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Past Event

Saturday University: Picturing the Buddha’s Last Moment

Oct 19 2019

Seattle Art Museum

Plestcheeff Auditorium

10 AM – 11:30 AM

Picturing the Buddha’s Last Moment c. 840 CE
Jun Hu, University of California, Berkeley

The Buddha’s Parinirvana (death of the historical Buddha) is one of the most challenging subjects in the history of Buddhist art. One remarkable depiction is at Dunhuang, an important waystation along the silk roads in western China, in Mogao Cave 158. Inside are a colossal sculpture and mural painting of unprecedented sophistication. In this lecture, Jun Hu considers the wide array of artistic sources for this magnificent ensemble of artworks, and how this representation of the Buddha’s last moment prompted its ninth-century viewers to navigate their own emotional responses.

About the Presenter

Jun Hu is assistant professor of art history at the University of California, Berkeley. His research on art and architecture of East Asia has focused on religious architecture incorporating domes, including the Buddhist cave temples at Dunhuang, in western China.

South Hall doors open at 9:30 am.


OCT 12

Silk Roads Revealed: The Begram Hoard of Afghanistan

OCT 19

Picturing the Buddha’s Last Moment c. 840 CE

OCT 26

The Maritime Silk Road: Goods, Ships and Cultural Diversity


Authenticity and the Reproduction of Buddhist Art and Artifacts in Medieval China


Zoroastrian and Manichean Arts of the Silk Roads

JAN 11

Silk and the Logics of Cosmopolitan Empire in Tang China

JAN 18

The 21st Century Silk Road: China’s Belt and Road Initiative



Full series tickets: $76; SAM members $43
Individual lecture tickets available at the door: $11, SAM members $7; free at the door for students with ID
Please arrive to your seat 10 minutes before the program starts, or your seat may be released.

Image courtesy of the Dunhuang Academy. Photo: Sun Zhijun.

The Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are located on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people.