pilgrimage and buddhist art

Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art

by Adriana Proser



According to sacred texts, the historical Buddha encouraged his disciples to make pilgrimages to sites associated with his life. As sacred images of the Buddha proliferated over time, it is said that his relics were divided among 84,000 South Asian sites of Buddhist worship, or stupas. This abundance of sacred sites in turn rendered pilgrimage and worship increasingly prominent influences on Asian culture and daily life.

Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art employs sacred objects, textiles, sculpture, manuscripts, and paintings to discuss the relationship between Buddhist pilgrimage and Asia’s artistic production. Accompanying an exhibition of approximately 90 extraordinary objects, many of which have never before been displayed publicly, this book addresses the process of the sacred journey in its entirety, including discussion of pilgrimage motivation, ritual preparation, and worship at the sacred destination. Exceptional and visually stunning examples of painted mandalas, reliquaries, prayer wheels, and traveling shrines demonstrate that pilgrims and pilgrimage inspired centuries of artistic production and shaped the development of visual culture in Asia. (Asia Society/Yale U Pr, Mar 15 2010, HC, 224pp, dimensions 9″ x 12″)

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About the Author

Adriana Proser

Adriana Proser


Adriana Proser is John H. Foster Curator of Traditional Asian Art. A specialist in Chinese art, over the last sixteen years she has organized and co-organized over forty-five exhibitions featuring diverse works from all over Asia. These include the upcoming loan exhibition The Art of Impermanence: Japanese Works from the John C. Weber Collection and the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection and the exhibitions Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in China (2017) and Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms (2016) for Asia Society Museum. Her publications include Treasures of Asian Art: The Asia Society Museum Collections with Denise Leidy and Michelle Yun (Asia Society Museum and Delmonico, Prestel, 2016) ) and Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art (Asia Society Museum and Yale University Press, 2010), for which she served as editor and contributor. She is recipient of a Ph.D. in Chinese art and archaeology from Columbia University. Proser was formerly Assistant Curator of East Asian Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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