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Chapter Summary

This is the concluding chapter of the book, which studies the rock monasteries in their entirety and overcomes the trend of dealing with single caves, specifically their painted murals. The study of the rock monasteries of Kuča from an archaeological perspective is extremely challenging, because the vast amount of data that should be analyzed is still incomplete, as none of the monasteries has been systematically and thoroughly excavated. A very meaningful by-product of Vignato's study has been recognizing that the distribution of the rock monasteries might have reflected a socio-economic and political situation, which is well worth investigating. The study of specific cave types, each type carrying a special connotation, has revealed an indigenous expression of Buddhism. The paintings are but a systematic build-up of responses during the act of meditating, moving through stages which entail a progression from narrative to scholasticism or ever more abstract notions.

Keywords: Buddhism; Kuča; painted murals; rock monasteries; single caves; Vignato



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