Wednesday 4/19/2017: Talk by Wen-Shing Chou: "Panoramic Visions"

The Columbia University Buddhist Studies Seminar, the Center for Buddhism and East Asian Religion and the Columbia University Seminars would like to invite you to the following talk:

Panoramic Visions: Maps and Mapmakers of Mount Wutai in Qing China

Wen-Shing Chou (Hunter College)

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017, 5:00 PM

Columbia University, Faculty House


The northern Chinese mountain range of Mount Wutai has been a preeminent site of Buddhist pilgrimage for over a millennium. During the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), Buddhist rulers and monks from Inner Asia, including Manchus, Tibetans, Mongols, and Monguors, developed the sacred site into an important center of Gelukpa Buddhism. This lecture considers the Inner Asian Gelukpa transformation of Mount Wutai through popular pilgrimage maps of the mountain during the later half of the Qing. Who created them, disseminated them, and why? Among the many maps of the mountain produced during this period, a panoramic wood-block carving by a Mongol lama at Mount Wutai in 1846 had an exceptionally global career. A plethora of images in different media and from different locales can all be traced by to the 1846 carving. By examining the life and afterlives of the woodblock map, I argue that the heterogeneous, collaborative, and accretive process of mapmaking epitomized that of Mount Wutai’s place-making. Each act of carving, printing, coloring, framing, copying, and circulating the map image delivers a new and different vision of the mountain, highlighting the role maps and their makers and users play in the reinvention of a sacred site.


For directions to the Faculty House, see the following PDF:

Information about the Columbia University Buddhist Studies Seminar