ancient lecture 8

ancient lecture 8 - Yuan Dynasty Zaju Guan Hanqing, Snow in...

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Yuan Dynasty Zaju Guan Hanqing, Snow in Midsummer , or The Injustice Done to Dou E (Dou E Yuan) (ca.1200s AD)
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Map: China
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Yuan Dynasty (1280–1369) Z aju = “N. variety drama” Started in Song (South, 960-1279) & Jin (North, 1115-1234) dynasties Fully developed after Mongol conquest of China (1276) that led to the Yuan Dynasty Mongols massacred and enslaved the Chinese “apart from the artisans and actors, butcher them all” Kublai Khan, Mongolian founder of the Yuan dynasty
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Rewriting Chinese culture Suspension of imperial examination for civil service (only path to upward mobility, as a scholar-official) Mongols also abolished Confucianism Principles of philosopher Confucius (551–479BCE) E.g., Three Duties and Four Virtues p.457 Degradation of scholars = below prostitutes and just above beggars Rise of other faiths: Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, and Islam New intellectual freedom despite anti-intellectualism Encouraged perf. as entertainment for Mongol troops (clueless about theatre’s critical power)
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Theatre as resistance Playwrights used zaju as a “weapon of the conquered” Obliquely mocked Mongol imperialists’ brutality and excesses Adapted old stories, popular legends, narrative poems, and simple plays Reprieve from injustice of Chinese life under Mongols (safety valve?) Plays ended with punishment of powerful/ wicked/treacherous and triumph of the weak/ modest/virtuous
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ancient lecture 8 - Yuan Dynasty Zaju Guan Hanqing, Snow in...

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