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W. A. P. Marr

Buddhist monastery in a small valley on the left bank of the River Indus, c. 64 km west of Leh in Ladakh, India. Tradition attributes the monastery’s origin to the Tibetan scholar and temple-builder Rinchen Sangpo (ad 958–1055), the ‘great translator’, and although its buildings mostly date from the 11th century, the site is replete with his memory, from the ancient tree he planted to his portraits and images in the temples. A treasure-house of art, Alchi has been preserved because of its isolation from trade routes and the decline of its community, the monks of the Dromtön sect of the Kadampa order.

Ringed by a wall and votive chortens (stupas), the religious enclave (Tib. chökhor) comprises three entrance chortens, a number of shrines and temples, the Dukhang (assembly hall) with its courtyard and monastic dwellings (see Tibet §II, and Indian subcontinent §III 6., (i), (a)...


Frederick M. Asher

and Gaya [Bodhgayā and Gayā]

Pilgrimage centres and towns located on the Phalagu (Niranjana) River in Bihar, India. From an early date Gaya has been a site for the performance of śrāddha, rites for recently deceased parents. This ancient tradition and the general sanctity of Gaya in the 5th century bc probably drew Siddhartha Gautama to its outskirts, to the place now known as Bodhgaya, where, following profound meditation, he became a Buddha (Enlightened One). The tree under which he meditated (the bodhi tree) became an object of veneration; initially it was surrounded by a hypaethral temple (Pali bodhighara), the general form of which is known from relief sculptures of the 2nd–1st centuries bc at Bodhgaya and other sites (see also Indian subcontinent, §III, 3). A stone slab (Skt vajrāsana) at the site, dating to the 3rd century bc, carries motifs similar to those found on contemporary Mauryan pillars (see...


Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan


Japanese Buddhist temple in the city of Uji, c. 18 km south of Kyoto. It occupies 1.65 ha of woodland along the western bank of the River Uji. Its ‘mountain name’ (sangō) and identifier prefix is Asahiyama.

Byōdōin is an independent temple affiliated with the Jōdo (Pure land) school of the Tendai sect of Esoteric Buddhism and has been in operation since the late Heian period (ad 794–1185). Its principal building, the Amidadō or hall for the worship of Amida (Skt Amitābha), is called the Hōōdō (Phoenix Hall) and is widely recognized as exemplifying the type of religious art commissioned by the Heian period aristocracy, who were profoundly affected by the popularization of the Jōdo belief and praxis in conjunction with extended emphasis on the Lotus sutra (Jap. Hokkekyō or Myōhō renge kyō) as a salvational vehicle.

Uji has long been noted for its picturesque setting on the river. From at least the late Nara period (710–94) it also served as an important trade stop between Yamato and Yamashiro provinces (now Kyoto Prefect.). By the 9th century Uji had been developed as a ‘resort’ for the villas (...


Dorothy C. Wang

revised by Zhongming Tang


Site of Buddhist cave sanctuaries, usually referring to the Mogao caves, located 25 km southeast of the county town of Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China. In the wider definition Dunhuang also includes the Xi qianfo dong (Western Thousand Buddha Caves) and the Yulin caves at Guazhou to the southeast of the town of Dunhuang. From the 4th century to the 14th, the Mogao caves were continuously carved out in four or five tiers on the cliff face of an alluvial hill that faces east over the Dang River. At its height as a Buddhist complex in the 8th century ce, the complex is believed to have comprised more than 1,000 caves. At the Mogao site, a total of 492 caves with wall paintings and sculptures survive, the earliest of which date to the early 5th century ce. Despite the changing dynasties, the caves and the artworks continued to be added until the 14th century, and still survive in excellent condition. The artworks in the Mogao caves are important not only for their individual value, but also in that the evolution of Buddhist art in Dunhuang over 1,000 years can be traced in this single site. A hoard of old and rare manuscripts was also found in a small room in the Mogao caves, including the world’s oldest complete printed book (...



Japanese, 11th century, male.

Active during the first half of the 11th century.


Enkai was a Buddhist monk from Mount Shigi near Nara. He was one of the first ­sculptors to use the yosegi (joined-wood) style of carving, whereby monumental sculp­- tures were made from several different blocks of wood that had been carved separately and then put together. Until that time, these large wooden figures had been carved using the ichiboku technique, meaning out of a single block of wood. Enkai’s famous seated statue of ...


