How to Read Buddhist Art from The Met Museum


By Kurt Behrendt Intended to inspire the devout and provide a focus for religious practice, Buddhist artworks stand at the center of a belief system that swept across Asia during the first millennia. How to Read Buddhist Art assembles 54 masterpieces from The Met collection dating from the first century B.C. to the present and including seminal works from early reliquaries to sublime images of Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and powerful tantric deities. These sacred objects-created in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Himalayas, China, Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia-crossed linguistic and cultural barriers while also maintaining unique regional iconography. Like other titles in The Met’s How to Read series, this book offers a rich but concise overview of the topic. It provides the essential frameworks needed to understand Buddhist art and practice, with engaging chapters that help the reader appreciate the methods artists used to give form to subtle aspects of the teachings. Kurt Behrendt is Associate Curator in the Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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