Paths to Perfection
Buddhist Art at the Freer | Sackler
Although the Buddha himself was not depicted directly for several centuries, Buddhism’s success owes much to the visual arts across cultures, from India and Nepal to Japan and Indonesia. More than 100 items are illustrated in this guide, including buddhas, bodhisattvas, mandalas and ritual objects. All are now in the Smithsonian’s Asian art collections, whose curators and scholars provide the descriptions and contextual information.
The Buddha and Dr Führer
An Archaeological Scandal
In 1898 a casket was excavated near the India-Nepal border; an inscription declared that it contained the Buddha’s ashes. This account of the discovery focuses on the ensuing scandal, in which a local British magistrate accused a German archaeologist of faking results and selling bogus relics. Off-mint.
Transmitting the Forms of Divinity
Early Buddhist Art from Korea and Japan
Buddhism was introduced to Japan by an emissary from Korea’s Paekche kingdom around the year 538. The region’s early Buddhist culture is the subject of the 15 essays in this volume, the illustrated catalogue of a major exhibition on the two states’ formative links. In particular, the authors draw on recently discovered evidence to present new theories about the transformation of Buddhist art and architecture in Korea and Japan between the sixth and ninth centuries.
Making Sense of Buddhist Art & Architecture
This guide to Buddhist architecture and iconography, from caves, pagodas, stupas and temples, to carvings, illustrations, mandalas and statues, interprets the forms and symbolism of 100 key historic sites and artworks with reference to the beliefs and narratives of the religion. Illustrated with full-page colour photography, each entry includes precise dates, dimensions and materials used, with a spiritual quotation and a sidebar indicating related works.
Land of Pure Vision
The Sacred Geography of Tibet and the Himalaya
The spiritual traditions of Buddhism are imprinted on the landscape of the Himalayas like a cosmographical map. With 35 years’ experience as a geographer and photographer, David Zurick explores this sacred landscape in a sequence of 100 black-and-white photographs of its holy places, from the high plateaus of the western Himalaya to the rugged gorges of Tibet’s eastern borderlands. Some are natural – springs, caves, forest groves – others man-made, such as temples and monasteries, but all exude a transcendent calm. Foreword by Éric Valli.
Buddhist Sculpture in Clay
Early Westerns Himalayan Art, Late 10th to Early 13th Centuries
Based on extensive field research, this is a groundbreaking assessment of the early sculptures from West Tibet and Ladakh – the only known surviving examples that are made in accordance with the sculptural technique described in classical Indian literature.
Imagination, Magic and Myth
The unique art inspired by Tibet's cultural amalgam of Shamanism and Buddhism is meant to be of specific use and spiritual benefit to everyone. Rawson discusses a wealth of photographs which depict not only the artistic productions of the past but also the activities of the present-day monks who continue ancient traditions, with their mandalas, mantras and meditation offering 'powerful, untarnished and coherent alternatives to Western egotistical lifestyles'.
All is Change
The 2000-Year Journey of Buddhism to the West
The West's embrace of Buddhism, seemingly a relatively recent phenomenon, actually came about over the course of two millennia, despite the obstacles of language, cultural difference and colonial and post-colonial politics. From early exchanges between the ancient Greeks and Indian Buddhists to the current fascination with the Dalai Lama, Sutin describes how the West discovered that Buddhism offers teachings and practices which can be used within disciplines such as Western philosophy, psychology and politics.