Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

East Asian Languages & Civilizations

First Advisor

Nancy S. Steinhardt


The dissertation analyzes the different forms of art - architecture, murals and sculptures - produced in Southern Shanxi from the beginning of the fourteenth century to the early of Ming. The dissertation starts with a case study on the history of Guangshengsi, one of the most prestigious Buddhist monasteries in the region, and one of the best-preserved Yuan architectural complexes of all China. It then examines the extant Yuan architecture of Southern Shanxi, most of which were constructed in two types of structures, diantang and tingtang. It was the tingtang structure that gained increasingly popularity in the first half of the fourteenth century. Surviving Yuan buildings in Southern Shanxi belonged to religious institutions of various kinds, Buddhist and Daoist monasteries, temples and shrines of local beliefs. In many cases, these buildings were decorated with murals and contained religious images in various forms. Unfortunately, because of their high artistic achievements and with few exceptions, murals and sculptures were either lost or found their way to the collections of private collectors and museums. The goal of the conclusion is to put architecture, sculpture and murals into one schematic paradigm. The dissertation begins with a reconstruction of history, to the reconstruction of a monastery layout, and finally in the conclusion, to the reconstruction of the imagery program within a building. The imagery program of the main hall of the Guangsheng Lower Monastery is reconstructed, which answers a final question, to what extent were the art and architecture of Southern Shanxi influenced by Tibetan Lamaism, one that defines the high art during the period of Yuan.

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