Training Program—FROGBEAR Summer 2021 Training Sessions

Training Program—FROGBEAR Summer 2021 Training Sessions

FROGBEAR Summer 2021 Training Sessions

The workshop series has concluded. See below for student reports.

Due to COVID-19, previously planned field visits are postponed. The FROGBEAR project will continue to adjust as needed, particularly given that travel restrictions may change at any time. However, the project will tentatively confirm available trips by late 2021 should the restrictions ease up.

The project will use the summer of 2021 to provide online training opportunities for students to gain skills and knowledge in preparation for those field visits. While priority is given to graduate students, senior undergraduate students may apply with a Letter of Recommendation from a faculty member. Faculty are welcome to audit for the training sessions by contacting

There is no cost to attend the workshops. Please see below for full descriptions and download the application form here. APPLICATION FORM – FROGBEAR SUMMER 2021 TRAINING PROGRAM.

We are accepting applications from internal applicants beginning March 1, and beginning March 15, we will accept applications from external applicants for those workshops with space remaining. Application deadline is March 30, 2021.

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1. Basic Patterns of Text-Image/Object Relations

Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Time: 5–8 am PDT | 2–5 pm CEST | 8–11 pm China

Format: Lecture/seminar with case studies and discussions (will be recorded and recordings made internally accessible)

Workshop leads: Christoph Anderl (Ghent), Paul Copp (Chicago), and Monica Zin (Leipzig)

Description: In this seminar we will focus on both theoretical questions and concrete case studies. Theoretical issues include: identifying basic patterns of relations between textual and iconographic versions of Buddhist narratives, as well as programmatic relations between texts and images, between contents (text/image) and forms of objects, and between the forms of inscribed/imaged objects and their contexts of use. Most case studies will also include a diachronic and cross-regional perspective, tracing the transformations of text-image relations based on specific cultural-religious settings, material base, targeted audiences/viewers/users, and other relevant factors. Areas will include India, Gandhāra, the Tarim basin, Dunhuang, Sichuan, and Korea.

Keywords: Buddhist narratives; ritual objects; text-image relations; iconographic programs; Buddhist art

Relevant for cluster: 3.4 Typologies of Text and Image Relations (cliffs/caves)

Read the student report for this workshop.


2. Spirit-Writing and the Study of Spirit-Written Literature in Early Modern and Modern China

Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays, June 1, June 3, June 8, and June 10, 2021 (must attend all dates)

Time: 5–7 am PDT | 2–4 pm CEST | 8–10 pm China

Format: Workshop. Sessions 1–3 will be recorded and recordings made internally accessible

Workshop leads: Barend ter Haar (Hamburg), Philip Clart (Leipzig), Katherine Alexander (Colorado), Marcus Bingenheimer (Temple), Gregory Scott (Manchester), and Vincent Goossaert (EPHE)

Description: This online workshop combines the FROGBEAR cluster “Continuous Revelations” on spirit-writing and the CRTA project of an open-access online catalog of Chinese religious texts ( It aims to introduce the participants to (1) the history of spirit-writing techniques, (2) to the range of spirit-written literature, and (3) to collaborative tools to locate and study this literature.

The workshop consists in 4 sessions of about 2 hours each. Participants are expected to follow all four sessions. The instruction will be entirely in English; ability to read Classical Chinese is required. Through this workshop series, students will gain knowledge about the techniques of spirit-writing and its history, skills about describing a text, and the ability to use the CRTA database.

1/ June 1. history of spirit-writing including some videos on contemporary practice and overview of the historiography (key references will be sent to participants before the workshop).

2/ June 3. locating and reading spirit-writing texts. Introduction to the library and online resources, and the most important collections.

3/ June 8. the CRTA database: rationale, purposes, discussion of selected CRTA entries on spirit-written texts, showing how this is a tool for understanding the dynamics of the circulation of spirit-written texts, including outside of China (Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand etc.).

4/ June 10. hand-on training in editing CRTA entries. Each participant will have selected a text and created an entry in the meantime; we will read them and discuss both technical aspects and contents.

Keywords: spirit-writing, revelation, morality books, Daoism, popular religion

Relevant for cluster: 2.3 Continuous Revelations

Read the student report for this workshop.


