Narrative Visions and Visual Narratives in Indian Buddhism
This volume explores the interaction between text and image in Indian Buddhist contexts, including not only the complex relationship between verbal stories and visual representations at Indian sites, but also the ways in which visual imagery is used within textual narratives. The chapters are authored by a mixture of textual scholars and art historians, bringing together different disciplinary perspectives in order to seek a richer understanding of how text and art relate, and of the role of narrative imagery in
different media and contexts.
The book opens with an introduction that explores what narratives and visual narratives are, and why we might want to study narrative images alongside imagery-rich literary narratives. The volume is then divided into three parts. The chapters in “Part I: Visual Narratives” (Zaghet, Reddy, Zin) explore visual depictions of stories in their own right; those in “Part II: Narrative Networks” (Mace, Appleton & Clark, Strong) seek to understand the relationship between specific visual and verbal narratives; and those in “Part III: Narrative Visions” (Gummer, Fiordalis, Walters) primarily investigate how visual imagery and visualisation work in textual narratives.
The volume seeks to bridge the divide that traditionally exists between textual scholars and art historians, and to challenge the contributors to think beyond the usual boundaries of our work.
Published: May 1, 2022
This entire volume is a noteworthy contribution, remarkable in its thoughtful approach to the diverse relationships between textual/oral storytelling practices and visual narratives (both material in the form of art and mentally generated as visions). To varying degrees, all of the essays explore fascinating aspects of these relationships. I anticipate that this book will be of great interest to all scholars of Buddhism (in India and beyond), which is a real contribution, as often art historical and textual specialists publish in different venues.
Catherine Becker, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Art History, University of Illinois at Chicago