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Proceedings of the British Academy Volume 181, 2010-2011 Lectures$
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Ron Johnston

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265277

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265277.001.0001

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Between One and Many: Multiples, Multiplication and the Huayan Metaphysics

Between One and Many: Multiples, Multiplication and the Huayan Metaphysics

2011 Elsley Zeitlin Lecture on Chinese Archaeology and Culture

Chapter:
(p.204) (p.205) Between One and Many: Multiples, Multiplication and the Huayan Metaphysics
Source:
Proceedings of the British Academy Volume 181, 2010-2011 Lectures
Author(s):

Hsueh-Man Shen

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265277.003.0008

Modern art history practice often treats Buddhist icons or ritual objects as unique objects, focusing on their originality and uniqueness. This text investigates how the paradoxical Buddhist doctrine of ‘the one and the many’ was translated into visual language through manipulation of the relationship between copies and the original. It analyses the different tactics and strategies formulated around given socio-historical frameworks to visualise the notion of infinity, and ultimately the structure of the universe, and suggests that multiple copies of a single design were more potent a vehicle than single objects in expressing ideas related to the Buddhist metaphysics.

Keywords:   Buddhism, metaphysics, replication, infinity, pagoda, Wuyue

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