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Familiarity and the Material Culture of North China, 1000-2000
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At the intersection of art and religious history, this work suggests a fresh method for studying Chinese gods and sacred places. Susan Naquin tells the full story of the transformations of the Lady of Mount Tai, North China’s most important female deity, and her mountain home. This generously illustrated visual history presents a rich array of overlooked statues, prints, murals, and paintings of gods that were discovered in museums, auctions, and extensive travel. By focusing on ordinary images, temples, and region-based materiality Naquin demonstrates how this flexibly gendered new god flourished while her male predecessor was neglected. Both suffered greatly during the last century, but Mount Tai continues to be a culturally significant monument and China’s most popular tourist mountain.
An Illustrated Selection from the ABIA Online Bibliography on the Arts and Material Culture of South and Southeast Asia
Reading Śiva is an illustrated bibliography on the Hindu god Śiva in the arts, crafts, coins, seals and inscriptions from South and Southeast Asia. It results from a century of ABIA bibliographic work and covers over 1500 academic publications since 1672. This scholarly and multi-disciplinary volume offers keyword-indexed annotations. The detailed indices on authors, geographic terms and subjects enable an easy search through the data. Links with the entries to resource repositories (such as JSTOR, Persée, Project MUSE, Academia.edu, ResearchGate and the Internet Archive) and links added to the sumptuous illustrations immediately take you to these resource sites.
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Approaching the prison as a creative environment and imprisoned officials as creative subjects in Ming China (1368-1644), Ying Zhang introduces important themes at the intersection of premodern Chinese religion, poetry, and visual and material culture. The Ming is known for its extraordinary cultural and economic accomplishments in the increasingly globalized early modern world. For scholars of Chinese religion and art, this era crystallizes the essential and enduring characteristics in these two spheres. Drawing on scholarship on Chinese philosophy, religion, aesthetics, poetry, music, and visual and material culture, Zhang illustrates how the prisoners understood their environment as creative and engaged it creatively. She then offers a literature survey on the characteristics of premodern Chinese religion and art that helps situate the questions of “creative environment” and “creative subject” within multiple fields of scholarship.
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Volume Editors: and
Nira Stone (1938-2013) was a scholar of Armenian and Byzantine Art. Her broad and close acquaintance with the field of Armenian art history covered many fields of Armenian artistic creativity. Nira Stone made notable contributions to the study of Armenian manuscript painting, mosaics, and other forms of artistic expression. Of particular interests are her researches on this art in its historical and religious contexts, such as the study of apocryphal elements in Armenian Gospel iconography, the place of the mosaics of Jerusalem in the context of mosaics in Byzantine Palestine, and of the interplay between religious movements, such as hesychasm, and Armenian manuscript painting.
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Literary Representations of Christianity in Late Qing and Republican China contributes to the “literary turn” in the study of Chinese Christianity by foregrounding the importance of literary texts, including the major genres of Chinese Christian literature (novels, drama and poetry) of the late Qing and Republican periods. These multifarious types of texts demonstrated the multiple representations and dynamic scenes of Christianity, where Christian imageries and symbolism were transformed by linguistic manipulation into new contextualized forms which nurtured distinctive new fruits of literature and modernized the literary landscape of Chinese literature. The study of the composition and poetics of Chinese Christian literary works helps us rediscover the concerns, priorities, textual strategies of the Christian writers, the cross-cultural challenges involved, and the reception of the Bible.
Women, Rites, and Ritual Objects in Premodern Japan, edited by Karen M. Gerhart, is a multidisciplinary examination of rituals featuring women, in which significant attention is paid to objects produced for and utilized in these rites as a lens through which larger cultural concerns, such as gender politics, the female body, and the materiality of the ritual objects, are explored. The ten chapters encounter women, rites, and ritual objects in many new and interactive ways and constitute a pioneering attempt to combine ritual and gendered analysis with the study of objects.
Contributors include: Anna Andreeva, Monica Bethe, Patricia Fister, Sherry Fowler, Karen M. Gerhart, Hank Glassman, Naoko Gunji, Elizabeth Morrissey, Chari Pradel, Barbara Ruch, Elizabeth Self.

