Archival Program Information
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Symposium Keynote Lecture by Victor H. Mair

Foreign dignitaries, Cave 85, Tang dynasty
Thursday, May 19, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Museum Lecture Hall, Getty Center

During the Tang dynasty (618–907 CE), Dunhuang played a vital role in linking diverse civilizations across Eurasia. Situated at the western end of the Gansu Corridor, this center of Buddhist religion and art facilitated the flow of economic goods and cultural influences among peoples of many different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. Like a funnel, it led to the heartland of China in one direction and spread out through Central Asia in the other.

Victor H. Mair, professor of Chinese Language and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, specializes in Buddhist popular literature as well as the vernacular tradition of Chinese fiction and the performing arts. He began visiting Dunhuang in 1981 and made dozens of trips there in the succeeding decades. Mair is the author of Tun-huang Popular Narratives (Cambridge, 1983), Painting and Performance (Hawaii, 1988), T'ang Transformation Texts (Harvard, 1989), and scores of articles pertaining to Dunhuang.

This lecture complements the exhibition Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road, on view at the Getty Center from May 7 to September 4, 2016.