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"Dunhuang Material Culture, Its Creation, and Use." BuddhistRoad Guest Lecture Series by Neil Schmid
The final talk in the series ties together a variety of themes and topics in previous lectures through the exploration of Chinese scholarship on material culture. Picking up from the previous lecture, this presentation reviews recent and ongoing projects digitising and cataloguing Dunhuang caves and their contents. In the context of Chinese Dunhuang Studies, the category of material culture also extends to objects illustrated within cave murals, ranging from furniture to clothes to musical instruments, all of which have become research topics in their own right. Another rich area of research, spanning image and realia, are textiles and fabrics, as well as votive objects such as banners from the Library Cave. In addition to study on the visual programmes of Dunhuang Caves and their contents, Chinese scholars have increasingly focused on the degree to which material culture documents the transmutation of Buddhism in its transmission from India to China via Central Asia. The talk will close with summary of primary trends and future directions in Chinese Dunhuang Studies.
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