Lothar Ledderose: Stone Inscriptions for Eternity. A research project in the mountains of North China

Abendvortrag / Conferenza serale

In the second half of the 6th century AD Buddhist monks in North China began to chisel passages from their holy texts, the sutras, onto the slopes of mountains. They worked on the bare rock under the open sky. With their monumental inscriptions that often could be seen from afar, the Buddhist believers transformed their motherland into a land of the Buddha. This land art is the topic of a research project of the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften.

The lecture will present three mountains: in a 'translatio loci' a mountain where the Buddha preached in India is transferred on Mount Gang in Shandong province. On Mount Tie the inscription assumes the shape of a colossal, 60 meter high stele. On Mount Tai the Diamond Sutra covers an area of two thousand square meters. More than fourty colophons have been engraved next to it through the centuries in a kind of dialogue which continues into our days.

Prof. Dr. Lothar Ledderose was born in Munich in 1942. He is the chaired Professor of East Asian art history at Heidelberg University, a position he has held since 1976.


Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin (1983-84), Senior Mellon Fellow, at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery, Washington, D.C. (1990-91), Slade Professor at the Cambridge University (1992), Murphy Lecturer at the University of Kansas (1994), Guest Professor at the University of Chicago (1996), the Taiwan National University (1997), and the Kyoto University 1997, Mellon Lecturer at the National Gallery, Washington, D.C. (1998), scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2000-01) and at the Jinbun kagaku kenkyūsho, Kyoto University (2006-07).


"Die Siegelschrift (chuan-shu) in der Ch'ing-Zeit." (1970), "Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy." (1979, jap. ed. 1988, chin. ed. 2008), "Im Schatten hoher Bäume. Malerei der Ming- und Qing-Dynastien (1368-1911) aus der Volkrepublik China (ed., 1985), "Palastmuseum Peking. Schätze aus der Verbotenen Stadt (ed., 1985), "Japan und Europa: 1543-1929 (ed., 1993), "Orchideen und Felsen. Chinesische Bilder im Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst." (1998), "Ten Thousand Things. Module and Mass Production in Chinese Art." (2000, chin. ed. 2005).

MEMBERSHIPS (selection):

Prof. Ledderose is member of the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft, the European Association of Chinese Studies and the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften. He is Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.

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