The Qing Empire

Illustrations of the Grand Ceremony Celebrating Longevity, c1717


On this bustling street in the Qing capital Beijing, people from all parts of society are involved in the official celebrations of Emperor Kangxi’s 60th birthday. Street signs are written in the two major imperial languages, Manchu and Chinese.

Ref. Chinese Crawford 419

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Watch Mercury Strong perform a new composition by Dr Joshua Brown.

The music is inspired by the ceremonial imagery on the Illustrations of the Grand Ceremony Celebrating Longevity scroll. Throughout the piece, the luachui or ‘scattering hammer’ rhythm is used to signify cultural exchange by combining rhythmic elements of Chinese opera with old English songs. The piece is inspired by scroll as an object, with the music being used as an analogy for the paper’s slow continuity and the deliberate but delicate ink marks on the surface

This piece was commissioned by the Confucius Institute at The University of Manchester for their 15th anniversary celebrations and recorded at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library in June 2022. 

Video Description
  • Video depicts a musical performance titled "Illustrations of the Grand Ceremony” by a string quartet composed by Joshua Brown for the Confucius Institute at The University of Manchester. The video shows four musicians playing violins, viola and cello on a stage with a red curtain behind them.