“Buddhism and the Arts” Lecture Series: The Lives and Afterlives of Buddhist Sites: Stewardship of the Mogao Caves at Dunhuang during the Guiyijun Period (848–1036)

Speaker: Michelle C. Wang (Georgetown University)

Date and time: Friday, June 14, 2024, 4:15 PM (Paris)

Location: Salle de Sacy, Maison de la Recherche, Inalco, 2 rue de Lille, 75007 Paris

Funding: Glorisun Charitable Foundation


Abstract: My paper explores renovations to the Mogao Caves at Dunhuang carried out during the Guiyijun Period (848–1036), in particular, the construction of wooden structures attached to certain cave façades. In doing so, my aims are twofold: first, I will argue for evidence of premodern conservation practice that coincided with the aspirations of the Cao clan, who ruled Dunhuang in 914–1036, for the longevity of their rule. Second, I develop ways of thinking about the Mogao Caves from a transhistorical perspective that considers the lives and afterlives of Buddhist sites.


About the Speaker: Michelle C. Wang is a specialist in the Buddhist and silk road art of northwestern China, primarily of the 6th-10th centuries. Her first book Maṇḍalas in the Making: The Visual Culture of Esoteric Buddhism at Dunhuang (Brill, 2018) examines Buddhist mandalas of the 8th-10th centuries at the Mogao and Yulin Buddhist cave shrines in northwestern China. She has also written about art and ritual, miracle tales of animated statues, Buddhist materiality, the transcultural reception of Buddhist motifs, and text and image. Her current research examines th reception of medieval silk road sites during the Victorian era and premodern conservation practice.


Original event page

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