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From the 8th to the 14th century, Uyghurs experienced various changes in connection with the legitimation strageties of their rulers. The shift from their traditional religious beliefs to Manichaeism and then further to Buddhism, strongly influenced the presentation of the rulers’ power. This chapter discusses changes to Uyghur rulers’ legitimation strategies during this period is discussed.

Open Access
In: Buddhism in Central Asia I
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Abstract

The art objects and written sources found in the Turfan area show the devout worship of various bodhisattvas by the Buddhists who lived in this region. The Uyghurs were undoubtedly one of the most influential groups there. Chinese Buddhist impact from Dunhuang became an essential factor for the Uyghurs after most of them converted to Buddhism. Some scriptural sources in Old Uyghur had a close relationship with their Chinese versions widespread in Dunhuang. Thus, there were exchanges between Buddhist communities in Dunhuang and Turfan through which some buddha and bodhisattva cults were probably shared. One of those cults was that of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. In Dunhuang, one has both written and figurative sources that show the relevance of the Avalokiteśvara cult. Significantly, the Chinese prayer texts describe Avalokiteśvara as a saviour from diseases and guide to paradise. In Turfan, on the contrary, the written sources in Old Uyghur neither focus on the cult nor refer to any of this bodhisattva’s roles mentioned above, although many banner paintings in Turfan were devoted to Avalokiteśvara. The gap of this bodhisattva’s appearance in the written and artistic sources from Turfan is thought to be due to that both Uyghurs and Chinese involved in Buddhist activities. The cult of Avalokiteśvara, which was strongly impacted by Chinese Buddhism, was probably represented in both the Chinese Buddhist community in Turfan and the Uyghur Buddhists, who had a close connection to that community.

Open Access
In: Buddhism in Central Asia II
Author:

Abstract

From the 8th to the 14th century, Uyghurs experienced various changes in connection with the legitimation strageties of their rulers. The shift from their traditional religious beliefs to Manichaeism and then further to Buddhism, strongly influenced the presentation of the rulers’ power. This chapter discusses changes to Uyghur rulers’ legitimation strategies during this period is discussed.

Open Access
In: Buddhism in Central Asia I
Practices and Rituals, Visual and Material Transfer
Volume Editors: and
The ERC-funded research project BuddhistRoad aims to create a new framework to enable understanding of the complexities in the dynamics of cultural encounter and religious transfer in pre-modern Eastern Central Asia. Buddhism was one major factor in this exchange: for the first time the multi-layered relationships between the trans-regional Buddhist traditions (Chinese, Indian, Tibetan) and those based on local Buddhist cultures (Khotanese, Uyghur, Tangut) will be explored in a systematic way. The second volume Buddhism in Central Asia II—Practice and Rituals, Visual and Materials Transfer based on the mid-project conference held on September 16th–18th, 2019, at CERES, Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany) focuses on two of the six thematic topics addressed by the project, namely on "practices and rituals", exploring material culture in religious context such as mandalas and talismans, as well as “visual and material transfer”, including shared iconographies and the spread of ‘Khotanese’ themes.
In: Buddhism in Central Asia II
Impacts of Non-Buddhist Influences, Doctrines
The BuddhistRoad project has been creating a new framework to understand the dynamics of cultural encounter and religious transfer across premodern Eastern Central Asia. This framework includes a new focus on the complex interactions between Buddhism and non-Buddhist traditions and a deepening of the traditional focus on Buddhist doctrines between the 6th and 14th centuries, as Buddhism continued to spread along an ancient, local political-economic-cultural system of exchange, often referred to as the Silk Roads. This volume brings together world renowned experts to discuss these issues including Buddhism and Christianity, Islam, Daoism, Manichaeism, local indigenous traditions, Tantra etc.

Contributors include: Daniel Berounský, Michal Biran, Max Deeg, Lewis Doney, Mélodie Doumy, Meghan Howard Masang, Yukiyo Kasai, Diego Loukota, Carmen Meinert, Sam van Schaik, Henrik H. Sørensen, and Jens Wilkens.