Westernization and Music in China during and after the Qing Dynasty

Anna Chen


Before the Revolution of 1911, China was a mighty empire dominated by various Chinese ethnic groups in different time periods. In particular, the Han people of the Tang1 and Ming Dynasty and the Man people of the Qing Dynasty2 were enthusiastic in establishing and maintaining contacts with foreigners while retaining a strong political influence over the complex culture in China. When explorers, missionaries, or ambassadors travelled to the Chinese empire, they often brought fine commodities made with foreign technologies and crafts to the emperor as a sign of good faith and respect. Initially, these arts and advanced Western technologies of the late eighteenth and nineteenth century was not recognized as important academics studies by the Chinese scholars; in fact, they were only perceived as delicate artifacts3. It was not until roughly the twentieth century that some Chinese scholars then realized the importance of military powers and skilled economic trades and productions that were fostered by Western scholars, and then began to promote and study Western technologies and sciences in China4. In other words, after the Revolution of 1911, Western arts and technologies gained recognitions and supports by the Chinese scholars, and became dominant elements facilitating the social changes in China.

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