Emanated Buddhas in the Aureole of Buddhist Images from India, Central Asia, and China

Emanated Buddhas in the Aureole of Buddhist Images from India, Central Asia, and China

by Tianshu Zhu


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Very often in Buddhist art, especially Buddhist art of ancient China, one can see small figures, mostly Buddhas, depicted in the halo and/or aureole of a Buddha image, and, less often, of a bodhisattva image. What does this mean? Despite the prevalence of this motif, its meaning and its significance in Buddhist history are poorly understood, if understood at all. In fact emanating other Buddhas is associated with the fundamental nature of the Buddha and the mechanism of how the Buddha functions to spread Buddhist teachings to every corner in the cosmic world. In this regard, the study of this motif—one of the purposes of this book—is not only a study of a specific iconographic convention in Buddhist art but also a study of the revolutionary change in the way Buddha was represented, a geographical and temporal development that reflected the change of Buddha’s nature in the eyes of his followers.

Besides being a general convention, the depiction of emanated Buddhas in the aureole also appears in some of the most spectacular and sometimes widely debated iconographies in Buddhist art, for example, the dharmadh?tu Buddha images, in which the Buddhist cosmologic system is shown inside a Buddha’s body, and the Mohammed Nari Stele from. Therefore as the second task this book, this study also involves and sheds light on a number of important iconographies in Buddhist art.

More importantly, this motif had appeared in various places in Central Asia and East Asia throughout the centuries. Traditionally, Buddhist images of the same iconography across different regions are studied as one coherent subject matter, assuming they all have the same meaning. By contextualizing these images in local history and local Buddhism, which is the third task of this study, this book also aims to examine much broader issues in Buddhist history and cultural transmission.

Emanated Buddhas in the Aureole of Buddhist Images from India, Central Asia, and China is an important book for students and scholars in art history, Buddhist studies, and East Asian studies. *This book is oversized and includes 92 color images.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781604979480
Publisher: Cambria Press
Publication date: 12/06/2018
Pages: 524
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Tianshu Zhu is associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Macau. She holds an MA and a PhD in art history from the Ohio State University. Her research focuses on Buddhist art in Central Asia, China, and and India, examining visual representations in the contexts of religious practices as well as cultural transmissions and transformations.

Table of Contents

List of Maps

List of Tables

List of Figures



Chapter 1: Introduction

Part I: Buddha/Bodhisattva Images with Emanated Figures in the Aureole

Chapter 2: The Development of Images with Emanated Figures in the Aureole

Chapter 3: The Notion of Generating Other Buddhas in Buddhism

Chapter 4: The Tranformed-Buddhas and the Buddhas-Of-The-Ten-Directions

Chapter 5: Bodhisattva As The Emanator

Part II: Special Iconographies with Emanated Buddhas in the Aureole

Chapter 6: A Possible Iconography of Amitābha from Gandhāra

Chapter 7: The Dharmadhātu Buddha Images from Kucha

Chapter 8: The Narrative Depictions At Kucha and Turfan

Chapter 9: A Buddha Showing Realms of Rebirth in His Aureole

Part III: Inception and Transmission

Chapter 10: Gandhāra: Inception of the Mahāyāna Element

Chapter 11: Khotan: Flourish in a Mahāyāna Area

Chapter 12: Kucha: A Mahāyāna Motif in a Hīnayāna Area

Chapter 13: Central China: The Resonant-Body in Chinese Cosmology

Chapter 14: Conclusion



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