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).
Forte, Erika A., ed. 2016. A New Method for Re-identifying Ancient Excavated Structures on the Silk Road: The Case of Kocho. In: The Ruins of Kocho, Traces of Wooden Architecture on the Ancient Silk Road, 59-68. Berlin. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gerda Henkel Stiftung.
Forte, Erika A., ed. 2015a. A Journey ‘to the Land on the Other Side’: Buddhist Pilgrimage and Travelling Objects from the Oasis of Khotan. In: Cultural Flows across the Western Himalaya, 151-185. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. http://epub.oeaw.ac.at/7585-8inhalt?frames=yes.
---. 2015b. Bishamen haishi Sanzhi: Hetian Damagou Topulukedun 1 hao yizhi de yifu bihua xinshuo 毘沙門還是散脂: 和田達瑪溝托普魯克墩1號遺址的一幅壁畫新說 [Vaiśravaṇa or Saṃjñāya? A New Interpretation of a Wall Painting from Domoko Toplukdong Site no. 1, Khotan]. Yishushi yanjiu藝術史研究 [The Study of Art History] 17 (2015):167-182.
---. 2015c. Gudai chengshi yizhi Gaochang de yigou biding. Jiyu ditu shiliao pipan de Sizhou zhilu tanxiandui kaocha baogao zhenghe古代城市遗址高昌的遗构比定—基于地图史料批判的丝绸之路探险队考察报告整合. [Identification of Ancient Remains at Karakhoja Site. Integrated Analysis of Criticism of Maps, Photographs, and Satellite Images]. Xiyu wenshi西域文史, 9 (2015): 155-202.
---, ed. 2015d. Tibet in Dialogue with its Neighbours: History, Culture and Art of Central and Western Tibet, 8th to 15th century. Beijing,Vienna: China Tibetology Publishing House.
Forte, Erika A. 2014a. Khotan chiku Domoko hakken Toplukdong 1-gō butsuji to Gomati-dera densetsu コータン地區ドモコ發見トプルクトン1號佛寺と瞿摩帝寺傳説[Toplukdong Temple no. 1 in Domoko (Khotan) and the Legend of Gomatī Monastery]. In: Tōhōgaku kenkyū ronshū kankōkai東方學研究論集刊行會[East Asian Studies Editorial Committee], 210-227. Kyoto: Rinsen Book Co.
---. 2014b. On a Wall Painting from Toplukdong Site no. 1 in Domoko: New Evidence of Vaiśravaṇa in Khotan? In: Changing Forms and Cultural Identity: Religious and Secular Iconographies. Papers from the 20th conference of the European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art held in Vienna from 4th to 9th of July 2010, vol. 1, South Asian Archaeology and Art, 215-224. Turnhout: Brepols.
Online Bibliography Database. Cultural History of The Western Himalaya and Adjacent Areas. http://www.univie.ac.at/bibdb/about/.
Forte, Erika A. 2012. Centralità dell’oasi di Khotan nell’intercultura buddhista del I millennio lungo le vie della seta. In: Archeologia delle Vie della Seta: Percorsi, Immagini e Cultura Materiale, 97-121. Napoli : Università degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale, CISA. http://www.unior.it/cisa/pubblicazioni/viedellaseta/ICiclo/ViedellaSetaI.html#p=108.
Forte, Erika A. 2011. Western/Central Tibet and Khotan. Various Approaches for the Study of Cultural Interactions between Western and Central Tibet and the Oasis of Khotan at the End of the First Millennium. (Symposium The Art and Cultural History of Central and Western Tibet, 8th to 15th century, Vienna, April 5-9, 2011, Book of Abstracts, 14-15). http://www.univie.ac.at/chwh/index.php/reports/100-symposium-workshop-6-8th-of-april-2011).
Forte, Erika A. 2010a. Il Buddhismo a Longmen. Testimonianze archeologiche, testuali ed epigrafiche da un monastero Tang dimenticato [Buddhism in Longmen. Archaeological, Textual and Epigraphic Evidence from a Forgotten Tang Monastery]. In: Alla maniera di... Convegno in ricordo di Maria Teresa Lucidi, 429-450. Rome: Casa Editrice Università La Sapienza.
