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Big Era 5: 300 - 1500 CE Unit 8: Early Economies
Unit 10: Connections
Across Water
World Regions: 1000-1400 A.D.
World Regions: 1400-1600 A.D.
1000-1500
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CHINA: HISTORY-ARCHAEOLOGY
Song Dynasty (960-1279):
Northern Song (960-1127); Southern Song (1127-1279)

Overview Maps Dynasties of China [The Genographic Project: Atlas of the Human Journey, NationalGeographic.com]
Eight small maps displayed together, showing China's eight major dynasties from the Shang to the Qing. The maps are very small, but shown together and with text summarizing the history of all eight dynasties, they effectively provide an excellent overview of China's history from ca. 1750 B.C.E. to today. Site removed at NGS temporarily; check back.

Printable Map Maps of Chinese Dynasties: Northern Sung (Song) Dynasty [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
Color map showing land ruled by China's Northern Song dynasty relative to present-day political boundaries. Can be downloaded as a .pdf file.

Printable Map Maps of Chinese Dynasties: Southern Sung (Song) Dynasty [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
Color map showing land ruled by China's Southern Song dynasty relative to present-day political boundaries. Can be downloaded as a .pdf file.

Interactive MapSong/Liao/Jin Dynasties 907–1279 [Princeton University Art Museum]
An excellent brief overview of the Song, Liao, and Jin dynasties. Featuring an interactive map with an excellent COMPARE feature that allows the user to select any two dynastic periods in Chinese history and compare them by moving from one map to the other.

Art of the Silk Road: Cultures: The Song Dynasty [University of Washington, Simpson Center for the Humanities]
A brief overview of the Song dynasty, with a map and images of six related artworks. Part of an online exhibit "organized as part of Silk Road Seattle, a collaborative public education project exploring cultural interaction across Eurasia from the first century BCE to the sixteenth century CE."

MapsThe Song Dynasty in China: Life in the Song Seen through a 12th-century Scroll [Asia for Educators]
An in-depth look at the northern and southern Song dynasties, with a 12th-century scroll depicting a typical Song-era city as the starting point. Topics include: Economic Revolution (Population Boom, Commercialization, Paper Money, etc.); Technology (Rice Cultivation, Printing & Movable Type, Shipbuilding, Gunpowder, etc.); Cities (Urban Life, Religious Life, etc.); Confucianism (Examination System, The Three Perfections and Su Shi, Neo-Confucianism); and Outside World (Northern Rivals, International Trade).

Video Unit Rebellion and the Transformation of the Chinese World [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lecture 13 of 37 from the Harvard Open Learning Initiative course, China: Traditions and Transformations. This 50-minute lecture presentation, with an accompanying slide presentation that can be controlled separately, is part of an introductory course on China for undergraduates at Harvard. Taught by two of the leading scholars of the China field — professors Peter Bol and William Kirby — the presentations provide background for teachers and students alike. Suitable for secondary school classrooms, especially AP-World History courses. (The link above leads to the main course page listing all 37 lectures. Scroll to Lecture 13: Rebellion and the Transformation of the Chinese World and select a connection type to view or listen to this lecture.)

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Liao Dynasty (907-1125); Jin Dynasty (1115-1234)

Interactive MapSong/Liao/Jin Dynasties 907–1279 [Princeton University Art Museum]
An excellent brief overview of the Song, Liao, and Jin dynasties. Featuring an interactive map with an excellent COMPARE feature that allows the user to select any two dynastic periods in Chinese history and compare them by moving from one map to the other.

China's Liao Dynasty [Asia Society]
"A Chinese dynasty and kingdom existed roughly in parallel to the better-known Song Dynasty, but this one ruled by the nomadic Khitans. A fascinating essay on governance, international relations, technology and exchange in China and its northern frontiers from 907-1123."

"Dynasty of Nomads: Rediscovering the Forgotten Liao Empire" [Archaeology]
A short article about recent archaeological work that reveals the cultural tensions, past and present, between the Han Chinese and Khitan Liao. From the November/December 2007 issue of Archaeology magazine.

Art of the Silk Road: Cultures: The Khitan and the Liao Dynasty [University of Washington, Simpson Center for the Humanities]
A brief overview of the Khitan and their dynasty, the Liao, with a map and images of five related artworks. Part of an online exhibit "organized as part of Silk Road Seattle, a collaborative public education project exploring cultural interaction across Eurasia from the first century BCE to the sixteenth century CE."

