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Kucha and Beyond: Divine and Human Landscapes from Central Asia to the Himalayas

This year, the 6th SEECHAC international colloquium, Kucha and Beyond: Divine and Human Landscapes from Central Asia to the Himalayas, was held from November 2-4 in the Bibliotheca Albertina, Leipzig. The conference was organised in collaboration with the team of the Buddhist Murals of Kucha on the Northern Silk Road, a long-term research project funded by the Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig and headed by Eli Franco. Further funding for the conference was provided by the German Research Council, the Academy Programme and the Saxon State government. The principal organiser in Leipzig was research team leader, Monika Zin, who had originally suggested a collaborative conference with SEECHAC as early as January 2019. In spite of this advance planning and excellent organisation at all stages of the preparation, owing to uncertainties created by the Covid pandemic, doubts about whether the conference could take place lingered until only a few months before the event. In spite of cancllations by several prospective participants due mainly to travel restrictions, it was nevertheless possible to hold a highly successful three-day conference with thirty speakers from numerous European countries as well as from Asia, Australia and North America. While the core of the conference was provided the Kucha research team, other presentations represented the entire geographical range covered by SEECHAC’s interests, with the thematic unity of all the papers being provided by the overarching topic of divine and human landscapes. Professor Franco and Professor Zin have kindly offered to publish the proceedings of the conference in their project’s series, « Kucha Studies in Leipzig ».

Charles Ramble
SEECHAC President