Lecture: Copies and Duplication in Chinese Sculpture

Detail, Gathering of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. China, Hebei province, Fengfeng, Southern Xiangtangshan Cave Temples, Cave 2. Northern Qi dynasty, 550–577. Limestone with traces of pigment. Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1921.1

Detail, Gathering of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. China, Hebei province, Fengfeng, Southern Xiangtangshan Cave Temples, Cave 2. Northern Qi dynasty, 550–577. Limestone with traces of pigment. Freer Sackler Museum of Asian Art.

Professor Stanley Abe (Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies, Duke University) will be giving a lecture Friday, April 15 from 5-6:30 on Chinese sculpture and Buddhist images. “Copies and Duplication in Chinese Sculpture” will take place on the Georgetown University campus in the Walsh Building, Room 495.*

Professor Abe’s abstract: The first Buddhists in China were understandably concerned that their images of the Buddha were correct and efficacious.  We have stories of Buddha icons which flew from India to China, or were exact duplicates of famous Indian images.  And once images were made in China, older icons served as models for the new.  Yet, copies or duplicates are usually assumed to be modern fakes.  This lecture will discuss a range of Chinese sculptures from serial images and near duplicates to ancient copies and modern reproductions.  Some were pious replications of Buddhist images in archaic styles; others were reproductions of works with ancient inscriptions.  And some were indeed modern forgeries.  Archaism and anachronism, piety and fraud all played a role in creating copies and duplicates of Buddhist sculptures.

The lecture is free and open to the public; student attendance is particularly encouraged. Sponsored by the Departments of Art, Art History, Theology, and History.

*The Walsh Building is located at 1221 36th St. NW, Washington, DC 20057.

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