Reading Buddhist Art by Meher McArthur

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Buddhism and its arts have existed for more than 2500 years, weaving their way with monks and pilgrims through broad areas of the Asian continent and across seas, mingling with the arts and styles of indigenous cultures. This book explores the complex imagery and teachings of Buddhism, whose iconography and symbolism can often seem as challenging as the search for enlightenment itself. All the principal symbols, objects and figures of worship are gathered here in a rich, informative and easy-to-use book that will serve equally well as an art-lover's reference tool as an introduction to the principles of the religion itself. After introducing the early history of Buddhism and its subsequent spread, the book presents the main figures of worship - the Buddhas, bodhisattvas, deities, protectors of the faith and historical personages - and explains their origins, characters and identifying features. The principal signs, symbols and ritual objects of Buddhist worship are clearly described and illustrated, and there is also an overview of major Buddhist sites throughout the world. Photographs and specially commissioned 2-colour line drawings and maps accompany the text, with subject names given in all relevant languages (Sanskrit, Tibetan, Thai, Japanese, etc) in standard English transcriptions. With a comprehensive glossary of key Buddhist terms and a well researched bibliography, this book will be indispensable to anyone with an interest in Buddhism and its arts.

About Meher McArthur

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Meher McArthur is an art historian and the former curator of East Asian Art at the Pacific Asian Museum in California. She is the author of Reading Buddist Art: An Illustrated Guide to Buddhist Signs and Symbols, The Arts of Asia: Materials, Techniques, Styles, and Confucius: A Throneless King. She lives in Pasadena, CA.
Published October 1, 2002 by Thames & Hudson. 216 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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