The Art of Buddhism: An Introduction to Its History and Meaning

The Art of Buddhism: An Introduction to Its History and Meaning

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by Denise Patry Leidy
     
 

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As its teachings spread from the Indian subcontinent in all directions across Asia, Buddhism influenced every culture it touched—from Afghanistan to Korea, from Mongolia to Java. Buddhist art is a radiant reflection of the encounter of the Buddha’s teachings with the diverse civilizations that came under their sway. It is also an intriguing visual

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Overview

As its teachings spread from the Indian subcontinent in all directions across Asia, Buddhism influenced every culture it touched—from Afghanistan to Korea, from Mongolia to Java. Buddhist art is a radiant reflection of the encounter of the Buddha’s teachings with the diverse civilizations that came under their sway. It is also an intriguing visual record of the evolution of Buddhist practice and philosophy over a period of more than two millennia.

More than two hundred photographs provide the visual context for this tour of the world of Buddhist art. Included in the rich variety of forms are architecture and monumental art, statuary, paintings, calligraphy, fresco, brushwork, and textile arts. Denise Leidy’s guide is the perfect introductory text for all those intrigued by this splendid aesthetic tradition. It also an essential resource for all who seek to understand Buddhist art as teaching.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Denise Leidy’s book offers a lucid pilgrimage through of the art of Buddhist enlightenment, from the vivacious, dawn-fresh sculptural traditions of ancient India up to the threshhold of the globalist twentieth century. The language is clear; the information dense and rich; the art beyond compare. Student, scholar, and devotee alike have much  to learn from this fine scholar.”— Holland Cotter, Art Critic, New York Times

“A sumptuous survey of Buddhist art from all over Asia. Denise Leidy deploys her encyclopedic knowledge to bring the art vividly to life, and her choices of objects are utterly superb. This volume is a must for any lover of the classical Asian art of enlightenment.”—Robert Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, Columbia University; founder of Tibet House, U.S.; and author of Infinite Life  

“A work of sustained scholarship from a distinguished art historian whose command of Buddhist art, coupled with her keen eye for its iconographic and aesthetic traditions, has made accessible to readers—for the first time in decades—a body of knowledge that will form the core of any informed understanding of Buddhist culture and traditions from a global perspective. This book is destined to become a classic.”—Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan, Professor of History of Art, Yale University

“A cogent and focused introduction to the subject. Clear links between [Buddhist] art and practice are consistently and intelligently presented throughout.”—Buddhist Art News

Library Journal

While most of the literature on Buddhist art focuses on its narrowly defined aspects, Leidy (curator, Asian art, Metropolitan Museum of Art; coauthor, with Robert A.F. Thurman, Mandala: The Architecture of Enlightenment) presents a very readable broader text, opening with a brief introduction to the life of Gautama Buddha and his teachings before going on to survey Buddhism's march across all Asia from its source in third century B.C.E. India and across Asia through to the 19th century. Organized roughly chronologically, the 15 topical chapters (e.g., pillars and stupas, Buddha image, caves, early Sino-Tibetan traditions) effectively integrate more than 200 exquisite photographs, mostly in color and some full-page, into Leidy's explication of how art communicated Buddhist traditions to the largely illiterate laity. Highly recommended for public, academic, and school libraries, even those already owning Dietrich Seckel's The Art of Buddhism.
—James R. Kuhlman

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590306703
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
10/20/2009
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
501,240
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Denise Patry Leidy is curator of the Department of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She is the author of numerous articles, and coauthor, with Robert A. F. Thurman, of Mandala: The Architecture of Enlightenment.

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The Art of Buddhism: An Introduction to Its History and Meaning 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very informative & beautiful book by a curator of this area at the Metropolitan Museum. Highly readable, wonderful photographs -- a very good introduction to this subject.