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.
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).
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).