Yippididippideeeeeee! We’ve replaced the keyboard! You would think I had lots to post about, but you would be wrong. I took a sneaky guilt-free few days off and it’s done me the world of good. I couldn’t get onto the computer to do any work, so I decided to relax…. by decluttering! Amazing what a bit of streamlining one’s possessions does for one’s state of mind. I feel cleansed! Okay, enough of that nonsense, onto what we did achieve this week. (Blink, and you might miss it!)
We were concentrating on the Tang dynasty this week. The children read this website along with some of our books. I decided to do things a little differently for a bit of fun. I gathered together bits and pieces from around the house that might give the children a hint or prompt as to things they had read about the Tang Dynasty. For example, to prompt the children to tell me about the bird concerts I included a plastic bird. One by one they pulled an object out of our ‘Tang Tote’ and then showed off their knowledge retelling the information they had read. This went on until there were no more objects left in the bag.
It was during the Tang Dynasty that poetry really took off in a big way. I had wanted to make enough paper to have made a scroll when we did papermaking last week, but it really was not happening for us. We did still study one of the poems of the time: By Po Chu-I entitled After Passing the Examination. I’m not sure why a poet would choose passing an exam as their subject matter. I can only assume that this new method of climbing the social ladder was so exciting that one felt compelled to write about it! Their assignment was to practice reciting it out loud, embellishing it with much feeling and emphasis. When Daddy returned from work they gave him their own interpretation of it!
For years the Chinese had written their books by hand onto bamboo. That was until woodblock printing (making prints from reliefs of a carved wooden block) came into vogue. The earliest woodblock printed fragments to survive are of silk printed with flowers in three colours from the Han Dynasty. By the Tang dynasty woodblocks were widely used printing both on silk and more frequently on paper. Below is a picture of the earliest surviving complete printed manuscript called the Diamond Sutra:
We made our own block rubbing using clay, which we marked with a Chinese-ish picture and made it in raised relief using a knife and tooth pick:
Yes I realise we have missed out a large chunk of Chinese history (Age of Division -time between the Han and the Tang Dynasty). I did have the children read up about the mixture of dynasties found during this time, but with a time limit on us we chose to move onto the Tang Dynasty, which was considerably more interesting! Song Dynasty next and then we are up to date with the Mongol Dynasty during Marco Polo’s time.