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Mandalas in the Making: The Visual Culture of Esoteric Buddhism at Dunhuang
Published by Brill
This book examines the Mandala of Eight Great Bodhisattvas during the Tibetan (786-848) and post-Tibetan Guiyijun (848-1036) periods at Dunhuang, focusing on the intersections between political authority, religious praxis, and visual language.
The first scholarly monograph on Buddhist mandalas in China, this book examines the Mandala of Eight Great Bodhisattvas. This iconographic template, in which a central Buddha is flanked by eight attendants, flourished during the Tibetan (786-848) and post-Tibetan Guiyijun (848-1036) periods at Dunhuang. A rare motif that appears in only four cave shrines at the Mogao and Yulin sites, the mandala bore associations with political authority and received patronage from local rulers. Attending to the historical and cultural contexts surrounding this iconography, this book demonstrates that transcultural communication over the Silk Routes during this period, and the religious dialogue between the Chinese and Tibetan communities, were defining characteristics of the visual language of Buddhist mandalas at Dunhuang.
Michelle C. Wang, Ph.D. (Harvard, 2008), is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Georgetown University. A specialist in medieval Chinese art, her publications have addressed Buddhist mandalas, Dunhuang painting, and art of the Silk Road.
Reviewer: Caleb Simmons
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