This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Saturday 8 June 2024, 3pm to 4pm
  • Location: In-person only
    RCH/037, Ron Cooke Hub, Campus East, University of York (Map)
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Dating back thousands of years and built deep underground, China’s great tombs are a marvel of the ancient world. They were constructed not for rest, but to furnish the dead with a comfortable dwelling in the afterlife. 

Art historian Jessica Rawson, one of the most eminent Western scholars of China, will explore what the tombs and the artefacts within them reveal about wider political, dynastic and cultural developments. Discover how tombs, including that of the First Emperor Qin Shihuang with its army of terracotta warriors, provide a route to the past and to China today.

Book sales

You can buy copies of many of our speakers’ books from Fox Lane Books, a local independent bookseller and Festival partner. In some cases, author signed bookplates are available too. 

Photo credit: Konstantin Chugunov

About the speaker

Dame Jessica Rawson, Professor of Chinese Art and Archaeology and former Warden of Merton College, Oxford (1994-2010), was made Honorary Professor in the School of Archaeology and Museology at Peking University in 2019. For over 20 years before moving to Oxford, she worked in the Department of Oriental Antiquities (now the Asia Department) at the British Museum, as Keeper from 1987 to 1994. In 2005-06, she led the group of curators of the China: The Three Emperors, 1662-1795 exhibition at the Royal Academy, bringing to London magnificent works of art from the Palace Museum in Beijing. For more than 40 years, she has visited, researched and lectured in most of China's provinces, including at archaeological sites on both sides of its borders with Mongolia and South Siberia. She was awarded the title of Dame in 2002 and received the Tang Prize in Sinology for 'Giving Voice to Mute Objects' in 2022. She is the author of Life and Afterlife in Ancient China (2023).


University of York

Venue details

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Hearing loop