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Article

T. I. Zeymal’

Buddhist monastery of the 7th century ad to first half of the 8th, in the valley of the Vakhsh River, 12 km east of Kurgan-Tyube, southern Tajikistan. During this early medieval period it belonged to Vakhsh (U-sha in Chinese sources), one of the 27 domains of Tokharistan. Excavations between ...

Article

Alchi  

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....

Article

M. Yaldiz

Site in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China, 56 km north-east of Turfan. It is the site of the most outstanding complex of Buddhist cave temples in Khocho and is located in the steep side of an extensive terrace above the Murtuk River. At one time access to the caves was via free-standing timber buildings or terraces constructed in front of them, but by the time the caves were discovered by ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Joan Stanley-Baker

Chinese painter . Later known as Wu Daoxuan, he is a legendary figure said to have depicted human beings, landscapes, architecture, Buddhist deities, demons, birds and animals. Reportedly, he derived his inspiration from wine and had a mercurial, responsive brushstyle, producing breathtaking vistas of natural scenery and figures across vast areas of temple wall....

Article

Henrik H. Sørensen

County in Henan Province, China, east of the city of Luoyang. The presence of Mt Song (also called Mt Xiaoshi, Mt Songyue or Mt Songgao) means that the county is primarily known as a centre of Buddhism. Mt Song was a Buddhist sanctuary as early as the Three Kingdoms period (...

Article

Dorothy C. Wang

Site of Buddhist cave sanctuaries located 25 km south-east of the county town of Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China. In the wider definition Dunhuang also includes the Yulin caves at Anxi and the Xi qianfo dong (Western Cave of the Thousand Buddhas). From the 4th century to the 14th, Buddhist cave sanctuaries 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 ...

Article

Eiheiji  

Dennis Lishka

Japanese Zen Buddhist monastery of the Sōtō sect, in Fukui Prefecture. Eiheiji’s significance derives largely from the place in the history of Japanese Buddhism of its founder, Dōgen (1199–1253), and to his interpretation of Sōtō Zen monastic practice. After 1217 Dōgen joined the dominant Tendai school of Buddhism, but he grew disillusioned with Japanese Buddhism as a feasible human soteriology, although he was much attracted to the practice of Zen meditation. In ...

Article

Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan

Japanese Buddhist temple on Mt Hiei (Hieizan), north-east of Kyoto, in the city of Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture.

Enryakuji was founded in ad 785 by the Tendai-sect patriarch Saichō [Dengyō Daishi] (767–822). Enryakuji is the head temple of the Sanmon branch of the Tendai sect, and, together with the Shingon-sect temple ...

Article

Ganden  

Henrik H. Sørensen

Site near Dagzê, c. 40 km east of Lhasa, Tibet. It was the principal monastery founded by Tsong Khapa (1357–1419) in the early decades of the 15th century, and it thereafter became a major sanctuary of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism that he established. Formerly an impressive monastery town with several hundred shrines and chapels and a population of over 5000 lamas, Ganden was utterly destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (...

Article

Molly Siuping Ho

Site in Henan Province, China, east of the city of Luoyang. A complex of five Buddhist caves, dating from the Northern Wei period (ad 386–534), is located on the south side of Mt Mang on the northern bank of the Yiluo River. The ground level along the river is higher than the ground level inside the caves by over a metre because of dirt accumulated from flooding. The construction of the caves, sponsored by the Northern Wei imperial family, took place between ...

Article

Gyantse  

Barry Till

Fourth largest city in Tibet, strategically located between Lhasa and Shigatse along the caravan route to India, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan. Gyantse is most famous for its fortress citadel, or Dzong, and its lamasery. The 15th-century fortress, situated on a hill overlooking the town, served as an effective buffer against invasions from the south for centuries until ...

Article

Hadda  

E. Errington

Site of numerous Buddhist monasteries, 8 km south-west of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. It flourished from the 1st century bc to the 8th century ad. The ancient site, known as Hilo to Chinese pilgrims of the 5th–8th century, is partially covered by a modern village. The earliest archaeological reports were compiled by ...

Article

Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan

Buddhist temple complex at Ikaruga, Ikoma District, Nara Prefecture, Japan.

Hōryūji is one of the oldest temples in Japan and is the head temple of the Shōtoku sect. Founded in the late 6th century ad by the regent, Prince Prince Shōtoku, and refounded in the late 7th century, it became a leading centre for Buddhist scholarship and the focus of the cult of its founder. Since the early 8th century Hōryūji has been listed as the most ancient of the Seven Great Temples of Nara (Nanto Shichidaiji). The complex occupies ...

Article

Bruce A. Coats

Buddhist temple and garden near Nara in the Sōraku District, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. It is a temple of the Pure Land (Jōdo) sect of Esoteric Buddhism. The present compound contains a honden (main hall), a pagoda and a pond garden. Alone among Pure Land temples, Jōruriji retains its original 12th-century garden designed to look like the Western Paradise. Temple records indicate that the temple was established in ...

Article

Khocho  

M. Yaldiz

Site 47 km south-east of Turfan in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. The most important complexes of monasteries in the Khocho area are Idikutshahri, Lenger, Senghim and Bezeklik. To the west of the town is the Chinese necropolis of Astana. The earliest evidence of settlement in the area is that a ruler of the Tujue dynasty, probably of Turkish origin, had an inscription placed on a temple of Maitreya, the Future Buddha, in Khocho in ...

Article

Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan

Japanese Buddhist temple complex in the district of Yoshino, Nara Prefecture. It lies in the Kinpusen, a chain of foothills that extends between the Yoshino and Ōmine mountains.

Kinpusenji was traditionally founded by the semi-legendary ascetic En no Ozunu (En no Gyōja; fl late 7th century ...

Article

Kizil  

M. Yaldiz

Site of Buddhist monastic complexes c. 40 km north-west of Kucha on the upper reaches of the Muzart River in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. So far 227 caves have been uncovered. They are in a wall of rock pierced by a ‘Great Gorge’ in the western third of the complex and two ‘small’ gulleys to the east. At the end of the main terrace of the complex of caves a narrow path below the Devil’s Caves (nos 198 and 199 in the Chinese numerical system) leads north-east along the edge of the mountain to the ‘second’ and ‘third’ complexes....

Article

Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan

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 (...

Article

Kumbum  

Barry Till

Monastery complex c. 26 km north-east of Xining, Qinghai Province, China. Kumbum is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, as it marks the birthplace of Tsong Khapa (1357–1419), who founded the sect. Construction of a small monastery called Shardzong on this spot took place between ...