World History for Us All Bridging World History The Metropolitan Museum of Art Hyperhistory.com
Big Era 5: 300 - 1500 CE Unit 7: The Spread of Religions
Unit 9: Connections Across Land
World Regions: 500-1000 A.D. 500-1000
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CHINA: HISTORY-ARCHAEOLOGY
Sui Dynasty (581-618)

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

Interactive MapPeriod of Disunity to Tang Dynasty, 220-907 [Princeton University Art Museum]
With an excellent short overview of the short-lived Sui dynasty, which followed the Period of Disunity and "set the political, institutional, and economic foundations for the following Tang dynasty." 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.

Sui Dynasty, 581-618 [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
"First ruled by a progressive leader and then by his ne'er-do-well son, this brief period closed with the arrival of a third emperor, one who would usher in the T'ang dynasty, another Chinese golden age." A brief one-paragraph overview, along with images of two objects representative of the period.

Art of the Silk Road: Cultures: The Sui Dynasty [University of Washington, Simpson Center for the Humanities]
An overview of the Sui dynasty, with a map and image of one related artifact. 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."

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Tang Dynasty (618-906)

Video Unit The Universal Empire: Cosmopolitan Tang [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lecture 12 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 12: The Universal Empire: Cosmopolitan Tang 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: Tang Dynasty [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
Color map showing land ruled by China's Tang dynasty relative to present-day political boundaries. Can be downloaded as a .pdf file.

Interactive MapPeriod of Disunity to Tang Dynasty, 220-907 [Princeton University Art Museum]
With a lengthy overview of the Tang dynasty, with a special focus on the art of the period. 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.

Tang Dynasty (618-906) [Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
A brief overview of artistic production during Tang dynasty China. With 10 related artworks.

Art of the Silk Road: Cultures: The Tang Dynasty [University of Washington, Simpson Center for the Humanities]
An overview of the Tang dynasty, with additional information about the city of Chang'an (Xian). Also includes a map. 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."

A Tang Newspaper [China Institute]
Background reading with suggestions on topics for creating a newspaper on the period. [To get to the unit from the page linked above, find and click the CURRICULUM UNITS link above the FROM SILK TO OIL title in the middle of the page. A new page loads with two curriculum units. Click "A Tang Newspaper" to load the unit.]

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Period of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960); the Khitan/Liao (907-1125)

Printable Map Maps of Chinese Dynasties: Five Dynasties Period [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
Color map showing land governed during China's Five Dynasties Period 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 Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. 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."

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Cross-cultural Exchange: China and India and Buddhism on the Silk Road;
The Pilgrimage of the Monk Xuanzang (pronounced "Swanzong"), of Journey to the West (Tale of Monkey)

More Silk Road-related content can be found in the Religion, Philosophy, Thought section, the Economy, Work, Trade, Foreign Relations section, and the Literature section, below.

The Travel Records of Chinese Pilgrims Faxian, Xuanzang, and Yijing: Sources for Cross-cultural Encounters between Ancient China and Ancient India [PDF] [Education About Asia, Association for Asian Studies]
Article about three Chinese monks who traveled to India: Faxian (337?-422?), Xuanzang (600?-664), and Yijing (635-713). With maps. Reprinted with permission of the Association for Asian Studies.

Lesson Plan + DBQs Religions along the Silk Roads >> Xuanzang's Pilgrimage to India [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit Q 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. In this lesson "students will travel with the pilgrim-monk Xuanzang (c. 596-664) and share some of the hardships of his journey. They will learn about religious pilgrimage from a Buddhist point of view."

Xuanzang: The Monk Who Brought Buddhism East [Asia Society]
"The life and adventures of a Chinese monk who made a 17-year journey to bring Buddhist teachings from India to China. Xuanzang subsequently became a main character in the great Chinese epic Journey to the West."

The Silk Road
AFE Special Topic GuideThe Silk Road [Asia for Educators]
AFE's own compilation of recommended resources about the Silk Road.

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RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, THOUGHT
The Spread of Buddhism along the Silk Road

Interactive Map The Spread of Buddhism [Pacific Asia Museum]
To access the map from the main page of this Flash website, select any of the four topics, then select 'Timeline & Map' from the menubar at the bottom of the page. A timeline-map of the Buddha's life will appear first. Select 'Spread of Buddhism' at the bottom-right to get to the interactive timeline-map showing the spread of Buddhism. There is also a PDF version of the map available on the HTML version of the website.

