The Visual Culture of Esoteric Buddhism at Dunhuang
Michelle C. Wang’s new book Mandalas in the Making: The Visual Culture of Esoteric Buddhism at Dunhuang (Brill, 2018) joins a growing body of scholarship on esoteric Buddhism in China. Her work is an important contribution for the way in which she draws together murals, portable paintings, ritual manuscripts, and diagrams connected to the Mandala of Eight Great Bodhisattvas. Wang traces how the use of this maṇḍala changed over time, and how it was shaped by the distinct cultural and linguistic milieu at Dunhuang, a key Buddhist site on the Silk Road. This book will reshape scholarly understanding both of maṇḍalas in China, and also of Dunhuang as a Buddhist site.
Natasha Heller is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. You can find her on Twitter @nheller or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.