In the wake of the white-supremacist terrorism of August 11-13, we wish to highlight and paraphrase some of the comments of Ian Baucom, Dean of Arts and Sciences:
Be assured that the Art Department remains a space where all can pursue the dialogue that counters the lies of racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, and nativism.
We are prepared to stand up for and support those who have been singled out as targets for hatred. The courage of free thought opposing cowardice and bigotry endures and persists here despite violence.


China and Beyond in the Mediaeval Period:
Cultural Crossings and Inter-regional Connections

Dorothy Wong, Associate Professor, East Asian Art,
Co-editor, with Gustav Heldt, and contributing author of Chapter 3, "An Agent of Cultural Transmission: Jianzhen's Travels to Japan, 743-63," pp. 63-99.
Nalanda-Sriwijaya Series, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers; Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2014.

This volume examines China's contacts with neighboring cultures in Central, South, Southeast, and Northeast Asia, as well as contacts among those cultures from the beginning of the Common Era to the tenth century and beyond. During this period, transregional and crosscultural exchanges were fostered by both peaceful and aggressive activities and movements of peoples across Eurasia along land and maritime routes. Such movements played an important role in world history in the medieval period, and yet many aspects of cultural exchanges across Eurasia remain understudied. The lack of knowledge is particularly evident in treatments of Chinese history between the Han and Tang empires. Examining relations with neighboring cultures during this period calls into question notions of China as a monolithic cultural entity.

Grouped under the four headings of "Networks of Exchange," "Silk Road Crossings," "Textual Centers and Peripheries," and "Buddhist Art and Iconography," the twenty-one chapters in this volume reveal transmissions, transgressions, syntheses, accommodations, and transformations that occurred when peoples and cultures came into contact with one another. They explore the motivations for the movements of peoples and goods-trade, war, diplomacy, acquisition of culture and knowledge (and sometimes of talent), and evangelical Buddhism. They also analyze the impacts of these exchanges through study of the artefacts, concepts, technologies, and practices associated with these interactions from a multidisciplinary perspective.

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Hōryūji Reconsidered

Dorothy Wong, Associate Professor, East Asian Art
Editor, with Eric M. Field (design), and contributing author.
New Castle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993, the Hōryūji temple complex includes some of the oldest and largest surviving wooden buildings in the world. The original Hōryūji temple was built between 601 and 607 by Prince Regent Shōtoku (573?-622), one of Japan's best-known cultural heroes. The construction of the temple marked the introduction of Buddhism and Buddhist art and architecture to Japan from China, by way of the Korean peninsula, as promoted by Prince Shōtoku. After a fire in 670 that destroyed the site, the temple was rebuilt and enlarged. Hōryūji became one of Japan's leading centers of Buddhist scholarship as well as a focus for the cult of its founder, Prince Shōtoku. This volume of essays originate from the "The Dawn of East Asian International Buddhist Art and Architecture: Hōryūji (Temple of the Exalted Law) in Its Contexts" symposium held at the University of Virginia in October 2005. Covering the disciplines of archaeology, architecture, architectural history, art history, and religion, these essays aim to shed new light on the Hōryūji complex by (1) examining new archaeological materials, (2) incorporating computer analysis of the structural system of the pagoda, and (3) including cross-cultural, interdisciplinary perspectives that reflect current research in various ways.

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Chinese Steles:
Pre-Buddhist and Buddhist Use of a Symbolic Form

Dorothy Wong, Associate Professor, East Asian Art
Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2004

Buddhist steles represent an important subset of early Chinese Buddhist art that flourished during the Northern and Southern Dynasties period (386-581). Adapted from the traditional Chinese stone tablet (bei) used for carving Buddhist images, symbols, and allegorical stories, this hybrid form epitomizes the close interactions and synthesis of indigenous Chinese and Indian Buddhist traditions on many levels: religious, social, cultural, and artistic. The phenomenon of Buddhist steles lasted only about a century (from the late fifth through the sixth century), yet this brief period yielded many works of superb artistic quality. These steles also offer important insights into the role Buddhism played in the history and culture of early medieval China and the process of adaptation and transformation by which the foreign religion was assimilated into Chinese society and became part of its civilization.

More than two hundred Chinese Buddhist steles are known to have survived. Their brilliant imagery has long captivated scholars, yet until now the Buddhist stele as a unique art form has received little scholarly attention. Dorothy Wong rectifies that insufficiency by providing in this well-illustrated volume the first comprehensive investigation of this group of Buddhist monuments. She traces the ancient roots of the Chinese stele tradition and investigates the process by which Chinese steles were adapted for Buddhist use. She arranges the known corpus of Buddhist steles into broad chronological and regional groupings and analyzes not only their form and content but also the nexus of complex issues surrounding this art form — from cultural symbolism to the interrelations between religious doctrine and artistic expression, economic production, patronage, and the synthesis of native and foreign art styles. In her analysis of Buddhism's dialogue with native traditions, Wong demonstrates how the Chinese artistic idiom planted the seeds for major achievements in figural and landscape arts in the ensuing Sui and Tang periods.

Considering the use of the upright stone by artists in many civilizations, this study of traditional Chinese bei and their Buddhist adaptations contemplates subjects that transcend the steles' own time and place, thus entering the larger discussion of the nature of symbolic forms.

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(Chinese edition of Chinese Steles: Pre-Buddhist and Buddhist Use of a Symbolic Form)

Trans. Mao Qiujin 毛秋瑾
Dorothy Wong, Associate Professor, East Asian Art
Beijing: Shangwu Press, 2011

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China and Beyond in the
Mediaeval Period: Cultural
Crossings and Inter-Regional

Hōryūji Reconsidered

Chinese Steles: Pre-Buddhist and
Buddhist Use of a Symbolic Form

Chinese translation, Chinese
Steles: Pre-Buddhist and Buddhist
Use of a Symbolic Form