Transmission and Transformation of Rebirth Narratives in Art and Text within and beyond Gandhara
August 27, 2017 - August 28, 2017
Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queens Park
“Where the Buddha was Previously Born, Seen, and Heard: Transmission and Transformation of Rebirth Narratives in Art and Text within and beyond Gandhara” is a two-day mini-conference on Buddhist previous-birth narratives at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto on August 27-28, 2017 after the IABS meeting.
Art historians and textual specialists have been working together on a two-year project on “Buddhist Rebirth Narratives in Literary and Visual Cultures of Gandhara” with the aim of collecting and cataloguing artistic representations of Gandharan previous-birth narratives and evaluating the images in light of recently discovered Gandharan manuscripts. This conference will bring international Buddhist Studies scholars together with graduate students to assess the significance of the project’s results by drawing upon the perspectives of a broad and varied audience with shared interests in how Buddhist literary and visual cultures transmit and transform stories with written texts and artistic images.
This conference will feature a Newar scroll-reading of the Avadana of the Merchant Simhala by Dr. Naresh Man Bajracharya on Sunday, August 27 and around twenty panel presentations by leading international scholars of Buddhist rebirth narratives in Asian literary and visual cultures, roundtable discussions, and talks on in-process research by emerging scholars and graduate students over the two days.
By integrating interdisciplinary research on Buddhist rebirth narratives in Gandhara with studies of other previous-birth stories in art and texts across regionally diverse Asian cultures, wide-ranging comparisons will inevitably lead to a better understanding of patterns of transmission and transformation in varied textual genres and artistic traditions.
The conference is supported by a Collaborative Research Grant from the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation for Buddhist Studies and a SSHRC Connection Grant