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Conference Paper: Ayurbarwada the ‘Mongolian Candidate’ and Wang Zhenpeng’s Vimalakīrti and the Doctrine of Non-duality

TitleAyurbarwada the ‘Mongolian Candidate’ and Wang Zhenpeng’s Vimalakīrti and the Doctrine of Non-duality
Authors
Issue Date2016
Citation
International Young Scholars’ Forum on Buddhism and East Asian Cultures How to Cite?
AbstractWang Zhenpeng’s (act. ca. 1280-1329) painting entitled Vimalakīrti and the Doctrine of Non-duality is a masterful representation of the famous debate between Mañjuśrī and Vimalakīrti immortalised in the seminal Chinese Buddhist text, Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra. Wang’s accompanying inscription provides two important keys in appreciating the significance of this Yuan dynasty (1272-1367) masterpiece, namely, the patronage and the artistic tradition that it seeks to emulate. Wang indicates that the work was commissioned by the powerful arbiter of Yuan politics, the Crown Prince Ayurbarwada who would eventually ascend to the throne as Renzong (r. 1311-1320). The painting itself, as Wang himself relates, is a copy of the Jin (1115–1234) artist Ma Yunqing’s (act. 12th century) painting after an earlier work by the celebrated Northern Song (960-1126) painter Li Gonglin (1049-1106). In this presentation, I seek to offer a nuanced interpretation of this important painting in view of its historical context. Wang’s work, dating to 1308, was done a year after Ayurbarwada’s elder brother Khaishan (Wuzong, r. 1307-1311) ascended to the throne in 1307. The painting thus should be read in light of Ayurbarwada’s agency as a powerful advocate of his brother’s enthronement and as an appeal for Ayurbarwada’s own well-deserved heir-apparent status. I argue that Ayurbarwada had masterfully mediated his multiple identities and ambitions through this innocuous looking Buddhist painting. The long tradition of the literati’s veneration of Vimalakīrti that can be traced back to the Six dynasties period (220-589) and the contemporary Yuan imperial cult of Mañjuśrī were arguably carefully mediated to cast the patron in the most favourable light possible of the past and present: an educated sympathizer of Confucianism and a respectful future heir to the Yuan throne. In other words, a qualified “Mongolian Candidate” to the Mandate of Heaven. With its focus on Ayurbarwada’s active role in the formation of the painting, this presentation is part of my present project in the study of the Yuan imperium’s ideological agency in the field of Yuan religious art.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/246957

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorLI, CT-
dc.date.accessioned2017-10-18T08:19:59Z-
dc.date.available2017-10-18T08:19:59Z-
dc.date.issued2016-
dc.identifier.citationInternational Young Scholars’ Forum on Buddhism and East Asian Cultures-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/246957-
dc.description.abstractWang Zhenpeng’s (act. ca. 1280-1329) painting entitled Vimalakīrti and the Doctrine of Non-duality is a masterful representation of the famous debate between Mañjuśrī and Vimalakīrti immortalised in the seminal Chinese Buddhist text, Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra. Wang’s accompanying inscription provides two important keys in appreciating the significance of this Yuan dynasty (1272-1367) masterpiece, namely, the patronage and the artistic tradition that it seeks to emulate. Wang indicates that the work was commissioned by the powerful arbiter of Yuan politics, the Crown Prince Ayurbarwada who would eventually ascend to the throne as Renzong (r. 1311-1320). The painting itself, as Wang himself relates, is a copy of the Jin (1115–1234) artist Ma Yunqing’s (act. 12th century) painting after an earlier work by the celebrated Northern Song (960-1126) painter Li Gonglin (1049-1106). In this presentation, I seek to offer a nuanced interpretation of this important painting in view of its historical context. Wang’s work, dating to 1308, was done a year after Ayurbarwada’s elder brother Khaishan (Wuzong, r. 1307-1311) ascended to the throne in 1307. The painting thus should be read in light of Ayurbarwada’s agency as a powerful advocate of his brother’s enthronement and as an appeal for Ayurbarwada’s own well-deserved heir-apparent status. I argue that Ayurbarwada had masterfully mediated his multiple identities and ambitions through this innocuous looking Buddhist painting. The long tradition of the literati’s veneration of Vimalakīrti that can be traced back to the Six dynasties period (220-589) and the contemporary Yuan imperial cult of Mañjuśrī were arguably carefully mediated to cast the patron in the most favourable light possible of the past and present: an educated sympathizer of Confucianism and a respectful future heir to the Yuan throne. In other words, a qualified “Mongolian Candidate” to the Mandate of Heaven. With its focus on Ayurbarwada’s active role in the formation of the painting, this presentation is part of my present project in the study of the Yuan imperium’s ideological agency in the field of Yuan religious art.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.relation.ispartofInternational Young Scholars’ Forum on Buddhism and East Asian Cultures-
dc.titleAyurbarwada the ‘Mongolian Candidate’ and Wang Zhenpeng’s Vimalakīrti and the Doctrine of Non-duality-
dc.typeConference_Paper-
dc.identifier.hkuros280107-

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