Early Buddhist Art of China and Central Asia, Volume 1 Later Han, Three Kingdoms and Western Chin in China and Bactria to Shan-shan in Central Asia


The earliest Buddhist art of China can only be understood when seen in relation to a wider area comprising Central Asia and India. This is exactly the purpose of the underlying volume.

Presenting the earliest Buddhist art of China in its wider context of the Bactrian and Southern Silk Road regions in Central Asia (1st to 4th century A.D.), the author offers clarifications of the issues and new assessments regarding the cross-cultural and cross-regional interrelationships, sources, dating and chronology during these formative initial phases of Buddhism from India to China.

With over 500 illustrations, 18 in full colour, 76 drawings and 14 maps, the book offers not only an overview of this complex and important period, but also the fullest and most detailed analysis of the art: individually, within its local region, and in relation to the wider, trans-Asian scope essential for a proper understanding of this period for a wide range of disciplines.

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EUR €326.00USD $406.00

Biographical Note

Marylin M. Rhie, Ph.D. (1970) in Chinese Buddhist Art History, University of Chicago, is Jessie Wells Post Professor of Art at Smith College. She has written extensively on the Buddhist art of Asia, including Wisdom and Compassion, the Sacred Art of Tibet (with R. Thurman).

Review Quotes

"...the most in-depth investigation of early Chinese and Central Asian Buddhist art undertaken in recent decades. They exemplify the purpose and mission of the Handbuch der Orientalistik series." – Nancy Shatzman-Steinhardt
"The wide scope of topics, sites, and items discussed […], the expert knowledge of the author and the lucid style, in which Rhie presents the results of her studies, make this volume of the HdO a most welcome [..] study, a reference tool, and a comprehensive collection of illustrations that will be indispensable for readers interested in the history of Central Asian and Chinese Buddhism during the 1st to 4th c. A.D." – Gerd Wädow, in: Monumenta Serica, 1999
"…a work certain to become an important benchmark in the study of the complex relationship between Buddhist art in Central Asia an in China in the early centuries of the Christian era. Although not all the conclusions reached and the artistic relations observed will always be shared by other scholars, the impressive research carried out on this material is sure to constitute a starting point for all future investigations in this field." – Nicoletta Celli, in; Central Asiatic Journal, 2002


Those interested in Buddhist art and the art, religion and history of China, Central Asia, the Silk Road, and Asia in general.

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