Claims of buddhist relics in the eastern han tomb murals at Horinger: Issues in the Historiography of the Introduction of Buddhism to China

Minku Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Eastern Han mural tomb at Horinger often is said to feature one of the earliest Buddhist themes in China, namely, the relics of the Buddha or a related motif. But the controversial basis for such identification, the tombs now-vanished inscription of "shell resulted from an unverifiable reading by a local archaeologist working under adverse conditions and an unqualified confirmation by a leading authority in the discipline-neither of whom were specialists in Buddhism. There is nothing in the tomb that justifies connecting it to the Sanskrit term sanra, a reference to the Buddha's cremated remains. This essay offers insight into the critical problems that arise when art historical misidentifications are cited in general historical treatments, thus distorting the picture of early Buddhism and its material culture in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-154
Number of pages20
JournalArs Orientalis
Volume44
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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