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Fri, Apr 12


University of the West

ISHB Public Lecture: Envisioning the Water-Land Dharma Assembly

A fascinating lecture by Dr. Phillip E. Bloom, the June and Simon K.C. Li Curator of the Chinese Garden and Director of the Center for East Asian Garden Studies at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

ISHB Public Lecture: Envisioning the Water-Land Dharma Assembly
ISHB Public Lecture: Envisioning the Water-Land Dharma Assembly

Time & Location

Apr 12, 2024, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

University of the West, 1409 Walnut Grove Ave, Rosemead, CA 91770, USA

About the Event

Talk description:

This talk will introduce the Water-Land Dharma Assembly (shuilu fahui 水陸法會), a ritual of universal salvation that rose to prominence in China in the eleventh century and that continues to play a profound role in the lives of Sinitic Buddhists throughout the world today. In all variants of this ritual, paintings offer remarkable insights into otherwise unseen aspects of its practice. Sights, sounds, and smells accessible only to deities and monastics are opened to all participants through the creative interventions of painters.


Phillip E. Bloom is a specialist in the history of the art and gardens of China's Song dynasty (960–1279). He received his Ph.D. in Chinese art history from Harvard University in 2013, writing his dissertation on the visual culture of the Water-Land Retreat. Today, his work focuses on shaping the intellectual and cultural life of The Huntington’s Chinese Garden by developing exhibitions, public programs, and artists’ residencies. Prior to joining The Huntington in 2017, he served as assistant professor of East Asian art history at Indiana University, Bloomington, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Tokyo.

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