This talk is presented in conjunction with the Museum Society’s upcoming trip to the Fergana Valley: In the Footsteps of Zhang Qian with Dr. Joseph Ting.
At the time of Wudi（武帝157-81 BC）of the Han dynasty, the Western Region（西域）including present day Xinjiang and its western fringes were occupied by Wusun（烏孫）, Yuezhi（月氏) and the powerful Xiongnu（匈奴）tribes. The trade routes from West Asia could only reach as far as Central Asia but no further. The Han empire then had little if any knowledge of Central Asia and beyond. The expedition led by Zhang Qian（張騫）, the legendary envoy albeit failing in his original mission to seek alliance with the Yuezhi people to fight against the Xiongnu who were then the most powerful force in the territory, acquired detailed information on the Western Region including Bactria and Fergana, and thus opened up trade between China and Central Asia and beyond. The talk will give a detailed account of Zhang Qian's expedition, explaining the historical background of the expedition, the activities of the abovementioned tribes at the time, and discuss the impact of Zhang Qian's expedition.
We are privileged to have as our resource person, Dr. Joseph Ting. He majored in Chinese Literature and Chinese History from HKU and graduated with a BA degree in 1974. He was conferred an MPhil in 1979 and a PhD in 1989, both from HKU. Dr. Ting joined the Hong Kong Museum of Art as an Assistant Curator in 1979 and was appointed Chief Curator of the HK Museum of History in 1995. He retired in 2007 after serving for 28 years. He is currently an Honorary Assistant Professor in the School of Chinese at The University of Hong Kong, as well as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
He is Honorary Advisor to many art and cultural institutions, including the University Museum and Art Gallery in HKU, the HK Museum of Art, the HK Museum of History, the Shenzhen Museum and Guangdong Provincial Museum. He is also a Member of the Antiquities Advisory Board, the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust and the Education Bureau of Hong Kong, an Honorary Fellow of the HKU and Hong Kong Institute of Education, and was an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre of Asian Studies.