Schedule

Schedule

One page schedule (PDF)

Wednesday, September 2

8.00

Departure from Hostel Celica to Korte

10.30

Welcome address

10.45 – 12.15

Prof. Dien: History 1: “Overall review of the history of the Wei-Jin Nanbei period--an introduction”

12.15 – 14.00

Lunch

14.00 – 15.30

Prof. Knechtges: Literature 1: “Introduction to the history of Wei, Jin, Nanbeichao Literature”

15.45 – 17.15

Dr. Kieser: Southern art 1: “The South: conditions and material”

17.30 – 19.00

Assoc. Prof. Lin: Philosophy 1: Philosophy of the Wei-jin Period

19:00

Dinner

Thursday, September 3

9.00 – 10.30

Prof. Knechtges: Literature 2: “How to View a Mountain in Early Medieval China”

10.45 – 12.15

Dr. Mueller: Northern art 1: “Development of paintings with evidences from tomb murals”

12.15 – 14.00

Lunch

14.00 – 15.30

Dr. Kieser: Southern art 2: “Tombs: planning, building and decorating”

15.45 – 17.15

Assist. Prof. D’Ambrosio: Intellectual History 1: “ Background and Overview”

17.30 – 18.30

Discussion led by Prof. Rošker

19:00

Dinner

Friday, September 4

9.00 – 10.30

Prof. Dien: History 2: “The Northern peoples and their legacy”

10.45 – 12.15

Dr. Mueller: Northern art 2: “The emergence of a three dimensional depiction: Sculptures of the Northern Dynasties”

12.15 – 14.00

Lunch

14.00 – 19.00

Half day excursion trip to the coastal region

19:00

Dinner

Saturday, September 5

9.00 – 10.30

Dr. Kieser: Southern art 3: “Furnishing the tombs: ceramics and other materials”

10.45 – 12.15

Dr. Mueller: Northern art 3: “The western elements of the art expressions”

12.15 – 14.00

Lunch

14.00 – 15.30

Prof. Knechtges: Literature 3: “The Formation of the Anthology in Early Medieval China”

15.45 – 17.15

Assist. Prof. D’Ambrosio: Intellectual History 2: “He Yan and Wang Bi”

17.30 – 18.30

Discussion led by Prof. Rošker

19:00

Dinner

Sunday, September 6

9.00 – 10.30

Prof. Dien: History 3: “Jiankang (Nanjing)-- the bastion of tradition”

10.45 – 12.15

Dr. Mueller: Northern art 4: “Ways of living as perceived from tomb findings”

12.15 – 14.00

Lunch

14.00 – 15.30

Dr. Kieser: Southern art 4: “Guarding the tombs: aboveground statuary“

15.45 – 17.15

Assoc. Prof. Lin: Philosophy 2: Introduction to Guo Xiang’s Commentary on Zhuangzi

17.30 – 18.30

Discussion led by Prof. Rošker

19:00

Dinner

Monday, September 7

9.00 – 19.00

Academic lecture: Chinese art collections in Slovenia by Assoc. Prof. Vampelj Suhadolnik

Visit of the Chinese art collection in the Slovene ethnographic museum

Visit of Ljubljana city

Tuesday, September 8

9.00 – 10.30

Prof. Dien: History 4: “The Silk Road and the Sogdian presence”

10.45 – 12.15

Assoc. Prof. Lin: Philosophy 3: Introduction to Wang Bi’s Philosophy

12.15 – 14.00

Lunch

14.00 – 15.30

Prof. Knechtges: Literature 4: “Ruin and Remembrance in Wei, Jin, Nanbeichao poetry”

15.45 – 17.15

Assist. Prof. D’Ambrosio: Intellectual History 3: “Wang Bi’s Moral Metaphysics”

17.30 – 18.30

Discussion led by Prof. Rošker

19:00

Dinner

Wednesday, September 9

9.00 – 10.30

Assist. Prof. D’Ambrosio: Intellectual History 4: “Guo Xiang on Traces and Transformation”

10.45 – 12.15

Assoc. Prof. Lin: Philosophy 4: Ji Kang’s Ethical Thinking

12.15 – 14.00

Lunch

14.00 – 15.30

Final discussion

15.45 – 19.00

Picnic

TITLES AND ABSTRACTS OF INDIVIDUAL LECTURES

Prof. Albert El Dien:

