The study of images in Asian religions has tended to emphasize the centrality of image worship in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Little attention has been paid, however, to the arguments against such image worship in these religious traditions. This volume offers a comprehensive and balanced look at the role of images in Asian religions, and examines aspects of the reception of image worship that have only begun to be studied. Bringing together anthropologists, art historians, and scholars of religion with interests in India, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, Images in Asian Religions challenges current understandings of image worship in Asian religions. Areas addressed include the complex, fluid, and contested nature of the religious image; the reception of images within the intellectual culture of Hinduism and Buddhism; and the importance of historical and cultural context in the study of religious images. The result is a compelling collection which demonstrates the range of debate over practices of image worship, and expands our appreciation of the religious image to include a wide array of objects that serve as supports of divine presence.
Of primary interest to scholars of Asian religions, this book will also appeal to art historians, anthropologists, semioticians, and students of religion who concern themselves with images, icons, and material culture.