Daoist Scripture Frontispieces and Their Archetypes

For over a thousand years, frontispieces for religious scriptures produced in China were based on two basic compositions: the diagonal composition and the symmetrical composition. The two compositions enjoyed persistent currency by offering great flexibility for religious sects to fill in the compos...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Religion and the arts
Main Author: Wan, Maggie C. K.
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: 2016
In:Religion and the arts
Year: 2016, Volume: 20, Issue: 1/2, Pages: 197-230
Further subjects:B Frontispiece scripture Daoism Buddhism Jade Emperor
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
Description
Summary:For over a thousand years, frontispieces for religious scriptures produced in China were based on two basic compositions: the diagonal composition and the symmetrical composition. The two compositions enjoyed persistent currency by offering great flexibility for religious sects to fill in the compositions with their own patron gods and saints. Meanwhile they served different functions: while the diagonal composition illustrates the narrative of the scripture, the symmetrical composition focuses on the main deity and its pantheon, and engages viewer-worshippers in the assembly depicted. Daoism appropriated the two basic compositions and developed its own tradition of scripture frontispieces. This essay analyzes frontispieces for the Scripture of the Jade Emperor as a case study. By portraying deities of different natures in the frontispieces, Daoists specified the means whereby the main deity bestowed divine assistance upon the commissioners of the scripture, and distinguished Daoist scripture frontispieces from their Buddhist counterparts by placing extra emphasis on the frontispieces’ efficacy.
ISSN:1568-5292
Contains:In: Religion and the arts
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1163/15685292-02001009