The Tibetan techniques known as bcud len, commonly understood to mean "extraction of essences", clearly date back to Indian procedures called rasāyana in Sanskrit.
Already at the beginning of the common era, medical treatises, which would later become the classics of Ayurvedic medicine, described procedures aimed at rejuvenation, or even immortality. They ended up constituting one of the eight branches of Ayurveda.
In Tibet, medical literature has inherited this trend, but the concept of rasāyana has also been reinterpreted there, and bcud len techniques extend far beyond the medical field. They refer to a constellation of consonant notions, images and metaphors with an epistemological function concerning not only bodily metabolism and vital processes, but also cosmology, the natural environment, the double aspect, coarse or subtle, of material entities, and until the ultimate liberation from the cycle of rebirth.
We will sketch, in the allotted time, the constituent elements of this network of notions, at the same time fluid, open and forming a system, its foundations and its historical evolution.
As a result of this evolution, the Tibetan tradition of bcud len has developed a wide variety of practices, different in their procedures and their aims, at the confluence of medicine, juvenile hedonism and asceticism, alchemy, ritual, and psychophysiological techniques of yoga.
Topic: SEECHAC AG et Conférence Fernand Meyer
Time: Jun 15, 2021 6:00PM Paris
Meeting ID: 847 9421 4922
Yearly visits to the Mustang region in Nepal since 2012 to document monastery collections with the intention of providing inventories for them have been strikingly successful. By now more than ten such collections have been (partially) documented and gradually interrelations between the collections emerge. While some of these greatly benefit our understanding of this heritage, especially for the periods around 1500 and 1700, others clearly represent a challenge for both interpretation and the future management of this heritage. Examples include the evidence for a Mustang school of sculpture, the imprint of prominent visitors to the region and the separation of a set of Lamdré lineage sculptures across the region.
Topic: SEECHAC Conférence de Christian Luczanits
Time: May 25, 2021 18:00 Paris
Meeting ID: 847 0844 2216
A nomadic people living in the pastures along the northwestern borders of the Chinese Empire, the Tangout eventually settled in the northern part of Chinese territory at the invitation of the Tang, and adopted a more sedentary life with the development of agriculture, crafts and trade. The establishment of an administration, the adoption of Buddhism and the formation of a competent army then laid the foundations for a future empire. They can give the impression that the rulers of the new Xixia empire drew heavily on the Chinese world. However, the Tangout's relationship with the Chinese Empire, whether politically, economically or ideologically, has never been straightforward. It has multiple wars, fruitful trade, constant mutual mistrust, but certainly no submission or domination. Studying this relationship relying exclusively on written sources often leads to conveying, consciously or not, the Chinese point of view, as the available written sources are mainly Chinese chronicles. In the absence of historical records written by the Tangouts themselves, how can we broaden our horizon of study and measure the cultural transfers that have marked the history of the Tangouts? This conference aims to show, by combining the interpretation of historical written sources, the study of some archaeological remains and iconographic research, that even if China was undoubtedly a fascinating neighbor for the young Xixia empire, the Tangouts also integrated various heterogeneous influences from multiple origins, and retained traditional elements, which generated a complex idiosyncratic process within the cultural network of Inner Asia.
Topic: Conférence SEECHAC Diane Zhang-Goldberg
Time: Apr 20, 2021 18:00 Paris
Meeting ID: 837 0811 1564
Already in 2002, Christian Luczanits underlined the interest of the Tashi Sumtsek, or "auspicious three-level temple", of Wanla, Ladakh (India), for the history of Tibetan art. Founded probably in the first half of the 14th century by a powerful local leader sympathetic to the Tibetan Buddhist order Drikung Kagyu, the Tashi Sumtsek indeed contains large sets of original sculptures and murals, in addition to an inscription of foundation illuminating the history of the region. Compared to the older monuments of the "Alchi Group", decorated in a Kashmiri style, it marks the new influence of styles in vogue in central Tibet, as well as the promotion of more esoteric teachings. Moreover, its murals are reminiscent of those of at least six other monuments in Ladakh with which the Tashi Sumtsek forms what I call the "Wanla group".
Since 2002, new studies have deepened our knowledge of Tashi Sumtsek. In this lecture, I will present the main results of my doctoral research on the “Wanla group”. We will first explore the different sets of wall paintings within the Tashi Sumtsek, seeking to establish their relative chronology. Then, we will look at the links, or rather the agents, which connect the Tashi Sumtsek to the other monuments of the "Wanla group". Finally, we will return to the historical context, until now little known, which allowed their foundation.
Topic: SEECHAC conférence de Nils Martin
Time: Mar 23, 2021 06:00 PM Paris
Meeting ID: 842 1542 1759
The Dras Valley, located on the border of Kashmir and Baltistan, is a particularly privileged place for analyzing cultural and material exchanges between Ladakh and Central Asia. In this communication, we propose to present four recently documented archaeological sites around the city of Dras focusing in particular on their ceramic productions and comparisons with Central Asian productions. We will see in the course of this talk that these comparative analyzes bring new elements to the understanding of the history of Ladakh during the Koushan and post-Koushan period.
Topic: SEECHAC Conférence de Samara Broglia de Moura
Time: Feb 23, 2021 06:00 PM Paris
Meeting ID: 817 6391 1394
There are a number of academic studies dealing with some aspects of the materiality of artistic expression, especially textiles and fabrics depicted on Tibetan paintings and statues but they are mainly concerned with early examples found at Dunhuang, Alchi and other locations. However, in later periods the relation between artistic depictions and their material reality was still of major importance for Tibetan art, being an essential part of its artistry and its socio-religious meaning. In this talk, I will mainly present paintings showing high Tibetan religious dignitaries and discuss the mode of accenting their socio-religious status by means of sitting mats and seat cushions, covers for throne’s backrests, monastic garments and utensils and so on. In particular, I will examine the famous depictions of the 6th Panchen Lama Lobsang Pelden Yeshe (1738–1780) and the 3rd Changkya Rölpé Dorjé (1717–1786) showing them in Qing court dress. Moreover, I will discuss the ceremonial robe worn by ordained Tibetan monks on special occasions, a feature shared by other Buddhist cultures in Asia, and their artistic expression on Tibetan paintings. In sum, the talk intends to encourage to study visual and material cultures together in order to understand the various semantic levels in Tibetan art.
Topic: SEECHAC Conférence de Olaf CZAJA
Time: Jan 26, 2021 06:00 PM Paris
Meeting ID: 854 1973 6885