“The First Audiences: Music and the Formation of Complex Society in East Asian Prehistory”
Postdoctorate Associate, Yale University
Music was an essential component of political authority long before the existence of either writing or state in East Asia. This talk outlines a relationship between the origins of East Asian musical traditions and complex society in the archaeological record through several case studies from China (ca. 7000–1800 BC) and Japan (ca.1500 BC–600 AD). Primary sources of knowledge are the instruments themselves, as well as some depictions of musicians (haniwa) in the Japanese case. The speaker argues that musical performance in prehistory quite literally set the “stage” for the early states of the Late Bronze Age.