A Study of Tang-dynasty Transformation Tableaux of the Sutra of the Medicine Buddha from Dunhuang

Chen, Che-hsuan, History of Art and Architecture - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Wong, Dorothy C., Department of Art, University of Virginia

This thesis focuses on the transformation tableaux of the Sutra of the Medicine Buddha made in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), a period during which the worship of Medicine Buddha prospered. The development of these tableaux has three stages, and in each stage, the illustrations show the essential contents of the cult of Medicine Buddha: the benefits of this life. The ritual motifs, such as the spiritual banners, the multiple-tiered lamps, and the ceremony scenes, were represented in different forms during the Tang Dynasty.
The Twelve Generals became a more important visual feature in the third stage, the Middle Tang and the Late Tang. They were separated to two groups, worshiping the central inscription, which might be the dharani composed by the Twelve Generals' names to rescue the sufferings.
Moreover, through studying the arrangements of the details shown in the murals, silk paintings, and the manuscripts, the producing process and the function of these tableaux become clear.

MA (Master of Arts)
transformation tableaux, Medicine Buddha, Dunhuang
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