Graduate Seminar: Dunhuang
Wednesday | 10:00 - 1:00pm
This graduate seminar will focus on Dunhuang, the richest Buddhist cave site in China. Over the course of the semester, we will trace shifts in the design and construction of its nearly 400 devotional caves over a millennium, from the Northern Liang through the Yuan dynasties (4th-14th centuries), and think about how this single site could serve such a diverse, evolving Buddhist community. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which Dunhuang’s caves were experienced as complete sculptural and pictorial environments meant to answer practical programmatic needs and to enable new forms of Buddhist practice. We will also consider some of the vast body of ephemeral material—pictorial and textual—removed from the site’s famous Manuscript Cave and now in collections in Britain, France, India, China, and elsewhere. Students from the History of Art and related fields (East Asian Languages, History, Buddhist Studies) are all welcome.