Word Embodied: The Jeweled Pagoda Mandalas in Japanese Buddhist Art - Harvard East Asian Monographs (Hardback)
  • Word Embodied: The Jeweled Pagoda Mandalas in Japanese Buddhist Art - Harvard East Asian Monographs (Hardback)
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Word Embodied: The Jeweled Pagoda Mandalas in Japanese Buddhist Art - Harvard East Asian Monographs (Hardback)

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£65.95
Hardback 310 Pages
Published: 06/08/2018
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In this study of the Japanese jeweled pagoda mandalas, Halle O’Neal reveals the entangled realms of sacred body, beauty, and salvation. Much of the previous scholarship on these paintings concentrates on formal analysis and iconographic study of their narrative vignettes. This has marginalized the intriguing interplay of text and image at their heart, precluding a holistic understanding of the mandalas and diluting their full import in Buddhist visual culture. Word Embodied offers an alternative methodology, developing interdisciplinary insights into the social, religious, and artistic implications of this provocative entwining of word and image.

O’Neal unpacks the paintings’ revolutionary use of text as picture to show how this visual conflation mirrors important conceptual indivisibilities in medieval Japan. The textual pagoda projects the complex constellation of relics, reliquaries, scripture, and body in religious doctrine, practice, and art. Word Embodied also expands our thinking about the demands of viewing, recasting the audience as active producers of meaning and offering a novel perspective on disciplinary discussions of word and image that often presuppose an ontological divide between them. This examination of the jeweled pagoda mandalas, therefore, recovers crucial dynamics underlying Japanese Buddhist art, including invisibility, performative viewing, and the spectacular visualizations of embodiment.

Publisher: Harvard University, Asia Center
ISBN: 9780674983861
Number of pages: 310
Dimensions: 254 x 178 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

O’Neal’s new book untangles these mandalas’ visual and performative complexity. Impressively researched and broadly conceived, the five chapters of this study investigate the key aspects of the jeweled pagoda mandalas’ composition, their textual and visual content, and the historical and cross-cultural contexts of their production…The feast of visual material investigated in O’Neal’s book is so rich. - Anna Andreeva, Journal of Japanese Studies

Lively, provocative, and ambitious…Stands out as a very impressive, well-researched, satisfying, and nearly exhaustive study of relatively undocumented paintings and their historical circumstances…Serves in many ways as a model for scholarship on premodern Japanese Buddhist icons. - Cynthea J. Bogel, Monumenta Nipponica

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