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International Research Centre for the History and Culture of Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms (China)

Established in 2019, the aim of the International Research Centre is to promote academic research into the history and culture of the Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms (dating from 653-937CE and 937-1253CE respectively), located largely in today’s Yunnan province in southwest China.

The Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms flourished in what is now southwest China (mainly in Yunnan province) as well as parts of Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. The Kingdoms were strategically located, influenced by Tibetan, Tang (618–907) and Song (960-1279) dynasty cultures, as well as civilisations in Southeast Asia, and they produced unique and important Buddhist art forms.

 

 

Caption:Silver Amitaba Buddha. Woon Brothers Foundation Collection.The Research Centre will:

  • develop understanding of the Buddhist material from the Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms which is scattered in collections around the world
  • enhance academic research, as well as the preservation of existing collections
  • advance international academic communication and cooperation
  • develop the training of young professionals.

 

Over the next few years, the Centre will:

  • promote and strengthen cultural and academic exchanges
  • develop joint research projects
  • organise academic seminars, lectures and symposia
  • publish academic work in both Chinese and English
  • initiate collaborative exhibitions in China, Singapore and the UK

 

Caption:Mr Wee Teng Woon pictured with Northumbria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Wathey at the Woon Gallery of Asian Art.The Research Centre has three partners:

  • Northumbria University
  • Yunnan Provincial Museum
  • The Woon Brothers Foundation, Singapore.

Northumbria University also has important works from the Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms from the Woon Brothers Foundation Collection on display in the Woon Gallery of Asian Art.

For information contact Louise Tythacott, Woon Tai Jee Professor of Asian Art: louise.tythacott@northumbria.ac.uk

 

Meet our researchers

Click on a researcher's name to find out more about their work.

Louise Tythacott

Professor, The Woon Tai Jee Professor of Asian Art

 

 

 

Jean Brown

Associate Professor in Art Conservation

 

 

 

Jane Colbourne

Senior Lecturer in Art Conservation

 

 

 

Nicola Grimaldi

Senior Lecturer in Art Conservation

 

 

 

Charis Theodorakopoulos

Senior Lecturer in Art Conservation

 

 

 

Chiara Bellini

Stride Lecturer in Technical Art History

 

 

 

Ayesha Fuentes

Stride Lecturer in Arts Conservation 

 

 

 

Richard Mulholland

Vice-Chancellor's Fellow in Art Conservation

 

 

 

Researchers in China

Prof. Ma Wendou (马文斗)

Director of the Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming, China

Prof. Ma is China's well-known cultural relics identification expert and museology expert. He has engaged in museum management, exhibition planning, cultural relics identification and research for more than 30 years.

 

 

Prof. Qiu Xuanchong (邱宣充)

Researcher at the Yunnan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism; Visiting Professor at the Department of History at Yunnan University, Yunnan, China

Majored Archaeology at Peking University in 1960.

Professor Qiu has participated in several important archaeological projects in China and was also the main archaeologist in charge of the Three Pagodas at the Chongsheng Monastery in Dali, Yunnan. Professor Qiu’s academic focus is Yunnanese material culture and religious history during the period of Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms.

 

Prof. Zhang Yongkang (张永康)

Researcher, Yunnan Provincial Cultural Relics Authentication Expert Committee, Yunnan, China

Mr. Zhang took part in several important excavations of ancient tombs in Yunnan province, such as the tombs of Lijiashan in Jiangchuan county, Dadunzi in Yuanmou county, Wangjiaba in Chuxiong and Batatai in Qujing. He has been working with Yunnanese cultural relics for decades. During his career, he has helped to examine and identify a great number of Yunnanese objects for museums and collectors.

 

Prof. Xiong Wenbin (熊文彬) 

Professor at the Institute of Tibetology at the University of Sichuan, Chengdu, China

PhD Tibetan Art History, China Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China, 1994.

Professor Xiong is a leading scholar in the area of Tibetan religious art. Much of his research was carried out in the Tibetan region, in which he gained access to a number of precious mural paintings in local Lama monasteries, including the mural paintings in the Baiju Monastery in Jiangzi County and Xianu Monastery in Shigatse, Tibet.

 

Mr. Luo Wenhua (罗文华)

Researcher at the Palace Museum; Director of the Institute of Tibetan Buddhist Relics at the Palace Museum, Beijing, China

Majored Archaeology at Peking University in 1989.

Between 1992 and 1994, Mr. Luo studied both Tibetan language and Sanskrit at the Minzu University of China and the China Tibetology Research Center. He has been working with Tibetan materials (both imperial collection of Tibetan Buddhist objects at the court and materials in situ at temples in Tibet) for nearly three decades. His papers and books analyse issues of Tibetan Buddhism in China - in particular, the transmission of Tibetan Buddhist style in central China, and how Buddhism in the surrounding milieu of China influenced the development of Sino-Tibetan Buddhist art.

 

Prof. Hou Chong (候冲)

Professor at the Department of Philosophy at Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China

PhD Philosophy, Shanghai Normal University, 2009.

