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Monsters or Bearer of Life-Giving Powers?

Trans-Religious Migrations of an Ancient Western Asian Symbolism by: Sara Kuehn

This well-illustrated volume seeks to explain an enigmatic and paradoxical symbolism common to many of the world religions, both polytheistic and monotheistic – that of the cavernous maw of a great monster. Drawing on a broad array of comparative evidence, including examples from Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions, it delves on the cross-cultural points of contact that may have contributed to the spread of such zoomorphic hybrids from Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran to the Indian Subcontinent.

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ISBN: 9788124608890
Year Of Publication: 2017
Edition: 1st Edition
Pages : 123 p.
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 23
Weight: 350

Overview

This well-illustrated volume seeks to explain an enigmatic and paradoxical symbolism common to many of the world religions, both polytheistic and monotheistic – that of the cavernous maw of a great monster. Drawing on a broad array of comparative evidence, including examples from Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions, it delves on the cross-cultural points of contact that may have contributed to the spread of such zoomorphic hybrids from Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran to the Indian Subcontinent.
Straddling the boundaries between popular and textual traditions the gaping jaws of a great monster is a mythical paradigm of the bivalence of a deep-seated historic force: the yawning orifice of all-consuming death can as well symbolize the power of life or generative power. This dual force can also be reflected in an abbreviated conceptualization visualized on opposite sides of a common axis. The outcome of the symbolic synthesis, which axiomatically unifies such vast, inexorably linked, seemingly irresistible potent forces, thus may suggest different shades of meaning – daunting, and yet again singularly attracting, humbling and at the same time exalting.
This book should arouse keen interest among all those interested in the comparative perspective of religious, cultural and artistic history.

Contents

Prologue – Dr Sachchidanand Joshi
Foreword – Lokesh Chandra
Preface – Advaitavadini Kaul
Author’s Preface and Acknowledgements
List of Illustrations
Monsters or Bearers of Life-Giving Powers
Appendix
Illustrations
Bibliography
General Index

Meet the Author
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1966
Trained as an art historian (PhD in Islamic art and archaeology, Free University of Berlin, 2008) and working on religious symbolism for more than 20 years, Dr Sara Kuehn studies religion from a cross-cultural comparative perspective. With a dual background of Islamic and Chinese/Japanese art histories (BA in Chinese and Japanese Art and Archaeology, International Christian University, Tokyo, 1991, and MA in Islamic art and archaeology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1998), combined with a museum career, she specializes in the artistic and cultural relationship between the Islamic world and Western Asia and has conducted extensive fieldwork in these regions. In so doing, she seeks to synthesize grounded fieldwork and theoretical reflection in a broad multidisciplinary setting. Her main research foci are religious visual culture in an interreligious perspective; cosmographies and imaginary journeys; angels and angelology; migration and cross-cultural dimensions of objects, ideas and images. Her recent book The Dragon in Medieval East Christian and Islamic Art (with a Foreword by Robert Hillenbrand, Brill: Leiden, Boston, 2011) won the 2013 World Prize for the Book of the Year of the Islamic Republic of Iran. She is presently writing her habilitation thesis on “Hybrid Creatures in Western Asia from 2500 BCE to 650 CE” at the Institute for the Study of Religions, University of Vienna.
Books of Sara Kuehn