Maya Stiller, Jan 13

Speaker: Professor Maya Stiller (Associate Professor of Korean Art and Visual Culture, The University of Kansas)

Elite Graffiti, Kinship, and Social Capital: Pilgrimages to Kŭmgangsan in Pre-1900 Korea

Discussant: Zhenru Zhou (PhD candidate, Department of Art History)

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

4:45-6:45 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)

 

Abstract:

In this talk Professor Stiller will preview her forthcoming book, Carving Status at Kŭmgangsan: Elite Graffiti in Premodern Korea, which establishes the importance of site-specific visual and material culture as an index of social memory construction. Stiller argues for an expansion of accepted historical narratives on travel and mountain space in pre-modern East Asia. Rather than studying Asian pilgrimage routes as strictly religious or tourist, in the case of Kŭmgangsan, they were also a method of constructing social memory. Kŭmgangsan is one of the most prominent sacred mountains in Korea. Embarking on a journey to Kŭmgangsan to view and contribute to its sites of memory was an endeavor that every late Chosŏn (ca. 1598-1910 C.E.) Korean hoped to achieve in their lives. Carving Status is the first historical study in a Western language to examine this practice. Specifically, this book uses a combination of disciplinary approaches from art history, literature, and social history to analyze autographic inscriptions and to argue that Kŭmgangsan’s Buddhist monasteries, pavilions, and waterfalls became not just venerated cultural sites but also locations for claiming permanent elite social memory. The growing number of carved inscriptions over time also shows intense social competition. Thus Stiller shows that, unlike other sacred mountains in Asia, Kŭmgangsan was not just a destination for religious pilgrims and tourists, but an important site of social engineering.

 

Zoom Registration Link:

https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEtc-qgrz0vHtGa4Kj6y7jHQnfkNUUj5THz

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Furthermore, this talk will be recorded.

 

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Professor Maya Stiller teaches Korean art history at the University of Kansas. She was born and raised in West-Berlin, Germany, and has lived and worked across Europe, East Asia, and the United States. With a double major in Korean Studies and Art History, she spent several years living in Korea and Japan, followed by a doctorate in East Asian Art History from Freie Universität Berlin. She came to the United States in 2008 to study Korean Buddhism and received a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies and Korean History from UCLA in 2014. Her peer-reviewed journal articles have been published in the Journal of Asian Studies, the Journal of Korean Religions, and Cahiers d’Extreme-Asie. Her book Carving Status at Kŭmgangsan: Elite Graffiti in Premodern Korea is forthcoming with University of Washington Press.

 

Zhenru Zhou is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History, the University of Chicago. She studies religious art and architecture in China and along the Silk Routes, with a focus on the medieval Buddhist cave-temples in Northern China. Her dissertation project explores the complexity of cave architecture in the tenth-century Dunhuang.

Winter 2021 Schedule

Dear friends and colleagues,

 

We are excited to share our Winter quarter calendar! In keeping with the university’s mandate to contain the spread of COVID-19, we will continue to conduct the workshop remotely for the entirety of the Winter quarter. Unless otherwise noted, all VMPEA meetings will take place on Wednesdays at 4:45 pm to 6:45 pm (CST) via Zoom. The individual meeting link will be sent out along with detailed talk abstract via VMPEA and related listservs approximately one week prior to the talk for registration. Below is our schedule for the quarter:

 

Attributed to Qu Ding (Chinese, active ca. 1023–ca. 1056), Summer Mountains, Handscroll; ink and color on silk, 1050, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

Winter Quarter (2020 – 2021)

(4:45 pm – 6:45 pm every Wednesday or Friday)

 

Jan 13

Speaker: Maya Stiller (Associate Professor of Korean Art and Visual Culture, The University of Kansas)

Discussant: Zhenru Zhou (PhD candidate, Department of Art History)

Title: Elite Graffiti, Kinship, and Social Capital: Pilgrimages to Kŭmgangsan in Pre-1900 Korea

 

Jan 27

Speaker: Cybele Tom (PhD student, Department of Art History)

Discussant: Alice Casalini (PhD student, Department of Art History)

Tentative Title: Seeking Balance: Material and Meaning in a Polychrome Guanyin

 

Feb 10

Speaker: Meng Zhao (PhD candidate, Department of Art History)

Discussant: Tingting Xu (Lecturer in Art History, Columbia University)

Tentative Title: Crafting Sensuality: Tactual Erotics In Court Ladies Adorning Their Hair with Flowers

