Lothar Ledderose: "Writing on Mountains to Save the World"
In the sixth century Buddhist monks in present-day Shandong engraved Buddha names and excerpts from Sutra texts onto rocky cliffs under the open sky. This is a unique phenomenon in China, and perhaps in the world. With their land art the monks created a realm of the Buddha.
The lecture will explore, how the stone inscriptions were used in meditation, how with these inscriptions holy sites were transferred from India and recreated on the Chinese mountains, and how colophons guided the thoughts of the faithful and established a politico-religious context.
Lothar Ledderose is Senior Professor of East Asian art history at Heidelberg University and member of the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften. His books include Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy, 1979 (Chinese translation, 2008), and Ten Thousand Things. Module and Mass Production in Chinese Art, 2000 (Chinese translation, 2005). He is presently directing a research project on the Buddhist Stone Sutras in China. In 2005 he was awarded the Balzan Prize.