Function and Meaning in Buddhist Art: Proceedings of a Seminar Held at Leiden University, 21-24 October 1991

Front Cover
K. R. van Kooij, H. van der Veere
Egbert Forsten, 1995 - History - 212 pages
What was the function of Buddhist art at the time Buddhism was a major religion in large areas of South, East, and South-East Asia? Can we establish what these sculptures and paintings meant to Buddhist believers living at a time when this art fulfilled important religious needs? These questions are discussed, not answered, in a volume about 'Function and Meaning of Buddhist Art' which contains the papers of a workshop on this theme held at Leiden University in 1991. While dealing with a variety of themes and subject-matter, sometimes in great detail, sixteen specialists focus on ritual and semantic aspects of Buddhist works of art from countries such as India, China, Japan, Tibet, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Recent non-western art-historical publications show an increasing tendency to work with methodological frameworks developed by specialists on western art. Moreover, there are more similarities between Buddhist and other religious art 'than, literally, meet the eye'. For this reason, two comparative studies are included in which parallels and universals are brought forward.

Two main lines emerge in the results offered in this book, the one indicating a tendency to focus on intended meanings; the other concentrating on more than one level of reception of Buddhist art in a liturgical context.

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