 

Feb 24

Speaker: Sophia Walker (PhD student, Joint program: Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Department of Cinema and Media Studies)

Discussant: Ethan Waddell (PhD student, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations)

Tentative Title: Hunnu Rock: Mongolian Metal and a Global Folk Metal Subculture

 

Mar 12 (Friday)

Speaker: Melissa McCormick (Professor of Japanese Art and Culture, Harvard University)

Discussant: Chelsea Foxwell (Associate Professor of Art History and the College, Department of Art History)

Title: Calligraphy and Haptic Poetics in the Art of Ōtagaki Rengetsu

 

We are looking forward to seeing you via Zoom! Please direct questions and inquiries to Minori Egashira (egashiram@uchicago.edu) and Yifan Zou (yifanzou@uchicago.edu).

 

Minori and Yifan

VMPEA Graduate Student Coordinators 2020-21

Or Porath, DEC 2

Speaker: Or Porath (Post-Doctoral Researcher Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations)

Japan’s Forgotten God: Jūzenji in Literature and the Visual Arts

Discussant: Ian Cipperly (PhD student, Department of History)

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

4:45-6:45 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)

* Collaboration with the APEA (Art and Politics of East Asia)https://voices.uchicago.edu/artpoliticseastasia/

 

Abstract:

The paper will explore the deity Jūzenji 十禅師 of the Sannō pantheon of Hie Shrine in Shiga prefecture. Lost during the separation of Buddhism and Shinto in the Meiji period, Juzenji’s medieval importance has been all but forgotten. Through the examination of textual and visual evidence, the paper will argue that powerful and influential people, such as the Tendai monk Jien (1155-1225) and the chroniclers lineage (kike) of Mt. Hiei, decided to actively promote Jūzenji for their own ends, and in effect, elevated him to the status of supreme divinity, rivaling his own godhead. The paper will show that while it is often assumed Shinto doxa and praxis were entirely subsumed under Buddhist hegemony, it is possible to detect non-Buddhist tendencies becoming increasingly dominant in medieval Japanese religion—as demonstrated by doctrinal articulations that centered on the forgotten god Jūzenji. The cult’s elevation of Jūzenji as part of its kami-centrism can be seen as an assertion of Shinto innovation—which opened new ways for thinking about kami.

 

Zoom Registration Link: 

https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwqd-qorTgoGNPjLFII3U0aNfhgo_URVm5a

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Furthermore, this talk will be recorded.

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Or Porath is a scholar of Buddhist studies with broad interests in East Asian religions, the history of gender and sexuality, and monasticism. Porath specializes in the religions of Japan, specifically the influential school of Tendai Buddhism, its doctrines and practices, and the intersection between the Buddhist worldviews and issues of gender and sexuality. His current book project, The Dharma of Sex: Initiation and Deification in Japanese Religion, examines the “consecration of acolytes” (chigo kanjō), a sexual initiation that was doctrinally sanctioned in orthodox Buddhist teachings. Porath investigates in his work how male-male sexual acts were sanctified and grounded in Tendai doctrinal concepts, and the manner in which they shed light on the Buddhist assimilation of local forms of worship including Shinto.

 

He is the author of “The Cosmology of Male-Male Love in Medieval Japan: Nyakudō no Kanjinchō and the Way of Youths,” in Journal of Religion in Japan (2015), the article “Nasty Boys or Obedient Children? Childhood and Relative Autonomy in Medieval Japanese Pedagogical Texts,” in Child’s Play: Multi-sensory Histories of Children and Childhood in Japan (2017), and “Sexuality” in The Bloomsbury Handbook of Japanese Religions (2021).

 

Ian Blaise Cipperly is a PhD student in the University of Chicago History department. He received his BA with High Honors from The University of California at Berkeley in 2011 and his MA from The Department of History at The University of Oregon in 2016. This year, he acted as panel organizer for the 49th Meeting of the Southwest Conference on Asian Studies “Profane voices in Sacred Discourse: Re-centering the Periphery Through the Materiality of Religious Traditions of East Asia,” where he presented his paper “Contradictions in ordering the Sacred: The Entropy of Numinous Authority in Early Modern Japanese Festivals.” Additionally, he presented his individual paper “Ordering the Sacred: Numinous Authority in Early Modern Japanese Festivals” at the 69th Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs. While his main interests are in Japanese history (Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo period Japan (1568-1868)), he also has an interest in early modern formulations of Tendai through his research on Tōshōgū and Tokugawa Ieyasu. For more information regarding Ian and his academic interests, please refer to his department’s website (https://history.uchicago.edu/directory/ian-blaise-cipperly) and his CV.