---. 2010b. Khotan in the Last Quarter of the 1st Millennium: Is there Artistic Evidence of the Interrelations between Khotan and Tibet? A Preliminary Survey. In: Coins, Art and Chronology II.The First Millennium CE in the Indo-Iranian Borderlands, 457-470. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2010
Forte, Erika A. 2008. Ryūmon no Hōsenji. Hakkutsu chōsa ni motozuku garan haichi no shohōteki kōsatsu龍門の奉先寺.発掘調査にもとづく伽藍配置の初歩的考察[The Fengxiansi in Longmen: a Preliminary Reconstruction of the Architectural Layout from the Archaeological Evidence]. In: Papers of the International Symposium 2007: Creating the Framework for a Comparative History of Japanese and Chinese Architecture. Palaces, religious Places, Dwellings, 27-50. Chiba: National Museum of National History.
Forte, Erika A. 2006. Splendori architettonici. In: Archaeologia Viva, Anno XXV, no. 116, 26-27. Florence: Giunti Gruppo Editoriale.
Forte, Erika A. 2005. L’architettura. In: Tang. Arte e cultura in Cina prima dell’anno Mille [Tang. Art and Culture in China before 1000 A.D.], 53-60. Napoli: Electa.
Forte, Erika A. 2003. The Excavations at the Fengxiansi Site in Longmen, China. Buddhist Asia 1. Papers from the First Conference of Buddhist Studies Held in Naples in May 2001, 124-144. Kyoto: Italian School of East Asian Studies.
Forte, Erika A. 1998. The Finds from Trial-Trench A—Other Finds, Report on the 1997 Excavations at Weiwan (Longmen, China). In: Annali dell’Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli (AIUON) 58.3/4 (1998): 445-452.
Forte, Erika A. 1996. I Buddha colossali. Paramita 60 (1996): 53-56.
Descriptive Entries in Exhibition Catalogues
Forte, Erika A. 2005. Entries no. 84, 85, 86, 87. In: Catarina, L. Tang. Arte e cultura in Cina prima dell’anno Mille [Tang. Art and Culture in China before 1000 A.D], 171-174. Napoli: Electa, 2005.
Review of: Shōja, Gion. 1997. Saheth iseki hakkutsu chōsa hōkokusho [Excavation at Jetavana (Saheth)—a Buddhist Site in Uttar Pradesh—(1986-1989)], 4 vols. Kansai University. Osaka. In: Annali dell’Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli (AIUON) 57.3/4 (1997): 580-584.
Forte, Erika A. 2011. Symposium Report: The Art and Cultural History of Central and Western Tibet, 8th to 15th Century and Cultural Heritage Preservation, University of Vienna, April 6-8, 2011. (co-authorship with D. Klimburg-Salter),Orientations, vol. 42, no. 5 (2011): 88-89.
Invited Lectures, Workshops and Conference Participations
Forte, Erika A. 2015a. A New Method for Re-identifying Ancient Excavated Structures on the Silk Road: the Case of Qočo (paper presented at the workshop and roundtable discussion: Medieval Pre-Islamic Architecture in Qočo: Architectural, Archaeological, Art Historical and Scientific Evaluation of a Collection of Wooden Architectural Elements in the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (AKu), Berlin, May 28, 2015.
---. 2015b. Buddhism along the Silk Road and the Oasis of Khotan: an Archaeological Perspective (lecture presented at the Permanente vorming: Boeddhisme (Permanent Training Program in Buddhist Studies), Ghent University, Belgium, March 17, 2015).
---. 2015c. Buddhist Crossroads: the Kingdom of Khotan, 3rd-10th c. CE (lecture presented at Ghent University, Belgium, Department of Chinese Language and Culture, March 18, 2015).
---. 2015d. Propaganda Posters from Ancient Khotan: Royal Religious Agency in Pictures (paper presented at the workshop: Memories of Kings: Kingship in the Religious Imaginings of Asia, Munich, Internationales Begegnungszentrum der Wissenschaft, May 22-23, 2015.
Forte, Erika A. 2014a. ‘Ho! King, You Ought to Build a Vihāra here.’ Connecting Foundation Legends and Buddhist Monasteries in Khotan (paper presented at the 17th Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS), Vienna, August 18-23, 2014).
---. 2014b. Khotanese Legends: Imagery and Topography (paper presented at the workshop: Ancient Central Asian Networks. Rethinking the Interplay of Religions, Art and Politics across the Tarim Basin (5th-10thc.), Bochum, Ruhr University Bochum, June 24-26 2014).
