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The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture (Buddhisms)

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The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture (Buddhisms) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the first century, when Buddhism entered China, the foreign religion shaped Chinese philosophy, beliefs, and ritual. At the same time, Buddhism had a profound effect on the material world of the Chinese. This wide-ranging study shows that Buddhism brought with it a vast array of objects big and small--relics treasured as parts of the body of the Buddha, prayer beads, and monastic clothing--as well as new ideas about what objects could do and how they should be treated. Kieschnick argues that even some everyday objects not ordinarily associated with Buddhism--bridges, tea, and the chair--on closer inspection turn out to have been intimately tied to Buddhist ideas and practices. Long after Buddhism ceased to be a major force in India, it continued to influence the development of material culture in China, as it does to the present day.

At first glance, this seems surprising. Many Buddhist scriptures and thinkers rejected the material world or even denied its existence with great enthusiasm and sophistication. Others, however, from Buddhist philosophers to ordinary devotees, embraced objects as a means of expressing religious sentiments and doctrines. What was a sad sign of compromise and decline for some was seen as strength and versatility by others. Yielding rich insights through its innovative analysis of particular types of objects, this briskly written book is the first to systematically examine the ambivalent relationship, in the Chinese context, between Buddhism and material culture.

Synopsis:

"A remarkable achievement. By applying his Buddhological training to a topic typically ignored by Buddhologists, material objects, John Kieschnick has produced an original and groundbreaking book--the first of its kind not only in the area of Chinese Buddhism, but in the field of Buddhism writ large. There is simply nothing like this available in any Western language. Despite the technical nature of the subject, he manages to keep the scholarly apparatus unobtrusive. I would not hesitate to make it required reading in all of my upper level and graduate courses on Chinese Buddhism."--Robert Sharf, University of Michigan

Synopsis:

From the first century, when Buddhism entered China, the foreign religion shaped Chinese philosophy, beliefs, and ritual. At the same time, Buddhism had a profound effect on the material world of the Chinese. This wide-ranging study shows that Buddhism brought with it a vast array of objects big and small--relics treasured as parts of the body of the Buddha, prayer beads, and monastic clothing--as well as new ideas about what objects could do and how they should be treated. Kieschnick argues that even some everyday objects not ordinarily associated with Buddhism--bridges, tea, and the chair--on closer inspection turn out to have been intimately tied to Buddhist ideas and practices. Long after Buddhism ceased to be a major force in India, it continued to influence the development of material culture in China, as it does to the present day.

At first glance, this seems surprising. Many Buddhist scriptures and thinkers rejected the material world or even denied its existence with great enthusiasm and sophistication. Others, however, from Buddhist philosophers to ordinary devotees, embraced objects as a means of expressing religious sentiments and doctrines. What was a sad sign of compromise and decline for some was seen as strength and versatility by others. Yielding rich insights through its innovative analysis of particular types of objects, this briskly written book is the first to systematically examine the ambivalent relationship, in the Chinese context, between Buddhism and material culture.

About the Author

John Kieschnick is an associate research fellow at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, in Taipei.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691096766
Author:
Kieschnick, John
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
China
Subject:
Asia - China
Subject:
Buddhism
Subject:
Material culture
Subject:
Buddhism - General
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Asian and Asian American Studies
Subject:
Material culture - China
Subject:
Buddhism -- China.
Subject:
Religion Eastern-Buddhism
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Buddhisms: A Princeton University Press Series
Series Volume:
119
Publication Date:
March 2003
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
20 halftones.
Pages:
360
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 22 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » World History » China
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Buddhism » General

The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture (Buddhisms) New Trade Paper
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$48.25 In Stock
Product details 360 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691096766 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "A remarkable achievement. By applying his Buddhological training to a topic typically ignored by Buddhologists, material objects, John Kieschnick has produced an original and groundbreaking book--the first of its kind not only in the area of Chinese Buddhism, but in the field of Buddhism writ large. There is simply nothing like this available in any Western language. Despite the technical nature of the subject, he manages to keep the scholarly apparatus unobtrusive. I would not hesitate to make it required reading in all of my upper level and graduate courses on Chinese Buddhism."--Robert Sharf, University of Michigan
"Synopsis" by , From the first century, when Buddhism entered China, the foreign religion shaped Chinese philosophy, beliefs, and ritual. At the same time, Buddhism had a profound effect on the material world of the Chinese. This wide-ranging study shows that Buddhism brought with it a vast array of objects big and small--relics treasured as parts of the body of the Buddha, prayer beads, and monastic clothing--as well as new ideas about what objects could do and how they should be treated. Kieschnick argues that even some everyday objects not ordinarily associated with Buddhism--bridges, tea, and the chair--on closer inspection turn out to have been intimately tied to Buddhist ideas and practices. Long after Buddhism ceased to be a major force in India, it continued to influence the development of material culture in China, as it does to the present day.

At first glance, this seems surprising. Many Buddhist scriptures and thinkers rejected the material world or even denied its existence with great enthusiasm and sophistication. Others, however, from Buddhist philosophers to ordinary devotees, embraced objects as a means of expressing religious sentiments and doctrines. What was a sad sign of compromise and decline for some was seen as strength and versatility by others. Yielding rich insights through its innovative analysis of particular types of objects, this briskly written book is the first to systematically examine the ambivalent relationship, in the Chinese context, between Buddhism and material culture.

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