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Nickel, Lukas (2002) 'Ein Fund erregt Aufsehen. Die Skulpturen aus Qingzhou und der urbane Buddhismus des 6. Jahrhunderts. [A Discovery Produces Excitement. The Sculptures from Qingzhou and Urban Buddhism in the 6th Century].' Ostasiatische Zeitschrift, 3. pp. 5-23.

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This article addresses a series of questions connected to the material presented in the exhibition “Return of the Buddha”, which could not be dealt with in the catalogue proper. It consists of three parts. The first part discusses the reasons for the extraordinary public and scholarly interest in Buddhist art of the pre-Tang period since the early 1990s. It connects the rise in public awareness towards this formerly neglected topic to a changing political landscape and to the development of a national art market in mainland China. Part two discusses one surprising observation. From the 520s onwards the area of Shandong appears to have been the leading center of Buddhist art production, especially of the production of stone sculpture of highest artistic quality. However, over the preceding three centuries barely any stone sculpture was made in this area. Stone masonry was not a developed art form. The article argues that the sudden surge in sponsorship and sculpture production followed the forced dislocation of parts of the Shandong elite to Pingcheng, the core area of Northern Wei, and later to the new capital Luoyang between 470 and 520 and their conversion to Buddhism. A new form of Buddhist devotion developed in Luoyang at that time, the so-called “Luoyang Piety”, which favored direct individual veneration of the Buddha by lay believers, placed Buddha images at the centre of religious activity. The new religiosity as well as skilled stone masons were brought back to Shandong when the Wei capital Luoyang was ransacked and destroyed during political uprisings and civil war in the 520s and 30s. Part three explores how sculptures were conceived in the 6th century. For this, the text of a stelae commemorating the donation of images to the temple in 573 is analysed.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History of Art and Archaeology
ISSN: 16179404
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2008 16:48

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