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Kucha and the Silk Road

USC Departments of Art History and East Asian Languages and Cultures host a one-day symposium exploring the monuments found along China's Silk Road

Saturday, November 13, 2010
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Waite Phillips Hall B27
Los Angeles, CA 90089

 This one-day symposium explores the cave temples of Kucha, which rank among some of the most significant monuments along the ancient Silk Road. Located in what is now the westernmost part of China, these sites were once major centers of Buddhism and repositories of rich artistic practices sponsored by the Central Asian Kingdom of Kucha. Their later history was intertwined with the dissemination of Islam and the great game of empire-building across the region. This symposium brings together scholars from around the world to discuss a wide range of issues related to the study and preservation of major cave temples such as Kizil and Kumtura, as well as the place of Kucha in world history.

Panel 1: Visual Culture of Cave Temples
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Angela Howard, Rutgers University
          The Visual Language of Meditation in the
          Décor of Kucha Caves
Neil Schmid, University of North Carolina
          Ksitigarbha and Paths of Rebirth in Kucha
Lilla Russell-Smith, Asian Art Museum, Berlin
          Research and Conservation of Artifacts from
          Kucha in the Asian Art Museum of Berlin
Lothar von Falkenhausen, UCLA

Panel 2: Past, Present, Future
2:30-5 p.m.
Valerie Hansen, Yale University
          Situating Kucha in the History of the Silk
Adele Di Ruocco, USC
          Chess Game or Treasure Hunting? Russian
          Imperial Expeditions along the Silk Road
Bruce Zuckerman, USC
          New Imaging Technologies for Kucha Wall
Sonya Lee, USC


The symposium is open to the public and requires no prior registration. Directions to USC University Park Campus can be found at


(213) 821-2582

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