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Esoteric practices within Buddhism trace back at least as far as the first century CE but did not develop into a religio-philosophic movement until after the fifth century. It relied on "mysteries" handed down from teacher to pupil. Sacred texts provided clear descriptions of the qualities and appearance of the Esoteric pantheon, but were so elaborate that they challenged the imagination and skill of Buddhist artists.
Brinker traces the original meaning and function of individual icons and relics across the various schools of Buddhism. He discusses their origin, style, meaning, and individual histories. Beautiful illustrations complement the histories of these important icons and relics.
Helmut Brinker is professor emeritus of East Asian art at the University of Zurich. His previous books include "Treasures from the Rietberg Museum, Zen in the Art of Painting, Chinese Cloisonne: The Pierre Uldry Collection," and "ZEN - Masters of Mediation in Images and Writings."
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