are open to general public


Professor Annette Juliano began her academic career at Vassar College, followed by Brooklyn College of the City of New York, then Rutgers University-Newark Campus, and finally at ISAW the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University. Her interests have been focused on early Chinese art from the Neolithic through the Tang Dynasty (ca. 5,000 BCE through 906 CE); Her particular focus has been on Art from the Silk Road and Buddhist and Tomb sculpture and painting from the years known as the Northern and Southern Dynasties period, 4-7th centuries. At the Clarke Art Museum, Williamstown, MA, she organized and curated Unearthed. Perhaps her best-known exhibition remains Monks and Merchants, at Asia Society, NYC.

This series is made possible through the support of the Chinese International Education Foundation, and generous supporters of China Institute.


November 16, 2022
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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