The famous Yuan dynasty play "The Orphan of Zhao" attained the status of a monument in the history of Chinese theater, as well as in the history of Sino-European cultural interactions. This talk discusses a relatively underexamined chapter in the life of the Orphan play—the adaptations of its basic plot to southern operatic forms during the Ming dynasty. These little-known dramatic texts reveal a great deal about the interplay and synergies among dramatic performance, urban spectacle, visual representation, and print culture during the mid- to late Ming.
Yuming He received her BA and MA from Peking University and PhD from UC Berkeley. She taught at Reed College and the University of Chicago before joining the faculty at UC Davis. Her recent work is focused on the history of the book, theater, and epistemological processes in late-imperial China. Her book "Home and the World: Editing the 'Glorious Ming' in "Woodblock-printed Books of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries" won the 2015 Joseph Levenson Book Prize.