No blog posts over the past few months as I have been working with colleagues and an international team of scholars to curate and post an online exhibition, Nara to Norwich: Arts and Beliefs at the Ends of the Silk Road. The first stage of this (see below) went live on 5 June 2022 with 88 exhibits and 5 major themes or stories: Origins; Arrivals; Encounters; Living in Belief and Relics. More stories and exhibits will follow.
As you can read in my inaugural blog post on the exhibition site, the exhibition arose out of a research project that started to take form in 2016, well before COVID first showed its presence. The idea emerged of examining the effects on the material culture of the arrival of Buddhism in Korea and Japan and Christianity in Britain and Scandanavia from about AD 500. It was developed as a four year project, to be launched in 2020 with a major international exhibition planned at the end of that year. The exhibition was to be held in the Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England.
The research and field visit in June 2019 to Korea and Japan by a team of archaeologists and historians from Britain and Scandanavia was intended as an opportunity to meet colleagues, research possible exhibits and visit sites which showed the influences of early Buddhism. The exhibition list was compiled, a budget estimated, and funders and institutions approached. With the lockdowns in 2020 the exhibition was posptoned, and then postponed again until, in late 2021, we decided instead to make our research accessible instead online. A screenshot of the exhibits page is shown below.
The exhibition will be supplemented with blog posts from our collaborating scholars and others and with links to education resources. The next one will be by Naomi Hughes-White, website designer, on the team’s recent visit to meet colleagues and visit Vendel and Viking sites in Sweden.
We also plan in-person events over the coming years which will be announced on the website, including smaller exhibitions at various sites, including in Norwich in 2024. I will also post here on subjects relevant to the exhibition, but my next blog post here will be on research visit to museums in Germany and Sweden to examine artefacts from Khotan.