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Past Event

Virtual Saturday University: Big Writing and the End of the Law

Feb 13 2021

Asian Art Museum


10 AM – 11:30 AM

How has art and creative activity contributed to confronting crises in Asia? While we face the current pandemic, along with deep social, political, and economic challenges, perhaps we can take heart in artists’ creative responses to violent conflict, environmental change, and panic. Five talks look into understanding, recovery, and reform in Japan, China, Armenia, Bangladesh, and Java, Indonesia.

This program is currently offered as a $5 suggested donation, to keep it accessible for all. Normally, tickets are $7 for SAM members, $12 for public. Donate today to support the museum programming.

Big Writing and the End of the Law: The Monumental Sutras of Shandong Province
Robert E. Harrist Jr., Columbia University

Buddhists in Shandong Province had good reason to think the end of their religion was at hand when an imperial proscription of Buddhism was decreed in the sixth century. It was at this time that Buddhist scriptures began to appear carved on mountains in many areas of Shandong. These texts, as well as the names of deities written in huge characters, were intended to last for eternity. This lecture will explore the goals of the pious donors and the calligraphers who created these monumental inscriptions, which not only preserved sacred texts but also became, like icons or relics, objects of veneration in their own right.

About the Presenter

Robert E. Harrist Jr. is the Jane and Leopold Swergold Professor of Chinese Art History at Columbia University. He has published books and articles on Chinese painting, calligraphy, and gardens, as well as on topics such as clothing in 20th-century China, and contemporary artists such as Xu Bing. His most recent book, The Landscape of Words, which studies the role of language in shaping perceptions of the natural world, was awarded the Joseph Levenson Prize in 2010.



Fire and Renewal in Edo Period Japan


Big Writing and the End of the Law


The Missing Pages, from Genocide to Justice


Jomin o Joban, a Tale of the Land


Exploring Resilience in Dance in Java, Indonesia

This program is currently offered on a pay-as-you-will basis, to keep it accessible for all. Normally, tickets are $7 for SAM members, $12 for others. Any amount you donate will help the museum continue its programming. (if it is your first time to use the system, you will be asked to create a password—but it won’t take long!)
Photo: Robert Harrist Jr

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.