Essay

Made in China

Laszlo Montgomery’s other life in Chinese manufacturing

In my China History Podcast series I have touched on China trade going all the way back to the times of the Han Dynasty adventurer Zhang Qian. Trade with China has always been exotic and unique. Silk, tea, lacquerware and other valuables ware sold along the fabled trade routes to all points between Rome and Asia. Zhang Qian, Marco Polo, the Silk Road, the Tea Horse Road, Zheng He, Macao, the Canton System, the Noble House. For an old China hand, what isn’t there to love about this world of China trade?

But when I first started out as a China watcher, back in the day, I didn’t realise that in my professional life I would become part of it myself.

China History Podcast

The Five Elements

The ninth and final part in the History of Chinese Philosophy podcast series

Laszlo emerges from the post-holiday festivities to finish off the series, picking up from last episode with the life and work of Wang Yangming. The differences between the two main schools of Neo-Confucianism is further discussed: the Lu-Wang School of the Mind (xinxue) and the Cheng-Zhu School of Principle (lixue). We also saved philosopher Zou Yan and the Five Elements (wuxing) for last. And that completes this nine-part set course meal in the History of Chinese Philosophy. If anything spoke to you, you're now armed and ready to do as many deeper dives into all these schools of thought as your heart desires. For more like it, explore Laszlo’s archive of podcasts at Tea Cup Media.

China History Podcast

The Tang of Philosophy

Part seven in the History of Chinese Philosophy podcast series

In the late Han Dynasty, philosophy was a lot more complex than in Confucius's time. The focus in this episode is on philosophical thought in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). From the fall of the Han dynasty in 220, all the way through the Six Dynasties, Buddhism had spread quickly throughout the disunited kingdoms of China. By the time the father and son team of Yang Jian and Yang Guang stabilized and united China into a new empire in 589, Buddhism had taken root and appealed to the weary masses and the aristocrats. Later in the Tang Dynasty, Confucianism reasserted itself, and after the brilliant work of Han Yu, Li Ao and Liu Zongyuan, it set the stage for the third epoch in Confucianism during the Song dynasty. Laszlo also briefly introduces three of the founding fathers of Neo Confucianism:

China History Podcast

Follow the Dao

Part six in the History of Chinese Philosophy podcast series

Laszlo gives the subject of Daoism, the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi a fresh makeover, covered before in an old China History Podcast episode from days gone by. The history of Daoism is explored as well as its main characters, Laozi and Zhuangzi, and what they called for in those dark Eastern Zhou times. Daoism is both a philosophy and a religion, but this episode only explores the former. The Xuanxue thinkers Wang Bi, Guo Xiang and Xiang Xiu are also discussed, as well as the Neo-Daoism that evolved in the Han. As Daoism and Confucianism evolved in China, side by side, there was occasionally some interesting overlap. Confucians from here on out actively explored ways to reconcile their philosophy with the other major contending schools of thought, Daoism and Buddhism: