On China, let’s face it, what people really really want to read about is the Tang dynasty. Which may be why many of my posts go down like a one-legged man at an arse-kicking party.
Regarding Chinese history, my focus is the local cultures and politics of the modern era, including both my own fieldwork since the 1980s’ reforms and Maoism. Of course, all the living ritual traditions I study are deeply rooted in the late imperial period, into whose culture I occasionally make more historically-minded excursions (such as this series).
Going further back, just in case you haven’t explored the Tang tag in the sidebar, it contains a growing number of posts. After all, that’s where I came in. So never mind the rest of Chinese history, allow me to offer a resumé of posts bearing on Tang culture—starting with my Cambridge mentor:
In the ludic tone of some of my other posts on the Tang, I was egged on by the great historian Denis Twitchett:
- a jeu d’esprit, guest-starring An Lushan
- the faqu genre of Tang music, apparently “French pieces”, with the sequel
- faqu tu 2, or tutu
- (and talking of French pieces, here‘s Marty Feldman’s chanson on the HP sauce label!)
- They come over ‘ere…, featuring fusty fulminations from Tang literati.
For Tang poetry, see
- The Confucian ritual in Hunan, with more poems by Bai Juyi
- On visiting a hermit
- Gary Snyder‘s translations of Hanshan
- and a cameo from the poet Meng Jiao in this post on Great Chinese stammerers.
Last and decidedly least,
- Homage to Tang poetry—my own spoof poems.
On Li Bai and Mahler:
- Robert van Gulik and his Judge Dee mysteries.
Still, there’s much to be said for my own eventual conversion from abstruse ancient history to living genres of Chinese culture—always relating them to imperial traditions, of course. Among many genres active today that are not a “living fossil” of Tang music:
Going back still further, try