Belief Systems along the Silk Roads [Asia Society]
"Religious beliefs of the peoples of the Silk Road changed radically over time and was largely due to the effects of travel and trade on the Silk Road itself. For over two thousand years the Silk Road was a network of roads for the travel and dissemination of religious beliefs across Eurasia."

Primary SourceExcerpts from Religious Texts [Asia Society]
"The Silk Roads encompassed a diversity of cultures embracing numerous religions and world views from a vast region stretching from Venice, Italy, to Heian (present day Kyoto), Japan. Between these two geographic endpoints, belief systems that are represented include Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Shinto. ... This reading features thematic comparisons among texts of [these] great world religions."

Lesson PlanBelief Systems along the Silk Roads [Asia Society]
Uses excerpts of translated religious texts (link above). The activity "asks students to reflect on similarities and differences among belief systems" and "organize these quotations into broad themes."

Lesson PlanSilk Road Encounters: Golden Rule of Reciprocity [Asia Society]
Uses excerpts of translated religious texts (link above). "Students learn about Golden Rule of Reciprocity by comparing quotes from the major world religions. Students then create their own rendition of the Golden Rule."

Buddhism on the Silk Road [International Dunhuang Project]
"The civilizations which flourished along the Silk Road in the first millennium CE were open to cultural and religious influences from both East and West. Many religions, including Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, gained new followers. But it was Buddhism, travelling the trade routes of the Silk Road, which became the common factor uniting the different peoples of the Silk Road." See especially the section on Chinese Buddhism. Also see the IDP website's Education section for more units about the Silk Road.

Lesson Plan + DBQs Religions along the Silk Roads >> Central Ideas of Buddhism [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit N 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 consists of three lessons. Students will (1) read about the life of the Buddha and reflect on some very different ways of defining success; (2) learn about the Bodhisattva ideal and the Bodhisattva Guanyin, the Buddhist 'Goddess of Mercy'; and (3), look at the Buddhist view of morality."

AFE Special Topic Guide Buddhism [OMuRAA, Asia for Educators]
AFE's compilation of recommended resources about Buddhism on OMuRAA, Online Museum Resources on Asian Art.

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Buddhism in China

Video Unit Buddhism [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lecture 10 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 10: Buddhism and select a connection type to view or listen to this lecture.)

Buddhism [A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, University of Washington]
"This unit offers evidence of how Buddhism changed China's visual culture, showing the evolution of images of deities, plus views of temples and people practicing Buddhism." A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization was prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey. With questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings. Select HOME to find link to teachers' guides for all topics featured on the website.

Buddhism: The "Imported" Tradition [Asia for Educators]
This section of the AFE teaching module, Living in the Chinese Cosmos: Understanding Religion in Late-Imperial China, 1644-1911, examines the history of Buddhism in China. Includes a general overview of Buddhism and its origins in India.

Buddhism in China [Asia Society]
"A short introduction to Buddhism in China. In understanding Chinese belief systems, it is important not to take terms at face value; the word "religion" (zongjiao), for example, did not exist in the Chinese lexicon until the 19th century. Appreciating the complexity of Chinese belief systems is crucial to understanding the forces that helped shape China."

The Chan (Zen) School of Buddhism

Ox-Herding: Stages of Zen Practice [ExEAS, Columbia University]
The ten ox-herding pictures and commentaries presented here depict the stages of practice leading to the enlightenment at which Zen (Chan) Buddhism aims. The story of the ox and oxherd is an old Taoist story, updated and modified by a twelfth-century Chinese Buddhist master to explain the path to enlightenment.

Huineng, 638-713, Sixth Patriarch of the Chan (Zen) school
Primary Source w/DBQs
The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Linji Yixuan, d. 867, founder of the Linji (Rinzai) school
Primary Source w/DBQs
Seeing into One's Own Nature [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Reactions of Confucianists and Daoists to the influence of Buddhism during this period

Han Yu, 768-824
Primary Source w/DBQs
Memorial on the Bone of the Buddha [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Emperor Wuzong, r. 841-846
Primary Source w/DBQs
Emperor Wuzong's Edict on the Suppression of Buddhism: The Edict of the Eight Month [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Islam in China

Lesson Plan + DBQs Religions along the Silk Roads >> Central Ideas of Islam [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit O 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 consists of two lessons. Students will learn about (1) the life of the Prophet Muhammad (c. 570-632) and the establishment of the Muslim community, and (2) the 'Five Pillars' which comprise the basic religious practices of Islam."