Alan Longino, NOV 18

Speaker: Alan Longino (PhD student, Department of Art History)

Yutaka Matsuzawa and Looking Around Quantum Art

Discussant: Orianna Cacchione (Curator of Global Contemporary Art, Smart Museum of Art)

Wednesday, November 18th 2020

4:45-6:45 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)

 

Abstract:

Yutaka Matsuzawa (b. 1922 / d. 2006, Shimo Suwa) is considered a leading figure in postwar Japanese conceptual art. In 1988, he published his seminal Quantum Art Manifesto, considered as the most mature realization of his decades-long dedication and practice to the immaterial and invisible realm of images. In this talk, I look at both this manifesto and select works of the artist’s career that led to the culmination of the manifesto. I analyze these not only as a guide in understanding the practice of Matsuzawa but more as a primer for considering a world of images removed from the physical and temporal limitations of artistic practice. I apply this consideration to the content of our current and future world of increasingly high image and information saturation, and draw—like Matsuzawa—from sources as diverse as ethology, quantum physics and computing, and economics to highlight this relationship of Quantum Art to the experience of images today. In particular, this talk gives due credence to the legibility of memes and their data, the online communities which create them, and the complex relationships between identity, spirituality, and economics that they pursue, critique, and build anew. Towards the end, I return to Matsuzawa’s Quantum Art with the realization and hypothesis that art and the images produced today are, like the quantum state itself, thick with uncertainty in their form and that their existence is—to use a term shared by Matsuzawa and the founder of modern computer, Alan Turing—“telepathic” in nature. Finally, after considering the quantum state these telepathic images exist in, I bring up the issue that correlation may equal causation if we are to seriously consider the future of images and the manner in which their surplus information is
being conducted and manipulated.

 

Gradient of FFCAD4

Gradient of FFCAD4

 

Zoom Registration Link:

https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEtdeygpjgqHNIsDsgj3tJk7dyAeKf7CuNz

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Alan Longino is a Ph.D. student studying postwar Japanese conceptual art and global contemporary art. His research considers a telepathic & post-verity mode of communication between information systems and image production. Previously, he co-curated the exhibition, Yutaka Matsuzawa, at Yale Union (2019, with Reiko Tomii), and re-published the artist’s 1988 manuscript, Quantum Art Manifesto, for the first time outside of Japan. He has contributed writing towards essay and exhibition texts for artists, museums, and galleries, and criticism of his has appeared in HeichiArtforum, and the Haunt Journal of Art, UC Irvine. Alongside his academic research, Alan was a founding member of Wendy’s Subway, a library, writing space, and independent publisher in Brooklyn, NY, and has worked in galleries such as Jan Kaps, Cologne, and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York.

 

Orianna Cacchione is currently the Curator of Global Contemporary Art at the Smart Museum of Art. Her curatorial practice is committed to expanding the canon of contemporary art to respond to the global circulations of art and ideas. At the Smart Museum, Cacchione has curated the exhibitions, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China (with Wu Hung), which interrogated how materiality informs contemporary Chinese art; Samson Young: Silver moon or golden star, which will you buy of me?, the first solo exhibition of the Hong Kong-based sound artist in the United States; and Tang Chang: The Painting that Is Painted with Poetry Is Profoundly Beautiful, the first solo presentation of the pioneering abstract artist’s work outside of Thailand. She is currently developing an exhibition that considers Transpacific artistic exchanges, as well as editing a new volume with Professor Wei-Cheng Lin: The Allure of Matter: Materiality across Chinese Art. Prior to joining the Smart Museum, Cacchione was Curatorial Fellow for East Asian Contemporary Art in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was responsible for expanding the museum’s collection of contemporary art from East Asia. Her work led to transformative acquisitions of artworks from China, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. She also curated the exhibition, Zhang Peili: Record. Repeat., the first major presentation of the Chinese video artist at an American museum.

 

Cacchione’s scholarly research explores the transnational, cross-geographic flows of art and art history that characterize the global art world. She holds a PhD in Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the University of California, San Diego, a MA from Goldsmiths College and a BA from the University of Michigan. Her writing has been published in The Journal of Art HistoriographyYishu, and the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art.