Professor Hou specialises in Yunnanese Buddhism and the local religious beliefs of the Bai minority peoples. He has helped compile and edit several Yunnanese Buddhist sutras, including three sutras of the Dali Kingdom and four classics of the Azhali belief. He is currently in charge of the National Social Science Fund Youth Project Research on the Classics of Azhali Belief in Yunnan.

 

Prof. Li Donghong (李东红)

Director of the Yunnan University Library, Kunming, China

PhD History.

His main research fields span ethnic studies to Yunnanese local archaeology. As a member of the Bai ethnic group, he specialises in Bai people’s religion, history and culture. As well as studying the impact of Buddhism upon the local Azhali beliefs of the Bai people he also examines Daoist and Confucianist influences on local people during the Nanzhao and Dali periods. 

 

Prof. Chen Hao (陈浩)

Researcher at the Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming, China

Mr Chen has been working with various categories of objects collected in the Yunnan Provincial Museum for years. He excels at the identification of calligraphy, painting, ceramics, bronze and jade, and has also helped organise and curate several exhibitions at the Yunnan Provincial Museum.  

 

Prof. Fan Haitao (樊海涛)

Researcher at the Yunnan Provincial Museum and Head of the Storage Department at the Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming, China

Mr. Fan specialises in bronze objects in the collection of Yunnan Provincial Museum and his main research field is the study of Yunnanese bronze material culture. During his career, Mr. Fan has also trained to preserve different types of Yunnanese materials.

 

Dr. Yang Xueyin (杨雪吟)

Researcher at the Yunnan Provincial Museum, Member and Secretary-General of the Academic Committee of Yunnan Provincial Museum and Deputy Secretary-General of Yunnan Cultural Heritage Museum Association

Dr Yang’s main responsibility is to promote and preserve Yunnanese local heritage and cultural relics to the public. She is also committed to the study of ecology and culture.

 

Prof. Mu Rui (沐蕊)

Researcher at the Yunnan Provincial Museum and Head of the Technology Department at the Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming, China

Ms. Mu majored in chemistry for her undergraduate degree. She is an expert with wide experience of how to preserve, repair and duplicate different types of materials collected by the Yunnan Provincial Museum - including traditional Yunnanese architecture, bronze objects, fur and leather materials.

 

Dr. Guo Jia (郭佳)

Associate Researcher at the Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming, China

Dr. Guo is engaged in cultural heritage research and cultural exchanges at the Yunnan Provincial Museum. Her research focuses on the anthropology of art, landscape archaeology, as well as the ethnic culture of local minority people.

 

Prof. Duan Lingling (段玲铃)

Associate Researcher at the Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming, China

MA in folklore in Yunnan University.

Duan Lingling joined Yunnan Provincial Museum in 2007 and now is curator and associate researcher, who has organised and participated in exhibitions in many museums.

 

Prof. He Su (贺苏)

Associate Researcher at the Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming, China

Ms He is interested in Chinese traditional painting and has helped the museum and local collectors to authenticate their cultural relics.

 

 

Prof. Zhao Yun (赵云)

Associate Researcher at the Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming, China

Mr Zhao is interested in objects from the Yunnanese bronze era, as well as Buddhist art in Yunnan. He worked at archaeological sites in Yunnan, such as the Three Pagodas project in Dali.

 

 

Dr. Xiong Yan (熊燕) 

Associate Researcher at the Yunnan Provincial Museum,Kunming, China

Dr Xiong’s focus is the study of the history and culture of Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhism in the Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms. In particular, she examines the mutual influences between Tibetan and Yunnanese religious art, and much of her research is based on objects collected by the Yunnan Provincial Museum. 

 

Above left-right: 1. Silver Vairocana Buddha, Yunnan, Dali Kingdom, dated to the 5th year of Sheng De reign of Emperor Duan Zhixing (corresponding to AD 1180). H: 37.1cm; 2.3.and 4. Silver pagoda enshrining a gold seated Amitabha Buddha with 9 smaller pagodas atop each enshrining a gold standing Acuoye Guanyin, Yunnan, Late Nanzhao or Dali Kingdom. H: 51.5cm. All Woon Brothers Foundation Collection.

 

Above left-right: 1. Gilt bronze Acuoye Guanyin, Late Nanzhao or Dali Kingdom. H: 45.3cm. Northumbria University. 2. Silver Acuoye Guanyin, Late Nanzhao or Dali Kingdom. H: 38.7 cm. Woon Brothers Foundation Collection. 3. Gilt bronze Buddha, Dali Kingdom. H: 28cm. Woon Brothers Foundation Collection. Also navigation image on previous page. 4. Gold Buddha, Dali Kingdom. Dated to the 1st Year of Li Zhen Reign of Emperor Duan Zhixing (corresponding to AD 1172). H: 19cm. Woon Brothers Foundation Collection.

Above left-right: 1. Pavilion of stone-carved standing Acuoye Guanyin at Grotto No. 13 of Sha Deng Qin; 2. Plaque at Grotto No. 13 of Sha Deng Qing; 3. The Entrance to Shi Zhong Si Temple & Grottoes at Shi Bao Mountain, Jianchuan, Yunnan; 4. View of Shi Bao Mountain, Jianchuan, Yunnan.

 

 

 

 


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