The Evolution and Significance of Brahma in Medieval Chinese Buddhism

Start - End 
2023 - 2027 (ongoing)
Department of Languages and Cultures
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The proposed project deals with the imagery of Brahma in Chinese Buddhism. As one of the Buddhist deities, Brahma appears in a wealth of artwork in different regions of Asia. The wide circulation of Brahma images has already attracted scholarly attention. However, the existing research mainly focuses on South Asia as well as China’s Western Region (Xiyu 西域), and Dunhuang 敦煌, with much less scholarship on other areas in China. Moreover, the existing works on the latter regions are not only often limited to a specific location but also do not provide an in-depth analysis of the religious, social, and cultural background of the images. This study intends to explore the evolution of Brahma imagery in China, drawing on the depictions of the deity in temples, grotto murals, and sculptures. Moreover, it will utilize a wide range of textual sources to unravel the knowledge that underpinned the various appearances Brahma assumed in Chinese Buddhist art. The intended research will make a contribution to the scholarly understanding of the transmission of Buddhist imagery to China and its further development in the Chinese historical and cultural context.




Phd Student(s)