3. Working with Objects and Manuscripts—Wongaksa Temple Museum, Korea

Date: Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Time: 4–7 am PDT | 1–4 pm CEST | 8–11 pm Korea

Format: Lecture, object handling demonstration, and discussions (will be recorded, and the lecture part of recordings will be made publicly accessible)

Workshop leads: Susan Andrews (Mount Allison), Paul Copp (Chicago), Youn-mi Kim (Ewha Womans University), Seunghye Lee (Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art), and the Venerable Jeonggak 正覺 (Abbot of Wongaksa 圓覺寺, Director of Wongaksa Temple Museum, Professor of Central Sangha University)

Description: This workshop is built around the careful study of objects housed in the Wongaksa Temple Museum collection including manuscripts, Buddhist paintings, statues, and dhāraṇī prints. It endeavors to help participants understand how to handle and examine Buddhist artworks and manuscripts. In addition to developing familiarity with the materials themselves, participants will learn how to date manuscripts (based on the quality of paper, for instance), how to date artworks (based on their style, for example), and how to locate dedicatory inscriptions in these sources. Examining these dedicatory inscriptions, participants will begin to tease out their relationships between donors, manufacturers, and artisans. Many of the objects examined at the workshop will be portable objects, including Buddhist dhāraṇī prints.

A list of representative objects can be found here: OBJECT LIST. The workshop will be conducted in English and we welcome individuals to join us even if they are not yet able to read the Korean descriptions included here. (Objects chosen from the list will be examined in the workshop.) The entire Wongaksa Temple Museum 圓覺寺聖寶博物館 collection can also be explore on the museum website here: The museum has quite a number of Treasures 寶物 designated by the Korean Government, including an especially strong collection of manuscripts and prints, as well as paintings, dhāraṇī prints, small statues, and miniature pagodas.Participating students are very welcome to contact session leader Dr. Youn-mi Kim by June 3, 2021 if there are particular object(s) in the Wongaksa Temple Museum collection that they wish to explore during the workshop ( We will try to include them in the session if the physical condition of the requested object allows.

Workshop structure: Following a short introduction (Susie Andrews) and lecture (Paul Copp), , Youn-mi Kim and Seunghye Lee will introduce the selected objects, emphasizing the elements above. A Q&A with the Venerable Jeonggak will follow (Youn-mi Kim and Seunghye Lee will offer simultaneous interpretation so that non-Korean speaking students can engage in discussions with him.) We heartily encourage students to share their questions and observations before the workshop (via email to and throughout the entire virtual gathering June 15, 2021.

Participants applying to this workshop should be able to recognize Chinese characters.

Relevant for clusters: 1.3 Market and Merit, 3.5 How were Portable Textual Objects Designed and Re-Worked for Religious Practice?

Read the student report for this workshop.


4. Metadata and How to Make It, for FROGBEAR and Beyond

Date: Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Time: 5–8 am PDT | 2–5 pm CEST | 8–11 pm China

Format: Talk, group activities and discussion. (The first portion will be recorded and made available publicly online)

Workshop leads: Bruce Rusk (UBC), Anne Baycroft (U Saskatchewan), and UBC Library

Description: This session will introduce basic metadata concepts for digital humanities and metadata practices for the FROGBEAR project in particular. It is especially recommended for those who will be joining field visits, and ideally each cluster will have at least one participant who can in turn help train other cluster members. We will discuss how structured metadata makes it possible to find, aggregate, and analyze information, and how to create useful metadata in the course of data collection in the field. We will also look at the web interfaces that make FROGBEAR data accessible and how rich, well-organized metadata makes this material more valuable. This will include making your records easy to find, creating geographic data suitable for GIS analysis, and writing appropriate and thorough record descriptions. The first part of the workshop will cover the format and conventions of FROGBEAR metadata, including presentations from the UBC library and an experienced field researcher. In the second part, small groups will work with sample records to prepare practice metadata and discuss the challenges involved. In advance of the workshop, participants should review the FROGBEAR metadata training material.

Relevant for cluster: All clusters. Each cluster to assign at least one participant to lead metadata creation in the field.

Read the student report for this workshop.


5. Multicultural Dunhuang: Manuscripts and Paintings

Date:Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Time: 5–8 am PDT | 2–5 pm CEST | 8–11 pm China

Format: Lectures, group activities, discussion (will be recorded and recordings made internally accessible)

Workshop leads: Imre Galambos (Cambridge) and Michelle C. Wang (Georgetown)

Description: This workshop is taught by an interdisciplinary pair of instructors and will guide participants in the study of manuscripts and portable paintings from the Library Cave at Dunhuang. The focus will be on objects that shed light on the multicultural and multilingual milieux of Dunhuang as a religious center during the ninth and tenth centuries. Participants will receive an introduction to key objects, reference materials, and research resources. They will gain an understanding of how to approach a manuscript or painting and what questions to ask, what to look for, and what can be inferred from close examination of a manuscript or painting. They will also learn how to view manuscripts and paintings in the broader context of Dunhuang religious and social life, and determine their use and function.

