Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography - Volume 6

Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography - Volume 6

Product ID: 80046

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Author: Lokesh Chandra
Publisher: Aditya Prakashan
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 280
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8177420496


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.


Every volume of the Dictionary that appears in print brings a downpour of hieronyms in the great beat of Being. They are names and forms of deeper awareness, an intensification of consciousness, the opening of the eye of contemplation, a rich map of mandalic structures, states and realms. The vast riches of spiritual power take shape and the energies of the divine flow through human becoming in the never-ending search for new insights. The Dictionary becomes renewing language to communicate the complex realities of cosmic consciousness in symbolic forms. The meaning of the Dictionary is walk on.

Certain goddesses are found only in the Lamaist tradition, or have evolved therein, for instance, Kamesvari (Mong. Kami-suvari) is pictured only in the Mongolian Kanjur of AD 1717-20.

Kurukulla confers success in enchanting men and women, kings and ministers in the rites of vasikarana. She has thirteen forms with two, four, six or eight arms. She is mostly red, but also white in two instances (nos.1,9). The several variations in the attributes of a single deity have been brought together in this Dictionary for the first time, and have been succinctly differentiated.

The Dictionary offers cross-cultural examination of a wide range of data in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Mongolian, Chinese, Japanese, and SE Asian languages, inscribing new contextual and social values, and a fresh understanding of the role of the Icon in history in the complex web of religious and political interactions.


Dictionary (Kabira-jin-Lva.va.pahi Bde.mchog)