Interactive MapGilded Splendor: Treasures of China's Liao Empire (907-1125) [Asia Society]
This excellent interactive website explores the complex cultural and religious legacy of the Khitan and their reign over China during the Liao Dynasty (907-1125). Features an extensive image gallery of objects (organized into the following topics: 1) Nomadic Heritage; 2) Chinese Tomb Tradition; 3) Luxuries and Necessities; 4) Religious Life); an interactive tour of two Liao tombs; plus an interactive map of recently excavated Liao sites in Inner Mongolia (with images); two additional historic maps; and a timeline.

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Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368): Mongol Rule

Overview Maps Dynasties of China [The Genographic Project: Atlas of the Human Journey, NationalGeographic.com]
Eight small maps displayed together, showing China's eight major dynasties from the Shang to the Qing. The maps are very small, but shown together and with text summarizing the history of all eight dynasties, they effectively provide an excellent overview of China's history from ca. 1750 B.C.E. to today. Site removed at NGS temporarily; check back.

Printable Map Maps of Chinese Dynasties: Yuan Dynasty [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
Color map showing land ruled by China's Yuan dynasty relative to present-day political boundaries. Can be downloaded as a .pdf file.

Interactive MapYuan Dynasty, 1260–1368 [Princeton University Art Museum]
An excellent brief overview of the Yuan dynasty. With five related art objects, all with lengthy descriptions, and an interactive map with an excellent COMPARE feature that allows the user to select any two dynastic periods in Chinese history and compare them by moving from one map to the other.

The Mongol Dynasty [Asia Society]
Background reading about "Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, (who) ruled as an intellect—and as a warrior—to create one of the greatest empires in human history."

The Mongols in World History [Asia for Educators]
An in-depth look at the rise of the Mongol empire in the 13th century. Topics include: The Mongols' Mark on Global History (International Trade, Pax Mongolica, Support of Artisans, Religious Tolerance, etc.); The Mongol Conquests (What Led to the Conquests?, Chinggis Khan's Role, The Empire's Collapse, etc.); The Mongols in China (Khubilai Khan, Life in China under Mongol Rule, etc.); Key Figures in Mongol History (Chinggis Khan, Khubilai Khan, Ögödei, Marco Polo); and The Mongols' Pastoral-Nomadic Life (Livestock, Horses, Mare's Milk, Clothing, Shelter, etc.). With more than 25 full-color images, several online readings, an extensive bibliography, class materials, links to maps, and related Web links.

Video Unit The World Empire of the Mongols [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lecture 17 of 37 from the Harvard Open Learning Initiative course, China: Traditions and Transformations. This 50-minute lecture presentation, with an accompanying slide presentation that can be controlled separately, is part of an introductory course on China for undergraduates at Harvard. Taught by two of the leading scholars of the China field — professors Peter Bol and William Kirby — the presentations provide background for teachers and students alike. Suitable for secondary school classrooms, especially AP-World History courses. (The link above leads to the main course page listing all 37 lectures. Scroll to Lecture 17: The World Empire of the Mongols and select a connection type to view or listen to this lecture.)

Lesson Plan + DBQs Ethnic Relations and Political History along the Silk Roads >> China under Mongol Rule: The Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit F from the curriculum guide From Silk to Oil: Cross-cultural Connections along the Silk Roads, which provides a comprehensive view of the Silk Roads from the second century BCE to the contemporary period. "This unit investigates why the Mongols can be considered the greatest conquerors in world history. Students will look at how the Mongol conquests changed the Eurasian world and discuss how Khubilai Khan (1215-1294) and his advisors ruled one of the greatest prizes won by Mongol armies: China."

Marco Polo, 1254-1324
AFE Special Topic GuideMarco Polo in China [Asia for Educators]
A compilation of primary source readings, discussion questions, and lesson ideas intended to expose students to the impressive developments in Chinese civilization during the Yuan period.

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Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Video Unit Social Policy and Social Practice in Ming and Qing [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lecture 18 of 37 from the Harvard Open Learning Initiative course, China: Traditions and Transformations. This 50-minute lecture presentation, with an accompanying slide presentation that can be controlled separately, is part of an introductory course on China for undergraduates at Harvard. Taught by two of the leading scholars of the China field — professors Peter Bol and William Kirby — the presentations provide background for teachers and students alike. Suitable for secondary school classrooms, especially AP-World History courses. (The link above leads to the main course page listing all 37 lectures. Scroll to Lecture 18: Social Policy and Social Practice in Ming and Qing and select a connection type to view or listen to this lecture.)

