Next Article in Journal
Hermeneutic and Teleology in Ethics across Denominations—Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth
Previous Article in Journal
Tsipporah, Her Son, and the Bridegroom of Blood: Attending to the Bodies in Ex 4:24–26
Article Menu
Issue 10 (October) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Religions 2017, 8(10), 206; doi:10.3390/rel8100206

Virtual Pilgrimage and Virtual Geography: Power of Liao Miniature Pagodas (907-1125)

History of Art, Ewha Womans University, Ewha yeodeagil 52, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 03760, Korea
Received: 7 August 2017 / Revised: 10 September 2017 / Accepted: 15 September 2017 / Published: 26 September 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [35617 KB, uploaded 12 October 2017]   |  

Abstract

This paper examines the role of the miniature in Buddhist ritual, through analyses of miniature pagodas from middle-period China. Due to the otherworldly sensations they evoked and their theatrical nature, miniatures were often endowed with magical and performative power in funerary and religious contexts. The miniature pagodas from the Liao empire (907–1125) were replicas of the stupa monuments (the prototype of the pagoda) at the Eight Great Sacred Places in India. Adopting ritual theories and a comparative approach, this paper illuminates how the Liao miniature pagodas were devised to symbolically transfer the sacred places to the Liao empire in northeast China, allowing Liao Buddhists to make a virtual pilgrimage to the Buddha’s homeland by circumambulating the pagoda. The ways in which they functioned in the Buddhist ritual were similar to the small-scale copies of the Holy Sepulcher in medieval Europe. Their power—contrary to common sense—originated from their miniature size and intentional rejection of their sacred prototype. Through these miniatures, the banal ritual of pagoda circumambulation was transformed into an imaginary journey to the distant holy land, which was believed to be more efficacious and meritorious than an actual pilgrimage, and the prairie of northeast China was turned into the most sacred place in the Buddhist world. View Full-Text
Keywords: Buddhism; virtual pilgrimage; sacred place; ritual; miniature; pagoda; stupa; Liao empire; Holy Sepulcher Buddhism; virtual pilgrimage; sacred place; ritual; miniature; pagoda; stupa; Liao empire; Holy Sepulcher
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Kim, Y.-M. Virtual Pilgrimage and Virtual Geography: Power of Liao Miniature Pagodas (907-1125). Religions 2017, 8, 206.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
Back to Top