China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - Pictorial and Structural Representations of the Screen Walls in the Foyemiaowan Cemetery

Saturday, July 7
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Marigold, New Building

The Hexi Corridor in present-day Gansu province in China had long been an important region for intercultural exchanges. It was also the region where Chinese cultures were preserved as the literati and artisans sought asylum from the warfare in the Central Plain of China. This paper discusses the adoption of burial practices from the Central Plain and their transformation in the local milieu in the Wei-Jin period (220-317 CE). This paper focuses on one aspect of this transformation, the screen wall, a structure made of painted bricks on top of the tomb entrance, which best captures the postmortem beliefs in the Hexi Corridor in this period.


The magnificent screen walls excavated in the Foyemiaowan mortuary in Dunhuang are especially important for their unique pictorial and structural features speaking to their time, place, and social class. Comparing them with the screen walls from other regions, I argue that the screen walls from the Foyemiaowan cemetery do not represent the procession of ascending to heaven but heaven itself in delivering the hope of transcendence of the soul. Moreover, the artisans who designed the tombs considered the entire tomb structure and creatively combined the decorations of the screen wall and the front chamber into a coherent decorative program that emphasizes the transcendence of soul, not by manifesting the procession from mortal to immortal, but through the artistically unbalanced rendering of the painted bricks.

Dongming Wu

Columbia University, United States

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Dongming Wu


Assets

2 - Pictorial and Structural Representations of the Screen Walls in the Foyemiaowan Cemetery



Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Pictorial and Structural Representations of the Screen Walls in the Foyemiaowan Cemetery