Wechseln zu: Navigation, Suche
Arhats preparing tea.jpg

James Benn

Buddhism and the Invention of Tea Culture in Tang Dynasty China (618–907 CE)

Time: Thur 18 May 2017, 17:00-19:00
Venue: Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, 2nd floor seminar room
Hollandstraße 11-13, 1020 Wien
Organisation: Birgit Kellner


The dramatic change in Chinese drinking habits that occurred in the eighth century CE cannot be understood without considering the crucial role of Buddhist ideas, institutions, and individuals in creating a new culture around the consumption of tea. This lecture looks closely at the surviving artistic, material, and literary evidence for Buddhist involvement in the invention of a Chinese tea culture during the Tang dynasty.


James Benn

James A. Benn was trained primarily as a scholar of medieval Chinese religions (Buddhism and Daoism). His research is aimed at understanding the practices and world views of medieval men and women, both religious and lay, through the close reading of primary sources in literary Chinese—the lingua franca of East Asian religions. He has concentrated on three major areas of research: bodily practice in Chinese religions; the ways in which people create and transmit new religious practices and doctrines; and the religious dimensions of commodity culture. In particular he has worked on self-immolation, Chinese Buddhist apocrypha, and the religious and cultural history of tea. He is the author of Burning for the Buddha: Self-immolation in Chinese Buddhism (University of Hawai'i Press 2007) and Tea in China: A Religious and Cultural History (University of Hawai'i Press 2015).

Illustration: Arhats preparing tea by Zhou Jichang 周季常 and Lin Tinggui 林庭珪, One scroll from the Five Hundred Arhats series. Southern Song, ca. 1178. Hanging scroll 112 x 53 cm. Ink and colour on silk. Daitokuji, Kyoto. Source: Nara Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan 奈良国立博物館, ed. 2009. Seichi Ninpō (Ninpō): Nihon Bukkyō 1300-nen no genryū: subete wa koko kara yatte kita 聖地寧波 (ニンポー): 日本仏教1300年の源流: すべてはここからやって来た (Sacred Ningbo, gateway to 1300 years of Japanese Buddhism). Nara: Nara National Museum.

Öster­reichi­sche Aka­demie der Wissen­schaften
Institut für Kultur- und Geistes­geschichte Asiens
Meine Werkzeuge