Hyecho’s Journey featured at the Freer|Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian! 

This Fall saw the first project of the Humanities Collaboratory bear a range of remarkable fruit. On December 9, the entire team of Hyecho’s Journey made a trip to Washington, where the eighth-century Korean Buddhist monk Hyecho and his extraordinary journey is a focal point of a major exhibition of Buddhist art, entitled “Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice across Asia,” at the Freer|Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian. The exhibition, which opened on October 13, will run for three years.

During last week’s event in the Meyer Auditorium at the Freer|Sackler, Professor Donald Lopez (PI) and the rest of Team Hyecho (Kevin Carr, Carla Sinopoli, Chun Wa Chan, Ha Nul Jun, and Rebecca Bloom) spoke the lines from the graphic novel(ette) about the project in this Fall’s LSA Magazine, leading into a wide-ranging discussion with the audience, who had braved an inch of snow to attend.

The event coincided with the publication of their book “Hyecho’s Journey: The World of Buddhism.” The book describes twelve places that Hyecho stopped along his three-year journey—from Korea, to China, India, Arabia, and back to China—telling stories that Hyecho would have known about the sacred Buddhist sites that he visited and what those stories tell us about the Buddhist world. The book contains color plates of twenty-four works from the Freer|Sackler Galleries.

Also unveiled this Fall were two apps created by a group of UM students from UM’s Multidisciplinary Design Program. Under the guidance of Professor Sugih Jamin of EECS, the student team worked with experts at the Freer|Sackler over the past calendar year to create an interactive map for the iPad as well as a guide through the exhibition, complete with audio commentary and games, for the iPhone, allowing visitors to the exhibition to learn more about the Buddhist world Hyecho encountered on his pilgrimage. The apps are free and available for download from the Apple Store. The team included undergraduate Computer Science students Anders Boberg, Bailey Case, Elijah Sattler, and Eric Yeh, as well as School of Information graduate student Wei Cai, School of Information undergraduate Rebecca Henry, and SI/Art & Design dual major Sindhu Giri.

Finally, over the Thanksgiving break, five members of Team Hyecho traveled to Korea and Japan, visiting sites associated with Hyecho in Korea as well as museums in both countries that hold important collections from the period of his travels.

Congratulations to the entire team of Hyecho’s Journey!