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Bringing China and the World Together

融合世界 汇聚思想

PAST EVENTS

Sept. 23: Christian Symbols of Dunhuang: Byzantine Imports to China and Japan

Please join us for a talk by Dr. Neil Schmid on how Christian ritual paraphernalia, as forms of sacred technology, were welcomed during the cosmopolitan Tang Dynasty and became assimilated into Chinese Buddhism.

WHEN: Wednesday, Sept 23, 7:30 - 9:00 PM

WHERE: Courtyard Institute, #28 Zhong Lao Hutong, Dongcheng District.

HOW MUCH: RMB 30 for RASBJ members, RMB 60 for non-members

RSVP: email events@rasbj.org

THIS EVENT IS CO-HOSTED BY THE COURTYARD INSTITUTE

Christian Symbols of Dunhuang: Byzantine Ipmorts to China and Japan

The Church of the East, also known as Nestorian Christianity, came to China during the early Tang Dynasty and quickly made use of Chinese language and material culture to propagate its messages. The library cave at Dunhuang features Christian scriptures adapted into Chinese, the so-called "Jesus Sutras," while a famous Nestorian stele from Xi'an uses the traditional Chinese stele format to promulgate Christian doctrine both in Chinese and in Syriac. 

However, this religion's ritual paraphernalia also came to China as forms of sacred technology that were in turn adapted into Chinese Buddhism. Dr. Neil Schmid examines how Late Antiquity and Byzantine iconography illuminate mural paintings in Dunhuang caves; these in turn suggest how and why certain Christian -based iconography became assimilated into Chinese Buddhism  and were welcomed as exotic new imports. Dr. Schmid also investigates the last surviving example of such sacred exotica, a gift from Empress Kōmyō in 756 to Tōdai Temple in Nara, Japan.

MORE ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Neil Schmid is a specialist in Chinese Buddhism and Dunhuang Studies. After completing an M.Phil at the École pratique des hautes études in Paris and his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, he taught at UNC, Duke, and Penn, publishing on Chinese Buddhism, art, and Dunhuang. Since 2011, he has served as Country Director of DKT International, Beijing. More recently, Neil was named Associate Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia, University of Groningen, Netherlands.

 

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