In the applied arts of India iconometery, talamana, the knowledge of the measurements and the proportions of images, has an old tradition,
not entirely different from the Greek and the Renaissance tradition. Ever since B. Laufer's study about the Citralaksana in 1913
the subject has raised new interest among artists and scholars alike.
The Indian Buddhist Pratimalaksana, which is edited in transcription and translated into English here, may date from the 10th century,
anyway before Atisa (died 1054) . The Tibetan translation was made by the Tibetan Grags-pargyal-mtshan (ca. 1285-1378) and the Indian
Dharmadhara, in southern Tibet before 1322, date of Bu-ston's catalogue. The text most probably belongs to the Mulasarvastivada tradition. The Chinese translation is the work of the Mongolian aristocrat mGon-po skyabs, Gongbu Chabu in Chinese ( ca. 1690-1750) , The text was brought out in 1742 at Qianlong's court in Beijing. mGon-po skyabs translated
the Tibetan text in Chinese , and he added a commentary using Tibetan Literature, Thge Chinese text in this volume is based on the Japanese edition T. 1419, but the stanzas are numbered, and the commentary in prose is separated from the main text. Illustrations have been added. The glossaries at the end will help further more research, it is hoped.
The Chinese Translation of Sanskrit words is often very useful to know the exact meaning of a term, in both languages.
Defining The Image: Measurements in Image-Making, Charles Willemen, Sri Satguru Publications, Hardback, 102 pp., $10.00
Charles Willemen obtained his Ph.D in 1971 with a study of the Chinese
Udanavarga. Studied in Japan under H. Nakamura in the University of
Tokyo in 1972. Fullbright- Hays Visiting Scholar at Harvard University,
Dept. of East Asian Languages and Civiliazation in 1974. Has taught at
many Universities in Europe and in Asia. E.g. Guest Professor : Beijing
Language and Culture University , Xi'an Jiaotong University , Banaras
Hindu University , Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, Vishvabharati University in
Shantineketan. Has published extensively about Buddhism in South and
East Asia and about Chinese Art. Member of the Belgian Royal Academy of
Sciences since 1997.
II. The Sanskrit Pratimalaksans
III. The Chinese Pratimalaksana