Dr. Katherine Tsiang
Associate Director of the Center for the Art of East Asia, University of Chicago
Visualizing the Divine — Chinese Religious Imagery of the Medieval Period
Religious art was the major form of art in the medieval period in China as in Europe. The emergence of Buddhist and religious Daoist imagery and mortuary art related to the cult of ancestors are the most notable developments in Chinese art during this period. This study takes an overview of the emergence of types of images of divinity that were recognized as meaningful, representative of religious beliefs, and worthy of veneration. It considers the complexity of types in relationship to specific doctrinal ideals and also to Chinese cultural contexts. It includes a wide range of visual material human and non-human forms, visions of heavenly and earthy space and place, textual material, and implied narratives. Rather than attempting a historical survey, this study is based on typologizing imagery of the sacred in China order to develop analytical perspectives that can be related to broader issues in the History of Art and Visual Culture.
Friday, November 18, 4-6 p.m. CWAC 156