IEAS Exhibit Series — Arts of Asia

Desert Mazar: Sacred Sites in Western China

Image for 'Desert Mazar: Sacred Sites in Western China' exhibit

March 1 to June 1, 2012
Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm
IEAS Lobby and Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor

Wedged between the Mongol and Kazakh steppes, mainland China, and the high ranges of the Pamirs and Himalayas, the desert expanse of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has been a crossroads of languages, cultures and religions. Across the region, the spiritual landscape is marked by mazar, the Uighur term for tombs. Mazar may be as simple as a cave or flags secured to scraps of brush, but they command intense devotional power. Photographer Lisa Ross has traced Uighur pilgrimmage routes and captured images of these sacred sites, sites whose simplicity belies the complex cross-currents of religion and ritual that intersect in the veneration of history's holy men.

The pre-opening reception on February 29 follows a 4 pm event with photographer Lisa Ross in conversation with Sanjyot Mehendale (Vice-Chair Center for Buddhist Studies, Lecturer in Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley).

Symposium: April 24, 4-7 pm
Institute of East Asian Studies Conference Room
"Shamans, Buddhists and Muslim Saints: The Layered History of the Desert Mazar"

Participants: Beth Citron, Assistant Curator, Rubin Museum of Art
Rahile Dawut, Xinjiang University, China
Johan Elverskog, Religious Studies, Southern Methodist University and Visiting Fellow, Stanford University
Sanjyot Mehendale, Lecturer, Department of Near Eastern Studies, UCB
Alexandre Papas, National Center for Scientific Research, Paris
Lisa Ross, Photographer

Event Contact:, 510-643-6492

See other IEAS Exhibits.