VISUAL AND MATERIAL PERSPECTIVES ON EAST ASIA
Feb 1 (Fri), 2013, 4:00-6:00, CWAC 156
ACM-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Lake Forest College
“Reexamining Yongle’s Architectural Legacy”
Historical scholarship closely aligns Emperor Yongle (r. 1402-24) with his greatest architectural achievement, the Forbidden City in Beijing. Scholars have also examined the dazzling porcelain pagoda that Yongle constructed at Bao’ensi in Nanjing to honor his late father and putative mother, which unfortunately no longer survives. This paper will draw attention to the creation of several other important, but lesser known, architectural projects with which Yongle was intimately involved. These include the Tibetan Buddhist monastery Qutansi at the Sino-Tibetan frontier, the Daoist architectural complex on Mt. Wudang in central China, and the massive Diamond-seat pagoda at Zhenjuesi in Beijing. By examining these monuments together, I will demonstrate the great extent to which architectural patronage figured into Yongle’s personal and political life and helped contribute to his extraordinary cultural legacy, both in and outside of the Ming capitals. More broadly, I will introduce some characteristics of the official Ming court architectural style that are embodied in these buildings.
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