Archaeology of the Kitan-Liao Dynasty, 907-1125

Over the past four decades a number of sensational archaeological finds have drawn scholarly attention to the long neglected Kitan-Liao empire in northern China and Mongolia. The finds show that the nomadic Kitan ruling elite built a sophisticated and unique court culture by transforming both Chinese and Turkic models. The rise of the Kitan empire not only reshaped the power structure of Manchuria and Mongolia, it also redefined the self-understanding of intellectuals of the neighboring Song dynasty in central and southern China. Focusing on excavated tombs and pagodas of the Kitan imperial family, this seminar examines Liao notions of cultural and political identity and cultural exchange. Materials to be explored include luxury goods such as silk and silver, ceramics, imported glass, tomb murals and silk paintings, and Buddhist devotionalia. 3 credits. Satisfies either the non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.