Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography - Volume 5

Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography - Volume 5

Product ID: 80045

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Author: Lokesh Chandra
Publisher: Aditya Prakashan
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 436
ISBN/UPC (if available): 817742047X


The Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography is an endeavour of half a century to identify, classify, describe and delineated the bewildering variation in Buddhist icons. It spans the last twenty centuries, and it is a comparative study of unprecedented geographic variations, besides the ever-evolving visualizations of great masters who introduced extraordinary plurality of divine forms in the dharanis and sadhanas.

The multiple forms of a theonym araise in varying contexts. For example, Hevajra of the Hevajra-tantra holds crania in his hands, while the Hevajra of the Samputa-tantra has weapons. Both are subdivided into four each on the planes of Kaya, vak, citta and hrdaya, with two, four, eight and sixteen arms. The Dictionary classifies several such types of a deity and places each in its theogonic structure, specifies the earliest date of its occurrence (e. g. Amoghapasa appears in Chinese in AD 587), the earliest image, the direction in which it is placed in the specific quarter of the mandala, its classification, colour, crown or hairdo, ferocious or serene appearance, number of eyes and heads, hair standing up and / or flaming, number of arms and attributes held in them, consort, lord of the family (kulesa), and so on. The esoteric name, symbolic form (samaya), bija (hierogram), mantra, mudra and mandala are given in this Dictionary for the first time and on an extensive scale. The Sanskrit, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Manchu and other names are given under the main entry, as well as cross-referenced in their own alphabetic order.

The Dictionary details the characteristic attributes, chronology and symbolism of over twelve thousand main and minor deities. It reflects the extraordinary cultural, literary, aesthetic and spiritual achievements of several nations of Asia over two millennia.

It will help to identify the masterpieces along with the profusion of masters and divine beings around them. The last few decades have seen an exuberant flourishing of the study and popularisation of the patrimony of Buddhist art for its aesthetic magnificence. This Dictionary will add a dimension of precision and depth of perception to the visual tradition of paintings and sculptures.


Hariti with her consort Pancika from Gandhara holds a cornucopia, but has no son playing around. In other types her son is a constrant companion and in fact the assured symbol of her recognition. In forms 10a, b she is pictured standing in Chinese robes, again without her son: why? Several entries in the Dictionary raise problems of evolution. Differing contexts gave rise to radical changes in the attributes.

The constellations show variations in characteristics held in the hands, e.g. Hasta has six forms with widely divergent emblems. Hasta (or Hasta) as a sage in the Goma-ro-dan-yo points to a tradition of depicting the constellations as such.

The rich evolution of Buddhist iconography is evidented by Indra (32 forms), Isana(11 forms), Jambhala (18 forms), Janguli (10 forms), and others. The creative everydays of history, responding to the needs of the faithful, lighting up the anguished darks in contemplation of the divine, became transfigured in the iconography of flowing visions.



Dictionary (Haakushu-Jyotisprabha? Buddha