The Visual Culture of Esoteric Buddhism at Dunhuang
The first scholarly monograph on Buddhist maṇḍalas in China, this book examines the Maṇḍala of Eight Great Bodhisattvas. This iconographic template, in which a central Buddha is flanked by eight attendants, flourished during the Tibetan (786–848) and post-Tibetan Guiyijun (848–1036) periods at Dunhuang. A rare motif that appears in only four cave shrines at the Mogao and Yulin sites, the maṇḍala bore associations with political authority and received patronage from local rulers. Attending to the historical and cultural contexts surrounding this iconography, this book demonstrates that transcultural communication over the Silk Routes during this period, and the religious dialogue between the Chinese and Tibetan communities, were defining characteristics of the visual language of Buddhist maṇḍalas at Dunhuang.
Ancestral Rites, Weights and Measures, and the Means of Protest
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Michael Loewe calls on literary and material evidence to examine three problems that arose in administering China’s early empires. Religious rites due to an emperor’s predecessors must both pay the correct services to his ancestors and demonstrate his right to succeed to the throne. In practical terms, tax collectors, merchants, farmers and townsmen required the establishment of a standard set of weights and measures that was universally operative and which they could trust. Those who saw reason to criticise the decisions taken by the emperor and his immediate advisors, whether on grounds of moral principles or political expediency, needed opportunities and the means of expressing their views, whether as remonstrants to the throne, by withdrawal from public life or as authors of private writings.

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Walter Spink’s intense concern with the development of the Ajanta caves and their architectural, sculptural and painted features finds its most insistent reflection in his present richly illustrated study. In part 1, Spink explains the many connections between the Bagh caves and its “sister site”, Ajanta. He particularly emphasizes the leading role that Bagh plays in establishing the “short chronology” and in the crucial matter of Buddhist shrine development from the aniconic to iconic forms of worship.
In part 2, along with his colleague Professor Naomichi Yaguchi, who also provided the photographs and the newly informative plans, the authors show how, over the course of a mere decade, better and better ways were discovered to fit the doors in the cells where the monks lived. Such an analysis reveals the vigor of the conceptual and technical changes that characterize Ajanta’s evolution from its start in the early 460s to its traumatic collapse in about 470. Moving from Ajanta’s beginning to its ending, the evolution of door fittings parallels the precise and dramatic
development of Indian history in the remarkable course of the emperor Harisena’s reign.

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Featuring the renowned seventh-century gilt-bronze Śākyamuni (Shaka) triad at the Hōryūji, Constructing the Dharma King reveals how the impression of a Buddhist image evolved in Yamato, Japan, from the indistinct sense of divine otherness at the early stage of the transmission to more concrete ideals and values concerning families, authority, and kingship.

According to the accompanying inscription, the Kashiwade, a low-ranking bureaucratic clan, commissioned the triad to commemorate the deaths of its family members. Considering the triad as an endpoint of a dynamic political re-envisioning spearheaded by Soga no Umako (d. 626) and the members of the Yamato sovereignty, Akiko Walley argues that the Kashiwade constructed the Shaka triad not simply as a private act of devotion, but a pivotal political act that demonstrated their allegiance and loyalty. This publication contends that the appearance of the Shaka triad was chosen to echo the new vision of a “Dharma King” that was manifested in Prince Umayato as the political persona orchestrated by Umako, and in the preceding Shaka triad statue at Asukadera produced by Umako and his closest allies. In the course of discussion, this book also reexamines the key points of debate surrounding this statue, including the reliability of the accompanying inscription, identity of its makers, and the statue’s ties to the sculptural trends on the Asian continent.