Lesson Plan + DBQs Ethnic Relations and Political History along the Silk Roads >> The Spread of Islam (634-750) [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit E 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. "Students will learn about the spread of Islam in the context of the geography and history of West Asia in the seventh and eighth centuries CE."

Lesson Plan + DBQs Art along the Silk Roads >> Mosques in the Islamic World and China [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit T 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. "Students will look at mosques in Central Asia, Iran, and North Africa, and study some of their basic architectural features. They will also compare them with two mosques, one ancient and one modern, in Xi’an, China. They will see how the appearance of a mosque can reflect changing views of what it means to be a Muslim in contemporary China."

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GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
The Tang Scholar-Official: Poet, Politician, Artist

More content on Tang-dynasty poetry can be found in the Literature section, below.

The Chinese Scholar-Official [Asia for Educators]
This reading explores the role and importance of the scholar-official in traditional China, highlighting the relationship between education and political status and the dual role of the artist as poet and politician. Includes selected passages from the writings of the Tang poet Wang Wei. Concludes with discussion questions.

Writing as a Way to Cultivate the Self [Asia Society]
"In China, calligraphic writing expressed not only the meaning of the words but the inner feelings and personality of the writer, whose writing became a work of visual as well as textual beauty and often exemplified Confucian and/or Daoist values." Includes extended discussion of the Tang scholar poets Wang Wei, Li Bo, and Du Fu.

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Effective Rulership, the Law, and Taxes

Emperor Taizong, r. 626-649
Primary Source w/DBQs
Emperor Taizong on Effective Government [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Zhangsun Wuji, d. 659
Primary Source w/DBQs
The Great Tang Code: Article 6, "The Ten Abominations" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Yang Yan, 727-781; Lu Zhi, 754-805
Primary Source w/DBQs
Tang Debate on the Twice-a-Year Tax [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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TECHNOLOGY, INVENTIONS, SCIENCE
Exchange of Good along the Silk Road: Silk, Paper, Porcelain

Lesson Plan + DBQs Exchange of Goods and Ideas along the Silk Roads >> East-West Exchange: Silk, Paper, Porcelain [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit J 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 East-West cultural exchange? Paper, silk, and porcelain were all invented in China and exported to the West. Students will evaluate the importance of these three products as elements in cultural diffusion along the Silk Roads."

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MILITARY AND DEFENSE
Reflections on War

Emperor Taizong, r. 626-649
Primary Source w/DBQs
Emperor Taizong on Effective Government: "Maintaining Military Forces" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Li Bo, 701-762
Primary Source w/DBQs"Fighting South of the Ramparts" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Du Fu, 712-770
Primary Source w/DBQs"A Song of War Chariots" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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ECONOMY, WORK, TRADE, FOREIGN RELATIONS
The Silk Road; Envoys from Japan

Silk Road: Spreading Ideas and Innovations [Asia Society]
"Good ideas and innovation travel easily — and far. Historically, these ideas spread along trade routes. This essay looks at the great Eurasian Silk Roads as a transmitter of people, goods, ideas, beliefs and inventions."

Lesson PlanSilk Road Encounters: Trade along the Silk Roads [Asia Society]
Students create an illustrated atlas of Silk Road trade goods.

Lesson PlanSilk Road Encounters: Trade in the Silk Road Cities [Asia Society]
"Students will explore elements of trade along the Silk Roads by examining the products of various locations along the route — production, influences of resources and environment, challenges of transportation, and economic exchange. Through their investigations, students will gain an understanding of what was traded along the Silk Roads and the unique challenges that these routes presented to the merchants that sought to profit from the exchanges."

Lesson Plan + DBQs Exchange of Goods and Ideas along the Silk Roads >> East-West Exchange: Silk, Paper, Porcelain [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit J 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 East-West cultural exchange? Paper, silk, and porcelain were all invented in China and exported to the West. Students will evaluate the importance of these three products as elements in cultural diffusion along the Silk Roads."

