Conference this weekend: The Sarcophagus East and West

October 2-3, 2009

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
15 E. 84th Street
New York, NY 10028
(212) 992-7800

RSVP: (please indicate day(s) attending)

This conference, organized by Wu Hung and Jas' Elsner, focuses mainly on decorated stone sarcophagi from around the second century BCE to the third century CE, when this type of burial equipment not only continued to develop in the parts of Europe dominated by the Roman Empire, but also enjoyed considerable popularity in East Asia. Whereas the chronological and formal developments of each regional tradition remain an important research goal, this conference encourages comparative observations and interpretations of ancient sarcophagi in broader geo-cultural spheres and more specific ritual/religious contexts. It is hoped that by addressing these two research objectives simultaneously, this conference will help open new ways to think about the development of art and visual culture in a broadly defined ancient world, where the art historical materials available are subject to comparable methodological constraints both from archaeological excavation and from known literary and historical contexts.

This event is free and open to the public, please RSVP.


Friday, October 2, 2009

9:00 Opening remarks: Roger Bagnall (Director of ISAW)

Panel 1   Chair: Roger Bagnall

9:20 Introductory Lecture 1
    Wu Hung (University of Chicago) - “Consistency and Variations in Han Sarcophagi”

10:00 Introductory Lecture 2:
    Jas Elsner (Oxford University) - “Rhetoric in Pagan and Christian Sarcophagi”

10:40   Coffee Served in Oak Library

Panel 2   Chair: Jonathan Hay (IFA, New York University)

11:10 Paul Zanker (Scuole Normale Superiore di Pisa) - “Understanding Images Without Texts”

11:50 Alain Thote (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes) - “The Chinese coffins from the first millennium BC and the early images of the after world”

12:30   Lunch Break

Panel 3   Chair: T. J. Clark (U.C. Berkeley)

2:15 Richard Neer (University of Chicago) - "The Polyxena Sarcophagus from Ilion"

3:00 Eugene Wang (Harvard University) - “The Jouissance of Death: Mapping the Bodily Cosmos on Chinese Sarcophagi”

3: 40 Tea Served in Oak Library

Panel 4   Chair: Wu Hung

4:10  Discussion: Barry Flood (IFA, New York University)

4:40  Discussion: Chris Hallett (U. C. Berkeley)

5:10  Open floor discussion

6:00   Reception


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Panel 5   Chair: Barry Flood

9:00 Verity Platt (University of Chicago) - "Horror Vacui: Framing the Dead on Roman Sarcophagi"

9:40 Zheng Yan (Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing) - “Sarcophagus Tombs in Eastern China and the Transformation of Han Funerary Art”

10:30   Coffee Served in Oak Library

Panel 6   Chair: Chris Hallett

11:00 Janet Huskinson (Open University, UK) – “Roman Strigillated Sarcophagi and 'How Societies Remember'”

11:40 Bjoern Ewald (University of Toronto) – “Sarcophagi in the Roman World: a Comparative Approach”

12:30   Lunch Break

Panel 7   Chair: Jas Elsner

2:15 Lillian Tseng (Yale University) - “Funerary Spatiality: Wang Hui’s Sarcophagus in Han China”

3:00  Edmund Thomas (Durham Center for Roman Culture) – “Inside and Outside: Roman Sarcophagi as Public and Private Monuments”

3:40   Tea Served in Oak Library

Panel 8   Chair: Jas Elsner

4:10  Discussion: Jonathan Hay

4:40 Discussion: T.J. Clark

5:10 Open floor discussion