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Kirit Mankodi

Capital of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Located near the River Indus on an ancient trade route between India, Tibet and China, Leh is notable for a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, known as the Tsemo Gompa, and the Lechen Pelkar palace and fort, all erected under the Namgyel rulers of the 16th–17th centuries. Among the buildings of the Tsemo Gompa is the Temple of the Guardian Deities, built by Tashi Namgyel in the 16th century, which contains images of the fierce protector Mahakala, Vaishravana (one of the four heavenly kings), the Great Goddess and another fierce guardian (yet to be identified). Also in the Tsemo Gompa, the Maitreya Temple contains a celebrated three-storey-high figure of the Future Buddha flanked by the bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri; the shrine may date to the 16th century, but it has been extensively renovated in recent times. The palace is a ruined nine-storey structure set on a hill north-east of the town; founded by ...


Patricia J. Graham

[Mampukuji; Ōbakuzan]

Temple site in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. It is the headquarters of the Ōbaku sect of Zen Buddhism and is important as a centre for the diffusion in Japan of Chinese arts of the Ming period (1368–1644). Many of its original buildings still stand.

In the mid-17th century, amid the upheaval following the fall of the Ming dynasty in China, monks of the Linji (Jap. Rinzai) sect of Zen (Chin. Chan) Buddhism from southern China (see Buddhism §III 10.) began emigrating to Japan, settling in Nagasaki, Kyushu, where a large Chinese community had gathered. In Japan they found the Rinzai sect well established, though with different religious orientations. In order to distinguish themselves from the Japanese sect, the Chinese monks called their sect Ōbaku (Chin. Huangbo), after Mt Huangbo in Fujian province, the site of their home temple, Wanfu si.

Yiran (Jap. Itsunen; 1601–68), abbot of Nagasaki’s Chinese temple Kōfukuji, invited the abbot of Wanfu si at Mt Huangbo, Yinyuan Longqi (Jap. ...



Erberto F. Lo Bue

Village 19 km north-east of Kathmandu, in Bagmati Province, Nepal, near the ancient Buddhist monastery, Gum Vihara. The monastery is located on a ridge 3 km north of the village at a site known as Vajrayogini (or Khadgayogini). Gum Vihara is one of the most ancient Buddhist sites mentioned in Lichchhavi inscriptions in the Kathmandu Valley, and it may well antedate the Lichchhavi period (c. ad 300–800). According to tradition Manadeva (reg c. ad 464–505) repaired the monastery, and under his influence a large caitya (stupa) was erected. This may refer to the only monumental stupa at this site, which is now enclosed in a c. 17th-century Newar-style double-roofed temple, surrounded by four stupas of the Lichchhavi period. The enclosure of a stupa of this size is now unique in the Kathmandu Valley and can be related to early Indian Buddhist monasteries with a stupa in the centre of a courtyard lined with cells....


Barry Till

[bkra shis lhun po; Zhaxilhünbo]

Monastery complex built over the lower slope of Mt Drolma (Tara), south-west of the city of Shigatse (Xigazê), Tibet. Tashilhunpo is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. According to its archives, it was founded in ad 1447 by Gendun Drup (1391–1474), who is recognized as the first Dalai Lama and was the nephew and student of Tsong Khapa (1357–1419), founder of the Gelugpa sect. In the mid-17th century the fifth Dalai Lama (1617–82) declared his teacher Losang Chokyi Gyeltsen (1567–1662), the abbot of Tashilhunpo, to be a manifestation of Amitabha Buddha; thus began the line of incarnate lamas known as the Panchen Lamas, of which Losang Chokyi Gyeltsen was classified as the fourth. The monastery became the official seat of the Panchen Lamas. It was greatly enlarged by the fourth Panchen Lama and buildings were added by later generations of Panchen Lamas. Painted red and white and crowned with golden rooftops, the buildings of the monastery stand closely together in terraced rows, offering a grand and majestic sight. Like other Tibetan temple complexes, the monastery has scores of halls and chapels, as well as three colleges (originally five or six): the Philosophy College, the Tantric College and the Drongyo College....