Lessons from the Anomalous: Rethinking the Function of Entombed Epitaphs in Tang China
Ding Xiang Warner - Professor of Chinese Literature, Cornell University
Recent decades have seen a dramatic increase in the number of texts available for sinological research, owing to constant new archaeological discoveries. These newly available texts pose at once exciting and daunting challenges to our established disciplinary methods and procedures, and our assumptions of what is, or should be, our discipline’s “body of knowledge.” In this lecture, Warner takes up the subject of entombed epitaphs (muzhi 墓誌) excavated from Tang tombs and considers how these artifacts invite scholars of medieval China to re-assess the field’s current understanding of the function of muzhi in Tang commemorative culture.
Ding Xiang Warner is Professor of Chinese Literature in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University. Her research focuses on the literature and literati culture of medieval China. She is the author of two books: A Wild Deer amid Soaring Phoenixes: The Opposition Poetics of Wang Ji (University of Hawaii Press, 2003) and Transmitting Authority: Wang Tong and the Zhongshuo in Medieval China’s Manuscript Culture (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2014). In addition, she is an associate editor of T’oung Pao and a co-editor of two book series: The Library of Chinese Humanities (De Gruyter) and Studies in the History of Chinese Texts (Brill).