Kate Lingley: ”Buddhist Women, Patronage, and Agency in Early Medieval China"
Practices of Buddhist merit-making in early medieval China were open to anyone who could muster the resources to support their act of patronage, however small, and many of the resultant projects (vegetarian feasts, sutra lectures, Buddhist monuments) were open to the community at large. As a result, Buddhism effectively opened a space for public action for early medieval women that had not previously been available to them. Many took the opportunity to assume leadership roles in their religious communities, or to act independently as donors. Where the monuments they sponsored still survive, they record the women’s own stories and actions as told from a first-person perspective.