All events are free and open to the public

Fall Term 2018

September 21-23, 2018
International Conference: From the Silk to the Book Road(s):
Networks of Commerce, Artifacts, and Books Between Central and East Asia

Berkeley, California

From the Silk to the Book Road(s) conference image

For more information, please visit: http://frogbear.org/international-conference-from-the-silk-to-the-book-roads/

Thursday, September 27, 2018, 5pm
Thangkas, Texts, and the Silk Route
Ann Shaftel, Dalhousie University
180 Doe Memorial Library
UC Berkeley

Thangkas, Texts, and the Silk Route talk image

In a richly illustrated presentation on the challenges of applying conservation science to Buddhist sacred thangkas and texts, Ann Shaftel will include a discussion of the relationship between thangkas and texts, and the evolving function of thangkas in Buddhist philosophy, textural history and culture. The images accompanying her talk will feature Silk Route thangkas, and others from her 48 years of work in monasteries and museums.

Ann Shaftel’s work is at the forefront in the field of thangka conservation worldwide. She is a renowned teacher of international workshops on the conservation of Buddhist treasures—in the US, Canada, Europe, Bhutan, Nepal, India and China. She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation, and a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation. Ann’s international work in Treasure Caretaker Training www.treasurecaretaker.com won the prestigious Digital Empowerment Foundation’s Chairman’s Choice award.

Co-sponsored by the Tang Center for Silk Road Studies.

Friday, September 28, 2018, 6pm
2018 Tang Lecture
Illustrations of the Parinirvāṇa Cycle in Kucha
Monika Zin, University of Leipzig, Germany
Toll Room, Alumni House
University of California, Berkeley

Illustrations of the Parinirvāṇa Cycle in Kucha talk image

At least 100 caves in Kucha contain (or once contained) murals depicting scenes connected with the Buddha's death. The paintings are typically located in the rear part of the caves, in corridors behind the Buddha in the main niche. The illustrations begin with the episodes from the Buddha's last journey and end with the first council in Rājagṛha. It is solely through comparative analysis of the representations that it becomes possible to discern their programme. Through this programme, we discover the local beliefs these illustrations mirror, and the literary sources they illustrate. Interestingly, the arrangement of the murals in the corridors often follows the principles of symmetry, and not the chronology of the narrative, as if to create a “holy space” rather than to illustrate a chronology of events.

An expert on Indian and Central Asian Art, and Indian drama, Monika Zin began her academic career at the Jagiellon University in Cracow, Poland, in Theater Studies and Polish Language and Literature (M.A. in 1981). This was followed by a doctorate in Indology and Indian Art and post-doctoral studies (habilitation) in Indology at the LMU in Munich. In 2000, she joined the Department for Indology at the LMU Munich as an Associate Professor and also held a position as a Lecturer in Buddhist Art and Literature in the Department for Indology and Central Asian Sciences at the University of Leipzig from 2005 to 2008. From 2010-2014, she was a Visiting Professor in the Department of Art History at the FU Berlin. She is currently a professor at the University of Leipzig working on a project entitled “Buddhist Murals of Kucha on the Northern Silk Road.”

Co-sponsored by the Tang Center for Silk Road Studies.

Thursday, October 25, 2018, 5pm
Tianzhu Annual Lecture
Reflections on the Movement to Revive the Precepts in Kamakura Japan:
With a focus on Eison's 叡尊 Chōmonshū 聴聞集

Paul Groner, University of Virginia
180 Doe Memorial Library
UC Berkeley

Tianzhu Annual Lecture image

Although Japanese monks are renowned for their disregard for the precepts and monastic discipline, serious monks were concerned with whether they actually were proper Buddhists or not. Professor Groner uses a set of fragments from Eison's 叡尊 (1201-1290) lectures to explore how serious monks strove to revive the precepts and ordinations. By delving into the background of some of the fragments of the lectures, he highlights some surprising aspects of the movement.

Paul Groner received his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Yale and taught at the University of Virginia. His research focused on the Japanese Tendai School during the Heian period and the precepts and ordinations, which led to research on Eison, founder of the Shingon Ritsu sect, and the status of nuns in medieval Japan. In recent years, his interests have extended to the Tendai educational system during the Muromachi Period and to the establishment of Japan's first public library at the Tendai temple, Kan'eiji. His publications consist of Saichō: The Establishment of the Japanese Tendai School and Ryōgen and Mount Hiei: Japanese Tendai in the Tenth Century and approximately fifty papers.