This article focuses on the Shōsō-in repository in Nara, a collection of artifacts that were fashioned in various media along the Silk Road. The repository first took shape in the mid-eighth century, when the personal collection of Emperor Sh ō mu (r. 724– 749) was posthumously dedicated to the Buddha Vairocana. While the precocious globalism of this collection has been celebrated in previous literature, I examine some of the local and intercontinental mechanisms that brought these artifacts to Japan. Through a close reading of the original dedication in 756, I argue that this global collection of art, along with the religion of Buddhism, sustained the belief in an interconnected world, and allowed Shōmu and his associates to imagine themselves projected well beyond the boundaries of their country.
"Global Medieval at the "End of the Silk Road," circa 756 CE: The Shōsō-in Collection in Japan,"
The Medieval Globe: Vol. 3
, Article 9.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/tmg/vol3/iss2/9