History 1: “Overall review of the history of the Wei-Jin Nanbei period--an introduction”

China during the Wei-Jin Nanbeichao period is probably  the most complex period of its long history. For the two millennia since the Qin (3rd c BC) down to the Qing (1644-1912), the assumption has been that the natural state is one of unity, and that any division is a time of much tension and warfare, a temporary situation that is resolved by a return to unity.  But a careful assessment of Chinese history reveals that periods of division and of unity are about the same in duration; the rupture of the Wei-Jin Nanbeichao is especially notable because of its length.  To better understand the Wei-Jin Nanbeichao this lecture will survey the geographical features that impacted the course of its history, the differences between the north and south in terms of development, climate, resources, population including various ethnic groups, frontiers in all directions, urban geography, and generally lay the foundation for the more detailed discussions that follow.

History 2: “The Northern peoples and their legacy”

The fall of the Han and the emergence of the Three States, each controlling a different part of the country, is famously depicted in the novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, full of tales of swashbuckling warriors and the wise council of  Zhuge Liang, but in fact it was a period of bitter fighting and hardship for those caught up in it.  The Jin managed impose unity for a short time before the country again divided.  This led to the period of the Sixteen Kingdoms and the emergence of a series of states ruled by a number of non-Han peoples.  The resulting discord but also the interaction and even melding of differing cultures revealed in the texts as well as in the material culture make this a fascinating period in Chinese history.

History 3: “Jiankang (Nanjing)-- the bastion of tradition”

After the fall of the north to the various non-Han tribal peoples, northern refugees established a series of southern dynasties, with their capital mostly in Jiankang, and ruled in the South.  Almost free from the inter-ethnic contention characteristic of the North, there was tension between these northerners and the native southerners. That rule was based on the military forces drawn from the ranks of the émigrés, but as time went on, it became increasingly necessary to rely on their southern subjects. The traditional culture received from the Han has been seen to have found a haven in these southern states, and out of that matrix came impressive developments in literature, the fine arts, in every aspect of culture that the Tang became heir to.  Emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty may be seen as the epitome of that tradition, and the cultural achievements of his court and subjects had an important influence on lands beyond his own.

History 4: “The Silk Road and the Sogdian presence”

The caravan trade on the Silk Road from roughly the third to the eighth centuries AD was primarily carried on by Sogdians, natives of Samarkand, Bukhara, and other cities in what is now modern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. These were an Iranian-type people who spoke an Indo-European language and were primarily adherents of the Zoroastrian religion. Communities of these Sogdians came to be established in the oases-cities along the Silk Road and into China as well; a special office was established in the Chinese bureaucracy, held by Sogdians, to administer these communities  In recent years a number of tombs of elite Sogdians have been found, which have added much to our knowledge of the Sogdians and their role in Chinese society. This lecture will address some of the issues that have emerged and the debates they have  engendered.

Assoc. Prof. Lin Ming Chao:

Philosophy 1: Philosophy of the Wei-jin Period

This lecture will introduce students the historical background, predominant philosophical issues, the argumentative ways of the philosophy in the Wei-jin Period, and the life style, the mental world of the literati in the Wei-jin dynasty. This lecture will lead students to realize the contents below. First, the historical and academic background of the philosophy of Wei-jin Period. Second, the different stages, the predominant philosophical issues, and the argumentative ways of the philosophy. Third, to realize the life style and the existential feeling of the literati in the Wei-jin dynasty. Fourth, to understand the impact the philosophy made in the field of art, literature, philosophy, and so on.

Philosophy 2: Introduction to Guo Xiang’s Commentary on Zhuangzi

The lecture will be devoted to interpreting and analyzing the full text of Guo Xiang’s Commentary on Zhuangzi and aimed at probing his philosophy and thinking schema. We will discuss the chapters, exploring the distinguishing features of Guo Xiang’s commentary, and analyzing Guo’s philosophical presumptions and his way of thinking.

This lecture is aimed at investigating Guo Xiang’s philosophy and the characteristics of his commentary. There are still many differences deserved to discuss further among researches nowadays. We will have students follow the text of Commentary on Zhuangzi to understand Guo Xiang’s philosophy as impersonal as possible, so as to evaluate the researches so far and to clarify the features of Guo’s commentary.

