This conference is canceled for reasons beyond our control -

Buddhist-Taoist iconography of the Tang dynasty in the Sichuan rock sites, lecture by Christine Mollier, Research Director at CNRS / CRCAO.

The countless rock-carved statues in the Sichuan rock sites testify to the intensity of artistic and religious activities in this vast Chinese province in medieval times. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907) in particular, thousands of Buddhist images were made there and statues representing the deities of the Taoist pantheon were also, to a lesser extent, multiplied in this region. The iconography of both has been the subject of many studies. Yet, an enigma remains. It concerns the religious hybridity of certain niches carved in the eighth century in several of these rock sites. What does co-presence mean in these niches of Buddhist and Taoist deities? Why are Budākyamuni Buddha and Taoist god Laozi sitting side by side? It is by relying on epigraphic traces in situ as well as canonical and historical sources that we will attempt to provide an answer to these questions and to show that, far from being the fruit of an ecumenism, this singular Buddhist-Taoist iconography actually reflects the Protoese policy led by Emperor Xuanzong Tang (712-756).


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