The Fabric of Monasticism: Buddhism and Silk Culture in Premodern China

The Fabric of Monasticism: Buddhism and Silk Culture in Premodern China

Stuart Young - Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Bucknell University

Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
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Room B-04, Department of Religious Studies See map
451 College Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Sericulture has always been a central defining feature of Chinese civilization, and silk a cornerstone of Chinese Buddhist material culture. This talk illustrates how Buddhism in premodern China shaped and was shaped by the ubiquitous Chinese silk industry. In many ways silk was the fabric of monasticism in premodern China–infused within the material and ideal worlds of Chinese Buddhists. Against the backdrop of normative Indian Buddhist pronouncements concerning material production, commercial engagement, attachment to luxuries, and especially killing living beings, the topic of Chinese Buddhist silk culture promises novel insights into monastic identity as negotiated between avowedly foreign religious paradigms and widespread, culturally embedded, traditions of material production.

Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and the Glorisun Fund
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China