Early Buddhist Inscriptions in China: An Introduction with Case Studies


Prof. Minku Kim


2 May 2019


16:00 - 17:30




Buddhism, a religion derived in the Indian Subcontinent and adjacent regions in Central, began to flourish in China as early as the Eastern Han period (25-220 CE). In the following centuries –traditionally dubbed as the Six Dynasties period (222-589) — when China underwent a long and tumultuous stint of political upheavals, Buddhism made a phenomenal success to take its solid root in various aspects of Chinese life. Among several important cultural contributions made by Buddhism through this early existence in China, this talk focuses on the inscriptions, or words physically written on monuments. These monuments generally include devotional images as well as commemorative or dedicatory other objects such as steles and reliquaries. In terms of language, noteworthy are several cases, although archaeologically retrieved within China proper, written in such scripts other than Chinese as Kharoṣṭhī and Brāhmī. By drawing upon these few unique case studies, the presentation aims to arrive at a more comprehensive understanding about the major characteristics of Buddhist inscriptions in China, especially vis-à-vis their counterparts found in the pre-Buddhist period or in their homeland, i.e. India.


All are welcome




Department of History
Tel: (853) 8822 8801 / 8822 8821
Email: fah.history@um.edu.mo