Buddhism and its art represents the one truly unifying factor of the entire Asian continent and has become a fundamental part of our shared world heritage. However, to draw a unique portrait of this art in a single work is a formidable undertaking due to the great plurality in traditions spanning different countries and regions over various epochs. Furthermore, the variability in the state of conservation of Buddhist monuments and their decorations provides additional challenges.
A passionate scholar of Buddhist art, Giles Béguin has chosen to organise his synthesis in the form of an historical atlas. Together with photography, plans and reconstructions of the monuments and their artwork, this publication also contains previously unpublished cartography. The author takes the reader on an historical and cultural journey across the vast continent of Asia stretching from India, Sri Lanka and Gandhara to countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and Burma in Southeast Asia up to the Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal and Tibet before arriving at the Far Eastern civilisations of China, Korea and Japan.
Aware of the difficulties arising from jargon-laden works on Buddhist art and iconography, Giles Béguin has endeavoured to employ a more clear and concise usage of specialist terminology to allow this book to act as a starting point for those who wish to deepen their knowledge and study of the subject.