Body, Space and Ritual in Medieval East Asian Buddhism: Exploration of Archaeological Finds from the Liao Pagodas (907 to 1127)


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


History of Art


Through an exploration of rich archaeological finds from the pagodas of the Liao dynasty, this book project aims to re-envision East Asian Buddhist practice and visual culture of the 10th to 12th century. Because the Liao empire left so few historical documents, its significant role in shaping East Asian Buddhist practice has been largely overlooked. By analyzing archaeologically excavated inscriptions, printed scrolls, and artworks from Liao pagodas, this book project traces the hitherto unknown impact of Liao Buddhism on Shingon Buddhist ritual in late Heian Japan. These complex archeological data also reveal how Buddhist theories on the Buddha-body and Huayan cosmology were visualized and embodied through architectural monuments that served as Esoteric Buddhist ritual space in Liao.