Overview Maps Dynasties of China [The Genographic Project: Atlas of the Human Journey, NationalGeographic.com]
Eight small maps displayed together, showing China's eight major dynasties from the Shang to the Qing. The maps are very small, but shown together and with text summarizing the history of all eight dynasties, they effectively provide an excellent overview of China's history from ca. 1750 B.C.E. to today. Site removed at NGS temporarily; check back.

Printable Map Maps of Chinese Dynasties: Ming Dynasty [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
Color map showing land ruled by China's Ming dynasty relative to present-day political boundaries. Can be downloaded as a .pdf file.

Interactive MapMing Dynasty, 1368–1644 [Princeton University Art Museum]
An excellent brief overview of the Ming dynasty. With six related art objects, all with lengthy descriptions, and an interactive map with an excellent COMPARE feature that allows the user to select any two dynastic periods in Chinese history and compare them by moving from one map to the other.

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RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, THOUGHT
Neo-Confucianism

Video Unit The Neo-Confucian Movement [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lecture 15 of 37 from the Harvard Open Learning Initiative course, China: Traditions and Transformations. This 50-minute lecture presentation, with an accompanying slide presentation that can be controlled separately, is part of an introductory course on China for undergraduates at Harvard. Taught by two of the leading scholars of the China field — professors Peter Bol and William Kirby — the presentations provide background for teachers and students alike. Suitable for secondary school classrooms, especially AP-World History courses. (The link above leads to the main course page listing all 37 lectures. Scroll to Lecture 15: The Neo-Confucian Movement and select a connection type to view or listen to this lecture. Please note: The beginning of Lecture 15 returns to the topic of Lecture 14 to complete the discussion of “Transforming Society through Government,” before moving on to the Neo-Confucian Movement.)

Focus on Neo-Confucianism for the World History Curriculum [World History Connected]
A brief introduction to neo-Confucianism — "the renaissance of Confucianism during the Song dynasty."

Lu Jiuyuan (Lu Xiangshan), 1139-1193
Primary Source w/DBQs
Mind Is Principle [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Zhu Xi, 1130-1200
Primary Source w/DBQs
Preface to the Great Learning by Chapter and Phrase [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Primary Source w/DBQsThe Nature As Principle [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
Song Dynasty, Reform under the Neo-Confucianists

Video Unit Transforming Society through Government [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Video Unit The Civil Service Examination System and Society [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lectures 14 and 16 of 37 from the Harvard Open Learning Initiative course, China: Traditions and Transformations. These 50-minute lecture presentations, each with an accompanying slide presentation that can be controlled separately, are part of an introductory course on China for undergraduates at Harvard. Taught by two of the leading scholars of the China field — professors Peter Bol and William Kirby — the presentations provide background for teachers and students alike. Suitable for secondary school classrooms, especially AP-World History courses. (The link above leads to the main course page listing all 37 lectures. Scroll to Lecture 14: Transforming Society through Government and Lecture 16: The Civil Service Examination System and Society and select a connection type to view or listen to these lectures. Please note: The beginning of Lecture 15 returns to the topic of Lecture 14 to complete the discussion of “Transforming Society through Government,” before moving on to the Neo-Confucian Movement.)

Wang Anshi, 1021-1086
Primary Source w/DBQs
Memorial on the Crop Loans Measure [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Cheng Hao, 1032-1085
Primary Source w/DBQs
Remonstrance Against the New Laws [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Yuan Dynasty, Khubilai Khan's Rule

Marco Polo, 1254-1324
AFE Special Topic GuideMarco Polo in China [Asia for Educators]
A compilation of primary source readings, discussion questions, and lesson ideas intended to expose students to the impressive developments in Chinese civilization during the Yuan period. See the section "On How Khubilai Khan Governs" for primary sources relevant to this topic.

The Mongols in World History [Asia for Educators]
An in-depth look at the rise of the Mongol empire in the 13th century. See the topic The Mongols in China for more about Khubilai Khan and life in China under Mongol Rule.