Philosophy 3: Introduction to Wang Bi’s Philosophy

This lecture aims to introduce Wang Bi’s thought, the way of his thinking and the status of his philosophy in the history of Chinese Philosophy to students. Wang Bi’s philosophy is mainly connected to his commentaries on Laozi and Zhoyui. In contrary to Han Dynasty’s emphasis on divine and cosmological dimensions in interpreting Zhoyui, Wang Bi directed his attention to the philosophical dimension. As to his commentary on Laozi, Wang Bi tried to systematize Laozi’s political and ethical thought by dichotomy concepts, such as ti (體) and yong (用), you(有) and wu(無), ben (本) and mo (末), mu (母) and zi(子). Wang Bi’s commentary, no matter on Laozi or on Zhoyui, is systematic and deserves careful researches.

The lecture hopes to achieve the goals as follows. First, we are going to analyze the form of language in Wang Bi’s commentaries on Laozi and Zhoyui to make sense of the way of thinking in his interpretation. Second, we are going to compare Wang Bi’s commentary to the texts of Laozi and Zhoyui in detail to highlight the features of Wang Bi’s interpretation and his philosophical thinking. Third, we going to reveal the structure of Wang Bi’s thought. Fourth, we are going to scan the academic viewpoints on Wang Bi’s philosophy and try to make the disputes clear.

Philosophy 4: Ji Kang’s Ethical Thinking

This lecture aims to introduce students Ji Kang’s ethical thinking entirely. Ji Kang’s ethical thinking includes several issues, such as the relationship between saying and moral practice, knowledge and human nature, wisdom and courage, moral and aesthetics, individual and norm of society, etc. These issues express Ji Kang’s reflection and response to the ethical problem at his time, and his meditation about the significance of his own life.

This lecture is finally going to construct the system of Ji Kang’s ethical thinking through gradually reading his writings and analyzing the ethic issues in his thinking. In addition to outlining Ji Kang’s reflection on the value about his times, we will also estimate the worth and influence of Ji Kang’s ethical thinking.

Prof. David Knechtges:

Literature 1: “Introduction to the history of Wei, Jin, Nanbeichao Literature”

This lecture will provide an overview of the history of Wei, Jin, Nanbeichao Literature. It will begin with a discussion of the way in which literature is conventionally periodized. Next will be a brief discussion of the important genre categories, especially new literary forms that emerge in this period. Finally, some attention will be given to the most famous writers of this era.

Literature 2: “How to View a Mountain in Early Medieval China”

In this lecture I shall discuss the various ways in which mountain viewing is portrayed in medieval Chinese writing. I will begin with a brief survey of European treatment of the mountain with special mention of Francesco Petrarch, who wrote a famous account of his ascent of Mount Ventoux in southern France. I will then focus on the mountain viewing of Xie Lingyun 謝靈運 (385–433), who is arguably the most avid mountain lover of the Chinese medieval period. In his long fu, “Dwelling in the Mountains,” Xie first portrays his ramblings over the mountains in an almost frenetic fashion. At one point, in the space of four lines he crosses streams and rivers, scales mountain peaks, and does not even rest once he gets to the summit or reaches the end of a waterway. However, by the end of the poem, Xie claims to reject “kinetic viewing” of mountains, and even proposes that because one cannot trust one’s visual or auditory senses, physical roaming and viewing are not effective means for visualizing Buddhist spiritual truth.

Literature 3: “The Formation of the Anthology in Early Medieval China”

In this lecture I shall discuss the emergence of the anthology arranged by genre from the third through sixth centuries c.e. Although most of these anthologies have long been lost, information can be found about them in varioius book catalogues. I shall briefly mention some of the more important of these works, which include single and multi-genre anthologies. The major focus of my lecture will be on the only extant genre anthology from this period, the Wen xuan 文選 (Selections of refined literature) compiled at the court of Xiao Tong 蕭統 (501–531). I shall discuss the compilation of the Wen xuan focussing especially on the selection criteria used by the compilers. I shall also provide a brief account of the reception history of the Wen xuan in an attempt to explain why it was the only genre anthology of this period to survive intact.

Literature 4: “Ruin and Remembrance in Wei, Jin, Nanbeichao poetry”

The ruin theme is a recurring one in classical Chinese literature. It is a topic that is usually treated in a type of poem the Chinese designate huai gu 懷古 (recalling the past). In the huai gu poem the poet writes about his visit to an ancient site that has been long abandoned and is now in ruins. The poet reflects on the scene and is moved by the thought that what had once been a place of glory and prosperity has now become a site of decay and destruction. The poet more importantly reflects on the past and sees in it a lesson or mirror to the present. In this lecture I will examine several huaigu poems from the third to the fifth century. The central focus will be a close-reading of the “Wu cheng fu” 蕪城賦 (Fu on the Ruined City) of Bao Zhao 鮑照 (ca. 414–466).

