History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

9. How useful is Du Fu’s poem for telling us about the catastrophes of the 750s?

This lesson focuses on one of the key turning points in the history of Tang Dynasty China: the An Lushan Rebellion.

The An Lushan Rebellion began in 755 when a popular general from northern China mounted his attack on the emperor.

The focus of the lesson is on the use of contemporary sources to gain an insight into events in the 750s – and so, to begin with, students are presented with the first two lines of Du Fu’s poem ‘Chunwang’ (‘Spring Gaze’) in its original Chinese characters.

With the help of a ‘code’, students can translate these two lines, and begin to speculate about the poem’s meaning and significance.

Subsequent activities help students to delve deeper into Du Fu’s reflections on life during the An Lushan Rebellion, with the main task giving students the chance to interrogate the poem using a range of ‘clues’ to support and challenge its main messages.

Finally, students are asked to reflect on the ‘usefulness’ of both a poem and a painting for finding out about the impact of the An Lushan Rebellion.

All in all, a great way to help build students’ source work skills, whilst developing their understanding of ‘turning points’ under the Tang Dynasty. 

Download lesson

  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Worksheet 1 & Clues : PDF

Price: £12.99


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