It is an edited collection of the author's most important articles on oriental art and symbolism, with illustrations from the traditional oriental civilizations. These illustrations provide an insightful descriptions and explanations, with a small taste of the beauty that permeated the traditional Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist worlds - a beauty that has in large part been overwhelmed and swallowed by our modern era.
Part I, 'Oriental Art', begins with Burckhardt's introduction to traditional oriental art. In the following three chapters the author explores the artistic foundations of each of the three great oriental religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, focusing particularly on the Hindu temple, the Buddha image, and Chinese landscape painting.
Part II provides insights that enable us to compare the underlying spiritual values that are the foundation for traditional cultures, with the quantitative analyses that are the starting point for today's technological societies. In the following five chapters Burckhardt then explores examples of selected recurring symbols in the oriental worlds, such as the mirror, the sacred mask, and the serpent and dragon.
"No one since the legendary A.K. Coomaraswamy has been able to demonstrate how entire civilizations define themselves through their art with the precision of Titus Burckhardt."-Huston Smith, author of the World's Religions and Why Religion Matters
In a style at once clear and accessible and which carries a profound understanding lightly, Titus Burckhardt touches effortlessly upon the essential, spiritual meaning of any given art form or work of art."-Brian Keeble, editor of Every Man An Artist, from the foreword
"Again and again one has the impression that (Burckhardt) has 'said the last word' on this or that particular aspect... It is seldom that one has the privilege of reading a work by an author who has such mastery of his subject."-Martin Lings, author of Splendours of Qur'an Calligraphy and Illumination
"One of the leading authorities of the Perennialist school, Titus Burckhardt brought a unique combination of gifts to the exposition of the world's great wisdom traditions. Burckhardt was at home in a variety of religious worlds and able to speak with authority on many wide-ranging subjects. His eloquently written and beautifully crafted books are enduring treasures."-James S. Cutsinger, University of South Carolina, editor of Paths to the Heart
"Burckhardt's thought is clear and soberly articulated, his argumentation intuitive and profound."-Victor Danner, Indiana University, author of The Islamic Tradition
About the Author(s)
Titus Burckhardt (1908-1984) was an acknowledged expert on the sacred art of both the East and West. This book is an edited collection of his most important writings on the sacred art of the Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist traditions. Lavishly illustrated with superb examples from Oriental art, architecture, statuary, and painting, it also includes several fascinating chapters on the symbolism of chess, the sacred mask, water, the mirror, and the dragon and serpent. Burckhardt was the author of over 20 books on sacred art, religion, culture, and spirituality and worked for many years as a UNESCO expert, helping to preserve the historic old city of Fez, Morocco.