Responsable: Christophe Marquet

École française d'Extrême-Orient
Kitashirakawa bettô-chô 29, Sakyô-ku
606-8276 Kyoto
Tel: +81 75 701 0882
Fax: +81 75 701 0883
〒606-8276 京都市左京区北白川別当町29

Anna Seidel Memorial Lecture 2018
11 JUNE 18

Title: Traces of Buddhism, Daoism, and Popular Religion in East Asian Religious Icons

Speaker:  James Robson
Harvard University

June 11, 2018 18:00-19:30
@Kyoto University, Institute for Research in Humanities,
Center for Informatics in East Asian Studies

Address: Kitashirakawa Higashi-ogura-cho 47, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8265

This lecture will be held in English.

Abstract:  Scholars of East Asian religions have become increasingly aware of the sheer quantity of statues that have texts, manuscripts, relics, and materia medica deposited inside of them. This talk focuses on those religious statues and the analysis of the materials that are interred in them at the time of their consecration. I will take a broad look at statues from China, Korea, and Japan that have materials inside of them to assess what they can tell us about the religious practices of both elites and non-elites.  In one of Anna Seidel's publications, the Hōbōgirin entry on “Chūjaku” 鍮石, she discussed the metals used for casting religious icons. In this talk my focus will be on religious statues made from wood. Throughout her career Seidel also maintained an interest in things interred in tombs ("Tokens of Immortality in Han Graves” and "Traces of Han Religion in Funeral Texts Found in Tombs”) and approached her research topics with an eye to what can be learned from a comparative perspective as a historian of religion.  In this talk I will draw inspiration from Seidel’s interest in these areas by bringing out into the light of day the materials deposited into the dark inner cavities of statues from across East Asia. 

Bio: James Robson is the James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University and the Director of the Harvard Summer School in Kyoto program at Doshisha University. He received his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford University in 2002. He specializes in the history of East Asian religious traditions. He is the author of Power of Place: The Religious Landscape of the Southern Sacred Peak [Nanyue 南嶽] in Medieval China (Harvard Asia Center, 2009), which was awarded the Stanislas Julien Prize for 2010 by the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres [Prix Stanislas Julien by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres] and the 2010 Toshihide Numata Book Prize in Buddhism, and the editor of the Norton Anthology of World Religions: Daoism (W. W. Norton, 2015). He is the co-editor of Images, Relics and Legends. The Formation and Transformation of Buddhist Sacred Sites (Mosaic, 2012) and Buddhist Monasticism in East Asia: Places of Practice (Routledge, 2010).  He is currently completing a book titled The Daodejing: A Biography (Princeton University Press, Lives of Great Religious Books Series).

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