Han 漢 (206 BC – 220 AD) and Tang 唐 (618 – 907 AD) are the two dynasties during which China had frequent communications with the West, through both the Silk Road and maritime trade. Ever since, Han 漢 and Tang 唐 culture has exerted tremendous influence worldwide in various realms. Nowadays, the Chinese language is known as han yu 漢語, Han language, and Chinese people tang ren 唐人, Tang people.
The idea of this trip is initiated by visiting the two old capitals of Luoyang 洛陽 and Xi’an 西安, with an expectation to indulge in the Han 漢 and Tang 唐 culture. But then, with many more interesting sites coming to mind, Zhengzhou 鄭州 is finally included as the starting city. All in all, we will visit seven museums with Henan Museum 河南博物院 and the Shaanxi History Museum 陝西歷史博物館 being provincial museums, while Luoyang Museum 洛陽博物館 a city museum, including two on-site museums. We will examine numerous relics from these ancient cultures with a focus on the ceramics of Han 漢 and Tang 唐 dynasties.
The main ceramic products for the Han and Tang dynasty are burial pottery models. Among the huge number of pottery models in numerous shapes of buildings, figurines, animals, vessels etc., the most impressive are Han models of houses or house compounds and watchtowers, and Tang models of horses, camels, exotic merchants, ladies and officials. We will have in-depth discussions on the technical achievements of ceramics of the Han and Tang potters in modeling 陶塑, lead glazing 鉛釉 and in particular Tang sancai 唐三彩, three-colour ware.
From high-fired green ware 青瓷 in the Han dynasty to the Xing ware 邢窰 and Yue ware 越窰 in the Tang dynasty, the esteemed position of high-fired ceramics in daily life of the Chinese was affirmed. Besides, Tongguan ware 銅官窰 and Tang Jun ware 唐鈞 etc. will also be discussed, demonstrating the worldwide cultural exchanges as well as the pioneering ceramic industry during the Han and Tang dynasty.
Beyond ceramics, we will also ascend ancient buildings, have an overview of the Yellow River 黃河, and roam the market streets where in the old days the Muslims engaged in doing business. And hopefully, we will see the famous and beautiful peonies of Luoyang 洛陽牡丹.
Ms. Lai Suk-yee (黎淑儀女士) is a Research Consultant of The Hong Kong Ceramics Research Society, and a Museum Expert Adviser to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong Government. She is also a Researcher of The Research Institute of Ceramics (Zisha) Culture at Yixing. Suk Yee retired from her museum career in August 2015. Formerly, she was an Assistant Curator and then a Researcher at the Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her academic research has been concentrated on Chinese ceramics, for more than 30 years, with focuses on Zhejiang Yue ware and Longquan ware of the Tang to Song dynasties, Yixing stoneware and Jingdezhen porcelain of the Ming and Qing dynasties, and Hong Kong enamel-painted porcelain of the twentieth century.