Chinese, 11th century, male.

Active 1087-1093.

Born in Zheijiang Province.

Painter. Flowers.

Hua Guangren was a Buddhist monk who painted plum trees in blossom.



Samuel C. Morse

Major school of Japanese Buddhist sculpture of the late Heian (ad 794–1185) and early Kamakura (1185–1333) periods (see Japan, §V, 3, (iii)). The school took its name from Injō (d 1108), who was the chief disciple of Kakujō (d 1077), son of Jōchō, who had developed a gentle, elegant style of wood sculpture suited to the refined tastes of the mid-Heian aristocracy of the capital (modern Kyoto). Art historians generally consider Kakujō to have been the first-generation master of the school, which specialized in producing for their patrons close formal replicas of Jōchō’s imagery. There were two workshops (bussho) of the In school in Kyoto: the Shichijō–Ōmiya workshop, established by Injō, and the Rokujō–Madenokōji workshop, set up in the mid-12th century. Initially in competition with the other main exponent of Jōchō’s style, the En school, the In was pre-eminent in the second half of the 12th century. After this, the work of the school became increasingly mannered and began to decline in popularity. In the early Kamakura period it was eclipsed by the dynamic realism of the ...



Japanese, 11th century, male.

Died 1108.


Injo, a Buddhist sculptor, is said to be the son of Kakujo or Chosei and the grandson of Jocho, a great sculptor who died in 1057. He was therefore part of an important line of artists who formed one of the two main currents of Buddhist art at the beginning of the Heian period. He is considered the founder of the Shichijo Omiya studio in Kyoto, where he continued to work, with his numerous assistants, in the style of Jocho. It was probably for this reason that he received the honorary title of ...



Japanese, 11th – 12th century, male.

Born 1053; died 1140.


Late Heian period.

A monk-painter of the Tendai Buddhist sect, Kakuyu was the son of Minamoto no Takakuni. He was one of the best-known painters of his generation and is traditionally believed to be the author of ...


Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan

[Kōya, Mt; Kōyasan; Kōyasanji; Kōyasan Kongōbuji]

Japanese Buddhist temple and shrine complex in Ito district, Wakayama Prefecture. Lying about 70 km south of Osaka on Mt Kōya (Kōyasan), a plateau on the eastern slope of the Takamine range, it was founded in the 9th century ad as the headquarters of the Shingon sect (see Buddhism §III 10.) and is one of the two main centres of Esoteric Buddhism (mikkyō) in Japan (see also Enryakuji). At Amano Jinja (Amano Shrine) on the north-western flank of the uplands, Niu Myōjin and Kōya Myōjin, the chief Shinto tutelary deities of the complex, are enshrined. The complex now occupies c. 12 sq. km of hilly terrain, encompassing some 125 structures and housing important art works.

Kongōbuji’s founder, Kōbō Daishi (see Kūkai), had spent the years 804–6 in China studying the system of tantric belief that was to be the basis of Shingon teachings and was seeking a suitable location to perform the religious exercises and Esoteric rituals required by these beliefs. In 816 he received from Emperor Saga (...


Junghee Lee

Korean dynasty that ruled from ad 918 to 1392. The Koryŏ kings were lavish in their patronage of Buddhist art of the major groups such as Sŏn and Kyo (see Buddhism §III 9.). Wang kŏn, posthumously known as King T’aejo (reg ad 918–43), founder of the dynasty, made Buddhism central to his rule and commissioned the building of the royal palace (see Korea, §II, 3, (iii), (a)) at Songak (now Kaesŏng), Kyŏnggi Province; which he had made the capital in 919. King T’aejo also established Buddhist temples in and around the capital and built a number of temples in the provinces as did the kings who succeeded him. Under his rule numerous annual Buddhist ceremonies were established to honour the Buddha and thus protect the country from foreign invasions; these ceremonies were performed until the end of the Koryŏ period.

The Koryŏ kings commissioned professional painters of the Tohwawŏn (Academy of Painting) (...


