Harvard-Yenching Institute Lecture Series
Co-Sponsored by the Korea Institute
“A Study on the Interchange of 5th-7th Century East Asian Gilt Bronze Buddhist Sculptures”
Eun Gyeng Yang
Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology, Pusan National University
Discussant: Rowan Flad, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University
This talk will focus on the comparison of gilt bronze Buddhist sculptures from Korea’s Three Kingdoms period and the Shandong region, especially Buddhist sculptures with halos. Existing studies on 5th-7th century international exchange in Shandong, an important center of cultural interchange between China, Korea, and Japan and the place of origin for Buddhist sculpture, seem insufficient. Identifying the exact characteristics of Buddhist sculptures from Shandong will provide vital information for understanding the exchange of Buddhism and Buddhist sculptures at the time. In previous studies on the origins and stylistic changes of Buddhist sculptures and cultural interchange in East Asia, Northern Dynasties gilt bronze statues were compared with other Buddhist artworks because they were large in number, thus able to provide extensive and diverse data. As not many bronze statues survive from the Southern Dynasties, making comparisons or doing research on them was virtually impossible.
Through the analysis of small 6th century gilt bronze Buddhist sculptures, Prof. Yang will examine whether gilt bronze Buddhist sculpture from the Three Kingdoms period and those of the Shandong region are similar. Second, she will explore the possibility of another origin of the Shandong Buddhist sculptures, since they differ somewhat from Buddhist sculpture of the Northern dynasties. Third, she will examine why Buddhist sculptures from two different regions look similar.