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History General

Written and Unwritten

A New History of the Buddhist Caves at Yungang

by (author) James O. Caswell

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Jan 1988
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 1988
    List Price

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Out of print

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An important new appraisal of the earliest surviving major monument of Buddhist art in China, the Yungang cave-temples, this book contends that there are sharp temporal and conceptual distinctions between the first five caves and all the others. Basing his argument on changes in visual features and in patronage, James Caswell offers a new and challenging interpretation of the history of the caves.

About the author

Contributor Notes

James O. Caswell is a professor and head of the Fine Arts Department at the University of British Columbia.

Editorial Reviews

Specialists will welcome what is surely the major work for years to come on the history and sequence of the making of the Yungang caves.

Journal of Asian History

Written and Unwritten offers much that will be useful to future studies of Chinese Buddhist caves.  The questions the book poses as well as the methods it utilizes, both textual and art historical, deserve serious consideration…..Caswell's book forces all those involved in these fields to reconsider the fundamental assumptions of past scholarship and the extent to which our understanding of Buddhism and Buddhist are under the Northern Wei remains obscured.

Journal of the American Academy of Religion