Visiting Scholar Special Workshop: Dong Rui

Dong Rui. PhD., Visiting Scholar, Department of Art History, University of Chicago; Associate Professor, School of Fine Arts, Henan University

 

Nostalgia for Inner Asia: Form and Idea in the Portrait of the Filial Grandson Yuan Gu on Stone Funerary Couch from the Eastern Wei Dynasty (548 CE)
内亚的留恋:安阳东魏围屏石棺床孝孙原榖画像的形式与理念

 

Discussant: Lin Wei-Cheng, Associate Professor, Department of Art History, University of Chicago

Friday, Nov 13th, 2020
5-7 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)
This talk will be delivered in Chinese

Abstract: This study focuses on two illustrations of filial grandson Yuan Gu story from an Eastern Wei stone screen attached to a stone funerary couch. This stone funerary couch was excavated in 2007 from Tomb M57 (548 CE) in Anyang, Henan Province. Notably, one illustration of filial grandson Yuan Gu departed from its iconographic convention but presented the theme with Yuan Gu’s parents carrying an empty stretcher, with a standing female figure on the side. A closer examination of this unique illustration of the “filial grandson Yuan Gu” theme will shed light on a more nuanced understanding of Northern Wei rulers’ promotion of Confucianism and their attachment to Inner Asian traditions.

摘要:2007年,在河南省安阳发掘了一座东魏时期的(公元548年)夫妇合葬墓M57, 出土文物中包含了一座刻有二幅孝孙原榖等12幅画像的围屏石棺床。尤为特别的是,其中一幅孝孙原榖画像中,原榖父母所抬的是一副无人的担架,但在担架旁边站立着一女性,这种形式是目前所见孝孙原榖画像中的孤例。该画像从一个侧面反映了北魏统治者在入主中原后对儒家文化的有限接受和对内亚传统文化的留恋。这一实物或许可以从一个新的侧面折射出鲜卑大力推行汉化,却最终还是失败的原因。

2007年河南安阳固岸墓地M57号东魏墓,夫妇合葬石棺床

 

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUodeuhpz0uGdGtJN_GcvLlX92vBSavtu5H

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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Dong Rui received his PhD from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2013. From 2005 to 2013, he worked in the office of South–North Water Transfer Project of Henan Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau. In 2013 he starts to work at Henan University in the School of Fine Art as an associate professor, and is currently a visiting scholar with the University of Chicago. His publications appear in a number of journals including Journal of Zhengzhou University, Art History Research, and Huaxia Archaeology. Hs is also the author of The Research of Hollow brick tombs in Han dynasty 汉代空心砖墓研究 (2019).

Wei-Cheng Lin is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. Lin specializes in the history of Chinese art and architecture, with a focus on medieval period, and has published on both Buddhist and funeral art and architecture of medieval China. His first book, Building a Sacred Mountain: Buddhist Architecture of China’s Mount Wutai, was published in 2014 with the University of Washington Press. He has also written on topics related to traditional architecture in modern China. Lin is currently working on two book projects: Performative Architecture of China, explores architecture’s performative potential through history and the meanings enacted through such architectural performance. Necessarily Incomplete: Fragments of Chinese Artifacts investigate fragments of Chinese artifacts, as well as the cultural practices they solicited and engaged, to locate their agentic power in generating the multivalent significance of those artifacts, otherwise undetectable or overlooked.

Dorothy C. Wong, NOV 6

Speaker: Dorothy C. Wong (Professor, Mcintire Department of Art, University of Virginia)

“Colossal Buddha Statues in China, Past and Present”

Discussant: Jiayi Zhu (PhD student, EALC, University of Chicago)

Friday, Nov 6, 2020
4:45-6:45 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)

Abstract:
Beginning in the northwestern region of India, and spreading through Central Asia and the rest of Asia along the Silk Road, the making of colossal Buddha statues has been a major theme in Buddhist art. The colossal Buddha statues predominantly feature Śākyamuni (the Historical Buddha), Maitreya (the Future Buddha), and Vairocana (the Transcendant Buddha), and they were fashioned out of religious devotion and frequently in conjunction with notions of Buddhist kingship. This paper examines the religious, social and political circumstances under which these colossal statues were made, primarily focusing on examples in China made during the first millennium CE. Beginning in the 1990s, there was a revival of making colossal Buddha statues across China and elsewhere. The second part of the paper attempts to address the contemporary phenomenon in China in relation to issues surrounding cultural heritage, religious and cultural identity, ownership, commodification, pilgrimage, and tourism.


