BiographyTom Suchan was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He received a BFA in General Fine Art from The Ohio State University in 1987, a MA in Art History from The Ohio State University in 1994, and a PhD in Art History with a specialization in Chinese art from The Ohio State University in 2003. He began teaching at EMU in 2003.
Artist's StatementMy research concerns the study of Chinese Buddhist art and focuses on cliff sculpture sites in the region of Sichuan, southwest China. These sites feature sculptural imagery carved out of sandstone rock formations located at places that were held to be numinous and spiritually potent. Typically the images at these sites were patronized by local religious devotees with the hope of receiving meritorious blessings for their families and deceased relatives. The images were also meant as tacit reminders of the Buddhist teachings. At the time when many of these sites were being actively patronized during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) Buddhism was going through a final stage of assimilation in China with the growth of popular syncretic religious practices, which blended Buddhism with the native Chinese traditions of Confucianism and Daoism. The goal of my research is to discern how these changes are manifested in the art and what the art and epigraphy at these sites can reveal about Chinese society and religion in pre-modern times.