Ester Bianchi holds a Ph.D. in ‘Indian and East-Asian Civilization’ from the University of Venice (co-tutorial Ph.D. received from the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Section des Sciences Religieuses of Paris). She is currently associate professor of Chinese Literature, Chinese Religions and Philosophy, and Society and Culture of China at the University of Perugia (Italy); in the past, she has also been in charge of classes of Chinese Language (modern and classical) and Sinology. She is external associated researcher of the Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités CNRS-EPHE (2012-) and, together with Daniela Campo, directs the research project “當代中國、臺灣的戒律復興 – Vinaya Revival in 20th Century China and Taiwan” (funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, August 2015-July 2018).
Her studies focus on the religions of China, and particularly on Buddhism, both in imperial and in modern and contemporary time; her research is centered on Sino-Tibetan Buddhism, Chinese Buddhist monasticism and, more recently, the revival of Buddhist monastic discipline in China.
Ester Bianchi is the author of The Iron Statue Monastery, Tiexiangsi: A Buddhist Nunnery of Tibetan Tradition in Contemporary China (Firenze 2001), of a general book on the history, practices and cultural traditions of Daoism (Milano 2009), and of the first Italian translation of the Gaoseng Faxian zhuan (Faxian: un pellegrino cinese nell’India del V secolo, Perugia, 2012-13).
Her main publications include the following articles: “Subtle erudition and compassionate devotion: Longlian (1909-2006), the most outstanding bhiksuni in modern China” (in D. Ownby, V. Goossaert, Ji Zhe, eds., Making Saints in Modern China, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016- 2017, pp. 272-311), “Chinese Chantings of the Names of Mañjuśrī: The Zhenshi ming jing 真實名經 in Late Imperial and Modern China” (in V. Durand-Dastès ed., Empreintes du Tantrisme en Chine et en Asie Orientale. Imaginaires, rituals, influences, Leuven-Paris-Bristol: Peeters 2015, pp. 117-138), “A Religion-Oriented ‘Tibet Fever’. Tibetan Buddhist Practices Among the Han Chinese in Contemporary PRC” (in Dramdul and F. Sferra eds., From Mediterranean to Himalaya. A Festschrift to Commemorate the 120th Birthday of the Italian Tibetologist Giuseppe Tucci – 从地中海到喜马拉雅: 意大利著名藏学家朱塞佩·图齐 诞辰120周年纪念文集, Beijing: China Tibetology Publishing House 2014, pp. 347-374), “Yamāntaka-Vajrabhairava in Modern China. Analysis of 20th Century Translations from Tibetan” (in G. Orofino, S. Vita eds., Buddhist Asia 2, Kyoto: Italian School of East Asian Studies 2010, pp. 99-140), “The ‘Chinese lama’ Nenghai (1886-1967). Doctrinal tradition and teaching strategies of a Gelukpa master in Republican China” (in M. Kapstein ed., Buddhism Between Tibet and China, Boston: Wisdom Publications 2009, pp. 295-346), “Protecting Beijing: The Tibetan Image of Yamāntaka-Vajrabhairava in Late Imperial and Republican China” (in M. Esposito ed., Images of Tibet in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Paris: l’École Française de l’Extrême Orient 2008, pp. 329-356), and “The Tantric Rebirth Movement in Modern China. Esoteric Buddhism re-vivified by the Japanese and Tibetan Traditions” (Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungarica 57, 1, 2004, pp. 31-54).
Detailed scientific curriculum: http://www.unipg.it/pagina-personale?n=ester.bianchi