Special event to commemorate prof. Marco Ceresa on 2 December


On Saturday 2 December, in the Auditorium Santa Margherita - Emanuele Severino and starting at 2 p.m., Ca' Foscari commemorates with a special event Prof. Marco Ceresa, a distinguished sinologist and former director of the Department of Asian and North African Studies, who passed away in the night between 3 and 4 May 2023.

Tea Culture(s) - international colloquium in memory of Prof. Marco Ceresa will be opened by a short address by Rector Tiziana Lippiello, followed by a keynote speech by James Benn (McMaster University) on: Understanding the Classic of Tea with Marco Ceresa.

Faculty and scholars from Ca' Foscari and international universities will then explore changes in tea culture throughout the centuries: Livio Zanini (Deconstructing the Narrative of Shennong's Tea Discovery), Françoise Sabban (The Efficiency of Wine Production in Sixth Century China), Johan Van Mechelen (Early Western Documents on the Medicinal Properties of Aged Pu'er Tea), Silvia Vesco (Tea in the Images of the Floating World (Ukiyoe)), Aldo Tollini (Japanese Tea Culture as Seen by Europeans in the 16th and 17th Centuries).

'We decided to organise a conference on tea,' explains Prof. Zanini, 'because Marco Ceresa made a huge contribution to this field of study. His 1990 Italian edition of The Classic of Tea (Il canone del tè) is the first complete and annotated translation of the world's oldest and most important treatise on tea into a Western language. It has inspired the relatively recent interest of Western scholars in this subject, predating it by over a decade. But tea was only one of Marco Ceresa's early research interests, which spanned multiple aspects of Chinese cultural studies.

The various papers will be followed by a tea tasting, and by memories and recollections of Marco Ceresa shared by colleagues and friends. A pipa concert by Liu Fang will conclude the event.

Liu Fang was born in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China, and started playing the pipa (a sort of Chinese 4-string lute) at the age of six. At nine she gave her first public solo performance, and at 11 (in 1986) she played for Queen Elizabeth II.

The pipa is an ancient Chinese plucked instrument, mentioned in texts dating back to the Second century B.C.. It has been popular since the Tang dynasty (618-907), employed both in solo concerts and chamber music. Pipa playing is characterised by a wide range of techniques, requiring spectacular finger dexterity. Music for this instrument is capable of describing famous battles, exciting scenes or more lyrical pieces inspired by poetry, landscapes and historical themes. During the concert 'In memory of a dear friend', for Marco Ceresa, Liu Fang will perform pieces form the classical and modern repertoire.


Born in Lodi, Marco Ceresa graduated from Ca' Foscari in 1984 in “Oriental Languages and Literatures” (Chinese). In 1992 he obtained a PhD in Far Eastern Asian Civilisation from the University of Naples 'L'Orientale'.
He joined Ca' Foscari as a researcher in 1994 and went on to become Associate professor of Chinese language and literature in 2000, and Full professor in 2008.

He served as the Rector's delegate for 'International Relations of the University with Asian Countries' from 2009 to 2012 and in 2017 he was elected Director of the Department of Asian and North African Studies. He was a member of the Academic Senate of Ca' Foscari for the three-year period 2020-2023, a position he had also held in 2011-2014 and in 2017-2020.
From 2008 to 2018, he was the director of the Confucius Institute at Ca' Foscari University.

After graduating, he studied at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei (Taiwan) and received a Research Grant for Foreign Scholars in Chinese Studies from the Center for Chinese Studies of the National Central Library in Taipei. He had subsequently done research at the Research Institute for Humanistic Study, Kyoto University (Japan), with a grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and at the Italian School of East Asian Studies, ISEAS, in Kyoto (Japan).

He taught at Université Paris 7-Denis Diderot, University of Vienna, Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich, University of Marburg, Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, and University of Lund.

He was the co-founder and Honorary President of the Italian Tea Culture Association AICTEA, which has been organising annual international conferences on tea culture at Ca' Foscari since 2016.