Forte, Erika A. 2013a. Connecting Maps, Photographs and Satellite Images. Methodology for a New Documentation of Karakhoja Site (paper presented at the Collegium Turfanicum 69, Berlin, Berlin-Brandeburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, December 16, 2013)
---. 2013b. Cultural Transfer in Buddhist Central Asia: the Evidence from Khotan. Looking at Votive Clay Plaques Found in Domoko (paper presented at the Sino-Pakistani Academic Exchange: Gandhāran Culture and its Spread in China, Peking University, Beijing, November 5-6, 2013).
---. 2013c. Found in Khotan. Made in Khotan? What Portable Cult Objects Can Tell us (lecture presented at the workshop: From Sogdiana to Khotan: The Silk Road down to Marco Polo, Peking University, Beijing, November 15, 2013).
---. 2013d. Notes on Recent Archaeological Researches on Khotan (paper presented at the Kyoto Afghanistan Week 2013, Kyoto University, Institute for Research in Humanities, November 26, 2013).
---. 2013e. On Votive Clay Plaques Found in Domoko (Khotan) (lecture presented at Renmin University of China, Beijing, October 27-28, 2013).
Forte, Erika A. 2012a. Centralità dell’oasi di Khotan nell’intercultura buddhista del I millennio lungo le vie della seta (lecture presented at the 1st cycle of Doctoral lectures 2011-2012: Archeologia delle Vie della Seta: Percorsi, Immagini e Cultura Materiale, Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, Napoli, Italy, April 4, 2012).
---. 2012b. Traveling Objects: a ‘Buddhist’ Network between Northwest India and Khotan (paper presented at Afghanistan Meeting 2012: Between Sogdiana and Gandhara in the Pre-Islamic Period, Kyoto University, International Research Center, Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto, Japan, (March 5-6, 2012).
---. 2012c. Tsha tsha in Khotan. A Preliminary Survey into Neglected but Significant Evidence (paper presented at The Fifth International Conference on Tibetan Archaeology & Arts (ICTAA V), Beijing, October 21-24, 2012).
Forte, Erika A. 2011a. Ensuring Sovereignty: the Buddhist Legitimation of the Kingdom of Khotan (paper presented at SEECHAC International Colloquium 2011: Politics and Religions in the Himalayas and Central Asia, Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale Giuseppe Tucci, Roma, Italy, October 10-11, 2011).
---. 2011b. Khotan: Artistic Evidence 8th-11th c. CE (lecture presented at Musée Cernuschi, Conferences SEECHAC 2011 (European Society For Studies Of Central Asia And Himalayan Regions), Paris, February 17, 2011.)
---. 2011c. Protecting Khotan: Doctrinal Issues and Local Visual Translation (paper presented at the XVIth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Dharma Drum Buddhist College Jinshan, New Taipei City, Taiwan, June 20-25, 2011).
---. 2011d. Western/Central Tibet and Khotan.Various Approaches for the Study of Cultural Interactions between Western and Central Tibet and the Oasis of Khotan at the End of the First Millennium. (Paper presented at the Symposium: The Art and Cultural History of Central and Western Tibet, 8th to 15th Century, University of Vienna, Dep. of Art History, Austria, April 5-6, 2011). Abstract available at: http://www.univie.ac.at/chwh/index.php/reports/100-symposium-workshop-6-8th-of-april-2011
Forte, Erika A. 2010a. Archaeological and Artistic Evidence in Khotan, with a Special Focus on the Period between 8th-11th c. CE. (research report presented at the conclusion of the term as Visting Scholar at Peking University, Department of History, (Beijing, China), 20 November 2010).
---. 2010b. Khotan: Reconnecting Old and New Archaeological Evidence (lecture presented at Fudan University, Department of History, Shanghai, China, November 10, 2010).
---. 2010c. Recent Discoveries of Buddhist Remains in Khotan: Some Remarks (paper presented at the EASAA (European Association of South Asian Archaeology and Art) Conference 2010, University of Vienna, Austria, July 4-10, 2010).
---. 2010d. The Archaeological Evidence for Khotan, 7th–9th Century (paper presented at the workshop: Crossing Borders: Patterns of Exchange across Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Central Asia, University of Vienna, Department of Art History, March 15-16, 2010).
