Entering the Seemingly Unattainable Country of Laṅkā：Carving the Laṅkāvatāra Sutra at Mount Gang in Shandong
2021 Sammy Lee Virtual Seminar by Hsueh-man Shen
Friday, November 5, 2021
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM （Pacific Time）
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Among all stone sutra sites in China, Mount Gangshan stands out because of the visuality it creates and the experience it affords. This paper explores the way in which the carving and subsequent placement of the Laṅkāvatāra Sutra across many rocks on the mountain create an immersive experience that prompts visitors to contemplate the sutra doctrine of the absence of an independent, permanent nature in everything. It shows that the design intentionally confuses spectators, making them fuse the images of Laṅkā and Mount Gang in their minds. This mental process makes one realize that all phenomena are but mental projections. Once he realizes this, he obtains the key to the Unattainable Country of Laṅkā.
Hsueh-man Shen is Ehrenkranz Associate Professor in World Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Prior to joining the faculty of NYU, she taught at the University of Edinburgh, U.K. She also held several curatorial positions in the U.K., U.S., and Taiwan. Shen received her Ph.D. in Archaeology at the University of Oxford and M.A. in Art History at National Taiwan University.
A Closer Look:
Buddhist Art in Sixth-Century Shandong
2021 Sammy Lee Virtual Lecture by Hsueh-man Shen
Saturday, November 6, 2021
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM（Pacific Time）
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The sixth century CE saw Buddhism and Buddhist art flourish in China despite political instability. New forms and mediums were exploited to depict Buddhist stories and doctrines. In the coastal province of Shandong, sutra texts were carved in large scale on cliffs and boulders. Meanwhile, numerous bronze statuettes were cast and subsequently buried in caches. While cave-temples and stone sutras are concentrated in the western part of Shandong, bronze and stone sculptures come mostly from central Shandong. Taking advantage of new discoveries in the region, this lecture explores the history of Buddhist art in Shandong, where distinctive approaches were developed in response to stimuli arriving from India and other parts of the Buddhist world via land and maritime trade routes during the period in concern.
About Sammy Lee Lecture Series
First presented in 1982 in celebration of his 80th birthday, the Sammy Yukuan Lee Lectures on Chinese Art and Archaeology honors the life and philanthropy of respected businessman, art collector, and Chinese art authority, Sammy Yukuan Lee. This series is presented annually by the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies with support from the Sammy Yukuan Lee Foundation.