Establishing the narrative context for sutra illustrations: a restudy on the naming of the scene of “the assembly on Mount Gridhrakūta plus the assembly in the air” in the illustrations of the?Lotus Sutra?at DunhuangSep. 3,2019
This paper presented a restudy on the naming of the scene of “the assembly on Mount Gridhrakūta (the Vulture Peak) plus the assembly in the air” in the illustrations of the?Lotus Sutra?at Dunhuang by summarizing and analyzing several manifestations of the scene and its evolution. It is concluded that the composition of this scene was intended to establish the overall narrative context for the sutra illustrations, and therefore the scene should not be simply named after the title of a specific chapter of the?Lotus Sutra.Researchers have also fully noticed the central position of the scene of “the assembly on Mount Gridhrakūta plus the assembly in the air” in all illustrations of the Lotus Sutra at Dunhuang Grottoes, and they view the two assemblies as an integral part of the overall composition. Some scholars even summarized them vividly as the “centripetal structure.In recent years, the author of this paper has harbored growing doubts about the rationality of the naming of the scene during his studies in the illustrations of the Lotus Sutra at Dunhuang.Therefore, in this paper, the author intends to re-interpret and rename this scene by systematically summarizing and analyzing its various manifestations in the illustrations of the Lotus Sutra at Dunhuang.
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