Refuge in the Empire: Art of Buddhist Kingship in Qing Dynasty China
1:15 am | 2/21/2019 | 308A Doe Library, UC Berkeley | Until 3:15 am | 2/21/2019
Wen-Shing Chou, Assistant Professor, Hunter College
In 1757, the Qing Qianlong emperor of China sent a portrait of himself to Tibet with the express instructions that the image serve as his surrogate for making pilgrimages and receiving veneration. The portrait, which subsequently became a locus of devotion in the Potala Palace in Lhasa, features the emperor in the guise of an ordained Buddhist monk, king, and deity at the center of a vast spiritual pantheon above a paradisiacal landscape. At least a dozen similar works were produced at imperial workshops in Beijing throughout the latter half of the eighteenth century. This talk examines how these ideological images harnessed the efficacy of vision, materiality, lineage, and liturgy within an Indo-Tibetan devotional framework to effect and affirm a Qing-centered Buddhist orthodoxy.