Publications by Type: Book Chapter




Wong D. An Agent of Cultural Transmission: Jianzhen’s Travels to Japan. In: China and Beyond in the Mediaeval Period: Cultural Crossings and Inter-regional Connections. Amherst: Cambria Press; 2014. pp. 63–99.

This volume examines China's contacts with neighboring cultures in Central, South, Southeast, and Northeast Asia, as well as contacts among those cultures from the beginning of the Common Era to the tenth century and beyond. During this period, transregional and crosscultural exchanges were fostered by both peaceful and aggressive activities and movements of peoples across Eurasia along land and maritime routes. Such movements played an important role in world history in the medieval period, and yet many aspects of cultural exchanges across Eurasia remain understudied. The lack of knowledge is particularly evident in treatments of Chinese history between the Han and Tang empires. Examining relations with neighboring cultures during this period calls into question notions of China as a monolithic cultural entity.

Grouped under the four headings of "Networks of Exchange," "Silk Road Crossings," "Textual Centers and Peripheries," and "Buddhist Art and Iconography," the twenty-one chapters in this volume reveal transmissions, transgressions, syntheses, accommodations, and transformations that occurred when peoples and cultures came into contact with one another. They explore the motivations for the movements of peoples and goods-trade, war, diplomacy, acquisition of culture and knowledge (and sometimes of talent), and evangelical Buddhism. They also analyze the impacts of these exchanges through study of the artefacts, concepts, technologies, and practices associated with these interactions from a multidisciplinary perspective.