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Animating the SpiritedJourneys and Transformations$
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Tze-yue G. Hu, Masao Yokota, and Gyongyi Horvath

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496826268

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496826268.001.0001

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Shadows of the Sun

Shadows of the Sun

Animating Buddhist Dharma for Art History

(p.263) Shadows of the Sun
Animating the Spirited

Yin Ker

University Press of Mississippi

An inscription on a Chinese statue of Amitabha dated 746 AD reads, “As a matter of general principle, the highest truth is devoid of any image. But if there were no image, there would be no possibility for truth to manifest itself. The highest principle is without words. But if there were no words, how could the principle be known?” From the point of view of an art historian and through the example of a short animated film proposal, this essay investigates the ways in which strategies specific to animation, such as narrativity, metaphorical potency, metamorphosis, and most importantly, the capacity to penetrate intangible dimensions, mitigate these challenges. The author argues that animation offers a more efficacious medium than static images and theory in evincing Buddhist dharma; namely, that in the process of depicting Buddhist thought and practice, both the activity and product of animation become sites of merit-making and means of spiritual transformation in themselves.

Keywords:   animation, art history, Buddhist dharma, intangible dimensions, spiritual transformation

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