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Buddhism and Iconoclasm in East Asia: A History (Paperback)
  • Buddhism and Iconoclasm in East Asia: A History (Paperback)

Buddhism and Iconoclasm in East Asia: A History (Paperback)

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Paperback 256 Pages / Published: 27/03/2014
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This is a cross-cultural study of the multifaceted relations between Buddhism, its materiality, and instances of religious violence and destruction in East Asia, which remains a vast and still largely unexplored field of inquiry. Material objects are extremely important not just for Buddhist practice, but also for the conceptualization of Buddhist doctrines; yet, Buddhism developed ambivalent attitudes towards such need for objects, and an awareness that even the most sacred objects could be destroyed. After outlining Buddhist attitudes towards materiality and its vulnerability, the authors propose a different and more inclusive definition of iconoclasm-a notion that is normally not employed in discussions of East Asian religions. Case studies of religious destruction in East Asia are presented, together with a new theoretical framework drawn from semiotics and cultural studies, to address more general issues related to cultural value, sacredness, and destruction, in an attempt to understand instances in which the status and the meaning of the sacred in any given culture is questioned, contested, and ultimately denied, and how religious institutions react to those challenges.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781472525956
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 386 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 14 mm

An extremely important publication and a major contribution to Religious Studies, Buddhist Studies, Asian Studies, East Asian History, Art History/Visual Culture, and Cultural Studies. It is precisely the sort of book that many scholars in these fields, and especially those who work across them, have been waiting for. The topic is one of great significance and timeliness, the approach is methodological and theoretically sophisticated, and the authors are sensitive to the cultural and historical specificity of their cases as well as to the wider implications of their work for the comparative analysis of iconoclasm, religion, and violence. -- D. Max Moerman, Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures, Barnard College, Columbia University, USA
This book offers readers a richly textured history of East Asian visual cultures. But, the authors' semiotic turn also provides us with valuable new ways to approach the study of cultures across historical periods, geographical areas, and academic disciplines. -- Dr Richard Clay, Senior Lecturer in the History of Art at the University of Birmingham, UK
This book makes an important contribution to the fields of cultural and religious studies, East Asian history, art history, and semiotics, and will be thoroughly enjoyed by both specialists and senior graduate students. -- Anna Andreeva, Nichibunken/University of Heidelberg, DE * The Medieval History Journal *

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