Archives mensuelles : juin 2023

23 juin 2023 : Conférence “Architecture of Virtuality: Liao Pagodas (907-1125), Emptiness, and Cosmology” – Sorbonne, Paris

Kim Youn-mi, maître de conférences en histoire de l’art asiatique à l’université Ewha Womans (Séoul) donnera une conférence sur : Architecture of Virtuality: Liao Pagodas (907-1125), Emptiness, and Cosmology (en anglais),  le vendredi 23 juin 2023 de 14 à 16h à la Sorbonne, salle Gaston Paris.


Through an examination of pagodas from China’s Liao dynasty (907-1125), this lecture explores the ways in which the physicality and materiality of Buddhist architecture were interwoven with vision and virtuality. Buddhist materiality cannot be understood without considering the immateriality with which it is entwined. This dual nature of Liao architecture is inseparable from the Buddhist view of reality, which is well described in the famous Buddhist phrase, “form is emptiness, and emptiness is form” from the Heart Sutra, which served as an important Buddhist scripture in designing Liao pagodas. The Liao empire, founded in the tenth century by the nomadic Kitan people, ruled supreme at its height over present-day northern China and Mongolia, and even part of Russia’s southern border and Kazakhstan. The encounter in this multi-ethnic empire between the fluidity of nomadism and the flexibility of Buddhist thought gave birth to monumental architecture that maximized Buddhist visuality and virtuality. Based on examinations of representative pagodas, this lecture illuminates how the Buddhist architecture of Liao enacted the virtual pilgrimage to the sacred places of India, embodied the vision of an infinitely expanding cosmos, and transformed the pagoda’s empty inner space into the embodiment of the Buddha’s invisible body.

Conférence organisée par Isabelle CHARLEUX (CNRS, GSRL) Sylvie HUREAU (EPHE-PSL, CRCAO) & Costantino MORETTI (EFEO, CRCAO)