On its broadest level, this book contributes to an ongoing expansion of
both the history of religions and Buddhist studies by focusing on what is a
far too frequently ignored aspect of religious experience: visual images.
This is a study that is intended to speak to, and be relevant for, not
only those interested specifically in Buddhism, but also scholars and
students in the field of religion at large who are interested in the
dialectical ways abstract, abstruse and even rarified textual discourses
interact with devotional practices 'on the ground'.
The specific focus of this book is on the Buddhist visual practices
surrounding the visual representation of a single, central concept, prajna,
or wisdom, in medieval north India. Prajna, however, was not only an
intellectual state and spiritual goal to which to aspire. Rather, wisdom
also becomes a quality to be visually represented and ritually responded
to, and even an active presence to be venerated in much the same manner as
the Buddha himself.
This book explores the ways in which the production and use of artistic
images involving prajna constituted a central, if not the central,
component of Buddhist religious practice in Medieval India.
About the Author(s)
JACOB N. KINNARD teaches at Northwestern University, Illinois.