Sunday, 25 October 2015

Frances Wood - From Buddhism to Nestorian Christianity

This lecture, "From Buddhism to Nestorian Christianity: The importance of the Silk Roads in the movement of ideas and religions across Central Asia" took place at the UBC Asian Auditorium on May 26, 2015. 
As the popular name suggests, the Silk Roads were seen as routes for the movement of commodities over thousands of year: as silk to Rome, jade and fine horses to China. 
But the movement of ideas and icons was also facilitated by these trade routes and evidence of the rich variety of religions seen on the Silk Road was provided by the great cache of manuscripts discovered in Dunhuang in 1900. 
Since the first removal of manuscripts to London by Aurel Stein in 1907, followed in the next year by the polymath Paul Pelliot, collecting for Parisian institutions, scholars have been astounded by the richness of this manuscript hoard. It reveals the significance of Buddhism in the daily life of Tang China but also shows the importance of religion to the Sogdian traders who dominated the northern Silk Road and underlines the cosmopolitan nature of Tang China. 
Presented by UBC Library and UBC Asian Studies in celebration of UBC’s Centenary Anniversary and as part of Asian Heritage Month.

Frances Wood studied art at Liverpool Art School before beginning Chinese at the University of Cambridge. She spent the year 1975–6 in the Beijing Languages Institute and Peking University and wrote a PhD thesis for London University on traditional domestic architecture in the Beijing area. She worked in the SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) library before moving to the British Library as curator of the Chinese collections, retiring in 2013. She has written many books on Chinese culture and history includingChinese Illustration(1986), The Blue Guide to China (2002), Did Marco Polo Go To China? (1995), Hand Grenade Practice in Peking (2000), The Silk Road (2003), No Dogs and Not Many Chinese: Treaty Port life in China 1843–1943 (1998), The Forbidden City (2005), The First Emperor of China (2007), The Diamond Sutra: The story of the world’s earliest dated printed book (2010), Chinese Export Paintings in the British Library(2011), and Picnics Prohibited: Diplomacy in a chaotic China during the First World War (2014).

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