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Buddhist Symbols Paperback – May 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402700334
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402700330
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tibetan Buddhism, the most esoteric and symbolic of Buddhist traditions, relies heavily on several kinds of rituals "that underscore the oneness of body, speech, and mind," including mudras (symbolic hand gestures), mantras (symbolic words) and mandalas (symbolic icons). In this book, the Blaus aim to help readers understand such key Buddhist symbols through black-and-white images and their corresponding explanations. Readers will learn about the Wheel of Life, the Infinite Knot and various kinds of stupas, as well as different manifestations of the Buddha. The authors also include short discussions of the ritual symbolism of everyday objects such as lotus flowers, mustard seeds, mirrors and yogurt. The illustrations are helpful, though they would be more useful in color, since the colors used in Tibetan art are often symbolic. The accompanying descriptions are sometimes too short to suggest the complexities of each image.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miz Ellen VINE VOICE on June 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Buddhism is a complex system of thought that has passed through many cultures and countries on its way to the modern era. Just as Christianity has its own symbols and images, Buddhism has inspired a wealth of art that can be bewildering to the Westerner. This compact volume focuses mostly on Tibetan tradition and is well organized.

It is not the flashiest of art books and that is exactly why it is so useful. By using simple line drawings without color, the authors strip each icon, gesture, plant, animal and sacred object to its essential components. The explanatory text is short, easy to read and fits on the facing page or in a caption. This is true whether it was something simple like a fly whisk or as complicated as the Buddhist Wheel of Life.

In only one section do the illustrations fall short. The short nine page section on the eight types of stupas had great text. Did you know that the Indian stupa evolved into the Tibetan chorten which then became the pagoda in East Asia? Unfortunately, the line drawings did not help me to distinguish the eight varieties. They were just too flat and lacked detail.

I recommend this book to students reading Buddhist philosophy, art historians interested in Oriental art and anyone planning to travel in Asia. The section explaining the postures and hand gestures had me digging out photographs of statues in temples I visited long ago to check. Oh, now I see!
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By swimmer on March 29, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interested in Tibetan Art, I purchased this to help with my understanding of Japanese esoteric Buddhism. Mudras are well explained.
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By Tashi on December 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Contains a vast amount of line drawings giving a good survey of Buddhist iconography listing major deities, mudras and elements of Buddhist Art.
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