Speaker: Xu Jin ( Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies, Vassar College)
“Comparing Acts, Matching Images: Filial Sons and Reclusive Sages on the Funerary Couch of a Sogdian Immigrant in 6th-Century China”
May 6th, 2022 (Friday)
4:30 – 6:30 pm CT. Hybrid (In-person at CWAC 152 + livestream via Zoom)
※ Please use this link to register for the zoom meeting if you would like to attend remotely. password: sogdian56
(Liu Ling, One of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, Di Yu Couch. Eastern Wei Dynasty. Stone couch from Anyang, Henan Province. Shenzhen Museum)
Filial sons and reclusive sages (Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi) were among the most esteemed figural subjects in Chinese art. They also appear on the stone funerary couch of Di Yu 翟育 (?-538), a Sogdian diplomat who immigrated to North China in the early sixth century. The Di Yu couch is the earliest known of over ten sarcophagi made for Sogdian leaders active in sixth-century China. This talk demonstrates how the quintessential Chinese subjects were selectively adopted and meticulously modified to address the Sogdian family’s life experiences. Moreover, I argue that Sogdian immigrants employed the images of reclusive sages to reconcile their Central Asian origin with the art and culture of native Chinese elites.