Pamela D. Winfield

Icons and Iconoclasm in Japanese Buddhism

Kukai and Dogen on the Art of Enlightenment

Oxford University Press 2013

New Books in ArtNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Buddhist StudiesNew Books in East Asian StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network March 29, 2016 Daniel Friedrich

What role do images play in the enlightenment experience? Can Buddha images, calligraphy, mandalas, and portraits function as nodes of access for a practitioner’s...

What role do images play in the enlightenment experience? Can Buddha images, calligraphy, mandalas, and portraits function as nodes of access for a practitioner’s experience of enlightenment? Or are these visual representations a distraction from what ultimately matters? Pamela D. Winfield‘s recent award-winning monograph, Icons and Iconoclasm in Japanese Buddhism: Kukai and Dogen on the Art of Enlightenment (Oxford University Press, 2013), explores these major Japanese Buddhist figures artistic and textual productions in order to answer these questions. Bringing together her expertise in the fields of art history and Buddhist studies, Winfield guides the reader to more nuanced understandings of Kukai as a promoter of icons and Dogen’s seemingly iconoclastic stance. In addition, she offers a model for bridging textual studies and studies of material cultures that opens paths for further explorations of the relationship of practice, text, and image.

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