Images of the Crowned Buddha along the Silk Road: Iconography and Ideology
AbstractThe interpretation of early Buddha images with a crown has long been a source of debate. Many scholars have concluded that the iconography of the crown is intended to denote Śākyamuni as a cakravartin or universal Buddha. A few have suggested it represents a sambhogakāya Buddha in Mahāyāna Buddhism. This art historical and Buddhological study examines the visual record of early crowned Buddhas along the Silk Road, focusing on the iconographic signifiers of the crown, silk items, and ornaments, and interprets them within a broader framework of Buddhist theoretical principals and practice. Not only is this a visual analysis of iconography, it also considers contemporary Buddhist literary evidence that shows the development of the iconography and ideology of the crowned Buddha. As a result of this examination, I propose that the recurring iconographic evidence and the textual evidence underscore the intention to depict a form of sambhogakāya Buddha as an early esoteric meditational construct. Moreover, many Buddhas perform one of the two mudrās that are particular to the esoteric form of Vairocana Buddha. Therefore, the iconography also signifies the ideology of the archetypal Ādi Buddha as an esoteric conception. View Full-Text
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Twist, R.L. Images of the Crowned Buddha along the Silk Road: Iconography and Ideology. Humanities 2018, 7, 92.
Twist RL. Images of the Crowned Buddha along the Silk Road: Iconography and Ideology. Humanities. 2018; 7(4):92.Chicago/Turabian Style
Twist, Rebecca L. 2018. "Images of the Crowned Buddha along the Silk Road: Iconography and Ideology." Humanities 7, no. 4: 92.
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