UC Berkeley History of Art Department


Departmental Events

The Architecture of Hyperbole: Problematics of Scale and Style in Early Chinese Buddhist Architecture

– 7:15 pm | 2/27/2019

Jun Hu, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

 The physical dimensions of Buddhas, like the Dharma, are often understood to be unfathomable. Even when they are described in scriptures, they appear in such hyperbolic terms that put them beyond human measure. The creation of cultic images and architectural spaces to enclose them therefore becomes a challenge and an opportunity to articulate the scaled relationship between the Buddha and the devotee. This lecture will look at how this is achieved at two levels: the creation of cave complexes and the construction of standalone timber structures and will conclude with some thoughts on the implications of this encounter with Buddhism for the development of Chinese architecture.