China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: What can textual pairings, format, size, scripts, and images tell us about the worldviews of the donors, scribes, and readers of manuscripts? How can material sources inform us about the ways in which Buddhist adherents perceived but also actively shaped their traditions? In order to consider these questions, this panel brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars investigating a broad range of Buddhist manuscripts. The papers do not examine their respective manuscripts merely for their content; rather, the papers also analyze the material aspects of the manuscripts. The manuscripts under investigation span more than one thousand years, differing in both scripts and geographical regions. Specifically, the papers examine the manuscripts to gain a more comprehensive understanding of lived practice, theological debates, and transcultural interpretation. April D. Hughes investigates the format and textual pairing in a medieval concertina booklet from the Dunhuang Library Cave to gain a better understanding of how the booklet was used by practitioners. Asuka Sango will examine the content, context, and materiality of manuscripts produced by Buddhist scholar monks of early medieval Japan, and illustrate technologies of producing Buddhist doctrinal knowledge. Rae Dachille analyzes a cultural miscellany printed in eighteenth-century Beijing to refine and enrich the vocabulary for describing plurality in images of Buddhism produced in dialogue with the Qing court.
Paper Presenter: April Hughes – Boston University
Paper Presenter: Asuka Sango – Carleton College
Paper Presenter: Rae Dachille – The University of Arizona