RLB54 Buddhist Iconography

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2021
Extent and Intensity
1/1/0. 4 credit(s). Type of Completion: k (colloquium).
doc. PhDr. Luboš Bělka, CSc. (lecturer)
Mgr. Martin Špirk (assistant)
Guaranteed by
Mgr. Jana Valtrová, Ph.D.
Department for the Study of Religions - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Mgr. Kateřina Sedlářová
Supplier department: Department for the Study of Religions - Faculty of Arts
Prerequisites (in Czech)
( RLA10 Buddhism I && RLA11 Buddhism II ) || ( RLKA10 Buddhism I && RLKA11 Buddhism II ) || ( RLA21 Buddhism || RLKA21 Buddhism ) || JAP149 Buddhism: Teaching&Practice
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.

The capacity limit for the course is 30 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/30, only registered: 0/30
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
Course description: A basic survey of Buddhist iconography (descriptive analysis of Buddhist visual art) and iconology (interpretation of its meanings). Besides the iconographical topisc the course also describes Buddhist architecture, sacral and cults buildings. Special attention is paid to (1) the history a nd typology of the stupa; (2) description and interpretation of the particular Tibetan Buddhist pantheon. At the end of this course, students should be able to understand the basic iconographical texts as well as be able to explain rituals connected with the text. Another outcome will be knowledge of the visuals connected with the text, i.e. peaceful and wrathful figures in Buddhism.
Learning outcomes
At the end of the course students should be able to:
  • Define basic relations amongst Buddhist pantheon;
  • Define basic forms of Buddhist gods and other figures in the pantheon;
  • Describe basic structure of the Buddhist pantheon;
  • Describe basic examples of the particular Buddhist pantheons.
  • Syllabus
    • Introduction. Literary sources; Czech and foreign; printed as well as Internet sources.
    • Iconography and iconology.
    • Buddhist symbols (eight auspicious symbols, mudras, ásanas, attributes).
    • Buddhist architecture: Historical and geographical overview.
    • Stúpa and other cultic constructions.
    • Historical Buddha Shakyamuni and his iconography in the history of Buddhism.
    • Description and analysis of various Buddhist pantheons; history, myths and legends connected with the major firures of the pantheon.
    • Tibetan art and Tibetan pantheon.
    • Mongol and Buryats Buddhist art.
    • Tibetan Buddhist pantheon: Buddhas and bódhisattvas.
    • Tibetan Buddhist pantheon: Protectors of the Dharma.
    • Tibetan Buddhist pantheon: Important historical and legendary figures.
      required literature
    • BĚLKA, Luboš. Buddha a jeho zobrazování. 1. vyd. Brno: Masarykova univerzita, 2013. 132 s. ISBN 9788021065482. info
      recommended literature
    • HELLER, Amy. Tibetan art :tracing the development of spiritual ideals and art in Tibet, 600-2000 A.D. Milan: Jaca Book, 1999. 239 s. ISBN 88-16-69004-6. info
    • Tibetan art :towards a definition of style. Edited by Jane Casey Singer - Philip Denwood. London: Laurence King & Alan Marcuson, 1997. 319 s. ISBN 0-8348-0394-1. info
    • RHIE, Marylin M. and Robert A. F. THURMAN. The sacred art of Tibet. Expanded ed. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997. 488 s. ISBN 0500017182. info
    • FISHER, Robert E. Art of Tibet. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997. 224 s. ISBN 0500203083. info
    • RAWSON, Philip. Sacred Tibet. London: Thames and Hudson, 1991. 96 s. : il. ISBN 0-500-81032-X. info
    Teaching methods
    lectures, class discussions, reading of texts.
    Assessment methods
    Written test based on the required reading, lectures, and presentations (100 points, the minimum of 60 points is required to pass the test). Test represents 100% of overal evaluation in the course.
    Language of instruction
    Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
    The course is taught once in two years.
    The course is taught: every week.
    Information on course enrolment limitations: Zápis mimo religionistiku je podmíněn souhlasem vyučujícího.
    Listed among pre-requisites of other courses
    The course is also listed under the following terms Autumn 2002, Autumn 2003, Spring 2006, Autumn 2007, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Autumn 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Autumn 2016, Spring 2018, Autumn 2018, Autumn 2020.
    • Enrolment Statistics (Spring 2021, recent)
    • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/phil/spring2021/RLB54