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Ming Dynasty, Promotion of Social Order and Morality in Government

Emperor Hongwu (Zhu Yuanzhang), 1328-1398
Primary Source w/DBQs
An Imperial Edict Restraining Officials from Evil [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Primary Source w/DBQsVillage Ordinances: "Prohibition Ordinance" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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TECHNOLOGY, INVENTIONS, SCIENCE
The "Rainbow Bridge"

Secrets of Lost Empires: China Bridge [NOVA, PBS]
Companion website to a 2000 PBS program documenting the "effort by a NOVA-assembled crew of scholars and timber framers to design and build a Chinese bridge known only from an ancient painting [the Beijing qingming scroll]." Includes an essay, China's Age of Invention, that highlights many Song-dynasty inventions.

Also see the Rainbow Bridge section of The Song Dynasty in China: Life in the Song Seen through a 12th-century Scroll for images of the bridge as it is depicted in the 12th-century Beijing qingming scroll.

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Astronomy

Lesson Plan + DBQs Exchange of Goods and Ideas along the Silk Roads >> West-East Exchange: Astronomy [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit K from the curriculum guide From Silk to Oil: Cross-cultural Connections along the Silk Roads, which provides a comprehensive view of the Silk Roads from the second century BCE to the contemporary period. "What was the importance of astronomy to the pre-modern Chinese state and people? How did the West-East exchange of scientific information along the Silk Roads affect China? Students will study pre-modern Chinese ideas on the relation of the cosmos to everyday life and the political importance of astronomy. They will look at phenomena such as eclipses and supernovae through both (modern) Western and (pre-modern) Chinese eyes."

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MILITARY AND DEFENSE
Military Technology

Military Technology [A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, University of Washington]
A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey, is an excellent resource, with images, questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings throughout. This particular unit discusses siegecraft, crossbows and armor, spears, clubs, and swords, catapults, warships, and gunpowder and firearms.

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The Northern Song Defeated by the Jurchen Jin

Yue Fei, 1103-1142
Primary Source w/DBQsPoem to be Sung to the Tune of "Full River Red" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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ECONOMY, WORK, TRADE, FOREIGN RELATIONS
Agriculture; Growth of Cities and Urban Life during the Song and Yuan Dynasties

Chen Pu (Chen Fu), 1076-1154
Primary Source w/DBQs
On Farming (Nongshu) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Unknown Author, ca. 1235
Primary Source w/DBQs
The Attractions of the Capital (Hangzhou) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Also see the Rice Cultivation section and Cities section of The Song Dynasty in China: Life in the Song Seen through a 12th-century Scroll for more on these topics.

Marco Polo, 1254-1324
AFE Special Topic GuideMarco Polo in China [Asia for Educators]
A compilation of primary source readings, discussion questions, and lesson ideas intended to expose students to the impressive developments in Chinese civilization during the Yuan period. See the section "On Suzhou and Hangzhou" for primary sources relevant to urban life during the Yuan dynasty.

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Trade and International Relations: The Ming Voyages (1405-1433)

Chinese Trade in the Indian Ocean [Asia Society]
"A background essay on the Ming Dynasty, its powerful trade networks and diplomatic missions as far as Africa and the Red Sea, and the domestic tensions that ultimately changed the course of world history."

The Ming Voyages [Asia for Educators]
Unit discussing Admiral Zheng He's voyages during the Ming dynasty, the preparation of his fleet, and the political and social problems in Ming China that brought these expeditions to a close. With discussion questions and activities for students.

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SOCIETY
Homes and Gardens, Ming Period

Homes [A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, University of Washington]
A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey, is an excellent resource, with images, questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings throughout. This particular unit examines how people constructed, decorated, and furnished their homes during the Ming, in order to gain a better understanding about the resources, aesthetic preferences, and social habits prevalent during that time.

Gardens [A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, University of Washington]
A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey, is an excellent resource, with images, questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings throughout. This particular unit discusses the origins, design, social uses, and aesthetics of Chinese garden design, which reached its fullest development during the late Ming.

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Women

Yuan Cai, ca. 1140-ca. 1195
Primary Source w/DBQs
"It Is Difficult for Widows to Entrust Their Financial Affairs to Others" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Empress Xu, d. 1407
Primary Source w/DBQs
Instructions for the Inner Quarters [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Also see the Literature section, below, for the work of Li Qingzhao, a noted Song dynasty writer and painter.