The workshop will be divided into two sessions. In a session on manuscripts, participants will be introduced to multilingual manuscripts from Dunhuang, manuscript formats, and the basic principles of codicology. In a session on paintings, we will discuss iconography and multilingual inscriptions and inscribing practices. Some of our guiding questions will be: How can we reconcile the contents of the Library Cave with the mural paintings of the Mogao Caves? What can we learn from the material traces of Buddhism about transcultural contacts between the local population of Dunhuang and neighbouring kingdoms and states? How might paying close attention to the material features of manuscripts and paintings enrich our understanding of them? Participants applying to this workshop should be able to recognize Chinese characters; familiarity with classical Chinese a plus. The instructors will assign brief readings ahead of time.

Keywords: Dunhuang, Silk Road, manuscripts, paintings

Relevant for cluster: 3.1 Dunhuang “Transformation Tableaux”, 3.4 Typologies of Text and Image Relations

Read the student report for this workshop.


6. The Journey of the Deceased: Mortuary Robe Talismans in Contemporary Vietnam

Date:Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Time: 3–5:30 am PDT | 12 pm–2:30 pm CEST | 5–7:30 pm Vietnam | 7–9:30 pm Japan

Format: Seminar-Workshop (will be recorded and recordings made internally accessible)

Workshop leads: Cynthea J. Bogel (Kyushu University) and Hien Thi Nguyen (Viet Nam National University), with Dr. Vu Hong Thuat (Curator, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology)

This workshop-seminar will study woodblock-stamped talismans on mortuary robes made at the Tram gian temple (pronounced Cham zhan) or 100 Rooms Temple, Hai Duong Province, east of Hanoi. The seminar will proceed from viewing a documentary by the instructors about the production of these robes, their use, and their meaning, to close examination of the printed talismans’ Sino-Vietnamese (Hán Nôm) and Indic scripts, and picto-symbol-systems. We will also discuss the recitations and rites that accompany the journey of the deceased, and the production of stamped mortuary robes using local labor and local or imported materials such as iron-rich stone, fuchsia dye, and carefully preserved woodblocks. The documentary film was begun in November 2019 in anticipation of 2020 Cluster fieldwork; due to the restricted travel situation,  it will instead be completed prior to the July seminar and serve as a basis for our discussions, along with readings and images of other Vietnamese talismans.

Vietnam- and Japan-based instructors will lead a discussion of the multilingual, religious, and multicultural elements of these talismans. We will probe the history and ritual functions of the mortuary robes. Participants will view the documentary film in advance of the seminar. During the seminar, instructors will review the basic types of Vietnamese temple talismans, and the words, morphemes, symbols, and imagery they carry. We will then proceed to consider the talisman robes at 100 Rooms Temple, including comparative study of talismans in East Asia and  within Vietnam. We will also provide information about field practices for filming, ethnology research, and data recording.

Background in Chinese or Vietnamese language, religion, and history (especially pre-modern) will be useful; most of the other summer sessions are complementary to this topic; Seminar 4 on metadata is strongly suggested if you plan to join our Fieldwork in 2022. Participants will be asked to contribute their knowledge of related talismans (including linguistic or symbol affinities and ritual deployment), to comment on the film, and to consider relationships between process and meaning in mortuary rites. They will gain knowledge of all these in addition to understanding of new areas of the premodern and modern Sinosphere.

Keywords: Vietnam, talisman, mortuary, Sinosphere, apotropaism

Read the student report for this workshop.