[Nāgapaṭṭiṇam; Nāgapaṭṭaṇam; Nāgipaṭṭaṇam]

Seaport and centre of Buddhism in Thanjavur District, Tamil Nadu, India. Nagappattinam had significant connections with China, with Sri Lanka and with the kingdom of Srivijaya in Sumatra from the 7th century ad to the 15th. The earliest reference dates to the time of the Pallava king Narasimhavarman II Rajasimha (reg 690–728), during whose rule a temple was built for Chinese Buddhists who had come to India for trading purposes. Mahayana Buddhism was also encouraged by members of the Javanese Shailendra dynasty, who in the mid-9th century extended their rule into Sumatra (Suvarnadvipa). In the 11th century they provided grants for the construction of shrines (Skt caityas). These were built under the patronage of the contemporary kings of the Chola dynasty and named Rajaraja-perum-palli and Rajendra-Chola-perum-palli after Rajaraja I (reg c. 985–1014) and Rajendra I (reg 1012–44) respectively. None of these monuments survives. The last remarkable Buddhist temple, a brick-built tower-like structure, perhaps dating to Pallava times, was pulled down in the mid-19th century, but its appearance is preserved in a sketch of ...



Pierre Pichard and Richard M. Cooler

[Pali Arimaddanapura]

Capital of the first kingdom of Burma from the 11th to the 14th century. Famous for its temples and other religious monuments, Pagan was probably founded in the 9th century ad. The city’s official Pali name, meaning ‘crusher of foes’, appears in contemporary stone inscriptions. The name Pagan is first mentioned (as Pukam) in Chinese sources c. 1004 and in a Cham inscription from Po Nagar in Vietnam dated 1050. Pagan’s foreign relations were mostly with eastern India (Bengal and Orissa), Sri Lanka, the Mon kingdoms to the south and China. The chief influences on its architecture and arts came from Burma itself (Pyu and Mon), from eastern India and from Sri Lanka.

Pierre Pichard

The city is on a bend of the Irrawaddy River in the arid region of central Burma, described in ancient inscriptions as tattadessa (the parched land). Its subsistence was always dependent on the rice-producing areas of Kyaukse, some 170 km upstream, and Minbu, 110 km downstream. The site is an alluvial terrace on the east bank of the river. It is bordered on the south-east by a low hill range; a higher range closes the western horizon across the river. At the foot of the south-east range a dam was built in the 12th century to store water during the meagre rainy season (June to November). A few other reservoirs were set up in the plain, but no evidence of irrigation channels has been found. Several streams cross the site from the east to the Irrawaddy; they are dry most of the year, their sandy beds used as cart tracks. Most of the plain is cultivated (palm trees and dry crops such as millet, sesame, cotton and groundnuts). About 36,000 people live in several villages within the archaeological area of some 13×8 km....



Henrik H. Sørensen

[mtho gling; now Zanda]

First capital city of the kingdom of Guge, situated in the Sutlej Valley to the east of Tsaparang, western Tibet. It was founded c. ad 900. The largest and most important of Tholing’s temples—their original Tibetan names are unknown—is the so-called Red Temple, a typical structure with a two-storey main building and lower side buildings surrounded by high walls, located in the middle of the town. It was in this sanctuary that the Indian master Atisha (982–1054) and the Tibetan monk Rinchen Sangpo (958–1055) lived and did most of their writings and translations. Finely executed wall paintings dating to c. the 15th century, stylistically bearing some resemblance to slightly earlier Nepalese Buddhist paintings, can be found on the walls inside the main chapel. The White Temple, opposite the Red Temple, has been officially closed since 1966, but most of its art is still untouched. Half the wall paintings have been damaged by leaking water, but those left are of superior quality and include images of the goddesses Prajnaparamita and Tara, and of Tsong Khapa (...


Chinese, 11th century, male.

Born in Changsha (Sichuan).

Painter. Religious subjects, figures.

Wu Dongqing was well-known for his Buddhist and Taoist figure paintings.


Chinese, 11th century, male.

Born in Kuaiji (Zhejiang); died 1123.

Painter, Chan Buddhist monk. Ink plum blossom.

Zhongren was a Chan Buddhist monk who lived at the Huaguang monastery in Hunan Province. He was a great friend of the painter Huang Tingjian (fl. 1087-1093), who composed poems for his pictures. Zhongren is known above all for his paintings of plum blossom, a genre that flourished at the beginning of the Song dynasty and whose symbolism closely resembles that of bamboo painting. Indeed, he was the first to paint plum blossom in ink washes, a genre that in China would have a great future. This is how the Song dynasty epic Meipu or ...