The project Temples and religious communities in Peking, imperial capital from the 13th to the 20th century (2016-2018) has focused on the conditions of coexistence of several distinct communities tied to different religious and cultural traditions in a unified and central space: Peking, the capital for seven centuries. It was based on the hypothesis that better knowledge of the socio-religious structures of the city and of the role of the emperor will make possible a better understanding of the nature and functioning of what may rightly be called a true religious pluralism, or a regime of tolerance. In no way a study that is disconnected from contemporary realities, this research intended to provide pathways of reflection that can enrich our comprehension of the challenge for a Europe facing a crisis of nation states and the cohabitation of populations with different and often conflictual cultural and religious backgrounds. The project was carried out with the participation of French researchers and doctoral students from the EPHE, EHESS, EFEO and CNRS and Chinese researchers from Peking Normal University and several research institutions and universities.

Scientific output and scientific activities

a. This program is part of a long-term program entitled Epigraphy and oral sources A social history of an imperial capital begun in 2004 at the EFEO. A Franco-Chinese team has compiled documentation on 1500 temples in the city of Peking and more than 600 commemorative inscriptions. Supplemented by fieldwork, consultation of imperial and republican archives, and literature, this documentation provides the basis for a publication (eleven volumes) devoted to the temples of Peking and their history. Five volumes have been published, and volumes 6 and 7 are being written for publication in the years 2021-2023.

b. The fieldwork that is being carried out in Peking brings together Chinese and French teachers and students and provides a training framework through the EFEO center in Peking.

c. A monthly seminar on the reading of stelae from the temples of Peking brings together some fifteen professors and students in Paris. The translation of the inscriptions will give rise to the publication of an epigraphic dossier in French in the Bulletin de l’Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient, as well as a monograph on the Huguosi, a Tibetan-Buddhist imperial temple in Peking, which has been studied dans la longue durée.

d. An international conference entitled Sovereignty and Religious Patronage in East Asia (13th-20th century), was organized in Peking on October 25-27, 2018 by the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, the Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient, and the Palace Museum Research Center for Tibetan Buddhist Heritage. Bringing together some thirty European, Chinese and American participants, it will result in the publication of the proceedings in 2021.



epigraphy history of religion



Marianne Bujard (École Pratique des Hautes Études)

CRCAO members

Full members
Marianne Bujard (École Pratique des Hautes Études)
Pierre Marsone (École Pratique des Hautes Études)
Françoise Wang-Toutain (CNRS)

Outside Participants

Luca Gabbiani (École française d'Extrême-Orient, CECMC)
Vincent Goossaert (École pratique des hautes études, GSRL)
Ju Xi (Beijing Normal University - Sociology Institute Religious Anthropology)
Lei Yang (École pratique des hautes études, GSRL)
Luo Wenhua (Palace Museum, Palace Museum Research Center for Tibetan Buddhist Heritage)
Wen Ming (Palace Museum, Palace Museum Research Center for Tibetan Buddhist Heritage)
Ma Yunhua (Palace Museum, Palace Museum Research Center for Tibetan Buddhist Heritage)
Guan Xiaojing (Institute of Manchu Studies)
Wang Huayan (CECMC-CCJ)
Wang Minqing (Institute of Literature, Buddhist texts and iconography)
Wang Nan (Tsinghua University, School of Architecture)
Wang Jun (Agence Chine Nouvelle)
Xie Lingqiong (CECMC)