7. Buddhist Printing in the Hangzhou Region

Date:Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Time: 5–8 am PDT | 2–5 pm CEST | 8–11 pm China

Format: Workshop

Workshop leads: Jiang Wu (Arizona) and George Keyworth (Saskatchewan)

Description: Hangzhou has been a center for the Chinese printing industry since the Wuyue 吳越 Kingdom. Buddhist printing, especially the printing of the Buddhist canon, was well-developed. Some of the sites and relics can be still traced and surveyed for research. Jingshan Monastery 徑山寺, for example, was not only a Chan institution but also the center of printing, especially for the carving of Jingshan Canon 徑山藏 or Jiaxing canon 嘉興藏 because the canon was later printed in neighboring Jiaxing county. Also in Hangzhou, the Puning Canon 普寧藏 was created and sponsored by the White Cloud sect 白雲宗 during the Yuan. Close to Hangzhou, the Sixi Canon 思溪藏 was created in Huzhou 湖州 in the Song, and later transported to Japan. The famed Lingyin Monastery 靈隱寺 is also renowned for keeping a rich library collection of several editions of the Buddhist canon and some precious prints from early periods. In late imperial China, numerous print shops affiliated with Buddhist monasteries were prolific producers of Buddhist scriptures and popular religious tracts such as “precious volumes 寶卷.” Among them, Manao Print Shop 瑪瑙經坊 affiliated with Manao Temple 瑪瑙寺 and Huikong Print Shop 慧空經坊 affiliated with Zhaoqing Temple 昭慶寺 were the two most famous ones. We will also address how Hangzhou area printed texts were brought to and preserved in Japan.

This workshop introduces the Buddhist printing tradition in the Hangzhou region and will include the following topics:

  1. Leifeng pagoda 雷峰塔 sutra prints by the tenth-century Wuyue Kings
  2. Prints brought to and back from Hangzhou by Uicheon 義天 in the eleventh century.
  3. Huzhou/Sixi canon 湖州/思溪藏 in the Song and Yuan
  4. Puning Canon 普寧藏 in the Yuan dynasty.
  5. Jiaxing canon in the Ming and Qing
  6. Jiaxing canon prints and other imported Buddhist prints in Edo Japan
  7. Prints from Huikong Buddhist print house in Zhaoqing monastery
  8. Prints from Manao Buddhist print house from Manao monastery
  9. Material from a Hangzhou canon in 17th century Japan at Daiōji 大雄寺

Relevant for cluster: 1.5 Extended “Textual Communities”

Read the student report for this workshop.


8. Graphic Variation, Modification, and Replacement in Medieval Chinese Writing: Case Studies and Resources

Date: Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Time: 5–8 am PDT | 2–5 pm CEST | 8–11 pm China

Format: Seminar (will be recorded and recordings made internally accessible)

Workshop leads: Christoph Anderl (Ghent), Suzanne Burdorf (Ghent), and Lia Wei (Ghent)

Description: In this seminar we will discuss case studies of various types of substitutions and modifications of Chinese characters typical for medieval handwritten texts, as well as introduce resources to facilitate the reading of Dunhuang manuscripts and epigraphic material (including the Variants module of the “Ghent Database of Medieval Chinese Texts”, and the Taiwanese “Dictionary of Chinese Variant Characters”, among other databases and reference tools). In the introduction, various types of replacements, graphic modifications and variations will be dealt with, with examples drawn from Dunhuang manuscripts. In addition, we will also focus on medieval lexicographical material among the Dunhuang hoards, addressing the questions of and theorizing about variants (異體字) and replacement characters (通假字).

In the second part, the focus will be on the 10th c. Liáo dictionary Longkan shoujian 龍龕手鑒 which focuses on registering variant graphical forms, indicating their readings, and relating graphical forms to each other. Besides discussing the structure and the particularities of this extraordinary lexicographical work, we will also address the question of how the dictionary can be used as a reference work when dealing with medieval Chinese (and Japanese) handwritten material.

The third part of the seminar deals with very early rock carvings of the 6th century by the Taoist Zheng Daozhao and the Buddhist Seng’An Daoyi, and the epigraphy they produced in the landscapes of Shandong province as part of their artistic and religious expressions. Special focus will be devoted to their calligraphy styles and the modulation of character forms, the integration of Seal script characters, and processes of character modification which result in forms stripped of phonetic and semantic contents, and instead assuming artistic and soteriological functions. The material presented is directly based on multiple field trips, and field work-related questions will be likewise addressed during this part of the seminar.

Keywords: Phonetic loan characters; historical lexicography; Dunhuang manuscripts; variant characters; writing conventions in Medieval China; epigraphy

Relevant for cluster: All clusters dealing with manuscripts / ritual writing / inscribing landscapes / epigraphy.

A follow up session was offered on November 30, 2021 to further explore cases. Students were invited to present cases based on their own work.

Read the student report for this workshop.



The training workshops were partially supported by the Glorisun Network for Buddhist Studies.