8:32 a.m., Nov. 30, 2009----In the setting of an inner courtyard of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, Prof. Chandra Reedy of the University of Delaware was one of just nine foreign scholars honored on Oct. 16 for their accomplishments and stature in the field of Tibetan Buddhist studies.
The occasion was the opening of the new Palace Museum Research Center for Tibetan Buddhist Heritage, and Reedy, a professor in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy whose primary appointment is in the Center for Historic Architecture and Design (CHAD), was presented with an appointment as a permanent Guest Fellow of the new research center.
“I am deeply honored by this recognition and humbled by my inclusion with so many outstanding Tibetologists. I look forward to many years of continuing collaboration with the Palace Museum and its new Tibetan research center,” Reedy said.
The Forbidden City was the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties. There was strong interest in Tibetan Buddhism by the court during these periods and constant contact and exchanges with the major monasteries and religious teachers of Tibet. As a result, dozens of temples in the Forbidden City are dedicated to Tibetan Buddhism, and the Palace Museum houses more than 20,000 works of Tibetan art.
Research Center for Tibetan Buddhist Heritage
The Palace Museum established the new Research Center for Tibetan Buddhist Heritage to promote national and international cooperation and scholarly communication for the study of its Tibetan holdings and related art and material culture. Leading up to the inauguration of the new center, the Palace Museum began initiating a series of international research projects and fieldwork efforts in 2005.
In announcing the recent achievements of the new center, Wang Yuegong and Luo Wenhua of the Palace Museum highlighted a cooperative documentation and preservation project with the University of Delaware. This fieldwork on Ming-period Tibetan Bon cave temple wall paintings of Nga ba Prefecture in Sichuan Province involves Reedy and a team of faculty and students from CHAD, a Palace Museum team, and a team from the Sichuan Research Institute for Archaeology.
During the courtyard ceremony 10 Chinese scholars were named Guest Fellows of the new center along with the nine foreign scholars. Reedy was one of three Americans who were honored. The Guest Fellows were presented with credentials imparting staff access to the Forbidden City and an extensive set of publications of Tibetan holdings in the Palace Museum.
Following the ceremonies, Reedy presented a paper at the 4th International Conference on Tibetan Archaeology and Arts, co-hosted by the Palace Museum and Capital Normal University. After the conference she met with the Palace Museum's deputy director of research, Song Lingping; senior research fellow of the new center, Luo Wenhua; and deputy director of the Cultural Relics Conservation Institute of the Tibet Autonomous Region, He Jing, to discuss expanding UD's Sichuan fieldwork project to include temples and wall paintings in the Lhasa area.
Reedy reports that the discussions were very positive, with a long-term collaborative initiative outlined for the documentation and preservation of Bon temples. Bon is the pre-Buddhist indigenous religious tradition of Tibet.
“I am very excited about the possibility of being able to expand UD graduate and undergraduate fieldwork opportunities in Tibetan areas of China,” Reedy said.