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Paradisiacal Realms in Ancient Egypt and Early China

May 11, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Royce Hall, Rm 306,
Keynote Lecture for the UCLA Graduate Conference on Religion:
Performing Devotion: Religious Rituals and Religious Practices


This talk explores the concept and representation of post-mortem paradises in Ancient Egypt and Early China. The notion of a paradise for the worthy, accessed through personal piety, ethical conduct or ritual knowledge, developed at a particular historical moment in the development of each of these great civilizations and expressed a genuine desire on the part of regular people for salvation and immortality. These expressions would have a lasting impact on the development of paradisiacal realms in the later universal religions of Christianity and Buddhism. After a brief introduction to the nature of the soul and the geography of the afterlife in each civilization, the talk explores the features and iconography of the Marsh of Reeds in Egypt and the paradise of the Queen Mother of the West on Mt. Kunlun in China as revealed in texts, illustrative vignettes, painted tomb murals, and stone carvings. A special focus will be on ritual practices that would assist oneself or one’s deceased relatives in attaining entrance to paradise, including the playing of ritual board games like senet and liubo.


Graduate Conference 2017 Keynote Lecture by:
Dr. Anthony Barbieri-Low, History Department, UC Santa Barbara

Anthony Barbieri-Low specializes in the social, legal, and material culture history of Early China.  He has published books on Chinese law and the social history of artisans, as well as an exhibition catalog and computer simulation of a group of offering shrines from a family cemetery in northeast China.  His current research seeks to compare several aspects of the early imperial civilizations of China and Egypt.


This conference is made possible by the generous support of
UCLA Asia Institute

and the cosponsorship of:
UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, UCLA Department of English, UCLA Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, UCLA Department of History, UCLA Department of Philosophy, and the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance


May 11, 2017
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Michael S. Chen


Royce Hall, Rm 306