Buddhism and Iconoclasm in East Asia: A History
This is a cross-cultural study of the multifaceted relations between Buddhism, its materiality, and instances of religious violence and destruction in East Asia, which remains a vast and still largely unexplored field of inquiry. Material objects are extremely important not just for Buddhist practice, but also for the conceptualization of Buddhist doctrines; yet, Buddhism developed ambivalent attitudes towards such need for objects, and an awareness that even the most sacred objects could be destroyed.
After outlining Buddhist attitudes towards materiality and its vulnerability, the authors propose a different and more inclusive definition of iconoclasm-a notion that is normally not employed in discussions of East Asian religions. Case studies of religious destruction in East Asia are presented, together with a new theoretical framework drawn from semiotics and cultural studies, to address more general issues related to cultural value, sacredness, and destruction, in an attempt to understand instances in which the status and the meaning of the sacred in any given culture is questioned, contested, and ultimately denied, and how religious institutions react to those challenges.
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acts of destruction anti-Buddhist anti-Buddhist persecutions art objects artifacts Asian attacks bodhisattva body Buddha images Buddhist Buddhist icons Buddhist institutions Buddhist temples century Chapter China Chinese Christian Church Missionary Gleaner clergy conﬂicts Confucian context cult Cultural Revolution damage Daoxuan deﬁned deﬁnition deities destroyed Dharma discourses disﬁguring display doctrinal East Asia Enryakuji entities example ﬁeld ﬁnd ﬁre ﬁrst forms function gods Heian period hibutsu Iapan Iapanese ibid iconoclasm iconoclastic acts idolatry idols inﬂuence invisible kami Kofukuji Kyoto material objects medieval Meiji missionaries modern monastic monks Mount Hiei Mount Koya museums Nobunaga ofthe political practices premodern preserve priests Protestant Rambelli Red Guards relics religion religious institutions religious objects representations rhetoric ritual sacrality sacred images sacred objects Samgha sect secular semioclasm semiophores semiotic Shinto shrines signiﬁcant social speciﬁc spiritual status symbolic Taiping target Tendai Tokyo tourist Toyotomi Hideyoshi traditional trans University Press violence Western worship Xuanzang