Buddhism in Turfan around the 5th century

Start - End 
2022 - 2026 (ongoing)
Department of Languages and Cultures
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My PhD research project focuses on the circulation and practice of Buddhism in Turfan around the 5th century. I am interested in how Buddhism in the region was formed/re-formed by the Northern Liang (北涼, 397-460) migration and how Buddhist culture in Turfan interacted with other cultural and religious centers during the time, from the states in Western Regions to the capital of Liu Song (劉宋, 420-479). I want to observe how the local rulers used Buddhism as a governing and diplomatic tool. I also want to look at the development of Maitreya and Amitābha beliefs around the time and the merging/reception of these ideas in Turfan. 


My primary sources include textual sources such as sūtras and extant manuscripts from Turfan as well as epitaphs and records in Chinese Buddhist bibliographies and historical texts. I will also use material sources including mural paintings, silk banners and tombs that date back to the period. In addition to textual and iconographical analysis, I will seek opportunity to conduct fieldwork in the area. 





Phd Student(s)