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Buddhist Visual Cultures, Rhetoric, and Narrative in Late Burmese Wall Paintings$
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Alexandra Green

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390885

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390885.001.0001

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A Formula to Honor the Buddha

A Formula to Honor the Buddha

(p.25) 1 A Formula to Honor the Buddha1
Buddhist Visual Cultures, Rhetoric, and Narrative in Late Burmese Wall Paintings

Alexandra Green

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter establishes the standardization of the wall paintings in terms of painting style, subject matter, and detail, and determine the major social, political, and religious ideas that contributed to the production of the wall paintings and provided a rationale for the standardized format. The murals evince exceptional consistency in choice of subject matter, representation of imagery, and arrangement within an architectural space across the central zone from the late seventeenth to early nineteenth centuries. Each temple contains variations in style, modes of representation, and design, yet all sites draw upon an established group of structures and material so that the differences reveal continuities in subject matter and organization diachronically and synchronically. Although the subject matter of the wall paintings appears to comprise an extensive body of material, the focus upon a specific repertoire for more than a century and the fact that it falls within narrow thematic parameters – the centrality of Gotama, how to worship him, and the power that emanates from spiritual awakening – demonstrates the religious and social constraints placed upon it.

Keywords:   Standardization, Wall paintings, Repertoire theory, Art history, Style

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