BuYun Chen will present at the Global Middle Ages Seminar on Tuesday, October 15, at 6 pm. Her talk is entitled “Crafting Cosmopolitanism in Tang China (618–907).”

From the sixth to eighth century, trade along the Silk Roads and imperial expansion into Central Asia filtered new goods, technology, and people into the frontier towns and interior cities of the Tang empire (618–907). The trade yielded a profound impact on the local production of luxury goods by introducing Tang artisans to a new stock of patterns, colors, and techniques from visual and material cultures west of the empire. Focusing on silk design and production, this talk explores the central role ornament played in exchanges between empires and their subjects and, also, in the aesthetic play of fashion during a dynamic period of global history.

BuYun Chen is a historian who specializes in the history of textile production, fashion, and craft technology in premodern China. She recently completed a book on the history of fashion during the Tang dynasty, titled Empire of Style: Silk and Fashion in Tang China (University of Washington Press). Her current research explores how the circulation of raw materials, finished goods, and technical knowledge between China, Japan, and Southeast Asia shaped local craft practices.