Johnson Chang & Prof. Robert Chard


Art expert Johnson Chang and Professor Robert Chard from Cambridge University joined us at China Exchange to explain their research project on Confucian rites. The study involves re-staging ancient rituals in order to develop our understanding of ancient codes of behaviour.

Professor Chard provided a grounding in Confucianism, detailing how it affected every part of life in pre-Modern China. Johnson Chang then went into detail about how they reconstruct these ancient codes of behaviour on a monumental scale, using huge sets, costumes and props to film exact replicas of the rites.

To make the reenactments as true to life as possible, they use existing scholarship and new advances in archaeology to piece together how the rites would have originally been performed. Johnson Chang then showed some of the videos of the project, including the rite of archery. He said that in these rites, when young men would fire arrows at a target, accuracy was more important than strength.