The Japanese Missions to Tang China, 7th-9th Centuries [About Japan: A Teacher's Resource]
"On nineteen occasions from 630 to 894, the Japanese court appointed official envoys to Tang China known as kentôshi to serve as political and cultural representatives to China. Fourteen of these missions completed the arduous journey to and from the Chinese capital. The missions brought back elements of Tang civilization that profoundly affected Japan's government, economics, culture, and religion." An in-depth article on the topic, by Hawaii Tokai International College professor Douglas Fuqua.

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Slavery in Tang China

Primary Source w/DBQsDeed of a Sale of a Slave [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Tang China was not a slave society in the sense of having an economy that relied on chattel slavery along the lines of the economies of the Roman Empire or the ante-bellum American south. However, slavery did exist.

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SOCIETY
Women & Family

Dutiful Daughters: Seven Moral Exemplars in Chinese History [World History Connected, University of Illinois]
Essay with "illustrative examples of mortal-moral women in Chinese culture from the Han (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.) and Tang (618-907 C.E.) dynasties. The fundamental lesson of these stories was that women, in order to fulfill their highest moral duties, could not simply be passive, obedient figures. Instead, virtuous behavior required action."

Song Ruozhao, 8th century
Primary Source w/DBQs
Analects for Women [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Yan Zhitui, 531-591
Primary Source w/DBQsHouse Instructions of Mr. Yan (Yanshi Jiaxun) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Primary Source w/DBQsRecord of Family Division [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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LITERATURE

Video Unit The Literary Enterprise [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lecture 11 of 37 from the Harvard Open Learning Initiative course, China: Traditions and Transformations. This particular lecture, given by guest lecturer Stephen Owen, provides an overview of "the literary enterprise" in China from earliest times, with the Book of Songs through the poetry of the Tang. This 50-minute 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 11: The Literary Enterprise and select a connection type to view or listen to this lecture.)

Tang Poets: Wang Wei (699-761)

The Chinese Scholar-Official [Asia for Educators]
This reading explores the role and importance of the scholar-official in traditional China, highlighting the relationship between education and political status and the dual role of the artist as poet and politician. Includes selected passages from the writings of the Tang poet Wang Wei (699-761). Concludes with discussion questions.

Video UnitWang Wei [Asia for Educators]
Featuring Columbia University professors Paul Rouzer and Marsha Wagner, Asia Society President Emeritus Robert Oxnam, and Harvard University professor Stephen Owen.

Primary Source w/DBQsSelected Poems: "Fields and Gardens by the River Qi"; "Deer Fence"; "Villa on Zhong-nan Mountain"; "Reading the Classic of Mountains and Sea, I" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Tang Poets: Li Bo (701-762)

Video UnitLi Bo [Asia for Educators]
Featuring Columbia University professor Paul Rouzer, Asia Society President Emeritus Robert Oxnam, and Harvard University professor Stephen Owen.

Primary Source w/DBQs"Fighting South of the Ramparts" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Primary Source w/DBQsSelected Poems: "At Yellow Crane Tower Taking Leave of Meng Hao-jan as He Sets Off for Kuang-ling"; "Summer Days in the Mountains"; "Drinking Alone under the Moon" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Tang Poets: Du Fu (712-770)

Video UnitDu Fu [Asia for Educators]
Featuring Columbia University professor Paul Rouzer, Asia Society President Emeritus Robert Oxnam, and Harvard University professor Stephen Owen.

"Spring Gaze," by Du Fu [Asia for Educators]
Here a poem by Du Fu is presented in Chinese characters with the romanization for each character, the English meaning of each character, and an English translation of the poem.

Primary Source w/DBQsSelected Poems: "On the River"; "I Stand Alone"; "Views in Springtime" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Journey to the West (The Tale of Monkey)

Lesson Plan + DBQs Religions along the Silk Roads >> Magical Pilgrims on the Silk Roads: The Adventure in the "Cart-Slow Kingdom" from Journey to the West [PDF] [China Institute]
Scroll down in Unit R 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. Includes excerpts from the Journey to the West, introducing Monkey and his companions. With lesson plans for analyzing the story.

Video Unit Anthony Yu on Journey to the West [Asia Society]
Interview with Dr. Anthony C. Yu, translator of the Journey to the West. Dr. Yu discusses his experience of reading the book as a boy and the joys and challenges of translating cultures and language. (Recorded from a presentation at the National Conference on Chinese Language Teaching, April 2010.)

Background Information for Teaching Journey to the West [ExEAS, Columbia University]
Many approaches can be taken when teaching excerpts from Journey to the West, a novel that incorporates the three major religions and philosophies of China: Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. This introduction centers on Buddhist elements within the text, with the goal of providing instructors with background materials to enlarge their understanding of the text, whether spending one day on an excerpt or one or two weeks on a larger reading selection from the novel.

Buddhism in the Classic Chinese Novel Journey to the West: Teaching Two Episodes [ExEAS, Columbia University]
Many approaches can be taken when teaching excerpts from Journey to the West, a novel that incorporates the three major religions and philosophies of China: Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. This unit centers on Buddhist elements of the text, with the goal of providing instructors with materials for discussing in depth two specific passages from Chapter 14 that highlight Buddhist ideas.

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ART AND MUSIC
Art of the Silk Road, Buddhist Cave Paintings

China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200-750 AD [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
This catalogue accompanied the exhibit "China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200-750 AD" and is now available to download or read online. "The exhibition comprises some three hundred objects, most of them excavated in recent years and many never before seen outside China. Each work is discussed in terms of its aesthetic qualities and art-historical significance and in the context of the philosophical and religious ideas that are reflected in iconography and style."

The Arts of the Silk Roads [Asia Society]
"The blending and dissemination of art is closely related to the larger context of the travel of people, their beliefs, ideas, and technology. This essay explores some of the art traditions, many of them devotional in nature, of the Silk Roads."

Lesson PlanTreasures along the Silk Roads [Asia Society]
"Using images of art objects from the Silk Roads, students will generate word maps that act as creative writing prompts. The archaeological finds from western China act as entry points to introduce students to the rich cultural and artistic exchanges on the Silk Roads."

Lesson Plan + DBQs Art along the Silk Roads >> The Arts Travel the Silk Roads [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit W 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. "Students will look at three groups of artifacts representing cross-cultural exchange along the Silk Roads: (A) Buddhist Religious Objects; (B) Exotic and Luxurious Things; (C) Symbols of Power and Prestige: The Phoenix and the Dragon. By studying them, they will learn to think critically about art as an agent of cultural diffusion; by closely 'reading' these objects, they will also become more visually literate."

Lesson Plan + DBQs Art along the Silk Roads >> Buddhist Images Cultural Exchange between India and China [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit S 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. "Students will (1) look at some of the stylistic and iconographic1 elements important to Buddhist craftsmen and the Buddhist faithful; (2) study changes in artistic style as Buddhism traveled from India through Central Asia to China; (3) explore the magical side of religious art by seeing how religious images are invested with power."

Lesson Plan + DBQs Religions along the Silk Roads >> Dunhuang and Its Buddhist Communities [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit P 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. "Students will determine the geographical importance of Dunhuang and examine the influence of Buddhism on society by looking at documents and wall paintings found in the Mogao caves."

Lesson Plan + DBQs Art along the Silk Roads >> Two Mogao Cave Paintings and Two Jataka Tales [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit V 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. "In reading two Jataka tales and studying the Mogao cave paintings that illustrate them, students will be able to understand how narrative can be translated from one artistic medium to another. They will also compare and contrast two Jataka tales and their respective paintings in terms of themes and narrative techniques."

Find more art-related resources for China, 600-1000 CE
at OMuRAA (Online Museum Resources on Asian Art)

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Calligraphy

Calligraphy [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 types of Chinese calligraphic script; techniques of transmission; and calligraphy during three periods of Chinese history — the Six Dynasties period, the Tang period, and modern China.

Chinese Calligraphy [Asia Society]
"Chinese calligraphy has a two-millennia long history. [This background essay explores] the beginnings of, ideas behind, reasons for, and technologies that gave rise to this compelling art form."

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Music of the Silk Road

Music of the Silk Roads [Asia Society]
"Like religion, music readily spreads beyond its land of origin because people bring their music with them when they travel, just as they bring with them their own faith and rituals. Familiar chants, songs, and instruments sustained pilgrims and traders who, at the same time, absorbed musical influences they encountered in their travels."

Lesson PlanMusical Innovations Along the Silk Routes: Creating a Tube-la [Asia Society]
"Using images of art objects from the Silk Roads, students will generate word maps that act as creative writing prompts. The archaeological finds from western China act as entry points to introduce students to the rich cultural and artistic exchanges on the Silk Roads."

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© 2009 Asia for Educators, Columbia University