My project on the Japanese jeweled pagoda mandalas reveals the entangled realms of relics, reliquaries, and Buddhist scripture engendered through intricate interactions of word and image.
The philosophical world of medieval Japan (here the 12th through 16th centuries, though other periodizations are possible) was a rich and multifaceted one.
Bushido’s derivative word, bushi, was the original term for the upper warrior classes. The spiritual aspects of it arose from two main sources: Buddhism and Shintoism. Buddhism provided the necessary components for bravery in the face of death.
During Six dynasties, Daoists as well as Buddhists gained access to the highest levels of society and to the imperial court in the south and in the north of China.
The acceptance and understanding of the Asian origins of the “Cinderella” story should replace the widely held belief that the story is fundamentally Western or universal. The Zhuang, an ethnic group at the intersection of China and Vietnam, combined ideas from their own traditions and experiences with motifs from Hindu and Buddhist narratives circulating in their area during the Tang Dynasty, and should be credited with creating this subversive, virginal, talented, and compassionate heroine.