Tzu Shan Monastery, Tai Po District, Hong Kong.

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0rc–ppz0tHNN9O2rKC6BH_FF27A80D9Jj

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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Dorothy Wong is currently Professor of Art and Director of the East Asia Center at the University of Virginia. Specializing in Buddhist art of medieval China, Dorothy Wong’s research addresses topics of art in relation to religion and society, and of the relationship between religious texts/doctrine and visual representations. In addition to many articles, she has published Chinese Steles: Pre-Buddhist and Buddhist Use of a Symbolic Form (2004; Chinese edition 2011), Hōryūji Reconsidered (editor and contributing author, 2008) China and Beyond in the Medieaval Period: Cultural Crossings and Inter-regional Connections (co-editor with Gustav Heldt, and contributing author, 2014), and Buddhist Pilgrim-Monks as Agents of Cultural and Artistic Transmission: The International Buddhist Art Style in East Asia, ca. 645–770 (2018). Her edited volume, Miraculous Images in Asian Traditions, will be published as volume 50 of the journal Ars Orientalis in late November of 2020.

Jiayi Zhu is a PhD student in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Her research interest is medieval Buddhist art and the cultural exchanges among China, Japan and Korea. Currently she is curious about the medium of stone.

Special Workshop Series by Wu Hung

Newly Unearthed Tang Tomb Murals of Simulated Shanshui Paintings — What Do They Tell Us?

新出土的“拟山水画”唐墓壁画——它们告诉我们什么?

 

Details of the landscape mural in the tomb of Han Xiu 韩休 (740), photo by Wu Hung.

 

The talk will last about 45 min – 1 hour, with about 1 hour afterwards for Q&A moderated by ZOU Yifan (persons in need of assistance please contact yifanzou@uchicago.edu)

 

Part 1: Oct 30 (Friday), 5 pm – 7 pm (CDT)

Registration link: https://uchicago.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5bt1KsvvSJ-U0TvcmTDekA

Part 2: Nov 5 (Thursday), 5 pm – 7 pm (CST) *please note CDT to CST transition

Registration link for Part 2: https://uchicago.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_W6mEBsRPTDa9utJ9obbtow 

Nancy P. Lin, OCT 21

Speaker: Nancy P. Lin (PhD candidate, Department of Art History)

Sites at the Periphery: Performance, Photography, and the Making of Beijing’s ‘East Village’(selection from dissertation chapter)

Discussant: Madeline Eschenburg (Lecturer, College of Arts and Sciences, Washburn University)

Wednesday, October 21st 2020

4:45-6:45 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)

 

Abstract:

The development of experimental contemporary Chinese art outside the official support of government institutions in the 1990s has often been described as “underground” (dixia) or “independent” (duli). Yet I suggest that the term “peripheral” (bianyuan) is a much more apt description as it simultaneously refers to the very spaces in which art has flourished in the physical city and the spatial dynamics of experimental art’s alternative positioning. During a period of massive urban reconstruction, artists living and working in the city’s urban fringes struggled with spatial precarity and social/economic marginality. These sites and living conditions also gave rise to new types of artistic projects, spaces, and a distinctly new artistic identity. This paper explores how collaborations between performance and photographic activities by a group of artists living in Beijing’s “East Village” drew upon the area’s spatial marginality to construct an alternative artistic identity and social network that transformed the run-down village into an art world site. These activities in the mid-1990s will be contextualized within the broader phenomenon of site-based art practices that participated in the creation of new social and institutional spaces for contemporary art in China. This period of artistic activities at the periphery serves as a case study for understanding the complex dynamic between artistic practice, social change, and urban transformation.

RongRong, East Village Beijing, 1994 No. 1, 1994, Gelatin silver print, 20 × 24 in (50.8 × 61 cm)

Zoom Registration Link:

https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEocOGqrj8vGNCHHzwRUa0aNvp8sjbjyrKW

