Symposium: Art and Material Culture of the Northern Qi Period
Accompanied the exhibition Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan.
The brief Northern Qi dynasty witnessed tremendous change in Chinese art and material culture. In fact, many researchers have described it as one of the most pivotal periods in all of Chinese history, forming the roots of the cosmopolitan culture that matured during the later Sui (581–618) and Tang (618–907) dynasties.
Inspired by the Sackler's presentation of Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan, this symposium investigated artifacts from the Northern Qi period (550–77), the intellectual and ethnic contexts of their production, and current efforts to preserve and analyze this material. It began with a keynote address by Professor Wu Hung of the University of Chicago that framed key issues associated with the era. Other leading specialists presented eleven papers introducing new findings in Buddhist and mortuary remains. On the final day, a survey of existing scholarship by the preeminent scholar Al Dien preceded a roundtable discussion to identify topics for future research on the Northern Qi.