University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Seated Luohan from China [Object of the Day #17]

Seated Luohan

By: Stephen Lang

The Penn Museum’s luohan is one of the most famous and important pieces in the museum’s collection. The fact that it is slightly larger than life size makes it a marvel of technology. Firing something so big  is extremely hard to do without destroying the piece in the process.  The modeled  facial features also imply […]

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Xuanzang and the Silk Road Pt. 3

By: Stephen Lang

The iconography of Xuanzang, and its history,  is quite fascinating.   Bearing the typical shaved head of a Buddhist monk, Xuanzang is depicted in our painting with a large backpack of sutras, a canopy over his head (with a hanging incense burner) and holding a scroll in his left hand and a fly wisk in […]

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Mes Aynak

By: Gabrielle Niu

With the violence and religious extremism that has indelibly shaped the contemporary world’s perception of Afghanistan, it often goes unremembered that the region for centuries flourished as a cultural crossroads of trade and Buddhism along the Silk Road. Thirty kilometers (about nineteen miles) from the Afghan capital of Kabul, under layers of unexcavated earth, lays an […]

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Xuanzang and the Silk Road Pt. 2

By: Stephen Lang

In my last post I introduced a Japanese painting currently hanging in the Director’s office, here is the basic information about the piece: Title: Buddha with Sixteen Benign Deities (Shaka juuroku zenshin)  釈迦十六善神 Period: Late 17th – Early 18th century Material: Ink and Color on Silk Provenience: Japan Artist: Signed Shuho What is going on […]

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Xuanzang and the Silk Road

By: Stephen Lang

The Director’s office sees all kinds of visitors.  From curators and researchers to  board members and potential donors, there is a diversity of interests and topics that get addressed over light cocktails and finger foods.  For this reason we have been trying to create a focal point in the room that relates to a particularly salient exhibit or […]

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