Images in Asian Religions
396 pages, 6 x 9
72 b&w photos and illustrations
Release Date:01 Jul 2005
Release Date:01 Oct 2007

Images in Asian Religions

Text and Contexts

UBC Press

The study of images in Asian religions has tended to emphasize thecentrality of image worship in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Imagesin Asian Religions offers a challenge to any simple understandingof the role of images by looking at aspects of the reception of imageworship that have only begun to be studied, including the manyhesitations that Asian religious traditions expressed about imageworship.

Written by eminent scholars of anthropology, art history, andreligion with interests in different regions (India, China, Japan, andSoutheast Asia), this volume takes a fresh look at the many ways inwhich images were defined and received in Asian religions. Areasaddressed include the complex, fluid, and contested nature of thereligious image; the reception of images within the intellectualculture of Hinduism and Buddhism; and the importance of historical andcultural context in the study of religious images.

This compelling collection, demonstrating the range of debate overpractices of image worship, will expand our appreciation of the objectsthat serve, for many, as supports of divine presence. Of primaryinterest to scholars of Asian religions, it will also appeal to arthistorians, anthropologists, semioticians, and students of religion whoconcern themselves with images, icons, and material culture.

The essays are uniformly informative and well written. All of the essays in this collection are well-written and insightful. They certainly fulfill their mandate of dealing with images in Asian religions. Alexander Soucy, St. Mary’s University, Studies in Religion, 34/3-4, 2005
Phyllis Granoff and Koichi Shinoharaare both professors in the Department of Religious Studies at YaleUniversity.





Part 1: Defining Images: The Sacred Objects of IndianReligions

1. Images and Their Ritual Use in Medieval India: Hesitations andContradictions

2. Theology as History: Divine Images, Imagination, and Rituals inIndia

3. Of Metal and Clothes: The Location of Distinctive Features inDivine Iconography

Part 2: Images and the Elite Intellectual Culture:Accommodations and Ambiguities

4. At the Right Side of the Teacher: Imagination, Imagery, and Imagein Vedic and Saiva Initiation

5. The Competing Hermeneutics of Image Worship in Hinduism (Fifth toEleventh Century AD

6. Stories of Miraculous Images and Paying Respect to the ThreeJewels: A Discourse on Image Worship in Seventh-Century China

Part 3: Recreating the Context of Image Worship: CaseStudies

7. Icon and Incantation: The Goddess Zhunti and the Role of Imagesin the Occult Buddhism of China

8. The Tenjukoku Shucho Mandara: Reconstruction of the Iconographyand Ritual Context

9. Obaku Zen Portrait Painting and Its Sino-Japanese Heritage

10. Ritual and Image at Angkor Wat


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