Dharma and Puṇya: Buddhist Ritual Art of Nepal

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Dharma and Puṇya: Buddhist Ritual Art of Nepal explores the centrality of ritual practices and the agency of people – patrons, ritual specialists, devotees – in creating and amplifying the efficacy of Buddhist art. Jinah Kim and Todd Lewis highlight the unparalleled contributions of Nepal’s artisans, patrons, and ritualists in engendering artistic heritage that is an endearing continuation of Indic Buddhist traditions. The publication presents paintings, illuminated texts, statues, and ritual implements from the Newar tradition in the Kathmandu Valley. Richly illustrated with photographs of contemporary rituals, religious observances, and historical examples, the essays provide cultural, historical and ritual contexts in which objects collected in art museums were used, and animate them. By recentering the historical imagination on communities, their rituals, and popular narrative traditions, Dharma and Puṇya challenges prevailing misconceptions about Buddhism in the West and expand our understanding of Buddhism as a lived world religion. Contributors include: Naresh Bajracharya, Louis Coppleston, Sonali Dhingra, James Giambrone, Jinah Kim, Todd Lewis, Bruce McCoy Owens, Alexander von Rospatt and Sumon Tuladhar.

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Jinah Kim, Ph.D. (2006), UC Berkeley, is Gardner Colwes Professor of History of Art & Architecture at Harvard University. Her list of publications includes Receptacle of the Sacred: Illustrated Manuscripts and the Buddhist Book Cult in South Asia (2013).

Todd Lewis, Ph.D. (1984), Columbia University, is Distinguished Professor of Asian Religions at the College of the Holy Cross. He has published monographs, translations, textbooks, and studies of Newar Buddhism in the Kathmandu Valley, including The Epic of the Buddha by Chittadhar Hridaya (2019).
Notes on Transliteration

1 Introduction
Jinah Kim and Todd Lewis

Catalog Section
 1 Vasudhārā Maṇḍala

Part I Foundations

2 Buddhism, Ritual, and the History of Buddhist Ritualism
Todd Lewis

3 Overview of Newar Buddhism and Its Art: History and Community in the Kathmandu Valley
Louis Copplestone

Part II Buddhist Rituals and Newar Tradition

4 Understanding Newar Buddhism through Ritual
Todd Lewis

Catalog Section
 2 Vajra
 3 Vajrācārya crown
 4 Ritual Skull cup
 5 Ritual dagger
 6 Ritual dagger
 7 Measuring vessel
 8 Sukundā wick lamp

5 Notes on Rituals Depicted in Newar Art
Todd Lewis and Naresh Bajracharya

Catalog Section
 9 Uṣṇīṣavijayā paubha
 10 Uṣṇīṣavijayā paubha
 11 Stūpa
 12 Uṣṇīṣavijayā stūpa
 13 Model Svayambhū stūpa
 14 Sketch of Boudhanath stūpa
 15 Donor lamp

6 Popular Images of Bunga-dyaḥ, Compassionate Localized Bodhisattva
Bruce McCoy Owens

Catalog Section
 16 Bunga-dyaḥ
 17 Padmapāṇi Avalokiteśvara

Part III Picturing Rituals

7 Performing Texts, Engendering Merits: Manuscripts and Paubhas as Ritual Objects
Jinah Kim

Catalog Section
 18 Folios and painted book covers from a Prajñāpāramitā manuscript
 19 Four folios from a dispersed Gaṇḍavyūha sūtra manuscript
 20 Three folios from a dispersed Gaṇḍavyūha sūtra manuscript
 21 Pañcarakṣā manuscript
 22 Dhāraṇī Saṅgraha manuscript
 23 Pañcarakṣā manuscript
 24 Pañcarakṣā manuscript

Part IV Kathmandu Valley Traditions in the Newar Context

8 Hindu-Buddhist Intersections in the Art of Nepal: Images of Avalokiteśvara
Sonali Dhingra

Catalog Section
 25 Kāraṇḍavyūha manuscript
 26 Sukhāvatī Lokeśvara with Tārā
 27 Wooden image of Indra
 28 Kāla Bhairava
 29 Bhairava mask
 30 Buddhist sacred thread
 31 Horoscope
 32 Votive stūpa

9 The Tradition of Vajrācārya Storytellers
Todd Lewis and Naresh Bajracharya

Catalog Section
 33 Śākyamuni Buddha with avadānas and worshipping donors
 34 Śākyamuni with scenes from the Kinnari Jātaka

10 On the Monumental Scroll of the Svayambhūpurāṇa Now Kept in the VMFA Collection
Alexander von Rospatt

Catalog Section
 35 Colossal bilampau of the Svayambhūpurāṇa
 36 Illustrations from the Svayambhūpurāṇa
 37 Five folios and painted wooden covers of a Prajñāpāramitā manuscript
 38 Lakṣacaitya Vrata

Part V The Newar Artist

Catalog Section
 39 Buddha Amitābha and Eight Bodhisattvas

11 Notes on the Contemporary Practices of the Newar Artisan Traditions
James A. Giambrone

Catalog Section
 40 Modern copies of a set of wooden struts and a blind window

Catalog Section of Some Contemporary Ritual Objects
 41 Buddhist entry paintings
 42 Pikha lakhu stone for preta off erings
 43 Sun God and Navagraha ritual stone
 44 Girl’s symbolic marriage maṇḍala
 45 Uṣṇīṣavijayā caitya plaque for Burā/Buri Jaṃko ritual
 46 Commissioned Vasundhārā Sand Maṇḍala template
 47 Wooden Monastery gong (Gambhā Sim)

Part VI Appendices

Appendix I
 Nepal: Period Overviews and the Time Line of the Kathmandu Valley History
Louis Copplestone

Appendix II
 The Art of Newar Ritual Vessels, an Inventory of Specialized Objects and Offerings
Sumon Kamal Tuladhar and Todd Lewis

List of Contributors
Photo Credits
Anyone interested in Himalayan art, Nepal, Buddhist Art, ritual and anthropology of religion, educated public (intro courses on Buddhism and Buddhist art), specialists (art history, Buddhist studies).
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