New Frontiers in the Study of Medieval China

Inaugural Workshop: On Muzhiming

Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16, 2015, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Brower Commons A and B at the College Avenue Campus of Rutgers University

This workshop is co-organized by Jessey Choo, Alexei Ditter, and LU Yang, with the generous support of the Tang Research Foundation, with additional assistance provided by Department of Asian Languages and Cultures of Rutgers University and Rutgers Center for Chinese Studies.

This workshop focuses on one of the most important and influential new sources in the study of medieval China, muzhiming — stone slabs interred within a tomb and typically inscribed with a biography, an account of the burial, and a rhymed eulogy. Excavated by the thousands in recent decades, muzhiming are a unique cultural form of commemorative epigraphy through which contemporary scholars can explore a diverse range of artistic, literary, religious, and economic practices. This workshop will serve as a forum for exploring fundamental questions about the nature of and approaches to muzhiming. Bringing together leading U.S. and international scholars studying medieval China and muzhiming from distinct disciplinary perspectives, this workshop seeks, by means of conversations begun over discussion of the translation and close reading of specific muzhiming and the broader questions and challenges these examples raise, to generate methodologies and resources for future research on an aspect of medieval China often neglected in Western scholarship.