Buddhist Art in China: Transmission and Transformation – MaMa Charitable Foundation Lecture Series

posted by Centre of Buddhist Studies for Hong Kong University and Public
Event Type: Public Lecture/Forum/Seminar/Workshop/Conference/Symposium
Event Nature: Others

Event Details
MaMa Charitable Foundation Visiting Professor in Buddhist Studies Lecture Series 2014/15
Buddhist Art in China: Transmission and Transformation

Professor (Emeritus) Roderick Whitfield
MaMa Charitable Foundation Visiting Professor, HKU
Percival David Professor, Emeritus, SOAS, University of London

Professor Roderick Whitfield is Percival David Professor, Emeritus, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He studied with Cheng Te-k’un 鄭德坤 and Denis Twitchett at Cambridge, and with Wen Fong 方聞 and Shujirō Shimada 島田修二郎at Princeton. From 1968 to 1984 he was Assistant Keeper in the Department of Oriental Antiquities, The British Museum, and from 1984 onwards Professor of Chinese Art and Archaeology and Head of the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art. Currently he is a Fellow of the Palace Museum, Peking, and Fellow of the Dunhuang Academy. He has written extensively on Chinese art and on the Buddhist art of Dunhuang. With Professor Youngsook Pak, he has also written on Korean art.

Venue: Rayson Huang Theatre, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, HK

Lecture 1
3-5 pm on April 12, 2015 (Sunday)
胡僧 Hu Seng: Foreign Monks
Buddhist images and narrative paintings played a vital part in the transmission of Buddhism to China and beyond, while undergoing considerable changes along the way. Buddhist sutras were translated into Chinese by teams of translators, sometimes even classified in terms of literary style, and Buddhist legends were rendered by means of bianwen 變文‘altered narratives’ and bianxiang 變相 ‘altered images.’ Visual evidence at Dunhuang and elsewhere remains to attest some of the activities of monks, and the creation and dissemination of images by moulds, stencils, and woodblock prints.

Lecture 2
7-9 pm on April 17, 2015 (Friday)
飛來 Come Flying: How Buddhist images came to China
On the one hand we can trace some of the practical ways in which Buddhist images may have reached East Asia, and how they changed character in the process. On the other, in some cases we find a more imaginative or romantic scenario: the expressions feilai, Come Flying and tengkong, Riding the Clouds suggest a supernatural transmission, even when, as at Feilaifeng (The Peak that Came Flying) close to the famous West Lake in Hangzhou, the images are patently carved right there from the solid granite of the cliff. For the majority, their iconography is not in doubt, yet, in between these two extremes, some images, whose character seems to imply their special importance, still remain unexplained.

Lecture 3
3-5 pm on April 19, 2015 (Sunday)
瑞像 Auspicious Images: Wang Xuance and Song Fazhi
The most tangible evidence of all comes from the records of two travellers to India. Returning to China after an absence of sixteen years, the monk Xuanzang brought not only the latest doctrines in the form of manuscripts to be translated into Chinese, but also seven images, all of them small enough to be portable: sadly, none of them have survived. His secular contemporary Wang Xuance, however, has fared better in this respect, although only snippets of his written account survive: on his second journey he was accompanied by Song Fazhi, an artist who made drawings of ruixiang, Auspicious Images. On their return to the Tang capital, Song Fazhi’s drawings were copied, and were the basis for one remarkable painting on silk, discovered in the Library cave at Dunhuang, which, although fragmentary, still features some sixteen images.

Conducted in English / All are welcomed
Enquiry – 3917 5078 / hkucbs@hku.hk
Online registration

Organized by Centre of Buddhist Studies, HKU
Sponsored by MaMa Charitable Foundation

Date/Time 19/04/2015 15:00-17:00
Venue Rayson Huang Theatre, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, HK
Language English
Registration Instruction
Registration is open from 09/03/2015 17:00(HKT) to 19/04/2015 13:00(HKT) on a first-come-first-served basis. The registration quota for this event is 280.


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