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 statues carved on the sides of the rock in the rock-cut sites of Sichuan bear witness 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 produced there and statues representing the deities of the Taoist pantheon also multiplied to a lesser extent in this region. The iconography of both has been the subject of many studies. However, an enigma remains. It concerns the religious hybridity of certain niches carved in the 712th century in several of these rock sites. What does the co-presence within these niches of Buddhist and Taoist deities mean? Why are Buddha Śākyamuni and the Taoist god Laozi sitting there side by side? It is by relying on epigraphic traces in situ as well as on 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 ecumenism, this singular Buddho-Taoist iconography actually reflects the Protaoist policies led by Emperor Xuanzong of Tang (r. 756-XNUMX).