Zen and material culture Book

Winfield, PD, Heine, S. (2017). Zen and material culture . 1-318. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190469290.001.0001

cited authors

  • Winfield, PD; Heine, S



  • The stereotype of Zen Buddhism as a primarily minimalistic or even immaterial meditative tradition persists in the Euro-American cultural imagination. By contrast, this volume calls attention to the vast range of “stuff” in Zen by highlighting the material abundance and iconic range of the Sōtō, Rinzai, and Ōbaku sects in Japan. Chapters on beads, bowls, buildings, staffs, statues, rags, robes, and even retail commodities in America all shed new light on overlooked items of lay and monastic practice in both historical and contemporary perspectives. Nine authors from the cognate fields of art history and religious studies as well as the history of material culture analyze these “Zen matters” in all four senses of the phrase: the interdisciplinary study of Zen matters (objects and images) ultimately speaks to larger Zen matters (ideas, ideals) that matter (in the predicate sense) to both male and female practitioners, often because such matters (economic considerations) help to ensure the cultural and institutional survival of the tradition. Zen and Material Culture expands the study of Zen Buddhism, art history, and Japanese material/visual culture by examining the objects and images of everyday Zen practice, not just its texts, institutions, or elite masterpieces. As a result, this volume is aimed at multiple audiences whose interests lie at the intersection of Zen art, architecture, history, ritual, tea ceremony, women’s studies, and the fine line between Buddhist materiality and materialism.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) 13

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 318