Buddhism has a history of over 2,500 years, and its arts have existed for almost as long, weaving their way with monks and pilgrims through broad areas of Asia and across seas, intermingling with the arts and styles of indigenous cultures. Not surprisingly, the teachings and imagery of this international religion are vast and complex, and the task of deciphering Buddhist symbolism can seem as challenging as the search for enlightenment itself. All the principal symbols, objects, and figures of Buddhist 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 and as an introduction to the principles of the religion. Photographs and two-color line drawings and maps accompany the explanatory texts. With a comprehensive glossary of key Buddhist terms and a well-researched bibliography, this book will prove indispensable to anyone with an interest in Buddhism and its arts.
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.