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Nancy P. Lin is a PhD candidate specializing in modern and contemporary Chinese art and architecture. She received her B.A. summa cum laude in History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. Her dissertation, titled “Making Spaces: Site-based Practice in Contemporary Chinese Art, 1990s-2000s,” focuses on the intersection of art and urbanism in examining locally situated, yet globally oriented spatial and site-specific artistic practices in China. As the 2019-2020 Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Curatorial Intern at the Smart Museum of Art, she worked extensively on the exhibition Allure of Matter: Material Art from China. From 2017 to 2018, she was a fellow of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Urban Art and Urban Form, co-organizing three interdisciplinary symposia that brought together artists, architects, and urban scholars from the sciences and the humanities. She received the 2015 Schiff Foundation Writing Fellowship and, together with fellow collaborators, was a recipient of the 2016 Graham Foundation project grant for the independent publication Building Subjects (Standpunkte, 2019), a study on collective housing in China. Her other publications include an article in the edited volume Visual Arts, Representations and Interventions in Contemporary China: Urbanized Interfaces (Amsterdam University Press, 2018) and a forthcoming article in the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art (Intellect, Winter 2020).

Her work has been generously supported by The Getty Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Schiff Foundation, Graham Foundation, as well as the Art History Department and the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago.

 

Madeline Eschenburg is a lecturer at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. She specializes in contemporary Chinese art with a focus on performance and Social Practice art. She has published articles and book chapters about Chinese performance art and its relationship to documentary practice in the 1990s and early 21st century. She is currently working on a book project which explores the history of contemporary Chinese artists’ inclusion of marginalized communities in performance art and Social Practice projects. She will be presenting a paper titled “Mapping Marginality: Chinese Migrant Workers at the Venice Biennial” at the 2021 College Art Association annual conference.

Aurelia Campbell, OCT 7

Aurelia Campbell (Associate Professor, Art, Art History, and Film Faculty, Boston College)

“Tibetan Stupa as Protective Force in Early Ming Burials”

Discussant: Wei-Cheng Lin (Associate Professor of Art History and the College, Department of Art History)

Wednesday, Oct 7

 4:45-6:45 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)

 

Abstract

This paper focuses on an unusual early Ming dynasty (1368-1644) brick tomb in Mayishan, Wangcheng County, Hunan. The tomb belongs to a woman named Zhang Miaoshou, who served as the wet nurse of Prince Gu, nineteenth son of the Ming founder, Zhu Yuanzhang. Among the numerous Buddhist artifacts unearthed from the tomb, the most intriguing is a large stone reliquary in the shape of a Tibetan-style stupa, which holds dozens of Buddhist and Daoist scriptures. What was it doing there? By connecting the stupa to a host of earlier material evidence incorporating the written word, this paper argues that the stupa and its contents ultimately served apotropaic and salvific functions. It furthermore makes a case for the significance of the Tibetan-style stupa as a symbol of protection in the post-Mongol world.

Zoom Registration Link:

https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJErc-muqTgpE9BK_PMqYLqqL9mZweUs7VyH

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Aurelia Campbell is Associate Professor in the Department of Art, Art History, and Film at Boston College. Her research centers on the architecture and material culture of the Yuan (1279-1368), Ming (1368-1644), and Qing (1644-1911) periods in China. Campbell’s first book, What the Emperor Built: Architecture and Empire in the Early Ming (University of Washington Press, 2020) examines the construction projects of the famous Yongle emperor to consider how imperial ideology is given form in built space. Addressing how and why his buildings were constructed, the book expands our understanding of “imperial Chinese architecture” as a building typology. Her second book, in progress, explores the relationship between Buddhism and mortuary culture in the Ming and Qing periods. The book will consider Buddhist funerary art and architecture from a large swath of society—including emperors, empresses, princes, eunuchs, monks, and aristocrats—to better understand how conceptions of the afterlife differed according to one’s position in life. The book aims to fill a gap in scholarship on Chinese tombs after the Yuan dynasty. Her research has been supported through grants and fellowships from Millard Meiss Publication Fund, James Geiss Foundation, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Asian Cultural Council, and Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, among others.

 

Wei-Cheng Lin is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. Lin specializes in the history of Chinese art and architecture, with a focus on medieval period, and has published on both Buddhist and funeral art and architecture of medieval China. His first book, Building a Sacred Mountain: Buddhist Architecture of China’s Mount Wutai, was published in 2014 with the University of Washington Press. He has also written on topics related to traditional architecture in modern China. Lin is currently working on two book projects: Performative Architecture of China, explores architecture’s performative potential through history and the meanings enacted through such architectural performance. Necessarily Incomplete: Fragments of Chinese Artifacts investigate fragments of Chinese artifacts, as well as the cultural practices they solicited and engaged, to locate their agentic power in generating the multivalent significance of those artifacts, otherwise undetectable or overlooked.