Art, divided into art works of fine art; and art objects of religion, where religion is largely defined, which includes world religions like Christianity and Buddhism, it also includes folk religions, or local religions. Amongst religion, some objects are treated as person, it, certainly has agency, but the agency is given within a particular context. This paper is going to talk about how to understand Tibetan art within its cultural context. I am going to argue with Gell to clarify how he misleadingly understands non-western art in his western context. He ignores the diversity of forms of art. “The basic thesis of this book, to recapitulate, is that works of art, images, icons, and the like have to be treated, in the context of an anthropological theory, as person-like; that is, sources of, and targets for, social agency”(Gell 1998: 96). Although some of Tibetan Buddhist images, icons, and the like have spiritual power, they are not merely treated as person, some of them are further treated as guidance, such like, a map, a communication or an outline to participants, not to the outsiders of this system, which are used as reminder to guide Tibetan Buddhists in their practice. In Tibetan Buddhism, teaching, practicing, philosophy, doctrines and the like are a coherent system, art is an expression of this system.
Mei Xue, Durham University, United Kingdom
Stream: Arts - Arts Theory and Criticism
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