INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON BUDDHIST ART – TAASA Review June 2008

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This article was originally found in the June 2008 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 17, Issue 2, Page 23).

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Ann MacArthur A n international symposium, `Chinese Buddhist Art: New Discoveries and Perspectives’ organised by the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Australian Centre for Asian Art and Archaeology at University of Sydney, will bring leading scholars from around the world to Sydney at the launch in August 2008 of the exhibition Lost Buddhas: Chinese Buddhist sculpture from Qingzhou. The discovery in 1996 of a cache of about 400 stone sculptures buried in a pit on the site of the long destroyed Longxing Temple in Qingzhou, on China’s north-east coast in Shandong province, was a significant archaeological find rivalling that of the first emperor’s terracotta army.

Created between the sixth-ninth centuries, the sculptures were ritually interred during the 12th century for reasons that are still unclear.

The historical unknowns together with the high level of artistic attainment of the sculptures raise compelling questions that continue to inspire academic discussion. Following their discovery, exhibitions devoted in whole or in part to the Qingzhou Buddhist sculptures were organised at museums in Beijing, Tokyo, Europe and North America ...