Behind the silk screen

Issued: Tue, 26 Nov 2019 10:22:00 GMT

Dowager Empress Cixi (18351908): Behind the Silk Screen

Presenter: David Rosier

Time: 6pm, Monday 3 February 2020

Venue: Lecture Theatre, Sir Charles Wilson Building


This lecture seeks to provide insight into the life and achievements of one of the most important women in Chinese imperial history. From relative obscurity as a low-ranking consort we explore the events that led to her confirmation as Dowager Empress in 1861. From a position of power, we will review her strategy to preserve, then revitalise, imperial rule after a series of humiliating military defeats by Western colonial powers and through several uprisings. We will trace the cycles of Cixi’s power, as emperors came and went, whilst the she moved periodically from a position of influence, to full authority, and then into times of enforced retirement. We will gain an insight into her life within her beloved Summer Palace with a focus on her interest in the arts and her extensive gardens, and where Cixi forged relationships with western women as she sought to engage with the culture and politics of the West.

David Rosier is an accredited lecturer of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies. He has extensive international experience as an author and lecturer with over 25 years of direct experience of East Asia. Whilst living in Hong Kong in 1990s, David collected approximately 700 imperial-related textiles, insignia of rank and dress accessories, predominantly from the Qing dynasty.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.