Tung Lin Kok Yuen Buddhist Art

Online Lecture Series

Date: 2021 February 23 & 25

          2021 March 1 & 3

Time: 6:30-8:30 pm (HKT)

Conducted in English

JOIN our online lectures on Zoom!

Online lecture: 

Zoom link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/92531227012

Meeting ID: 925 3122 7012

Lectures topic:

Feb 23 - Lecture 1:   

Greek iconography to narrate a Buddhist story: Gandhāran art revisited

by Prof. Osmund Bopearachchi, Adjunct Professor of Central and South Asian Art, Archaeology, and Numismatics, University of California

Feb 25 - Lecture 2:

The life story of Gautama Buddha adorning the Kandyan period murals in Sri Lanka

by Prof. Osmund Bopearachchi, Adjunct Professor of Central and South Asian Art, Archaeology, and Numismatics, University of California

Mar 1- Lecture 3:

Introduction to Tibetan Art and Archaeology, 7th-21st century

by Dr. Amy Heller, Assistant lecturer with Institute for the Science of Religion and Central Asian Studies, University of Bern

Mar 3  - Lecture 4:

Buddhist art of Western Tibet and the Western Himalayas

by Dr. Amy Heller, Assistant lecturer with Institute for the Science of Religion and Central Asian Studies, University of Bern

Organized by HKU Centre of Buddhist Studies

Sponsored by Tung Lin Kok Yuen (東蓮覺苑)

 

Feb 23 (6:30-8:30 pm (HKT)) - Lecture 1

Greek iconography to narrate a Buddhist story: Gandhāran art revisited

by Prof. Osmund Bopearachchi, Adjunct Professor of Central and South Asian Art, Archaeology, and Numismatics, University of California

 

 

 

Abstract

The Gandhāran Budhist art flourished under the auspicious political domination of the Kuṣāṇ Empire in a vast region which was once the cradle of diverse political supremacies and civilisations, such as those of the Achaemenids, the Greeks, the Scythians and the Parthians. The presence of Western powers in the fertile lands of Gandhāra and Greater Gandhāra for many generations gave birth to an innovative art characterized by naturalism and narrative power. The specificity of Gandhāran art is also its ability to narrate an Indian story,  namely the life story of the Guatama Buddha, his previous lives and peripheral stories using both Western and Indian artistic motifs. The presence of Greeks in the area since the conquest of Alexander the Great is an important historical fact. This talk highlights how, thanks to these cross-cultural interactions, a new complex art with an iconographic program illustrated by its singularity was born in Gandhāra.

About the speaker

 

 

Prof. Osmund Bopearachchi is the Adjunct Professor of Central and South Asian Art, Archaeology, and Numismatics, University of California, Berkeley and Emeritus Director of Research of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (C.N.R.S.-E.N.S. Paris). He is a numismatist, historian and archaeologist. He has authored 14 books, edited six books and published 165 research articles in reputed international journals. He has read 91 papers at international colloquia; presented 275 conferences in 80 cities, and has carried out 120 archaeological missions in 24 different countries. Prof. Bopearachchi holds a B.A. from the University of Kelaniya (Sri Lanka), and B.A. honors, (M.A.), M.Phil., Ph.D. from the Paris I-Sorbonne University, and a Higher Doctorate (Habilitation) from the Paris IV-Sorbonne University. He recently published a book on Gandhāran art entitled: “When West Met East: Gandhāran Art Revisted (Manohar, Delhi, 2020) based on a selection of hitherto unknown masterpieces from Gandhāra and Greater Gandhāra dispersed in museums and private collections in Japan, Europe, Canada and United States of America.

 

Feb 25 (6:30-8:30 pm (HKT)) - Lecture 2

The life story of Gautama Buddha adorning the Kandyan period murals in Sri Lanka

by Prof. Osmund Bopearachchi, Adjunct Professor of Central and South Asian Art, Archaeology, and Numismatics, University of California

 

 

Abstract

The only Sri Lanka paintings that really passed to posterity are those of the famous Sigiriya rock dated to the fifth century CE depicting celestial apsaras. However, the island has a long tradition of painting the vāhalkaḍas (frontispieces) and relic chambers of the stūpas and the murals of image houses, which date back to the second century CE. It is at the beginning of the 18th century, at the height of the Kandyan period, during the reign of Narendrasimha that a new era of pictorial art began. King Kirti sri Rajasimha (1751-1781) was the instigator and mastermind of this artistic renaissance in the kingdom of Kandy. Thus was born a Kandyan style with its characteristics, its conventions, its themes and its technique. Sri Lankan artists of the Kandyan period followed the Pāli tradition, very particularly the narrations in the Nidānakathā when depicting the life story of the Buddha Gautama. For this reason, the artistic program of the Kandyan period is characterized by its uniqueness in the choice of events related to the life of Buddha compared to other Indian art schools mainly, Gandhāra and Mathurā strongly inspired by the Sanskrit tradition. For example, in all Kandyan period paintings it is this Pāli tradition which is faithfully respected when depicting the great departure, the assault of Māra and above all the seven weeks after the Buddha’s Enlightenment. This presentation therefore highlights the exclusivity of the narratives of the Kandyan period murals.

About the speaker

 

 

Prof. Osmund Bopearachchi is the Adjunct Professor of Central and South Asian Art, Archaeology, and Numismatics, University of California, Berkeley and Emeritus Director of Research of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (C.N.R.S.-E.N.S. Paris). He is a numismatist, historian and archaeologist. He has authored 14 books, edited six books and published 165 research articles in reputed international journals. He has read 91 papers at international colloquia; presented 275 conferences in 80 cities, and has carried out 120 archaeological missions in 24 different countries. Prof. Bopearachchi holds a B.A. from the University of Kelaniya (Sri Lanka), and B.A. honors, (M.A.), M.Phil., Ph.D. from the Paris I-Sorbonne University, and a Higher Doctorate (Habilitation) from the Paris IV-Sorbonne University. He recently published a book on Gandhāran art entitled: “When West Met East: Gandhāran Art Revisted (Manohar, Delhi, 2020) based on a selection of hitherto unknown masterpieces from Gandhāra and Greater Gandhāra dispersed in museums and private collections in Japan, Europe, Canada and United States of America.

