Global Humanities Senior Research and Teaching Stay at Freie Universitaet Berlin
Identity and Hegemony: Silk Route and the Transmission of Religions in 5th-10th century China
As is well known, the Silk Route connecting East Asia and Europe was more than a trade route, it was essentially a route for the transmission of goods and ideas. On the route, religions of different shades and manifestations linked people, culture and civilizations. Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Nestorian Christianity were spread into cosmopolitan China, Korea and Japan, and in return monks from Japan went to China, and monks from China went to India in search of the dharma. Such flourishing of exchanges of ideas and religious practices is unique as it did not take place with the military powers, such as the Conquistadors. Transmission and acceptance happened at all levels of the societies, to be followed by indigenization and transformation. This lecture will look into the historical and religious Silk Route, and construct a narrative for understanding these inter-cultural forces through art and architecture of the Silk Route supported by historical documents.
Puay-peng Ho is Professor of Architecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He graduated from University of Edinburgh in architecture and School of Oriental and African Studies of University of London in art and architectural history. His research interests are art and architecture history of medieval China, Chinese vernacular environment and architectural history of Hong Kong. As a qualified architect, Puay-peng Ho also participated in many architecture conservation projects in Hong Kong through the Centre for Architecture and Heritage Research which he directs. Current research of Puay-peng Ho include the study of art of Dunhuang, a cave temple site in western China, architectural history of Buddhist monasteries of the 11th-13th centuries, and architectural history of organized communities in Hong Kong, such as mission societies and philanthropic institutions between 1860-1960. The methodology adopted by Ho in his research is to embed forms and space of historic architecture within the culture and history in which art and architecture are constituent elements.