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Early Buddhist Illustrated Prints In Hangzhou

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Chapter Summary

This chapter retrieved from a Japanese source highlights religious illustrated prints as a new aspect of Chinese print culture at that time, a topic that has not been fully explored. It shifts the focus from the textual sources to the visual dimensions of early religious printing, drawing on extant Buddhist illustrated prints produced in the Hangzhou 杭州 area as primary sources. The chapter explores the visual vocabulary and visual logic underlying the making of illustrations in early imprints. It focuses on the printed frontispieces and the single-sheet prints commissioned under Wu-Yue rule in the tenth century. The chapter then describes the eleventh-century sutra frontispieces, published by some of the earliest commercial publishers ever recorded in Chinese printing history. Finally, it examines a Southern Song set of sutra frontispieces designed by a recorded illustrator.

Keywords: Buddhist illustrated prints; frontispiece art; Hangzhou; lotus sutra; Wu-Yue rule



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