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Image Problems
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A fascinating account of the complex and, at times, contradictory ideas around the utility and appropriateness of figural representations in early Buddhist communities. DeCaroli's study marshals an enormous amount of textual, inscriptional, numismatic, and visual evidence to examine how Buddhist communities were not only participating in broader social and cultural transformations but also seeking to differentiate uniquely Buddhist approaches to the relationship, or lack thereof, between subject and image. -- Catherine Becker, author of Shifting Stones, Shaping the Past: Sculpture from the Buddhist Stupas of Andhra Pradesh

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments1. Problems and Preconceptions2. Questions of Origin3. Image Aversion4. Images and Identity5. Historical Shifts6. Image Appeal7. Coping Strategies8. Final WordsNotesBibliographyList of IllustrationsIndex

About the Author

Robert DeCaroli is associate professor of art history at George Mason University.

Reviews

It is refreshing to read a scholar who presents the authors of ancient texts not simply as authority figures, or even as persons locked into a specific school or tradition, but rather as individuals grappling with the startling fact of images suddenly coming into vogue, and seeking philosophical justification or proscriptive. . . . Image Problems thoroughly surveys image use, devotion, the merit of making and donating to images, miracle images, and the problem of copies of images.

-- Jon Ciliberto * Buddhist Art News *

I read the text as Image Answers, for DeCaroli provides some remarkable insights into the conception and production of images by mining textual sources, both Buddhist and Brahmanical, in enormously impressive ways. . . . Image Problems is a very important work, one that should shape our thinking and teaching about early South Asian images.

-- Frederick M. Asher

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