Lect. Dr. Annette Kieser

Southern art 1: “The South: conditions and material”

The first lecture will serve as an introductory session. It will focus on the different natural conditions in the South (landscape, climate) that were crucial in shaping the material culture and introduce the material we are working with (remnants of cities, tombs and burial goods, remaining aboveground statuary, kiln sites). The various cultural centers in the South – the metropolitan region around Jiankang (today Nanjing), the secondary centers at the Yangzi middle region, as well as the region of the land estates of the elite (modern Zhejiang) and the Far South (Guangdong) – need to be differentiated.

Southern art 2: “Tombs: planning, building and decorating”

This session will explore the different ways of building eternal homes for the dead in the South. The elite tombs of the Southern Dynasties will be a special focus since many of them were decorated with relief carvings. It has long been discussed whether templates for these monumental scenes had been created by the famous painters of the South.

Southern art 3: “Furnishing the tombs: ceramics and other materials”

Since the tomb was regarded as a mirror image of the deceased abode aboveground, the tombs were to be furnished as such. Keeping in mind the mortuary background the burial goods can still offer a glimpse into the daily life and material culture of the southern elite.

Southern art 4: “Guarding the tombs: aboveground statuary“

Statuary guarding the tombs of the imperial families of the Southern Dynasties, as part of the so-called spirit paths, have become a symbol of the art of the South. The session will explore not only the artistic tradition of the statuary but will also investigate the historical background of the quite sudden appearance of the spirit path in the South.

Lect. Dr. Shing Müller

Northern art 1: “Development of paintings with evidences from tomb murals”

The Southern and Northern Dynasties period is the period when the first landscape paintings were developing. Yet greater than the landscape painting there is a maturing of figure paintings. Especially the murals from tomb findings of the past 20 years in whole Northern China give clues to the magnificent developments. Tomb murals – being the primary sources – of this period, will be in the focus of this lecture. By drawing up references from murals of Buddhist grottos and handed down paintings in the collections – known as copies of old masters, this lecture will to discuss the subjects, compositions and techniques of paintings especially in Northern China.

Northern art 2: “The emergence of a three dimensional depiction: Sculptures of the Northern Dynasties”

One tendency of art in the Northern Dynasties period is the pursuit of realism. This effort is especially prominent in the practice of religious stone sculptures, including the depictions of Buddhist and Daoist deities as well as the emergence of votive stelae of stone. In this way, masonry emerged as a new major handicraft of the era. This lecture will describe less the religious contents of the depictions than the artistic ideas behind the individual works.

Northern art 3: “The western elements of the art expressions”

While the first two lectures serve as introductory, I intend to survey the individual expressional elements both in the paintings and in the sculptures. These details often give hints to the mingling of many cultural components in the society and point out the complexity of the societies of the Northern Dynasties, which by no means were dominated by the Han-Chinese.

Northern art 4: “Ways of living as perceived from tomb findings”

In this final lecture the life styles of the elites the Northern Dynasties Period, their preferred textiles, furniture, housing, utensils will be surveyed as these are illustrated in the murals and other archaeological findings. With these in mind, one can go back to some of the old master pieces of painting and sculptures and discuss the possible authenticity of these pieces. Other than this practical application, this general introduction should hopefully give the participants a more vivid impression of the material life of the elites of the period.

Assist. Prof. Paul J. D’Ambrosio

Intellectual History 1: “ Background and Overview”

Course Material:
Readings will include selections from the Lunyu, Mengzi, Daodejing, Zhuangzi as well as excerpts from the late Han thinkers Wang Fu (王符) and Xu Gan (徐干).

