The Sixty-Eighth A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts: End as Beginning: Chinese Art and Dynastic Time, Part 4: Miraculous Icons and Dynastic Time: Narrating Buddhist Images in Medieval China
Wu Hung, Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Art History, University of Chicago. In the six-part lecture series End as Beginning: Chinese Art and Dynastic Time, Wu Hung explores the narratives of Chinese art and their relationship to artistic production while reflecting on a series of questions: How did dynastic time emerge and permeate writings on traditional Chinese art? How did it enrich and redefine itself in specific historical contexts? How did it interact with temporalities in different historical, religious, and political systems? How did narratives based on dynastic time respond to and inspire artistic creation? In the fourth lecture, “Miraculous Icons and Dynastic Time: Narrating Buddhist Images in Medieval China,” delivered on April 28, 2019, Wu Hung examines the introduction of Buddhist art during the Period of Division and the reunification of the Sui and the Tang, when “miraculous icons” became a central subject in both historical narrative and art making, and the concept of dynastic time remained, while its meaning and utility underwent constant negotiation between religious and political authorities.