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Konstantin Mikhailov
Celestial Empire: Chinese History and Culture

05 March — 28 May 2020
10 School of Collectors and Experts

Konstantin Mikhailov
Celestial Empire: Chinese History and Culture


The set for the author's expert course "Celestial Empire: Chinese History and Culture" is opened. 

The course will last from March 5 to May 28, 2020.

The course is dedicated to an in-depth study of Chinese history, culture and art from antiquity to the present day. The author of the course is Konstantin Mikhailov - religious scholar, historian, teacher of the Centre for the Study of Religions of Russian State University, PhD in Cultural Studies. The course includes 10 lectures of 3 hours each. Classes will be held once a week on weekdays from 11.00 to 14.00. At the end of the course, a certificate will be issued. The cost is 42,000 rubles.

The program:

Theme 1. Originals. Indeed, ancient history: the times when China was not yet the Celestial Empire. The ancient dynasties of Shang and Zhou, the Bronze Age and the first sculptures, rice and millet - and, of course, the birth of Chinese philosophy.

Theme 2. The first empires. Qin Shi Huang, the creation of the first Chinese empire - and its immediate collapse. The era of the Han power, a contemporary of the Roman Empire. The first historians and the first barbaric invasions, reforms, intrigues and political confrontations that made China China.

Theme 3. The first era of crises. The fall of the Han dynasty leaves China in ruins. But these were very civilized ruins. We will walk around them: we will discuss the Three Kingdoms and the collapsed celestial Empire, we will understand the coming to power of the Sui Dynasty and its terrible and great reforms, we will understand what it means to follow the path of wind and flow.

Theme 4. Tang Dynasty and its neighbors. The amazing rise of China during the Tang Dynasty is one of the highest points of medieval culture development. Let's try to understand it through the prism of politics and art. And especially - poetry, because it was at this time, wrote the main Chinese geniuses, Li Bo and Du Fu, which literary scholars put on the level of Shakespeare, Pushkin and Goethe.

Theme 5. To be a Taoist. And what did it mean to be Taoist? What did the Taoist texts teach you? How was Chinese medicine, magic and poetry born of Taoism? To understand this, we will try on the role of Taoist Tang dynasty and live in its skin for a couple of hours. We will make complex decisions with him, read classic texts with his eyes - and understand what role Taoism played in Chinese culture.

Theme 6. Sun. Centuries of prosperity and crisis. XI-XII centuries. The times when the Celestial Empire was not only the most populous, but also the most developed state on the planet. The moment when the New Age almost started four hundred years before its present beginning, but was crushed by one of the most terrible invasions in history: the Mongolian one. Let us understand this history, but at the same time let us understand something about the history of Chinese science and technology. How did they come up with a compass and gunpowder? And, as we'll see, not just them.

Theme 7. Being Confucian. The second (or perhaps the first in importance?) philosophical tradition of China, Confucianism, has powerfully defined human life from childhood to deep old age. In official service and in his own home, in his marital and deathbed, in the capital and the province - always and everywhere a Confucian had to follow the inviolable rules of his teachings. What were they? A Chinese man who lived in the troubled times of the Suna and his amazing life will help us to understand this.

Theme 8. Cotton with one palm. Buddhism in China. Can a barbaric, alien doctrine conquer and conquer China? Yes, it can, if it's Buddhism. Two millennia of searches, disputes and crises, culminating in one of the most interesting results in the history of religion: Chinese Chang (better known in our country by its Japanese name "Zen"). We will talk about the meaning of Chang paradoxes, why Shaolin is important not only in martial arts, and a severed hand can be a revelation.

Theme 9. From ascent to descend. In the 14th century uprisings against the Mongols led to the emergence of a new great empire - Ming China, an empire of sailors and eunuchs, officials and artists, under whose rule China almost regained its former greatness. But the crisis of the XVII century and the Manchu invasion put a point in this development. The Celestial Empire closes in itself and step by step turns into one of the world's most underdeveloped countries. Why, how? Hasn't China's entire previous history prevented it from happening? Let's take a look at the history of China's New Age together.

Theme 10. Interesting times. The 20th century and modern times. The crisis of the Qing Empire at the end of the 19th century once and for all changes the situation in the Far East. With the renewed revolution, China is going through a series of monstrous trials: wars of provincial generals and the unification of the country under the regime of a new party, the horrors of the Japan-China war and the civil war, followed by no less severe trials of the Mao era. How did China cope with all this? And so, by the end of the twentieth century, had it begun to gain momentum again? Let's look at the last lecture of our course.

The full course programme is available at