The Origin of the Buddha Image, by A.K. Coomaraswamy

Softcover, 95 pages and 15 bw plates, Louisville 2006, new

This volume gathers in one place three of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy’s most important writings on Buddhist art and thought in facsimile reproductions of the author’s personal copies with his annotations and corrections. Coomaraswamy rarely set aside a published work once and for all; using his publications as an ongoing journal, he continued thinking and recognizing new connections. The works here are among his greatest. “The Nature of Buddhist Art” (1938) is a classic essay, as eloquent as anything he wrote.

“[Coomaraswamy] is one of the most learned and creative scholars of the century.”
-Mircea Eliade

“[His] writings remain as pertinent today as when he wrote them and his voice echoes in the ears of present day seekers of truth and lovers of traditional art.”
-Seyyed Hossein Nasr

“Coomaraswamy’s essays [give] us a view of his scholarship and brilliant insight.”
-Joseph Campbell

“That noble scholar upon whose shoulders we are still standing”
-Heinrich Zimmer

What did Coomaraswamy really think about the content and purpose of art at its deepest and truest? The answer to that question is here, never more brilliantly stated. “The Origin of the Buddha Image” (1927) is a more strictly art-historical work, which looks at the evidence for an Indian or Hellenistic Greek origin for the central image of early Buddhist art. The volume concludes with a masterful book-length study, “Elements of Buddhist Iconography” (1935), which focuses the author’s unique blend of scholarship and spirituality on key images in Buddhist art.

Autor: A.K. Coomaraswamy, Anada Kentish Coomaraswamy
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