Dr Lyndon Arden-Wong
Dr Lyndon Arden-Wong

On the periphery of the Tang

The Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) expanded its borders to create one of the largest and most dynamic empires in Chinese history.

Understanding the borderlands is crucial to a deeper understanding of the Tang. This year Dr Lyndon Arden-Wong will undertake a comparative study of the religious architecture of three settlements on the periphery of the Tang empire: Beiting, Kucha and Ak Beshim.

Lyndon will explore the religious and geopolitical challenges Tang borderland communities endured and the response of these three settlements to the imperatives of the Tang court. Lyndon hopes to uncover how regional pressures caused religious architectural developments in these comunities.

“I am fascinated by early medieval lifeways on the Inner Eurasian steppe,” said Lyndon, “and I am particularly interested in the human experience in regard to architecture and space. Thanks to the generous support of the MQACRC, I will be able to probe this fascinating aspect of my doctoral research, in which I exposed a hole in academic knowledge regarding remote communities in the Tang periphery. A focused study on these communities and their religious architecture will not only expose the spiritual culture of these people, but also throw light onto the complex web of political, spiritual, economic, military, cultural and environmental developments at that time”.

Lyndon wrote his PhD under the supervision of Dr Gunner Mikkelsen on ‘The Eastern Uighur Khaganate: An exploration of Inner Asian architectural and cultural exchange’ and graduated in 2015. During his PhD, Lyndon conducted extensive fieldwork in Mongolia. Lyndon’s research strengthens Macquarie’s research program in Ancient China and the Silk Road.

Lyndon has been awarded the 2016 MQ Ancient Cultures Research Centre Junior Research Fellowship.