Kyoto National Museum International Symposium: Dunhuang Forgeries and Recent Silk Roads Research

Online event - Sainsbury Institute

Saturday 19 March, 2022
10:00am JST - 5:00pm JST

Organised by Kyoto Natonal Museum, Co-organised by the Sainsbury Institute

10:00–17:00 JST (01:00- 08:00 GMT)

About the Symposium

English, Japanese, and Chinese Simultaneous Interpretation

This symposium focuses on the cache of manuscripts first discovered in the year 1900 in the Library Cave in the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang, a key center along the Silk Roads. Following their discovery, Dunhuang manuscripts were removed by expeditions from Great Britain, France, Japan, and Russia, as well as by Chinese officials, so collaborations among these holding institutions and among scholars in each country is essential for their research today. Since the 1980s, however, scholars have called into question the authenticity of many Dunhuang manuscripts in Japanese collections, including those in the Kyoto National Museum. Symposium participants will discuss recent research and initiatives relating to Dunhuang and the Silk Roads around the world and reconsider the issue of Dunhuang manuscript forgeries in Japan.

Susan Whitfield, Professor in Silk Road Studies at the Sainsbury Institute is Keynote Speaker of this symposium.

Professor Simon Kaner, Sainsbury Institute, will provide closing remarks.

Watch the recording

Programme (in JST)

10:00-10:05 Opening Remarks:

  • Matsumoto Nobuyuki (Director, Kyoto National Museum)

10:05-10:20 Introduction to the Symposium Topic:

  • Uesugi Tomofusa (Associate Curator, Kyoto National Museum)

10:20-11:00 Current State of Silk Roads Research:

  • “A Rare Photographic Resource on Dunhuang: The Lo Archive at Princeton University” Dora C.Y. Ching (Associate Director, Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University)
  • “The Research Programme of the BuddhistRoad Project: Transfer of Buddhism in Eastern Central Asia 6th to 14th C.” Carmen Meinert (Professor for Central Asian Religions, Ruhr-Universität Bochumm, Principal Investigator of ERC project BuddhistRoad)
  • “Dunhuang and the Silk Roads: Avenues for Research and Teaching” Sanjyot Mehendale (Chair, Tang Center for Silk Road Studies, University of California, Berkeley)

11:00-11:10 Break

11:10-12:00 Keynote Address:

  • “Genuine or Forged? Refocusing on Dunhuang Manuscripts” Susan Whitfield (Professor of Silk Road Studies, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Culture, University of East Anglia)

12:00-13:00 Lunch

13:00-14:30 Research Presentations:

  • “Revisiting Dunhuang Manuscripts with Dehua Li shi fanjiangge zhencang (“Treasured in the Fanjiang Pavilion of the Li Family from Dehua”) Collection Seals” Uesugi Tomofusa (Associate Curator, Kyoto National Museum)
  • “Study on Dunhuang Documents through Non-Destructive Paper Analysis” Sakamoto Shouji (Researcher, Research Center for World Buddhist Cultures, Ryukoku University)
  • “Judging the Authenticity of the Dunhuang Manuscripts in the Collection of the Kyo-U Library: Focusing on Relationships with Other Collections around the World” Dingyuan (Wang Zhaoguo) (Associate Professor, Shanghai Normal University, Institute for Dunhuang and Turfan Studies)

14:30-14:40 Break

14:40-15:40 Research Presentations:

  • “Collection Seals of Former Holders of Dunhuang Sutras in the Kyoto National Museum” Iwamoto Atsushi (Associate Professor, Rissho University)
  • “Antiquarian Booksellers Who Brought Dunhuang Manuscripts to Japan” Takata Tokio (Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University)

15:40-15:50 Break

15:50-16:50 Discussion:

  • Akao Eikei (Curator Emeritus, Kyoto National Museum)
  • Susan Whitfield
  • Research Presenters

16:50-17:00 Closing Remarks:

  • Simon Kaner (Director, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Culture, University of East Anglia)

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