Perspectives on the Liao


Thursday, September 30, 2010 – Saturday, October 2, 2010


Thursday, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Saturday, 8:30 am – 6:00 pm


Yale University, New Haven - Bard Graduate Center, New York City


FREE Adult


Date and Place:

Thursday-Friday, September 30-October 1, 2010 at Yale University, New Haven
Saturday, October 2, 2010 at the Bard Graduate Center, New York City

Please register by September 20, 2010:

Click Here or email



The Kitan empire, ruled by the Liao dynasty (907-1125), controlled large parts of modern-day northern China. Until the 1980s it was mostly considered peripheral to East Asian culture. But since then archaeologists, historians, and linguists have demonstrated that the contrary was true and that the Liao empire was the major cultural nexus between China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, and the Tarim Basin. Luxuriously furnished tombs and dozens of pagodas have yielded previously unknown material evidence--including new textual sources--that help study Liao culture from within, rather than through the eyes of the traditional Chinese historical sources. The new finds have led to an explosion of Liao scholarship in China. This three-day conference offers the first major academic venue in the West to discuss this scholarship.

Speakers in New Haven

5:00 pm –Tala (Inner Mongolia Museum, Huhhot)
Keynote address


9:00 am –Daniel Kane (Macquarie University)
The Name of the Kitan State in Kitan

Andrew Shimunek (Indiana University)
Kitan and its Genetic Affiliation to Mongolic: Evidence of a Mongol-Serbi Language Family

Wayne Wei-yu Tan (Harvard University)
Fill in the Blanks–Sources and Methods in Kitan Script Decipherment

Yasunori Takeuchi (Kyoto University)
Kitan Phonology and the Assignment of Phonetic Values to Kitan Graphemes

Naomi Standen (University of Newcastle) and Gwen Bennett (McGill University)
Tearing Down the Great Wall: The Evidence from Post-Han Black Wares

Lin Hu (Qinghua University)
Rethinking the Liao Cities: Archaeological and Textual Perspectives

1:00 pm –Linda Cooke Johnson (Michigan State University)
Kitan Women in Liao Society

Pamela Crossley (Dartmouth College)
Outside In: Power, Identity, and the Han Lineage of Jizhou

Nicola Di Cosmo (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University)

Lothar Ledderose (University of Heidelberg)
Make Sutras, Not War: The Stele of 965/1005 AD at Cloud Dwelling Monastery

Kirill Solonin (Saint-Petersburg State University and Foguang University)
Kitan Influences and the Formation of the Tangut Buddhism

Hsueh-man Shen (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University)
One Thing Contains All, and All Things Contain One: Huayan Buddhism and the Liao Pagodas

Robert Gimello (University of Notre Dame)


Speakers in New York

9:00 am –Wu Hung (University of Chicago)
Keynote address

Dong Xinlin (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)
Excavating Liao Zuling: New Discoveries

François Louis (Bard Graduate Center)
Iconic Ancestors: Reassessing Early Kitan Elite Burials

Chia Ning (Central College, Iowa)
The Seal Culture in the Liao Dynasty

Xin Chen (University of Oxford)
The Paradise of Buddha: A Case Study of Miniature Buildings in the Liao Period

Nancy Steinhardt (University of Pennsylvania)
Eminent and Not-Quite-Such Eminent Liao Architecture

2:00 pm –Youn-mi Kim (Yale University)
 The Missing Link: Tracing the Liao in Heian Japanese Shingon Ritual

Brian Vivier (University of Michigan)
Liao Integration in the Religious Networks of Eleventh-Century Northeast Asia

Youngsook Pak (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)
Koryŏ and Liao Relations in the 10th-11th Century - Impact on Buddhist Culture

Mimi Yiengpruksawan (Yale University)

Anya King (University of Southern Indiana)
Early Arabic and Persian Sources on the Kitan Liao: The Role of Trade

Valerie Hansen (Yale University)
International Gifting and the Kitan World, 907-1125

Michal Biran (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)



For additional information contact Alex Phelan,

Event, Conference