Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Old Society, New BeliefReligious transformation of China and Rome, ca. 1st-6th Centuries$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Mu-chou Poo, H. A. Drake, and Lisa Raphals

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190278359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190278359.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 July 2020

Life and Death

Life and Death

The Development of Nirvana Images in the Northern Dynasties

(p.183) 11 Life and Death
Old Society, New Belief

Chuan-Ying Yen

Oxford University Press

In early Indian Buddhist art, numerous stupas were erected to store relics commemorating a past Buddha instead of depicting the death of Sakyamuni. Relic cult is the focus of Buddha worship, but in early Chinese Buddhist art, nirvana scenes were not the focus of Buddha’s life, which was an idealized legend. The development and expression of the nirvana image (which symbolizes the transmission of the dharma) with new styles shows how Buddhism adapted to local traditions as it spread into China. From the second half of the sixth century, the nirvana scene was depicted as lamenting the deceased. At the end of the seventh century, nirvana versions were dramatized and glorified in monumental works and blended in with more popular images based on scenes from the Lotus Sutra; this expressed the idea that the dharma is constantly regenerated and was more in line with the hopes and desires of the Chinese people.

Keywords:   nirvana images, iconography, Dunhuang, cave art, Lotus Sutra, Buddhist steles

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .