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14th September 2015, 3:08pm
Understanding China: tea drinking, terracotta warriors and first encounters between east and west
Replica terracotta warriors There might not seem to be anything more British than enjoying ‘a nice cup of tea’ but the ancient Chinese origins of tea drinking will be explored as part of a one-day symposium in the historic city of Lincoln.

Alongside an in-depth exploration of traditional tea rituals from China and Japan, the fascinating history of the Terracotta Army and some of the first cultural encounters between east and west will be on the agenda at the British and European Receptions of China symposium, presented by the University of Lincoln, UK.

Hosted by the University’s School of History & Heritage on Thursday 24th September 2015, the conference will examine encounters and relationships between the UK and China dating back to the 17th century. The conference, which is free to attend, will take place in the Wren Library at Lincoln Cathedral and will incorporate historical, archaeological and conservation practice.

Professor Paul Stephenson, Head of the School of History & Heritage at the University of Lincoln, said: “Understanding how China has been perceived and received in Britain and Europe in the past allows for a richer and more nuanced understanding of current relationships, in cultural and political terms. We planned quite deliberately to stage the events during autumn festival, which is an important holiday during the Chinese ritual year, and we are looking forward to welcoming delegates from all over the world.”

Running in conjunction with the conference will be a free-to-attend exhibition on the University’s Brayford Pool Campus from 21st September – 2nd October, putting on public display an extraordinary collection of 20th-century terracotta warriors and horses which for the last year have been the subject of a major conservation project for a team of Lincoln’s postgraduate students.

The Terracotta Army of the First Emperor of China is one of the most emblematic archaeological sites in the world. Discovered in 1974 in the Shaanxi province in Xian, China, the life-size warriors and horses are believed to represent the army that united China 2,200 years ago. To date, more than 7,000 warriors have been discovered.

The figures on show as part of the Lincoln exhibition are part of a privately-owned museum-grade replica collection. Working with Crick Smith – the University of Lincoln’s renowned conservation consultancy – the team of Master’s students has undertaken intricate work to repair and restore the delicate artefacts. This process included the creation of a replica head for one of the three warriors, using advanced 3D printing techniques.

The free exhibition, taking place at the University’s Project Space Plus Gallery, will also include an extensive collection of Chinese books, furniture, wallpapers, posters and textiles.
The students will explain their methods as part of the conference and explore the possibilities for using these techniques to restore other sculptures of historical significance.

Professor Marcos Martinón-Torres, Professor of Archaeological Science at University College London, will then discuss his research into the original Terracotta Army – examining the logistics of technology, standardisation and labour organisation behind the creation of such a colossal construction more than 2,000 years ago.

Dr Yupin Chung, Curator of the Burrell Collection at the University of Glasgow, will continue to explore China’s centuries old heritage when she discusses the spirit of Chinese tea drinking and the popularity of tea ware. She will explain how they are integrated with traditional etiquette and have come to embody the relationship between people and nature.

The symposium will also feature the analysis of early meetings between east and west. Dr Anna Marie Roos, Reader in the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Lincoln and organiser of the conference, will examine a 17th-century work of science fiction which includes some of the earliest known references to Jesuit missionary activity in China, while Dr William Poole from the University of Oxford will discuss the impact that young Christian convert Shen Fuzong had on England’s understanding of Chinese culture in the 17th century.

Both the symposium and the exhibition are open to the public and free to attend (booking is required for the symposium). For more information and to book your place, visit our website.

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