Material Culture and Asian Religions

Material Culture and Asian Religions

Material Culture and Asian Religions

Traditionally, research on the history of Asian religions has been marked by a bias for literary evidence, privileging canonical texts penned in ‘classical’ languages. Not only has a focus on literary evidence shaped the dominant narratives about the religious histories of Asia, in both scholarship and popular culture, but it has contributed to the tendency to study different religious traditions in relative isolation from one another. Today, moreover, historical work is often based on modern textual editions and, increasingly, on electronic databases. What may be lost, in the process, is the visceral sense of the text as artifact – as a material object that formed part of a broader material culture, in which the boundaries between religious traditions were sometimes more fluid than canonical literature might suggest. This volume brings together specialists in a variety of Asian cultures to discuss the methodological challenges involved in integrating material evidence for the reconstruction of the religious histories of South, Southeast, Central, and East Asia. By means of specific ‘test cases,’ the volume explores the importance of considering material and literary evidence in concert. What untold stories do these sources help us to recover? How might they push us to reevaluate historical narratives traditionally told from literary sources? By addressing these questions from the perspectives of different subfields and religious traditions, contributors map out the challenges involved in interpreting different types of data, assessing the problems of interpretation distinct to specific types of material evidence (e.g., coins, temple art, manuscripts, donative inscriptions) and considering the issues raised by the different patterns in the preservation of such evidence in different locales. Special attention is paid to newly-discovered and neglected sources; to our evidence for trade, migration, and inter-regional cultural exchange; and to geographical locales that served as "contact zones" connecting cultures. In addition, the chapters in this volume represent the rich range of religious traditions across Asia – including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto, and Chinese religions, as well as Islam and eastern Christianities.

Sacred Matters

Sacred Matters

Sacred Matters

Explores how objects shape the worlds of religious participants across a range of South Asian traditions. Sacred Matters explores the lives of material objects in South Asian religions. Spanning a range of traditions including Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, and Christianity, the book demonstrates how sacred items influence and enliven the worlds of religious participants across South Asia and into the diaspora. Contributors examine a variety of objects to describe the ways sacred materials derive and confer meaning and efficacy, emerging from and giving shape to religious and nonreligious realms alike. Material forms of deity and divine power are considered along with commonplace ritual items, including images, clay pots, and camphor. The work also attends to materiality’s complex role within the “materially suspicious” contexts of Islam, Theravada Buddhism, and Roman Catholicism. This engaging collection presents new frameworks for contemplating the ways in which historical, social, and sacred processes intertwine and collectively shape human and divine activity.

Objects of Worship in South Asian Religions

Objects of Worship in South Asian Religions

Objects of Worship in South Asian Religions

Objects of worship are an aspect of the material dimension of lived religion in South Asia. The omnipresence of these objects and their use is a theme which cuts across the religious traditions in the pluralistic religious culture of the region. Divine power becomes manifest in the objects and for the devotees they may represent power regardless of religious identity. This book looks at how objects of worship dominate the religious landscape of South Asia, and in what ways they are of significance not just from religious perspectives but also for the social life of the region. The contributions to the book show how these objects are shaped by traditions of religious aesthetics and have become conceptual devices woven into webs of religious and social meaning. They demonstrate how the objects have a social relationship with those who use them, sometimes even treated as being alive. The book discusses how devotees relate to such objects in a number of ways, and even if the objects belong to various traditions they may attract people from different communities and can also be contested in various ways. By analysing the specific qualities that make objects eligible for a status and identity as living objects of worship, the book contributes to an understanding of the central significance of these objects in the religious and social life of South Asia. It will be of interest to students and scholars of Religious Studies and South Asian Religion, Culture and Society.

Images in Asian Religions

Images in Asian Religions

Images in Asian Religions

This collection offers a challenge to any simple understanding ofthe role of images by looking at aspects of the reception of imageworship that have only begun to be studied, including the manyhesitations that Asian religious traditions expressed about imageworship. Written by eminent scholars of anthropology, art history, andreligion with interests in different regions (India, China, Japan, andSoutheast Asia), this volume takes a fresh look at the many ways inwhich images were defined and received in Asian religions. Buddha Dharma Kyokai Foundation Book on Buddhism and ComparativeReligion

East and Southeast Asian Material Culture in North America

East and Southeast Asian Material Culture in North America

East and Southeast Asian Material Culture in North America

Haseltine's directory is designed primarily to contribute to the study of Asian immigration, assimilation, and ethnic distinctiveness. The cultural groups Haseltine examines are Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Korean peoples, whose migration across the Pacific began in the mid- and late 1800s. Separate chapters treat artifacts, sites, and traditions of special significance to Asian immigrants to North America. This book is an excellent reference for those interested in the immigration and culture of Asian-Americans and will be an excellent resource for courses in Asian history in North America.

Everyday Shi ism in South Asia

Everyday Shi ism in South Asia

Everyday Shi ism in South Asia

The first textbook to focus on the history of lived Shi'ism in South Asia Everyday Shi'ism in South Asia is an introduction to the everyday life and cultural memory of Shi’i women and men, focusing on the religious worlds of both individuals and communities at particular historical moments and places in the Indian subcontinent. Author Karen Ruffle draws upon an array primary sources, images, and ethnographic data to present topical case studies offering broad snapshots Shi'i life as well as microscopic analyses of ritual practices, material objects, architectural and artistic forms, and more. Focusing exclusively on South Asian Shi'ism, an area mostly ignored by contemporary scholars who focus on the Arab lands of Iran and Iraq, the author shifts readers' analytical focus from the center of Islam to its periphery. Ruffle provides new perspectives on the diverse ways that the Shi'a intersect with not only South Asian religious culture and history, but also the wider Islamic humanistic tradition. Written for an academic audience, yet accessible to general readers, this unique resource: Explores Shi’i religious practice and the relationship between religious normativity and everyday religious life and material culture Contextualizes Muharram rituals, public performances, festivals, vow-making, and material objects and practices of South Asian Shi'a Draws from author's studies and fieldwork throughout India and Pakistan, featuring numerous color photographs Places Shi'i religious symbols, cultural values, and social systems in historical context Includes an extended survey of scholarship on South Asian Shi’ism from the seventeenth century to the present Everyday Shi'ism in South Asia is an important resource for scholars and students in disciplines including Islamic studies, South Asian studies, religious studies, anthropology, art history, material culture studies, history, and gender studies, and for English-speaking members of South Asian Shi'i communities.

East and Southeast Asian Material Culture in North America

East and Southeast Asian Material Culture in North America

East and Southeast Asian Material Culture in North America

Haseltine's directory is designed primarily to contribute to the study of Asian immigration, assimilation, and ethnic distinctiveness. The cultural groups Haseltine examines are Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Korean peoples, whose migration across the Pacific began in the mid- and late 1800s. Separate chapters treat artifacts, sites, and traditions of special significance to Asian immigrants to North America. This book is an excellent reference for those interested in the immigration and culture of Asian-Americans and will be an excellent resource for courses in Asian history in North America.