This lecture will layout the debates on the relationship between names and actualities (ming-shi 名实) as one of the major frameworks for pre-Qin Chinese philosophy. Against this background we find both Classical Confucian and Daoist traditions worry over the possibility of usurping names that are not matched with corresponding thoughts and feelings or behaviors. Later, when Confucian doctrines became superficially woven into a structurally Legalist political system during the Han dynasty, many astute scholars noted that false names (xu ming 虚名) could become a major contributing factor to the downfall of society. They echoed the criticisms of the of the “village worthies” (xiang yuan 乡原) found in the Lunyu and Mengzi. The village worthy is a hypocrite or “thief of virtue” who only has the outward appearance of appropriateness, but lacks the inner convictions and attitudes that actually make one moral. When the Han dynasty did collapse Wei and Jin dynasty scholars took the warnings of late Han scholars seriously and found new ways to deal with hypocrisy and related issues through reconfiguring the relationship between Confucian and Daoist texts.

Intellectual History 2: “He Yan and Wang Bi”

Course Material:
Readings will include selections from He Yan’s writings and Wang Bi’s commentary to the Yijing.

In this class He Yan’s theory of the sage as “emotionless” (wu qing 无情) and dao will be briefly explored as the foundations for Wei-Jin thought. We will look at how his theories represent a paradigm shift in philosophical thinking, especially in terms of early Chinese metaphysics. These ideas were further develop and elaborated upon by Wang Bi, whose approach radically changed the way classics such as the Yijing and Daodejing were read. We will look closely at Wang Bi’s approach to language in the Yijing, which suggests that the sage’s words cannot be taken at face value. In other words, sages are primarily characterized as agents who response to things (ying 应物), but do not seek to purposively change the world. A sage aims at harmoniously harnessing or “charioteering” (yu 御) certain potentialities in a situation–which is the background theory of Wang Bi’s commentary to hexagrams in the Yijing. Attempting to categorizing this kind of action through language as particular doctrines (jing 经) or standards for action is, according to Wang Bi, precisely what allows for the possibility of usurping of names, or hypocrisy.

Intellectual History 3: “Wang Bi’s Moral Metaphysics”

Course Material:
Readings will include selections Wang Bi’s commentary to the Lunyu and Daodejing.

Wang Bi also offers a metaphysical foundation for his linguistic approach to the problem of hypocrisy. This is found most explicitly in his commentary to the Daodejing, where Wang Bi makes strong arguments for a metaphysical notion of dao as the originator of all things, and as that which sustains all things. Wang Bi takes this idea even further when he relates it to ideas in the Lunyu generally, or Kongzi (Confucius) more specifically. According to Wang Bi Kongzi acted naturally (ziran 自然) and without interfering with things (wu wei 无为) in perfect accord with dao. The virtues attributed to Kongzi, and the ones he mentions himself, are linguistic concessions to describing an essentially indescribable alignment with the ineffable dao. Laozi was a lesser sage because while he often talked about “natural” and “non-interference” ideals of action, his understanding was limited by language. Conversely, Kongzi was able to actually demonstrate natural, non-interfering actions, but did not attempt to discuss them. Viewed in this way both Kongzi and Laozi share a similar view of what constitutes hypocrisy. They both argue that when one attempts to act according to a particular fixed model or standard one becomes insincere. So for Wang Bi criticisms of Confucian virtues such as humaneness (ren 仁) in the Daodejing are actually in line with Kongzi’s own philosophy. Dao itself it moral, which means that acting according to dao–through natural and non-interfering means–is the only way to be truly or sincerely moral.

Intellectual History 4: “Guo Xiang on Traces and Transformation”

Course Material:
Readings will include selections Guo Xiang’s commentary to the Zhuangzi.

Guo Xiang’s thought represents one of the most unique philosophies in the history of China. His commentary to the Zhuangzi is actually his own unique philosophical system, which develops ideas related to the Daoist classic in radical and creative ways. In this fourth and final class we will look closely at two key concepts in Guo Xiang’s thought, namely, “traces” or “footprints” (ji 迹) and “lone-transformation” or “singular-transformation” (du hua 独化). The idea of traces is already hinted at in Wang Bi’s argument that the recorded words and behavior of Kongzi are just linguistic classifications of his alignment with dao through natural, non-interfering means. Guo Xiang similarly argues that all accounts of past actions and speech are writings that only speak to impressions laid in specific contexts by particular people. To emulate these behaviors is to ignore the importance of unique environments and individuals. Guo Xiang thereby deals with the potential for hypocrisy by claiming any attempt to follow traces is problematic and should not be exercised. We will then turn to Guo Xiang’s alternative: a theory of lone-transformation (and also “vanishing into things”) that he purposes is the essence of both natural (ziran 自然) and non-interfering (wu wei 无为) action, and the antithesis of hypocrisy.