Reading Buddhist Art : An Illustrated Guide to Buddhist Signs and Symbols, Paperback

Reading Buddhist Art : An Illustrated Guide to Buddhist Signs and Symbols Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 216 pages, 304 illustrations
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Religious subjects depicted in art
  • ISBN: 9780500284285



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A very helpful book for understanding religious iconography in Buddhist art. Like western Christian art, Buddhist art if much richer if you can identify what you're looking at, especially in museums where the labeling is not very good. This book goes through the pantheon, with the names of the spiritual beings in all the the major Buddhist countries; postures; and signs, symbols and ritual objects. This book is jammed packed with information and is not the kind of thing you're going to sit and read straight through. It is lavishly illustrated with black-and-white photos of Buddhist art and diagrams to illustrate important points in the text.

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