Doubles: Stone Implements

Sonya S. Lee

in Surviving Nirvana

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9789622091252
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207448 | DOI:
Doubles: Stone Implements

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This chapter focuses on the sixth century, the era in which the nirvana image first asserted itself as a significant category in Chinese visual culture through a range of stone objects made in the middle Yellow River region of Shanxi and Henan. From its earliest known appearance at Kongwangshan sometime in the late third century, the nirvana image had tended to shed its primordial tie to the life story of Śākyamuni that was once the normative setting for its previous incarnations in South and Central Asia. By the time of the Chicago stele, it was presented within a much expanded timeframe, in which the Buddha's nirvana came to mark a critical transition between present and future as part of the all-encompassing Buddhas of Three ages motif. By the late seventeenth century, the nirvana image became a fully independent pictorial motif for the first time.

Keywords: sixth century; middle Yellow River; Shanxi; Henan; Kongwangshan; nirvana image; Śākyamuni; Chicago stele; motif

Chapter.  18572 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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