GCBS Research Forum meeting, May 27, 2024, presentations by Jiahang Yu and Massimiliano Portoghese

On March 27, 2024, two talks for the Research Forum were given by Ph.D. students Yu Jiahang于佳航 and Massimiliano Portoghese who presented parts of their ongoing research projects at the Ghent Centre for Buddhist Studies. Please find the relevant details below:

Yu Jiahang’s talk:

  • Working Title: “A Linguistic Study of the Funeral Address for a Donkey in Dunhuang manuscript Or.8210/S.1477.”
  • Summary: The Dunhuang manuscript Or.8210/S.1477, titled Jilüwen yishou 祭驢文一首 (Funeral Address for a Donkey), was written by a frustrated and impoverished scholar during the late Tang dynasty and served as a tribute to his recently deceased donkey. The text adopts a semi-vernacular style remarkable for this period and genre, containing many colloquial words and phrases, thereby ensuring its accessibility to contemporary readers. This study examines S.1477 from multiple linguistic perspectives, including genre features, syntactic constructions, as well as the author’s use of classical allusions.
  • Context: The presentation is based on ongoing research that will eventually be presented at the EACS conference. Since Jiahang also aims to submit her paper for publication in the future, she would like to discuss aspects related to the structure of her presentation and article. In addition, she will introduce similar materials from Dunhuang to make connections with her larger research project.


Massimiliano Portoghese’s talk:

  • Working Title: “Why Did Śramaņas Take the Tonsure? Perceptions and Symbolism of Hairstyles in Ancient and Early Medieval China.”
  • Summary: This talk examines the symbolic and social significance of hair in pre-Buddhist China to enhance our understanding of the Buddhist-Confucian disputes during the Six Dynasties period regarding the practice of monastics shaving their heads.
  • Context: The presentation is based on ongoing research that will eventually be presented at the EACS conference. However, the talk is not meant as a mock talk in preparation for the venue. Instead, Massimiliano will try to show the material that he has collected so far and the new research paths he intends to address. He also intends to submit his paper for publication in the future.