Life and Afterlife in Ancient China - Oxford Literary Festival

Sat 23 Mar 2024, 18:00 - 19:00

Portrait of Professor Dame Jessica Rawson FBA
Pusey House: Chapel

This event is part of the Oxford Literary Festival

Leading expert in Chinese art and archaeology Professor Dame Jessica Rawson FBA tells the story of Ancient China through a dozen of its extraordinary tombs.

Rawson says that for Ancient China and the China of today, ancestors are ever present alongside the living. She looks at 11 tombs and a major sacrificial deposit from across China and from different historical moments and places, to explain what they reveal about wider cultural and political developments. Professor Rawson says the roots of many elements of distinctive Chinese civilisation still in place today are often recorded in how people entered the afterlife rather than in written history.

Rawson is professor of Chinese art and archaeology and a former warden of Merton College, Oxford. She worked in the Department of Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum for 20 years before coming to Oxford, including seven years as keeper. She has visited, researched and lectured in most of China’s provinces. Here she talks to art historian and former director of the National Gallery and the British Museum, Neil MacGregor Hon FBA, author of books including A History of the World in 100 Objects and Living with the Gods: On Beliefs and Peoples. From 2015 to 2018 he was founding director of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin.

Speaker: Professor Dame Jessica Rawson FBA

Chair: Neil MacGregor Hon FBA

In partnership with:

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