Ballad of the Han | China Institute
When and Where
125 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065
Taught by Ben Wang, Senior Lecturer of Language and Humanities of China Institute and an award-winning translator, the Ballad of Han will be introduced and explored in the original texts of selected poems. Mr. Wang will offer this lecture in English. No previous knowledge of the Chinese language is required.
During the dawning years of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-221A.D.), an official bureau named Yuefu (House of Music or Ballad in English) was set up by the emperor’s edict to collect the finest folk songs from the countryside, a number of which were narratives that revealed lives and moods of the people. Human emotions are the central theme in these ballads: songs to inspire, move or to amuse the listeners and readers. There are accounts in these works that condemned sufferings caused by wars, as well as some that lamented the misery brought on to the peasantry by poverty. Though more mature and elaborate, the ballads are composed in the similar vein to the works in the Book of Songs. Indeed, the significance of the ballads of the Han lies in that they serve as an indispensable literary and poetic bridge between the Book of Songs, the Songs of the South, the first two collections of poetry, and all the later poetic genres in Chinese literature.