 

Mar 1 (6:30-8:30 pm (HKT)) - Lecture 3

Introduction to Tibetan Art and Archaeology, 7th-21st century

by Dr. Amy Heller, Assistant lecturer with Institute for Science of Religion and Central Asian Studies, University of Bern

 

 

 

Abstract

Spanning mid-7th to 9th century, the Tibetan empire is reputed for tomb artefacts and early Buddhist art of eastern Tibet and central Tibet. From the 10th century onwards, Buddhism expands throughout the vast Tibetan plateau. In the kingdoms of western Tibet, the Kashmiri aesthetic matrix predominates while in Central Tibet, the monasteries are replete with murals, clay and cast sculptures, more inspired by aesthetics of India and Nepal. Tibetan monks were prelates for certain emperors during the Yuan and Ming dynasties, notably introducing Newar artists to the Yuan Court. The Yung Lo reign (1403-1424) produced sculptures, embroideries, Buddhist manuscripts as munificent presents to Tibetan monks. Upon their return to Tibet, the Gyantse monastery (ca. 1430-1450) reflects the influence of the Yung Lo court as well as Newar art, leading to the earliest schools of Tibetan master artists which develop progressively through the 16th -17th century. This coincides with the rise of the Gelugpa school of the Dalai Lamas and their patronage resulting in vast diffusion of woodblock stencils guaranteeing their aesthetic paramountcy. Master artists such as  Chos dbyings rdo rje (1604-1674) esteemed Chinese landscapes, bringing new compositions to Tibetan art of 17th- 19th century. In the 20th- 21st century, there is an influx of innovative tendencies as well as traditional Buddhist art.

About the speaker

 

 

Dr. Amy Heller teaches Tibetan art and architecture in Institute for the Science of Religion and Central Asian Studies, University of Bern. Since 1986, she has been affiliated with the Paris CNRS Tibet team of the Center for Research on the Civilisations of Eastern Asia (CRCAO). 1974 BA cum Laude at Barnard College in Art history, 1980 Diplôme de Langue et Civilisation Tibétaine at INALCO, Paris and 1992 Diplôme de l'Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, IVe section, Philology and History, Paris. Visiting professor at La Sapienza (2006, 2008) and Centre for Tibetan Studies, Sichuan University ( 2007-2013). Her books comprise Tibetan Art (1999),  Tibetan Buddhist Art 西藏佛教藝術  (2007), Early Himalayan Art (2008) and Hidden Treasures of the Himalayas, Tibetan manuscripts paintings and sculptures of Dolpo (2009); edited books: Discoveries in Western Tibet and Western Himalayas (2007), The Arts of Tibetan Painting (2012) and Visual Culture of Tibet and the Himalayas (2020).

 

Mar 3 (6:30-8:30 pm (HKT)) - Lecture 4

Buddhist art of Western Tibet and the Western Himalayas

by Dr. Amy Heller, Assistant lecturer with Institute for Science of Religion and Central Asian Studies, University of Bern

 

 

Abstract

Recent research has revealed a small corpus of Buddhist icons whose firm date and distinctive iconography characterize artistic commissions in Western Tibet and the Western Himalayas in the kingdoms of Gu.ge-Pu.hrang. During the late 10th to 11th century, Kashmiri and Bengali panditas were invited to Tholing, the royal monastery of Gu.ge, to teach and translate the Buddhist Dharma into Tibetan language in tandem with Kashmiri and Tibetan artists who collaborated to furnish and embellish the newly founded sanctuaries. There ensued a vast production of illuminated manuscripts of the Perfection of Wisdom sutra, mural and portable paintings as well as sculptures cast in metal and modeled in clay, notably representing the mandalas of the Vajradhatu and Dharmadhatu thanks to new translations by Rinchen bzangpo (947-1055), the royal chapelain of the Gu.ge kingdom.  In the light of Tibetan dedication inscriptions and Tibetan historical documents, this presentation will examine the historical, iconographical and aesthetic relationships of the works of Buddhist art of the kingdoms of Gu.ge-Pu.hrang as well as Buddhist art in sanctuaries of central Ladakah sponsored by the Guge royal family and their entourage.

About the speaker

 

 

Dr. Amy Heller teaches Tibetan art and architecture in Institute for the Science of Religion and Central Asian Studies, University of Bern. Since 1986, she has been affiliated with the Paris CNRS Tibet team of the Center for Research on the Civilisations of Eastern Asia (CRCAO). 1974 BA cum Laude at Barnard College in Art history, 1980 Diplôme de Langue et Civilisation Tibétaine at INALCO, Paris and 1992 Diplôme de l'Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, IVe section, Philology and History, Paris. Visiting professor at La Sapienza (2006, 2008) and Centre for Tibetan Studies, Sichuan University ( 2007-2013). Her books comprise Tibetan Art (1999),  Tibetan Buddhist Art 西藏佛教藝術  (2007), Early Himalayan Art (2008) and Hidden Treasures of the Himalayas, Tibetan manuscripts paintings and sculptures of Dolpo (2009); edited books: Discoveries in Western Tibet and Western Himalayas (2007), The Arts of Tibetan Painting (2012) and Visual Culture of Tibet and the Himalayas (2020).

© 2020 by HKU Centre of Buddhist Studies

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