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Migrations of Great Interest:  China in the 12th Century (River of Wisdom), The Underground Railroad, The Trail of Tears, David Copperfield / Dickens, The U.S. Westward Expansion / Manifest Destiny, The Great Migration / Jacob Lawrence.....

China is experiencing perhaps the largest and fastest migration in history, from rural China to the cities.  This has great social, economic, and ecological consequences.  This at a time when the issue of immigration is a political flashpoint in the United States, where many migrations over its short history have shaped the nature of the country - early explorers, the the early settlers, the Trail of Tears, the Canadian Expulsion,
The Underground Railroad, Westward Expansion, The Great Migration leading to the Harlem Renaissance, and the more recent journeys of Migrant workers and illegal  border crossings......
The River of Wisdom documents the impact of one of the earliest migrations, from the China countryside to towns and the beginning of a merchant class, merchant centers, and trade.......

The recent Exhibition of the 'animated' version of the ancient painting also illustrates both the respect for classical Chinese Art and the artful application of technological advances.


David Copperfield is set in early Victorian England against a backdrop of great social change. The Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries had transformed the social landscape and enabled capitalists and manufacturers to amass huge fortunes. Although the Industrial Revolution increased social mobility, the gap between rich and poor remained wide. London, a teeming mass of humanity lit by gas lamps at night and darkened by sooty clouds from smokestacks during the day, rose in dark contrast to Britain’s sparsely populated rural areas. More and more people moved from the country to the city in search of the opportunities that technological innovation promised. But this migration overpopulated the already crowded cities, and poverty, disease, hazardous factory conditions, and ramshackle housing became widespread. Dickens acutely observed these phenomena of the Industrial Revolution and used them as the canvas on which he painted David Copperfield and his other urban novels.

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David Copperfield

Article about the painting

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Short clip from the Exhibit

Long, beautiful clip from the animation exhibit

River of Wisdom Exhibit - Evening Scene

Scholarly Film about the famous painting - "Along The River During the Qingming Festival" by Zhang Zeduan - 12th Century

River of Wisdom Brochure

About the City of Bian ( now Kaifeng ) and the Bian River


Mast Lowering Problem Depicted

Chinese Narration

Night scenes and boat propulsion (5:50)

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