History KS3 / GCSE: Buddhism and women in China

Dr. Amanda Foreman discusses the origins and development of Buddhism in China, with particular reference made to the part played by women in it.

She talks about the role of Empress Wu in promoting Buddhism and how she also used Buddhist imagery to promote herself to the Chinese people.

Foreman also takes note of the contrast between the Confucian and Buddhist beliefs about women and the social order.

This short film is from the BBC Two series, The Ascent of Woman.

Teacher Notes

This short film could be used as a starter in a lesson on imagery in Buddhism or religion in general.

Whilst watching, students could note down key words describing what Empress Wu wanted to achieve by her carvings.

Following the video students could look at pictures of the carvings to identify how she achieved these through their key features.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching history at KS3 and KS4/GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Fourth Level and National 4 and 5 in Scotland.

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