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The An Lushan Rebellion

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 16 February 2012

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the An Lushan Rebellion, a major uprising against the imperial rule of the Chinese Tang Dynasty. In 755 AD a senior general, An Lushan, orchestrated a plot against Emperor Xuanzong, taking the regime's capital city before declaring a rival dynasty in northern China. The rebellion lasted eight years but was eventually put down by Tang forces. Although the dynasty's authority was restored, it never regained the prosperity of previous generations. The An Lushan Rebellion displaced millions of people and killed many more. It changed the relationship between the Chinese state and neighbouring powers; but it also left a rich cultural legacy in the poetry memorialising this seismic event.

With:

Frances Wood
Lead Curator of Chinese at the British Library

Naomi Standen
Professor of Medieval History at the University of Birmingham

Hilde de Weerdt
Fellow and Lecturer in Chinese History at Pembroke College, Oxford.

Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • FURTHER READING

    Mark Edward Lewis, ‘China’s Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty’ (Harvard University Press, 2009)

    Edward H. Schafer, ‘The Golden Peaches of Samarkand: A Study of Tang Exotics’ (Berkeley, 1963)

    Denis Twitchett and John King Fairbank, ed., ‘The Cambridge History of China Vol. 3: Sui and T’ang China, 589–906, Part I’ (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979) - chapters on ‘Hsüan-tsung, reign 712–56’ (by Denis Twitchett) and ‘Court and province in mid- and late T’ang’ (by C. A. Peterson)

    Howard Levy, trans., ‘Biography of An Lu-shan’ (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1960)

    Edwin G. Pulleyblank, ‘The Background of the Rebellion of An Lu-Shan’ (London: Oxford University Press, 1955)

    John Curtis Perry and Bardwell L. Smith, ed., ‘Essays on T’ang Society: The Interplay of Social, Political and Economic Forces’ (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1976)

    Marc Samuel Abramson, ‘Ethnic Identity in Tang China’, Encounters with Asia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008)

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