Nancy Steinhardt - Professor of East Asian Art, University of Pennsylvania
The ten oldest wooden buildings in East Asia are in Japan, four of them at the monastery Horyuji. Less well-known and less well-documented than Japan’s buildings of the sixth and seventh centuries are China’s ten earliest wooden buildings, dated late eighth to early tenth century. Even less is known about Korea’s first centuries of Buddhist architecture. This talk explores extant architecture, archaeological evidence, and literary descriptions to determine what we really know about the first centuries of Buddhist architecture in East Asia and if longstanding notions of its major monuments such as Horyuji are valid.