CityU-HKBU Paired Talks on Art Histories - Lecture Series 2: Buddhism Objects and the East Asian Maritime World

Date: 29 November 2023 (Wednesday)
Time: 7-8:30 pm
Format: Hybrid mode (Onsite: Room 6-212, 6/F, Lau Ming Wai Academic Building, City University of Hong Kong/ Online via ZOOM)
Language: English/Chinese

LI Yiwen (Associate Professor, City University of Hong Kong)
ZHANG Shubin (Associate Professor, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou)

ZHAO Yi (Research Assistant Professor, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

WANG Lianming (Associate Professor, City University of Hong Kong)
WANG Yizhou (Research Assistant Professor, Hong Kong Baptist University)

Registration is required for online/onsite participation. Please complete the online registration form on or before 27 November 2023.

Registration Closed

All are welcome! 

Lecture Abstracts

Networks of Faith and Profit: Monks, Merchants, and Exchanges between China and Japan, 839 - 1403 CE  信仰與利益的聯結:九至十五世紀的僧侶、海商與中日交流 by LI Yiwen 

Between 839 and 1403 CE, there was a six-century lapse in diplomatic relations between present-day China and Japan. This hiatus in what is known as the tribute system has led to an assumption that there was little contact between the two countries in this period. Yiwen Li debunks this assumption, arguing instead that a vibrant Sino-Japanese trade network flourished in this period as Buddhist monks and merchants fostered connections across maritime East Asia. Based on a close examination of sources in multiple languages, including poems and letters, transmitted images and objects, and archaeological discoveries, Li presents a vivid and dynamic picture of the East Asian maritime world. She shows how this Buddhist trade network operated outside of the framework of the tribute system and, through novel interpretations of Buddhist records, provides a new understanding of the relationship between Buddhism and commerce.

Speaker Biography
Yiwen Li is associate professor of history at City University of Hong Kong. She received her Ph.D. in History from Yale University, and her dissertation won the Arthur and Mary Wright Prize for the best doctoral dissertation in non-Western History (2017).  Her research interests include maritime East Asia, material culture, and the Buddhist monastic economy. Her first book, Networks of Faith and Profit: Monks, Merchants, and Exchanges between China and Japan, 839 - 1403 CE, is published by Cambridge University Press in 2023.  Li is currently working on her second project, "Sacred Crafts: Artisans and Buddhist Monasteries in China and Japan, 960 - 1368." She is also a member of the working group "Ability and Authority" at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Dept III.

The Transatlantic Realization, the Transfer of Dharma Lineage, and the “Implicit Visual Gene” : Re-exploration of the “Manjusri Crossing the Sea” Painting in the Daigoji temple Collection, Japan 渡海化現、法脈轉移與“隱性視覺基因”——日本醍醐寺藏《文殊渡海圖》再探 by ZHANG Shubin


This lecture focuses on the dissemination and acceptance process of the Manjusri belief in Mt. Wutai in East Asia. It attempts to explore the origin of this new style of image and knowledge in the Sino-Japanese Buddhism cross-context communication, analyses the religious intent hidden behind the image, with the example of the  “Manjusri Crossing the Sea”  of the Japan Daigoji temple. The appearance of the new style just confirms the Japanese Buddhist world’s realistic imagination of the Manjusri Bodhisattva’s dharma has spread across the sea to the east side.

Speaker Biography
ZHANG Shubin is Associate Professor of art history at the Advanced School of Art and Humanities, Master supervisor, Director of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Museology Exhibitions of the Media City R&D Center of the China Academy of Art. He had studied art history and art theories at the China Academy of Art, gaining his PhD in 2017 with the dissertation “Dharma and Orthodoxy: The Formation of a Buddhist Sanctuary in Mt. Wutai and Its Visual Imagery in the East Asian Faith System”(《正法與正統:五臺山佛教聖地的建構及在東亞的視覺呈現》). He worked as a postdoctoral fellow in archaeology at Zhejiang University from 2017 to 2019. He is one of the Zhejiang Province “Zhijiang Young Top Scholars” (2022) and  “Zhijiang Young Social Science Scholars” (2021). He was also selected into the Zhejiang Province University Leading Talents Outstanding Young Talent Training Program (2022). He is a member of the Chinese Society for Historians of China’s foreign Relations and the Dunhuang Studies and Silk Road Research Association of Zhejiang Province. His main research fields include art archaeology, Dunhuang studies and Silk Road art, exchanges in Asian material culture, visual culture and cross-context art communication research.

Department of Chinese and History, City University of Hong Kong
Tel.:3442 2054