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Buddhist Visual Cultures, Rhetoric, and Narrative in Late Burmese Wall Paintings

Step into a Burmese temple built between the late seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries and you are surrounded by a riot of color and imagery. The majority of the highly detailed wall paintings displays Buddhist biographical narratives, inspiring the devotees to follow the Buddha’s teachings. Alexandra Green goes one step further to consider the temples and their contents as a whole, arguing that the wall paintings mediate the relationship between the architecture and the main Buddha statues in the temples. This forges a unified space for the devotees to interact with the Buddha and his community, with the aim of transforming the devotees’ current and future lives. These temples were a cohesively articulated and represented Burmese Buddhist world to which the devotees belonged. Green’s visits to more than 160 sites with identifiable subject matter form the basis of this richly illustrated volume, which draws upon art historical, anthropological, and religious studies methodologies to analyze the wall paintings and elucidate the contemporary religious, political, and social concepts that drove the creation of this lively art form.

248 pages | 90 color illus.; 1 map | 7 x 10


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