Monday 23 June, 2–3.30pm, Room 105, 24 Gordon Square, UCL
The debate will bring together established academics and UCL graduate students to explore contemporary Taiwan-China relations in the light of the recent Sunflower protest movement (太阳花学运).
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In March 2008 the main exhibition halls of the British Museum were furnished with a splendid array of mortuary items from the tomb of the First Emperor of China, (秦始皇帝Qin Shi Huangdi d. 210 BCE). The assembled cohort of warriors, their vivid colours now faded to reveal a monochrome clay-hued terracotta, represented a mere fraction of the acres of the army surrounding the central burial chamber, as yet to be excavated, on the outskirts of modern Xi’an. Fixed for eternity in readiness for action, their placid, rather expressionless, faces provide ample testimony to the Thearch’s anxiety to secure his protection after death, and his desire for safe passage, intact, into the realm of the immortals. As we wandered around the silent and dimly lit halls, all the lavish furnishings and entertainments he had deemed necessary to his revival formed a sombre and motionless background to what was to be a resolutely alive and interdisciplinary conference: ‘Sports, Medicine and Immortality: From Ancient China to the World Wide Web’, where the papers given that form the nucleus of a new British Museum Research Publications volume Perfect Bodies. Whether or not the First Emperor’s body and soul have found a felicitous place for revival in the afterworld, many ideas about training and preserving the perfect body that were contemporary with his lifetime remain more energetic than his warriors.
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