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Past Event

Saturday University: Music of Ancient China

Sep 29 2018

Seattle Art Museum

Plestcheeff Auditorium

10 AM – 11:30 AM

Strike the Bells Solemnly: Music of Ancient China
Haicheng Wang, Associate Professor of Art History and Cheney Cowles Endowed Professor, University of Washington

Tuned sets of bronze bells were made as musical instruments in China as early as 1300 BC. In fact, before the first emperor, ancient Chinese musical culture centered on bells. With the durability of bronze, we can listen to, and take pitch measurements from, musical instruments that are 3000 years old. The classic texts written after the fifth century BC give us important clues to the social and political context of bell music. This talk will survey both instruments and text to understand music of ancient China.

About the Presenter

Haicheng Wang specializes in the art and archaeology of ancient China. He began a New Directions Fellowship from the Mellon Foundation in 2017 for intensive study of music, to complement his perspectives on bronze bells as an art historian. He will share new insights into bells from his current music studies in his presentation.

Please note: South Hall doors open at 9:30 AM.


SEP 29

Strike the Bells Solemnly: Music of Ancient China


East Javanese Dance Performance and Female Power

OCT 13

Breathing New Air into Tradition

OCT 20

Musical Arts of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

OCT 27

Dynamic Korea and Rhythmic Form


Music of the Tang Dynasty: Connections to Japan

NOV 10

Movement and Metaphor in South Indian Court Dance

NOV 17

Modes and Melodies of Classical Persian Music


Exploring Kyogen: Comical Drama of Medieval Japan


206.442.8480 [email protected]

Full series tickets: $95; SAM members $50
Individual lecture tickets available at the door: $11, SAM members $6; free at the door for students with ID
Please arrive to your seat 10 minutes before the program starts, or your seat may be released.

Image: Bo zhong (bell), 771–221 B.C., Chinese Cast bronze, 15 3/8 x 10 3/4 in. (39.05 x 27.31 cm), Gift of the Asian Art Council of the Seattle Art Museum and friends, the Margaret E. Fuller Purchase Fund, and the Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection, by exchange, to honor Henry Trubner, Senior Curator Emeritus, 87.43.

The Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are located on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people.