Conceptualizing Symbols in the process of Religious Transfer: The View from China

Professor David Moser 莫大伟

Venue: Room 1505, 1555 Century Avenue, NYU Shanghai
Date: Monday, October 31, 2016
Time: 14:30 to 16:00 CST

This presentation by Professor Henrik Sørensen seeks to elucidate the ‘mechanics’ and conditions surrounding the transfer and adaptation of religious material from one religion to the other, in this case from Buddhism to Daoism and vice versa. Dr. Sørensen will focus on how religious symbols and imagery work in such processes and examine a number of examples from late Tang to early modern period materials. 

Dr. Henrik H. Sørensen is an independent scholar, formerly of the University of Copenhagen and the National Museum of Denmark. He is currently the director of the independent research center, The Seminar for Buddhist Studies, which is affiliated with the University of Edinburgh through the publication of the electronic journal Journal for the Study of East and Central Asian Religions (eJECAR). His research interests include the relationship between religious practice and material culture in East Asian Esoteric Buddhism and issues relating to the definition, textual history, and iconography of early Esoteric Buddhism in China. He was recently a research fellow at the KHK Research Project at Ruhr University, Germany (2011–2012) where he worked with Buddhist and Daoist interactions in medieval China. Recent publications include “Esoteric Buddhism under the Koryǒ in the Light of the Greater East Asian Tradition” (2006), “Trends in the Study of Korean Buddhism in Europe from 1968–2006” (2007) and “Esoteric Buddhism and the Art of the Dazu Stone Carvings in Sichuan” (2008), “The Talismanic Seal Incorporated: An Iconographic Note on Seal-Bearing Bodhisattvas in the Sculptural Art of Sichuan and the Significance of Seals within the Chinese Esoteric Buddhist Tradition,” (co-authored w. Tom Suchan), Artibus Asiae Vol. 73:2 (2013), pp. 403–43; “Concerning the Role and Iconography of the Astral Deity Sudṛṣti (Miaojian 妙見) in Esoteric Buddhism.” In China and Beyond in the Mediaeval Period: Cultural Crossings and Inter-Regional Connections. Ed. Dorothy Wong and Gustav Heldt. Singapore: Manohar 2014, pp. 403–20; as well as several articles in Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia (Brill, 2011, co-edited w. Charles D. Orzech). 

Introduction and moderation by Professor Francesca Tarocco.

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