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U.Va. Art Museum Announces Weedon Asian Arts Lecture by Lewis Lancaster March 11

February 25, 2009 — The University of Virginia Art Museum will host Lewis Lancaster for the semi-annual Weedon Lecture in the Arts of Asia on March 11.

Lancaster's lecture, "Crossing a Boundary: Where, When, How," also will be the keynote address for the international conference "Cultural Crossings: China and Beyond in the Medieval Period," and for a workshop, "Digital Projects in Asian Art and Humanities."

These events were organized to coincide with the museum's exhibition, "Treasures Rediscovered: Chinese Stone Sculpture from the Sackler Collections at Columbia University."

The lecture, free and open to the public, will be held at 5:30 p.m., in Campbell Hall room 153.

Lancaster is emeritus professor of East Asian languages and cultures at the University of California at Berkeley. His research has focused on the history of the Chinese Buddhist canon. He is also the founder and director of the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative. His current activities include editorship of the Cultural Atlas of Chinese Religions, in coordination with the Geographic Information System Center of Academia Sinica in Taiwan, and mapping of Buddhist archaeological sites and inscriptions of southern India with the Archaeological Survey of India in Chennai.

In his lecture, Lancaster will explore the definition of boundaries and question the strategies that scholars use to define them. His research addresses the difficulty in conforming the historical study of artifacts, language families, narratives and rituals found across Eurasia to contemporary national boundaries. He considers whether Eurasia should be used as a cultural boundary in its own right, and what this revolutionary restructuring would mean to the study of art, religion, language, material culture and social patterns. Lancaster also will outline how collaboration with scholars in mathematics and geographic information systems will redefine the study of topological space in the age of digital technology.

The Weedon Lectures are made possible by generous support from the Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation.

The exhibition, "Treasures Rediscovered: Chinese Stone Sculpture from the Sackler Collections at Columbia University," runs through March 14, and is comprised of 21 sculptures from one of the most notable collections of Chinese stone sculpture in the United States. The work includes steles, full figures and heads of divinities, as well as funerary objects from the Han (206 BCE–220 CE) through the Tang (617–907 CE) Dynasties.

For information, call 434-243-2050 or e-mail museumoutreach@virginia.edu.

— By Jane Ford

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