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Article

Baltrušaitis, Jurgis, II  

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

Boonma, Montien  

Eleanor Heartney

(b Bangkok, Feb 25, 1953; d Bangkok, Aug 25, 2000).

Thai sculptor and installation artist. Boonma studied at the Poh Chang Arts and Crafts School, Bangkok (1971–3) and went on to study painting at Silpakorn University, Bangkok (1974–8). He became a Buddhist monk in 1986 and his work explores a distinctively Buddhist art language. His early work dealt with environmental issues that came out of his concerns about the effects of industrialization on rural Thailand. Increasingly his work became involved with issues of illness and death as his own health faltered. He subtly melded natural forms, Buddhist architecture and ritual objects with a minimalist sense of structure inspired by his study of Western art. He fashioned sculptural objects based on Buddhist alms bowls, ‘painted’ with healing herbs and created walls and enclosures from stacks of hundreds of ceramic temple bells.

From 1991 Boonma’s wife struggled with breast cancer, until she succumbed in 1994. During this period the pair turned to both Western and Eastern tools to battle her disease, alternating chemotherapy with visits to shrines and offerings to propitious spirits. In ...

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 1223 he left for China, then under the rule of the Song dynasty (ad 960–1279), to practise Chinese Chan (Jap. Zen) Buddhism under the master Rujing (1163–1228) at Mt Tiantong. After his return in 1227 he advocated Sōtō Zen but was continuously harassed by Tendai-sect monks until he cleared donated land in 1243 in Echizen (western Japan) for the first Sōtō Zen monastery, Eiheiji (Monastery of Eternal Peace). At Eiheiji, Dōgen faithfully reproduced Chinese Chan Buddhism in two important ways: experientially, with daily meditation integrated into such basic activities as eating, walking, working, begging and washing, whereby enlightenment might be attained by the practitioner and by others; and architecturally, the buildings in the temple compound, each unique in structure and function, being tightly integrated into a working site for daily Zen discipline and arranged to fit into the topography of the forested hillside....

Article

Gormley, Antony  

(Mark David)

(b London, Aug 30, 1950).

English sculptor and draughtsman. He studied archaeology, anthropology and art history at Trinity College, Cambridge (1968–71) and Buddhist meditation in India and Sri Lanka (1971–4), experiences that profoundly inform his work. Influenced by the ideals of Indian sculpture as much as by those of modernism, his sculptures use the human form to explore man’s existence in and relation to the world. He is primarily known for the lead figures cast from his own body. Free of individualizing surface detail, with welding lines emphatically exposed, these remain physical casings rather than imitative representations of the universal human form. His belief that the spiritual and physical selves are inseparable is reflected in works such as Land, Sea and Air II (1982). Three figures, crouching, kneeling and standing, were placed on the seashore, embodying the process of Buddhist spiritual awareness. The work also referred to the earthly condition of the body and man’s relationship with his surroundings. These concerns are further reflected in Gormley’s full use of installation space, with sculptures suspended from ceiling and walls. Many works were made specifically for natural environments, most controversially ...

Article

Kongōbuji  

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 (...

Article

Kramrisch, Stella  

Barbara Stoler Miller

(b Nikolsburg, Austria [now Mikulov in the Czech Republic], 1896; d Philadelphia, PA, Aug 31, 1993).

Austrian art historian, teacher, and museum curator, active in India and the USA. Her published writings begin with her PhD dissertation on early Buddhist art (1919), written at the University of Vienna under the supervision of Josef Strzygowski. In 1921 she went to India at the invitation of Rabindranath Tagore (see Tagore family §(1)) to teach at his school at Santiniketan. She remained for 30 years as a professor at the University of Calcutta. During her tenure she edited the Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, to which she contributed numerous articles on every period of architecture, sculpture, and painting, as well as on folk and contemporary art. Her researches culminated in The Hindu Temple (1946), which she characterized as ‘the sum total of architectural rites performed on the basis of its myth’. The work analyses the Hindu temple conceptually, locating its structural principles in ancient Vedic ritual and texts, as well as in Sanskrit treatises on architecture....

Article

Lee, Mingwei  

Rhana Devenport

(b Taichung, Feb 16, 1964).

Taiwanese conceptual artist, active also in the USA. From the age of six, Lee Mingwei spent six summers training and living under the care of a Ch’an Buddhist monk in the mountains near Taichung. These experiences of quietude, compassionate behavior, and attentiveness to the quotidian aspects of life were formative in his development as an artist. Lee studied biology and architecture before completing a BFA Hons (Textile Art) from California College of Arts in 1993, and a MFA (Sculpture) from Yale University Graduate School of Fine Arts in 1997. Lee’s first major public presence, a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 1998, received acclaim, and he soon began presenting projects in biennales and museums throughout Australia, Asia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe. His first major survey was presented by Mori Art Museum in 2015 and toured to Taipei and Auckland....

Article

Otani, Count Kōzui  

Henrik H. Sørensen

(b Kyoto, 1876; d Beppu, Ōita Prefect., 1948).

Japanese collector, geographer and Buddhist priest. In 1901, while studying in London, the young Otani became acquainted with Stein, Sir (Marc) Aurel, who had just returned from his first Central Asian expedition, and was inspired to undertake similar excavations. In 1902 Otani and four Japanese assistants set out for Central Asia, where they stayed until 1904, having worked in various sites in Khotan, Kuccha and Turfan (see Astana). A second, smaller expedition was organized in 1908–9 by Otani under the leadership of Zuichō Tachibana and Eizaburō Nomura, who excavated several sites on both the northern and the southern routes of the Silk Route. Finally, a third expedition was launched in 1910; this lasted nearly five years, ending in 1914. Although none of the Otani expeditions was conducted on a genuinely scientific basis, they led to the discovery of a considerable number of artefacts, including clay and terracotta sculptures, fragments of wall paintings, silk objects, as well as numerous manuscripts in Chinese and several Central Asian languages. Today most of the material collected by the Otani expeditions is in three collections; the Lüxun Museum in Liaoning, the National Museum of Korea in Seoul and the National Museum in Tokyo (...

Article

Feng Zikai  

Deborah Nash

revised by Su-hsing Lin

[Feng Tzu-K’aiFeng Tse-kai]

(b Shimenwan, near Changde, Zhejiang Province, Nov 9, 1898; d Shanghai, Sept 15, 1975).

Chinese cartoonist, teacher, translator, and writer. Though also an accomplished cover designer, landscapist, and calligrapher, Feng is best known for the lyrical cartoons he created from the 1920s to the 1960s, which explored themes of Buddhist philosophy and the innocence of childhood through humorous observations of daily life. He received both classical Chinese and Western-style education, and trained as a teacher at the First Teacher Training College in Hangzhou, where he was taught by Li Shutong, who became a Buddhist monk and was to prove influential in Feng’s conversion to Buddhism in 1927 and in the development of his artistic career.

In 1921 Feng left Shanghai, where he had founded a teacher training college with his friends, and went to study Western art in Japan. There he came under the philosophical and artistic influences of Yumeji Takehisa (1884–1934), Sōseki Natsume (1867–1916), and Li Shutong, who taught Feng Western sketching and woodcarving as well as Chinese calligraphy. Under these masters’ influences, Feng’s artwork conveyed appreciation for poetic beauty, lyrical quality, and concern for humanity....