The First Sino-German Symposium on the Archaeology of the Ancient Capital City and the Buddhist Art
On 25th September 2009 the first joint Chinese-German symposium on archaeology of the ancient capital city and the Buddhist art was held in Beijing, China. It was co-organized by the Institute of Archaeology, CASS, the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and the Institute of East Asian Art History of the Heidelberg University, which brought together more than 40 scholars from over 10 institutions as the Institute of Archaeology, CASS, the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Institute of East Asian Art History of the Heidelberg University, the School of oriental and African Studies of the University College London, the School of Archaeology and Museology, China Central Academy of Fine Arts, the National Museum of China, the Palace Museum, the Institute of World Religions, CASS and the Institute of Foreign Literature, CASS etc. Professor Wang Wei, the president of the Institute of Archaeology, CASS and Professor Ledderose Lothar from the Institute of East Asian Art History of the Heidelberg University, addressed the opening reception of the symposium.
The symposium focused on themes of civilizations between the Indus River and the Yellow River, which consists of two sessions: the Buddhist art between Pakistan and China, the archaeology of the ancient capital city and the exchange of images and artifacts along the Silk Road.
The first session was hosted by Professor An Jiayao from the Institute of Archaeology, CASS. Professor Hauptman Harald from the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities made the first presentation “Rock art in the Northern Areas of Pakistan”. His research was based on the Pak-German project started by Karl Jettmar and Ahmed Hasam Dani in 1980. Since 1984 for almost 30 years the Pak-German Archaeological Mission to the Northern Areas have investigated large area of rock art in Northern Pakistan, centered in the basin of Chilas-Thalpan. The rock art galleries represent a time space ranging from the Late Stone Age period until the coming of Islam. Professor Hauptman determined more than eight different stages during this long period: Prehistory, the late Bronze Age and Iron Age, Achaemenid-Iranian influence, the early Buddhist period, the golden era of Buddhism, the axe people battle – anti-Buddhist movement and renaissance of Buddhism in Baltistan.
In his speech “Archaeology of the Buddhist Temple from Northern Dynasties to Tang Dynasty”, Professor Gong Guoqiang from the Institute of Archaeology, CASS talked about the layouts and forms of Buddhist temples, pagoda's subterranean cryps and the sealing way of Sarira, as well as artifacts yielded in Buddhist temples and archaeological research on the Buddhist art.
Dr. Bandini Ditte from Institute of East Asian Art History of the Heidelberg University delivered a lecture “A Few Words about Stūpas, Buddhas and Jātakas”. She discussed Buddhist motifs as Stūpas, Buddhas and Jātakas etc., which were depicted on fifty thousand pieces of rock remains found in the mountainous area of Northern Pakistan.
In his talk “A Unique Petroglyph in the Upper Indus Valley in the light of Chinese Buddhist Art”, Mr. Bemmann Martin from the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities discussed the carvings on stone 18 found in a survey carried out upstream and downstream of the Hodur Bridge, 12 km west of the city of Chilas in 2005.
In the second session, which was hosted by Professor Ledderose Lothar, Professor Zhu Yanshi, the director of Department of Han-Tang Archaeology of the Institute of Archaeology, CASS, made the first speech “The Institute of Archaeology, CASS and the Chinese Researches on the Archaeology of the Capital Cities in Han-Tang Dynasties”. After a brief introduction of the Department of Han-Tang Archaeology and its achievements in past years, he talked about the developing phases of the capital cites of Han, Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties from the archaeological perspective, and the international cooperation on the Han-Tang archaeology in future was also expected.
Dr. Nickel Lukas from the School of oriental and African studies of the London University made the presentation “The Terra-Cotta on the Silk Road? The Sculpture of the First Emperor of China and Hellenistic Sculpture of Central Asia”. From three points as the sculpture tradition, the appearance of large-sized sculpture in public and modern gene researches, He argued that the Terra-Cotta was isolated from the Chinese traditional Art. The way it was made undoubtedly was Chinese local technique, while its artistic style exhibited the Hellenistic influence.
In the speech “A Review of the Researches on the Ancient Chinese Glass”, Professor An Jiayao argued that the Chinese glass made its appearance at the end of Spring and Autumn Period and the beginning of the Warring States Period. Glass beads from West Asia were imported into the Central Plain of China as commodity by Central Asian nomads. In the middle and late of the Warring States Period, Chinese could manufacture glass beads with the similar appearance but entire different composition. In no later than the Warring States Period, the glass industry took root in China. After Han Dynasties, glass products from the Roman Empire were imported into China along both the Maritime Silk Road and the Overland Silk Road, which remarked a new stage of the East-West communication.
Professor Ledderose Lothar focused on the recent field work in the Jingshi Valley of the Taishan Mountain, Shandong Province. In the light of the three principles of “Recording, Analyzing, and Publishing” the work team measured positions, made rubbings and recorded each character of the inscribed Buddhist sutra and epigraph. All texts were translated into modern Chinese and English. They were planed to be published both in print and electronic formats.
Concluding the symposium the participants initiated an active discussion centered in the aforementioned topics. The symposium is one section of the cooperation between the Institute of Archaeology, CASS and the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Heidelberg University. The attended scholars also exchanged and shared ideas on the “The Space and Prospect of the Joint Chinese-German Research on Archaeology and Art History”. A wider bilateral cooperation between Chinese and German scholars in future was expected by them. (Translated by Tong Tao)