Woodenfish Dunhuang Buddhist Studies Workshop

Co-organized by Woodenfish Foundation and Dunhuang Academy (敦煌研究院)


Program dates: June 15th-26th, 2017


Application Deadline: April 1, 2017. Application period

now closed.



The Mogao Cave complex in Dunhuang is the largest

repository of medieval Buddhist art in China with over

four hundred intricately painted caves. Yet, despite the

importance of this site, thorough and reliable scholarship

on the Buddhist history of the greater Dunhuang region

remains a desire for both scholars internationally and in



The Woodenfish Dunhuang Buddhist Studies Workshop

offers an annual venue for accomplished scholars of Dunhuang Buddhism to share their research and interact with young scholars in the field of Buddhism, Art History and Dunhuang Studies. The short-term goal is to initiate new and critical perspectives on Dunhuang Buddhism and to stimulate interest among young scholars who will be given the opportunity to study Dunhuang Buddhism in situ. The long-term goal is to generate a foundation of new scholarship on Buddhism in the greater Dunhuang region and establish Dunhuang as a vibrant center for scholars and critical scholarship.


In our first year, we are delighted to announce the following three lecturers. All three seminars will last for three days and will include a considerable amount of time spent in the actual caves.


Angela F. Howard, Professor Emerita, Rutgers University. A Question of Identity: Who is the Cosmological Buddha? In this seminar, she will use Buddhist texts and on-site examinations of the Dunhuang cave sculpture and paintings to consider the identity of the Chinese Cosmological Buddha.


Stephen F. Teiser, Professor, Princeton University. Chinese Buddhist Healing Rituals through Texts and Art. The seminar will explore the rich and varied traditions of healing rituals in Chinese Buddhism. Sources will include liturgies (ritual texts) that survive among the Dunhuang manuscripts, paintings on silk recovered from Dunhuang and wall paintings at Mogao Caves, and canonical Buddhist texts.


Sarah E. Fraser, Professor, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. Avalokeitesvara in the History of Dunhuang Development. This seminar will follow Avalokitesvara during different phases of Dunhuang development and, at the same time, track how patronage and artistic practice have changed the content, structure, and architecture of the site.




Fill out this application form: https://goo.gl/forms/NgUQcA4M0OoH55fY2

(If you cannot access the above Google form because of your internet connection, you may download and fill out the application form here and send it to guttorm@woodenfish.org. Please only do so if you cannot connect to the Google form.) 





The seminar is mainly for graduate student and early career scholars, but established scholars are also invited to apply.


Fees and Scholarships


Successful applicants will receive free tuition, room and board, covered by the organizers. We hope to also give out travel scholarships to select students. More information available soon. 


If you have questions about the program or application process, please email guttorm@woodenfish.org