This talk focuses on the recent rediscovery, division, and circulation of the medieval Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang’s skull fragment throughout China, Taiwan, Japan, and India. I will discuss some of the ways that Buddhist relics have been used by modern political regimes to evoke patriotic sentiments at home and to establish diplomatic and economic alliances abroad.
Benjamin Brose is Assistant Professor of Chinese Buddhism in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. His work has examined the social history of medieval Chinese Buddhism, particularly the history of Chan during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms. Professor Brose was recently awarded a Fulbright senior scholar fellowship and a Chiang-ching Kuo junior scholar grant to pursue new research on modern representations of the famous Tang dynasty monk, pilgrim, and scholar Xuanzang. For the 2013-14 academic year, he was a visiting scholar at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica in Taipei.
Benjamin Brose, Assistant Professor of Chinese Buddhism, University of Michigan