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Derek Gillman: Chinese Buddhist Art During the 10th-12th Centuries

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Derek Gillman, Executive Director and President of the Barnes Foundation, considers a famous Penn Museum artifact as a jumping off point for this talk. The celebrated glazed earthenware luohan in the Museum’s Chinese Rotunda belongs to the most important surviving (although incomplete) set of Chinese Buddhist ceramic sculptures. These life-sized figures were discovered during the early 20th century in a cave at Yixian, Hebei province, and are now distributed around the world. There has been considerable debate about their date, as well as their original location, and Mr. Gillman offers some context for them, providing an overview of Buddhist imagery and ritual artifacts, created of stone, clay and wood, made after the fall of the Tang dynasty.