Humans and their Natural Environment: Astronomy and Agriculture in Early Chinese Excavated Manuscripts

Mawangdui funeral silk banner from tomb no. 1, via Wikimedia Commons


29th-30th June 2023


This workshop will explore early Chinese discussions of the relationship between humans and nature. Focusing on excavated manuscripts from early China, it will shed light on the fascinating interplay between astronomy, agriculture, and the understanding of natural environment in these texts.

These texts allow us to delve into the profound connections between celestial knowledge, agricultural practices, cosmology and early scientific approaches to nature, providing valuable insights into the worldview of early Chinese society.

This workshop offers an intellectually stimulating environment where participants can discuss, exchange ideas, and collectively expand our understanding of the profound connections between humans and their natural environment in early Chinese culture.




Constance A. Cook - The Ancient Experience of Qi

12:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00-16:00 Attilio Andreini - “Shapes of Things”: Translating the Bamboo Manuscript(s) of the Fan wu liu xing 凡物流形
16:00-18:00 Shirley Chan - What nature tells us about human life: reading the excavated texts
10:00-12:00 Vera Dorofeeva-Lichtmann - An insular conception of terrestrial space in the Rong Cheng shi 容成氏 and its agricultural and astronomical implications
12:00-14:00 Roel Sterckx - Agronomy and agriculture in early China: what excavated manuscripts do and don’t tell us



The workshop is open, but space is limited. For further information and registration, please email Francesca Puglia.



University of Bern, Institute of Philosophy, 2nd floor, Room B237, next to the red room.


Workshop organizing team:

Richard King, Francesca Puglia, Anders Sydskjør