In approximately 1050 BCE the Western Zhou court overthrew the Shang state and gained control of much of present-day Henan and Shaanxi. Encountering an unprecedentedly expansive territory, the new regime devised an innovative political system – a kinship-based delegatory governance through relatives and allies. The King of Zhou appointed the Marquis E to guard the kingdom's unsettled southern borders. Although received texts mention little regarding Marquis E, recent archaeological excavations brought to light the princely cemetery and exquisite ritual bronze vessels of the E state. Through the lens of art history and archaeology, we will examine the tragic history of the little known E state, and its complex relations with neighbouring powers and the central court.

About the Speaker:

Kent Cao is Assistant Professor of Art and Archaeology at Duke Kunshan University and Assistant Professor of the Practice of Global Studies at Duke University. His research focuses on the art and archaeology of early China with a broad interest in the interconnections within Eurasia. From art historical and technical perspectives, his first monograph manuscript examines the rise of indigenous bronze industry in the Yangtze River region in south China between the 14th and the 9th century BCE.


Kent has a Ph.D. in East Asian Art and Archaeology from Princeton University, an M.St. in Archaeology from the University of Oxford, and he read Archaeology and Anthropology at University College London and the London School of Economics and Political Science. His work has been supported by the Smithsonians, Henry Luce Foundation, Getty Research Institute, and American Council of Learned Societies

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