Presentations Scheduled for 2010-2011


(Seminar papers will be posted here about 10 days before the meetings in which they are presented).


1. Saturday 30 October 30, 2010, at 1 p.m. in 405 Kent

Zhang Maorong 张懋鎔 (Shaanxi Normal University): “Functionality and Typological Changes of Ancient Chinese Bronze Vessels” PDF

The present paper discusses the reciprocal relationship between functional changes and the typological transition of ancient Chinese bronze vessels. Through examining the development of specific vessel types such as dou, li, ding, gui, etc., the paper suggests that functional and typological changes are two closely related processes. It may even be said that new trends in the design and dimension of a certain type of bronze vessel reflected changes in its function, which may be explained by the ritual institution focused on food. Very often, important changes occurred in a time that immediately preceded or directly led to the most prosperous moment in the history of a vessel type.       

• Chen Chao-jung 陳昭容 (Academia Sinica, Taiwan): “When Did Chinese Characters Cross the Yangzi River? The Use of GIS in the Study of Inscribed Bronzes from Early China” PDF

Inscribed Shang-Western Zhou bronzes are mainly from the Yellow River region in North China; however, since the 1930s an increasing number of bronzes with inscriptions have been brought to light by random discovery or by archaeological excavation in South China, centering on the Xiang Rive r valley in Hunan. Utilizing research tools available from the “Geographical Information System of Shang-Zhou Bronzes” developed in the Acadmia Sinica, the present paper examines the distribution of inscribed bronzes in the large region south of Yangzi. The paper demonstrates that despite the early appearance of inscribed bronzes in South China, the region did not become a part of the so-called “Cultural Sphere of Chinese Characters” until the arrival of the Spring and Autumn period.    


2. Saturday, 20 November, 2010, at 1 p.m. in 628 Kent

Jing Zhongwei 井中伟 (Jilin University): “Horse Whip (zhuìcè 錣策) and Bit (díxián 鏑銜): Horse-controlling Techniques in Shang-Zhou China from the Perspective of Cultural Exchanges with the Northern Steppe” PDF

This paper discusses the archaeological contexts of two unique types of bronze object, found together with horses in a number of Shang-Zhou period tombs. The former is a tubular bronze cane with a spike on the top, and latter forms a half bring with teeth at the two ends. They are identified as horse whip and bit, known from the texts as zhuìcè錣策and díxián 鏑銜. Perhaps influenced by these early types, by the Spring and Autumn period, the Upper Xiajiadian Culture had developed new horse-controlling implements. The paper further discusses relationships between the latter objects and their counterparts in the Tagar Culture of the Minusinsk Basin in southern Russia as evidence of cultural exchange across the Eurasian continent.

Adam Smith (Columbia University): “The Evidence for Perishable Writing Media in Late 2nd Millennium China, BC.” PDF

The extant remains of Chinese literacy from the late 2nd millennium BC are dominated by records of divination. The nature and extent of other contemporary forms of literate activity are difficult to determine with confidence. The most important sources of information concerning text genres and writing media that are not physically preserved are the divination records themselves. The existence of three categories of document can be discerned in the divination records: tables for scheduling routine ancestral rituals; registers of livestock available for sacrifice; and some kind of text associated with prominent individuals outside the Shang royal family. The first two categories invite hypotheses about their possible role in the first emergence of literacy.

3. Sunday, 27 February, 2011, at 1 p.m. in 405 Kent

John Major (China Institute in America) and Sarah Queen (Connecticut College)
Presentations from a new translation of the Chunqiu Fanlu
春秋繁露  PDF

4. Saturday, 23 April, 2011, at 1 p.m. in 405 Kent

Howard Goodman (Asia Major): “Understanding Early Chinese Metrology Through Tang Eyes  PDF

Agnes Chalier (Independent Scholar): “Reading the ‘Treatise On Record Sources’ (Han Shu, chapter 30,
藝文志): its meaning and interpretation for today and tomorrow” PDF

5. One Saturday in May (exact date still pending)

    Archaeology symposium on recent excavations in eastern China.