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dc.contributor.advisorFowler, Sherry D
dc.contributor.authorO'Neal, Halle Elizabeth
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation contextualizes the twelfth- and thirteenth-centuries Japanese jeweled-stupa mandalas as some of the most striking examples from the early medieval period of innovative elaborations on sutra transcription. The project proceeds from a methodology grounded in visual analysis and religious studies. I begin with basic questions of semiotic inquiry about the prominence and privileging of sacred text in the form of the central dharma reliquary, a characteristic distinguishing the mandalas from nearly all other paintings made before them. I seek to understand the reasons behind the privileging of scripture on the picture plane and the inventive manipulation of the sutra text into the form of a stupa, both novel choices in the context of their early medieval Japanese production. At their root, the jeweled-stupa mandalas are an elaborate sutra transcription project revealing anxieties about death and power expressed through the belief that devotion to sutra can save souls, cure illnesses, grant tremendous authority, and much more. After investigating the continental origins of the mandalas and the culture of sutra transcription during the eleventh through thirteenth centuries and conducting an analysis into the particular histories and formal qualities, the project approaches the mandalas using a three-part collaborative analysis. The first part examines visual, textual, and archaeological evidence from the eleventh through thirteenth centuries, which testifies to the understandings and capabilities of text as well as the power of sacred word expressed repeatedly and profoundly in early medieval Japan. This exploration of sutra text lays the critical basis for the second part's investigation into the notion of body underpinning the innovative construction of the mandalas. The indivisibility of sutra, stupa, dharma, relic, and body in the paintings visually manifests the conflated nature of these seemingly independent concepts in religious practice and doctrine. Combining the first two parts facilitates a reading of the mandalas through what I call a salvific matrix of text and body. The third part concludes the dissertation by returning to an explicit discussion of semiotics, further exploring the construction of meaning in the mandalas through their imbrication of text and image.
dc.format.extent300 pages
dc.publisherUniversity of Kansas
dc.rightsThis item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.
dc.subjectArt history
dc.subjectBuddha body
dc.subjectBuddhist art
dc.subjectDharma relics
dc.subjectJeweled-stupa mandalas
dc.subjectText and image
dc.titleWritten Stūpa, Painted Sūtra: Relationships of Text and Image in the Construction of Meaning in the Japanese Jeweled-Stūpa Mandalas
dc.contributor.cmtememberMcNair, Amy
dc.contributor.cmtememberHaufler, Marsha
dc.contributor.cmtememberCornelison, Sally
dc.contributor.cmtememberChilds, Margaret
dc.thesis.degreeDisciplineHistory of Art
kusw.oapolicyThis item does not meet KU Open Access policy criteria.

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