Barbara Amos will be hosting a launch for her new book, Bones of Contention: Animals and Religion in Contemporary Japan, on Sunday, October 21, 5-7 pm, at Linda Stein’s Gallery in NYC. Click on the image to the left for the eVite.
Monthly Archives: September 2012
Self and Image Creation in a Himalayan Valley
Taberam Soni, Labh Singh, Amar Singh, and other artists live and work in the hill-villages of the lower Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, India. There they fashion face-images of deities (mohras) out of thin sheets of precious metal. Commissioned by upper-caste patrons, the objects are cultural embodiments of divine and earthly kinship. As the artists make the images, they also cross caste boundaries in a part of India where such differences still determine rules of contact and correspondence, proximity and association. Once a mohra has been completed and consecrated, its maker is not permitted to touch it or enter the temple in which it is housed; yet during its creation the artist is sovereign, treated deferentially as he shares living quarters with the high-caste patrons. Making Faces: Self and Image Creation in a Himalayan Valley, by Alka Hingorani, tells the story of these god-makers, the gods they make, and the communities that participate in the creative process and its accompanying rituals.
“With its close-up and theoretically sophisticated treatment of Indian artisans at work, this stimulating book raises important issues concerning the making of art in a religious setting. The author includes wonderful vignettes, such as a description of how to make a Kullu royal umbrella, and an artist’s charming story of the Sun and the Divine Architect. With its excellent and compelling color photographs, this well documented book deserves to attract a broad audience of readers interested in South Asian studies and in art history.” —Richard Davis, Bard College
September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3525-5 / $45.00 (CLOTH)
Kalaupapa: A Collective Memory
Between 1866 and 1969, an estimated 8,000 individuals—at least 90 percent of whom were Native Hawaiians—were sent to Molokai’s remote Kalaupapa peninsula because they were believed to have leprosy. Unwilling to accept the loss of their families, homes, and citizenship, these individuals ensured they would be accorded their rightful place in history. They left a powerful testimony of their lives in the form of letters, petitions, music, memoirs, and oral history interviews. Kalaupapa: A Collective Memory, by Anwei Skinsnes Law, combines more than 200 hours of interviews with archival documents, including over 300 letters and petitions written by the earliest residents translated from Hawaiian.
ISBN 978-0-8248-3636-8 / $49.00 (CLOTH)
ISBN 978-0-8248-3465-4 / $28.99 (PAPER)
Anwei Law will speak about her book and answer questions at Native Books/Na Mea Hawai‘i on Sunday, September 30, 3-5 pm. A book-signing, informal discussion, and refreshments will follow. In Honolulu Ms. Law will also be at:
- Hawai‘i Judiciary Center on Wednesday, September 26, noon-1 pm; she will be joined by retired public-interest lawyer and writer Esther Arinaga, who will discuss the late-1800s case of “Republic of Hawaii v. Kapea et al,” which reveals the impact of leprosy and laws pertaining to the disease.
- Center for Biographical Research, Henke Hall 325, UH-Manoa, on Thursday, September 27, noon-1:15, for the Brown Bag Biography talk “The People of Kalaupapa as Active Participants in Their Own History.”
Books are not expected to be available at the Hawai‘i Judiciary Center and Center for Biographical Research events.
Shotoku Cults and the Mapping of Medieval Japanese Buddhism
Plotting the Prince: Shotoku Cults and the Mapping of Medieval Japanese Buddhism, by Kevin Gray Carr, traces the development of conceptual maps of the world created through the telling of stories about Prince Shōtoku (573?–622?), an eminent statesman who is credited with founding Buddhism in Japan. It analyzes his place in the sacred landscape and the material relics of the cult of personality dedicated to him, focusing on the art created from the tenth to fourteenth centuries. The book asks not only who Shōtoku was, but also how images of his life served the needs of devotees in early medieval Japan.
“In this remarkable study Kevin Carr shows how Prince Shōtoku became one of the most widely revered among the many nobles and priests who implanted the Buddhist faith in the hearts of the Japanese people. A crown prince who served as regent under his aunt, Empress Suiko, he directed the resources of the state to support the religion at a crucial moment in its arrival from the Asian mainland. At his country villa near Nara he built the famous Hōryū-ji monastery, whose Eastern Precinct became a shrine to his memory after his death. Carr introduces exciting new pictorial evidence of the growth of the Shōtoku cult in Japan’s Middle Ages, and he brilliantly analyzes the intriguing eleventh-century panoramic paintings of Shōtoku’s life that covered three walls of the E-den (Picture Hall) in the Eastern Precinct.” —John M. Rosenfield, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of East Asian Art, Emeritus, Harvard University
September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3463-0 / $40.00 (CLOTH)
A Religious History of Pure Land Literature in Tibet
Pure Land Buddhism as a whole has received comparatively little attention in Western studies on Buddhism despite the importance of “buddha-fields” (pure lands) for the growth and expression of Mahāyāna Buddhism. In Luminous Bliss: A Religious History of Pure Land Literature in Tibet, the first religious history of Tibetan Pure Land literature, Georgios Halkias delves into a rich collection of literary, historical, and archaeological sources to highlight important aspects of this neglected pan-Asian Buddhist tradition. He clarifies many of the misconceptions concerning the interpretation of “other-world” soteriology in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and provides translations of original Tibetan sources from the ninth century to the present that represent exoteric and esoteric doctrines that continue to be cherished by Tibetan Buddhists for their joyful descriptions of the Buddhist path. The book is informed by interviews with Tibetan scholars and Buddhist practitioners and by Halkias’ own participant-observation in Tibetan Pure Land rituals and teachings conducted in Europe and the Indian subcontinent.
“By providing both a sweeping historical overview of its development, and a detailed survey of its wide-ranging textual corpus, Luminous Bliss takes the study of the Tibetan Pure Land tradition to a whole new level. And in doing so Halkias reveals not only how the soteriology of Sukhavati shaped the practice of Buddhism in Tibet, but also how it informed Tibetan conceptualizations of the environment, society, and the state.” —Johan Elverskog, Southern Methodist University
Pure Land Buddhist Studies
September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3590-3 / $49.00 (CLOTH)
An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands – Author Talk at Native Books
When twenty-three-year-old Carrie Prudence Winter caught her first glimpse of Honolulu from aboard the Zealandia in October 1890, she had “never seen anything so beautiful.” She had been traveling for two months since leaving her family home in Connecticut and was at last only a few miles from her final destination, Kawaiaha’o Female Seminary, a flourishing boarding school for Hawaiian girls. As the daughter of staunch New England Congregationalists, Winter had dreamed of being a missionary teacher as a child and reasoned that “teaching for a few years among the Sandwich Islands seemed particularly attractive” while her fiancé pursued a science degree. During her three years at Kawaiaha’o, Winter wrote often and at length to her “beloved Charlie”; her lively and affectionate letters, excerpted in An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands, selected and edited by Sandra Bonura and Deborah Day, provide readers with not only an intimate look at nineteenth-century courtship, but also many invaluable details about life in Hawai’i during the last years of the monarchy and a young woman’s struggle to enter a career while adjusting to surroundings that were unlike anything she had ever experienced.
September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3627-6 / $39.00 (CLOTH)
Sandra Bonura will give a talk on the surprising discovery of Carrie Prudence Winter’s correspondence and photos and share additional insight into the lives of the students and teachers at Kawaiaha‘o Female Seminary during the turbulent years of the overthrow: Sunday, September 23, 3-5 pm, Native Books/Na Mea Hawai‘i, Ward Warehouse. Light refreshments will be served. A limited number of books airflown for this event will be available.
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