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Buddhist Stupas in Asia: The Shape of Perfection (Lonely Planet Pictorial) Hardcover – November, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Lonely Planet Pictorial
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications; 1st edition (November 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1864501200
  • ISBN-13: 978-1864501209
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,122,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When the Buddha was dying, he instructed his followers to cremate his body and enclose his remains inside four separate monuments or "stupa-mounds." These manmade "axial mountains" became the prototype for the monuments that are so beautifully presented in Joe Cummings's Buddhist Stupas in Asia. Each spread features full-color illustrations or photographs, depicting the varying shapes, designs, and scale of this holy architecture. "People in all the different cultures that have discovered Buddhism seem to have gone crazy with joy, building stupas by the millions," writes Cummings, whose other Lonely Planet titles cover Thailand and Bangkok. "[They are] more than funeral reliquaries. They are memorials, rather, to the immanent possibility of freedom from suffering for all beings." Ten pages of transparent architectural overlays explain how the sacred meets function. This is entertaining learning at its best--a book that's loaded with knowledge, yet packaged with visual appeal. - -Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

Lonely Planet presents Buddhist Stupas in Asia: The Shape of Perfection, exploring stupas (sacred structures that function as memorials of enlightenment) in 13 Asian countries. As shown in more than 250 color photographs, stupas are tremendously diverse in appearance, ranging from gold-topped domes to marble temples to giant sculptures. Some stupas serve as reliquaries, or repositories for relics of enlightened masters. This informative, beautiful book is a fine introduction to the sacred art and architecture of Buddhism. Sept.)

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert Bach on October 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When I opened this book in the bookstore, I was knocked out by the photos, which cover stupas all the way from Taxila, Pakistan, to Tokyo, Japan. The stupa photography is particularly strong in the chapters on India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Tibet. An entire chapter is devoted to Borobudur and satellite stupas in central Java.
Dipping into the text at home, I was pleasantly surprised by how authoritative and complete the coverage of this complex topic was. Not only does the author do an excellent job of explaining the symbolism of stupas in various Buddhist cultures, he also links it to the history of Buddhism throughout Asia, no small task. Although I'm a longtime amateur student of Buddhism and Asian art history myself, I found much new material to ponder.
I was most impressed by the way Mr Cummings has carried out original research as well as reporting on the research of other scholars who came before him. This is something I didn't expect from a hardcover pictorial such as this. Kudos to Lonely Planet for publishing a seriously good book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By schiff on October 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Buddhist Stupas in Asia: The Shape of Perfection by Bill Wassman (Photographer), et al, offers a sweeping and broad overview of the epitome of Asian Buddhist architecture. The photographs are good and the succinct commentary is informative enough. This is not a book for hardcore history buffs though, as the very short accompanying analysis would not suffice; nevertheless, in most cases the photographs more than compensate by offering quality glimpses of a divine form of architecture. One drawback: some of the photographs are too small for the subject to be really appreciated (some are as small as approx. 3cm x 3cm!). All in all: an enjoyable mind-trip through the very essence of Buddhist architecture.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Wyote VINE VOICE on January 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book covers Buddhist architecture across its known history, from its origins in Northern India through Southeast Asia to Indonesia, to Nepal and Tibet, into China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. The emphasis is clearly on architecture, but it covers the relevant backgrounds in Buddhist art and philosophy as well. If you want a book about Buddhist cultures or thought, this is not it. But if you want a book about Buddhist architecture, this is a great beginning. It is well-written, well-designed, and the photography is excellent. I wish it were much longer and went into much greater depth... but then it would be much more expensive!
I received this book as a surprise gift, and I think it makes a great gift: it's the kind of thing someone would want and enjoy, but would not buy for themselves.
The author, Joe Cummings, also writes the Lonely Planet guidebooks for Laos, Thailand and Myanmar (Burma), and they are excellent. I've been to all three places, and so I've seen many of the stupas covered in this book, and his guides have helped me more than most do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Hinds on December 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book itself is wonderful, but the condition it is in is terrible. Mold on the inside of the book panflet, stains on it as well.
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