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Sculpture, Time, and Materiality in a Buddhist Cave Shrine: Fall 2020 Numata Lecture with Michelle C. Wang
October 23, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Please join us on Friday October 23, 2020, at 1:00 p.m., Pacific time, for our second 2020 Numata Lecture.
Sculpture, Time, and Materiality in a Buddhist Cave Shrine
This talk examines the dialogue between architecture and sculpture in Maijishan Cave 133, located near Tianshui, Gansu Province. Initially constructed in the sixth century, this Buddhist cave shrine continued to receive patronage from pious donors through the Ming and Qing dynasties. Among the objects that were placed in the cave were relief sculptures, stone stelae, and freestanding statues. What makes Maijishan Cave 133 a particularly interesting case study is that successive layers of architectural and sculptural materials can be correlated – more or less – with different “generations” of donors. What can we learn from unpacking the juxtaposition between rock (the mountain), clay (sculptures), and stone (stelae), and the subsequent engagement with varied sculptural techniques? Keeping this question in mind, we will consider the choreographies of space created and experienced by successive generations of donors and devotees.
Michelle C. Wang is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Georgetown University. A specialist in medieval Chinese art, her publications have addressed Buddhist maṇḍalas, Dunhuang painting, and art of the Silk Road. Her first monograph, Maṇḍalas in the Making: The Visual Culture of Esoteric Buddhism at Dunhuang (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2018) analyzes the Maṇḍala of Eight Great Bodhisattvas at the Mogao and Yulin caves during the Tibetan and Guiyijun periods, demonstrating that transcultural communication over the Silk Routes, and the religious dialogue between Chinese and Tibetan communities, were defining characteristics of Buddhist maṇḍalas at Dunhuang.
This lecture is free and open to the public; however, registration is required and space is limited. To register, click here.