2014 Conferences and Performances

British Museum Conference — Ming: courts and contacts 1400-1450

Geiss Foundation is pleased to help fund the three-day conference, Ming: courts and contacts 1400 – 1450, to be held 9 – 11 October 2014, complements British Museum’s exhibition, Ming – 50 years that changed China, which will run from 18 September 2014 through 5 January 2015.  The exhibit will feature examples of Ming dynasty porcelain, gold, furniture, paintings and textiles from museums across China and other parts of the world; many items have not hitherto been on display outside of China.  The exhibit is scheduled to tour Scotland and other locations in England during 2014-2015.  Details can be found at Made in China.

More than 30 leading Ming scholars from across the globe will present new perspectives and research papers regarding fifty years during the Ming, from 1400 to 1450.  The Ming dynasty started in 1368 and ended in 1644 but the first fifty years of the 15th century focused on the aftermath of Zhu Yuanzhang’s overthrow of the Mongol Yuan dynasty.  The conference will examine the role of China’s imperial and provincial princely courts as well as discuss China’s relations and exchanges with other parts of the world.

Tickets for all three days are available for £45.  In addition to Geiss Foundation support, the conference is also funded by BP, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Sir Percival David Foundation.

A more detailed account of this conference will be provided in December, 2014.

University of Minnesota — Matteo Ricci: His Map and Music Concert with ¡Sacabuche!

In its second collaboration with Ann Waltner, professor of history, ¡Sacabuche!, an early music ensemble directed by Linda Pearse, will offer on 5 May 2014 Matteo Ricci: His Map and Music Concert, a concert of baroque and Chinese folk music, sponsored for the second time by Geiss Foundation.  It will also feature contemporary music by Huang Ruo, a composer based in New York.  The performance will use music, words and images to explore the map of the world made by the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci, who traveled to and worked in China in 1602.

ricci-graphic 16Feb14  The voices of the ¡Sacabuche! Ensemble will be joined in this performance by baroque instruments, the sheng (笙), a Chinese wind instrument, and the guzheng (古筝), a Chinese zither-like instrument. The music tries to evoke Ricci’s Italian background as well as the Chinese context in which he lived.  Spoken texts, which will be delivered in both English and Chinese, come from 16th and 17th century sources about Ricci and his map.  Associated images will be projected onto the stage during the concert.

Geiss Foundation, the Departments of History and Theater Arts & Dance at the University of Minnesota contributed funding to these performances.