Building a Sacred Mountain
The Buddhist Architecture of China's Mount Wutai
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By the tenth century CE, Mount Wutai had become a major pilgrimage site within the emerging culture of a distinctively Chinese Buddhism. Famous as the abode of the bodhisattva Mañju r (known for his habit of riding around the mountain on a lion), the site in northeastern China's Shanxi Province was transformed from a wild area, long believed by Daoists to be sacred, into an elaborate complex of Buddhist monasteries.
- Published: May 2014
- Subject Listing: Asian Studies, Art History, Geography
- Bibliographic information: 344 pp., 61 illus., 7 x 10 in.
- Series: Art History Publication Initiative Books
In Building a Sacred Mountain, Wei-Cheng Lin traces the confluence of factors that produced this transformation and argues that monastic architecture, more than texts, icons, relics, or pilgrimages, was the key to Mount Wutai's emergence as a sacred site. Departing from traditional architectural scholarship, Lin's interdisciplinary approach goes beyond the analysis of forms and structures to show how the built environment can work in tandem with practices and discourses to provide a space for encountering the divine.
Wei-Cheng Lin is assistant professor of Chinese art history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"A well-researched, serious, significant book on fascinating subjects with profound impact on Chinese civilization."
-Nancy Steinhardt, University of Pennsylvania
Chronology of Chinese Dynasties
1. Building the Monastery, Locating the Sacred Presence
2. Entering the Mountains, Localizing the Sacred Presence
3. The Sacred Presence in Place and in Vision
4. Mediating the Distance to Mount Wutai
5. Reconfiguring the Center
6. Narrative, Visualization, and Transposition of Mount Wutai
Conventions and Abbreviations
List of Illustrations