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LITERATURE
Literature of Scholar-Officials and Military Officers

Yue Fei, 1103-1142
Primary Source w/DBQsPoem to be Sung to the Tune of "Full River Red" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Sima Guang, 1019-1086
Primary Source w/DBQs
Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Su Shi (Su Dongpo), 1036-1101
Primary Source w/DBQs
Rhyming with Tzu-yu's "Treading the Green" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Primary Source w/DBQsThe Red Cliff, Part I [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Also see the Confucianism section of The Song Dynasty in China: Life in the Song Seen through a 12th-century Scroll for more about Su Shi.

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Women Writers

Li Qingzhao, 1084-ca. 1151
Biographies of Notable Women: Li-Ch'ing-Chao (Li Qingzhao) [Women in World History]
A short introduction to the life and work of this Song dynasty writer, painter, and art collector.

Primary Source w/DBQsPoem to be Sung to the Tune of "Southern Song" (Nan-ge-zi) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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ART AND MUSIC
Painting and Calligraphy

Painting and Calligraphy of the Northern Sung (960-1127) [National Palace Museum]
An incredibly rich interactive presentation of works from the NPM's collection of Northern Sung painting and calligraphy. Works divided into three categories: Early Court Art, Scholar Art, and New Styles. Use the horizontal scrollbar just above the thumbnail images at the bottom of the page to see all the images in a category. Clicking on a thumbnail brings up the artwork in the upper area of the page. Use the thin black menubar that appears here to zoom in and out of the image, as well as to see information about Seals & Inscriptions, Feature Descriptions (additional information about highlighted areas of the painting), as well as the Main Description for the painting.

Painting (during the Song and Yuan dynasties) [A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, University of Washington]
A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey, is an excellent resource, with images, questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings throughout. This particular unit "covers not only developments in painting as a fine art, such as the development of landscape painting, but also looks at paintings for evidence of social life, both the commercial life of cities and private life at home."

Landscape Painting in Chinese Art [Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
An overview of key developments in landscape painting during the Song, Yuan, and Ming periods. With 14 related artworks.

Age of the Great Khan: Painting and Calligraphy in the Mongol Yuan Dynasty [National Palace Museum]
A comprehensive resource for art under Mongol China, with images organized into four sections: 1) Marco Polo; 2) Recluse Scholars; 3) Polyethnic Scholars; 4) The Imperial Clan. With text and additional subtopics under each section (mouseover images on topic pages to bring up each subtopic), plus a large selection of art works under each section. There is also a special section for teachers with resources on imperial portraiture, architecture, and revivalism in Yuan-dynasty painting, plus analysis of three specific paintings.

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Ceramics and Decorative Objects

The Legend of Ju Ware: A Special Exhibition of Ju Ware from the Northern Sung Dynasty [National Palace Museum]
A multimedia website about Ju ware, produced in the later Northern Sung dynasty (12th century). Three topics -- Qualities, Connoisseurs, Origin -- plus an Explore section and a Dictionary (Resources) section. Also see the Ceramics section of The Song Dynasty in China: Life in the Song Seen through a 12th-century Scroll for more about ceramic production during the Song dynasty.

The New Era of Ornamentation: 1350-1521 [National Palace Museum]
"With the establishment of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) in the latter half of the 14th century, the production of objets d'art entered a new realm. In the world of porcelain alone, as painted and colored glazes of decorative designs became more elaborate, this period may well be dubbed a 'new era of ornamentation.'" With a brief introduction plus one-page guide to new ornamentation and glazing techniques developed during this period. Six topics: 1) The Beginning of Underglaze Wares; 2) Paragons of Underglaze Wares; 3) Clear and Delicate Underglaze Blue; 4) Trade and Exchange: Porcelains with Persian Shapes and Designs; 5) Trade and Exchange: Porcelain with Tibetan Script and Decoration; 6) Color Glazes and Overglaze Colors. With 9 related objects.

Chinese Cloisonné [Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
A brief introduction to the development of cloisonné in China during the early 14th to 15th century, as well as to the cloisonné technique. With 2 related artworks.

Find more art-related resources for China, 1000-1450 CE
at OMuRAA (Online Museum Resources on Asian Art)

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© 2009 Asia for Educators, Columbia University