Tracy Miller, associate professor of history of art and Asian studies, recently co-chaired a panel at an international conference sponsored by the T’ang Studies Society and celebrating the opening of the Elling O. Eide Library in Sarasota, Florida. The theme of the panel was “Ritual Environments of the Tang Dynasty: Text Through Context.”
As access to tombs and temples from the Tang period has increased, scholars are now better able to match context to text, and are consequently better able to reveal the way in which
environments were designed, constructed, and used to facilitate ritual goals. In her paper Miller addressed “Ta 塔 and Gongta 宮塔: Examining Pagodas in Light of ‘Vedic Buddhism.’” The four papers presented by this panel matched object to text in an effort to discover the mechanism by which the physical was believed to enable access to the spiritual.
The three-day conference in November examined contemporary approaches to the Tang Dynasty and showcased the vibrant and robust collection of scholarly materials in the Elling Eide research library, which contains more than 60,000 volumes covering every period of Chinese history from ancient times to the modern era.