Creating the Universe

Depictions of the Cosmos in Himalayan Buddhism

Eric Huntington

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  • Published: January 2019
  • Subject Listing: Art History / Asian Art; Asian Studies / South Asia
  • Bibliographic information: 304 pp., 153 illus., 118 in color, 1 map, 7 x 10 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Global South Asia
  • Contents

Winner, 2018 Edward Cameron Dimock, Jr. Prize in the Indian Humanities

Buddhist representations of the cosmos across nearly two thousand years of history in Tibet, Nepal, and India show that cosmology is a rich language for the expression of diverse religious ideas, with cosmological thinking at the center of Buddhist thought, art, and practice.

In Creating the Universe, Eric Huntington presents examples of visual art and architecture, primary texts, ritual ideologies, and material practices-accompanied by extensive explanatory diagrams-to reveal the immense complexity of cosmological thinking in Himalayan Buddhism. Employing comparisons across function, medium, culture, and history, he exposes cosmology as a fundamental mode of engagement with numerous aspects of religion, from preliminary lessons to the highest rituals for enlightenment. This wide-ranging work will interest scholars and students of many fields, including Buddhist studies, religious studies, art history, and area studies.
Eric Huntington is a postdoctoral scholar in religious studies at the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, Stanford University.

"A profoundly innovative and engaging study of cosmological thinking in texts, rituals, imagery, and architecture across the Buddhist world of the Himalayas."
-Catherine Becker, author of Shifting Stones, Shaping the Past: Sculpture from the Buddhist Stupas of Andhra Pradesh

"Offers a new perspective on the depictions of cosmological imagery. A timely topic that makes major contributions to the field of art history."
-Christian Luczanits, David L. Snellgrove Senior Lecturer in Tibetan and Buddhist Art, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London