Modular Construction: Building Decorated Tombs in Song and Jin North China

Oct 12, 2017 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Deng Fei (Associate Professor, National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Fudan University; HYI Visiting Scholar
Chair/discussant: Eugene Wang (Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University)
Co-sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies
Since the 1950s, there has been an upsurge in archaeological activity in China. This has led to the discovery of a large number of 11th – 13th century tombs, which were decorated with pictorial scenes and architectural elements. Scholars have explored the underlying logic of a tomb’s design, decoration, and furnishing, seeing tombs as an embodiment of social relations, history, cosmology, and religious beliefs. The talk focuses on a group of decorated tombs of the Song and Jin periods in north China, and examines the way in which the tombs were devised and made. By shifting the focus of our gaze from tomb content to tomb construction, this talk hopes to touch upon a broader issue about modular construction and architectural culture from the tenth to thirteenth centuries, investigating artisans’ practices from the perspectives of workshop practice, division of labor, and use of modular designs.