Associated Researcher (since 08/2019)
Research Associate BuddhistRoad (01/2018 - 07/2019)
Former Postdoctoral Research Associate (Focus Group Media), Käte Hamburger Kolleg (until 12/2017)
Erika Forte (Ph. D. 2002 in Indian and East-Asian Art, Genova University, Italy) is an expert on Buddhist art and archaeology in Eastern Central Asia and China. She studied Chinese Archaeology (MA 1997, Xi’an Northwest University, China) and received a University degree in Art History and Archaeology of Central Asia (1996, Università ‘La Sapienza’, Rome, Italy).
She has been a research associate of the National Research Network sponsored by the Austrian Science Fund “The Cultural History of the Western Himalaya from the 8th Century” (CHWH), from 2007-2013 at the University of Vienna, where she also taught Chinese Art and Archaeology within the Department of Sinology. She has been a permanent member of the joint Italian-Chinese Archaeological Excavation Project on the Buddhist site of the Fengxiansi Monastery in Longmen (Luoyang, China) from 1997 to 2005, and received a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Kyoto (Japan) in the years 2004-2006.
Her research focuses on the issues of cultural flow and the dynamics of Buddhist visual communication across Asia during the 1st millennium CE. Her research methodology combines the study of archaeological and artistic evidence with that of Chinese secular and religious (Buddhist) textual sources.
In the last years she has been exploring the cultural interconnection between the oases of the Tarim basin in Xinjiang, particularly Khotan, and adjacent regions – the Himalayas, China, and the Indian subcontinent. Her latest publications on this theme include the articles: “Khotan in the last quarter of the 1st millennium: is there artistic evidence of the interrelations between Khotan and Tibet? A preliminary survey” and “A journey ‘to the land on the other side.’ Buddhist pilgrimage and travelling objects from the oasis of Khotan”.
She is the editor of the on-line bibliography database “Cultural History of the Western Himalaya and Adjacent Areas” and the co-editor of the volume Crossing Borders: Tibet in dialogue with its Neighbors (Beijing and Vienna, 2015).
During her fellowship at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg (2014-15), Erika worked on a project entitled “Legendary accounts and Buddhist monasteries. An archaeological and art-historical reassessment of ancient religious establishments in the Khotan oasis (Xinjiang, China)”.
Areas of Research
Buddhist art and archaeology in Eastern Central Asia and in China
Ph.D. Indian and East-Asian Art, Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy, 2002
MA Chinese Archaeology, Xi'an Northwest University, China, 1997
University degreee in Humanities. Art History and Archaeology of Central Asia, Università La Sapienza, Rome, Italy, 1996
Duration: April 2014 to March 2015
Project: Legendary accounts and Buddhist monasteries. An archaeological and art-historical reassessment of ancient religious establishments in the Khotan oasis (Xinjiang, China).