---. 2010e. The Interaction between the Tibetan Empire and the Kingdoms of the Silk Road 7th-9th c. CE. Archaeological Evidence from Khotan (Xinjiang, China) (paper presented at: ESF-JSPS Conference: Contact Zones of Empires in Asia and Europe, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan, February 27- March 4, 2010).
Forte, Erika A. 2009a. A Journey ‘to the Land on the Other Side’ Pilgrims and Pilgrimage in the Khotan Oasis (Xinjiang, China) (paper presented at the conference: Cultural Flows across the Western Himalaya, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India, April 15-18, 2009).
Forte, Erika A. 2008a. Analytical and Typological Study of Turfan Ceramics (3rd-8th c. AD): Some Methodological Issues (paper presented at The Third International Conference on Turfan studies, Turfan, China, Institute of Turfan Studies, October 21, 2008).
---. 2008b. Khotan under the Tibetan Empire: Present State of Research (paper presented at Afghanistan Meeting 2008: Reconsidering Material and Literary Sources on the 6th to the 9th Century, University of Kyoto, Japan, International Research Center, Institute for Research in Humanities, October 3, 2008).
---. 2008c. The Bibliographic Information System of the WHAV. From Quick to Deep: Crossing Visual and Literary Resources (presented at WHAV—Database Workshop—Towards a Definition of Common Goals and Tools, University of Vienna, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, April 15, 2008).
---. 2008d. The Tibetan Expansion in Central Asia: the Case of the Khotan Kingdom (paper presented at the Beijing Seminar on Tibetan Studies, Beijing, China, China Tibetology Research Center, October 17, 2008).
Forte, Erika A. 2007a. Il Buddhismo a Longmen. Testimonianze archeologiche ed epigrafiche da un monastero Tang dimenticato [Buddhism in Longmen: Archaeological and Epigraphic Evidences from a Buddhist Monastery of the Tang Period] (paper presented at the conference: Alla maniera di…, Conference in memory of Professor Maria Teresa Lucidi, Rome, Italy, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Faculty of Humanities, May 28-30, 2007).
---. 2007b. The Da Fengxiansi (大奉先寺) in Longmen (China): A Preliminary Reconstruction of the Architectural Layout from the Archaeological Evidence (paper presented at International Symposium 2007: Creating a Framework for a Comparative History of Japanese and Chinese Architecture—Palaces, Religious Structures, Dwellings. Sakura, Chiba, Japan, National Museum of Japanese History, December 9, 2007).
Forte, Erika A. 2006a. A Monastery Rediscovered: Recent Archaeological Researches at the Site of the Great Fengxian Monastery大奉先寺 (The Third International Conference of Tibetan Archaeology and Art, Beijing, October 14-17, 2006.
---. 2006b. Architectural Remains from the Fengxiansi Monastery in Longmen, China (Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, February 2006).
Forte, Erika A. 2005a. Saikin chûgoku Ryûmon chihô deno kôkogakuteki katsudô: Chûgoku-Itaria kyôdô hakkutsu chôsa, Tôdai Daihôsenji iseki no chôsa [New Archaeological Activities in Longmen: the Chinese-Italian Joint Researches at the Site of the Tang Monastery Da Fengxiansi] (Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, February 2005).
---. 2005b. Recent Archaeological Activity in the Longmen Area: the Remains of the Great Fengxian Monastery (lecture delivered at Harvard-Yenching Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, January 2005).
Forte, Erika A. 2004a. Epigraphical Evidence from the Fengxiansi Site at Longmen (The 50th Anniversary of Longmen Grottoes Academy 2004 International Academic Symposia of Longmen Grottoes 2004, Longmen, Luoyang, Henan, Cina, August 8-13, 2004).
---. 2004b. Nuove scoperte a Longmen (Cina) e sul sito del monastero buddhista Da Fengxiansi [New Discoveries from Longmen and the Archaeological Site of the Buddhist Monastery Da Fengxiansi] (Center of Buddhist Studies lectures 2003-2004, Università di Napoli ‘L’Orientale’, March 2004).
Forte, Erika A. 2001. Gli scavi dell’Istituto Universitario Orientale nel sito buddhista di Weiwan — Luoyang, Cina [Istituto Universitario Orientale’s Archaeological Excavations at the Buddhist Site of Weiwan, Luoyang, China) (First Conference of Buddhist Studies Held in Naples, Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli, May 2001).