The Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography is an endeavour of half a century to identify, classify, describe and delineate the bewildering variation in Buddhist icons. It spans the last twenty centuries, and it is a comparative study of unprecedented geographic variations, besides the everevolving visualisations of great masters who introduced extraordinary plurality of divine forms in the dharanis and sadhanas. The multiple forms of a theonym arise m varying contexts;. For example, Hevajra of the Hevajra-tantra holds crania in his hands while the Hevajra of the Samputa tantra has weapons. Both are subdivided into four each on the planes of kaya vak, citta and hrdaya, with two, four, eight and sixteen arms. The Dictionary classifies such several types of a deity and places each in its its theogonic structure, specifies the earliest date of its occurrence (e.g. Amoghapasa appears m Chinese in AD 587) the earliest image, the direction in which it is placed in the specific quarter of the mandala, its classification colour crown or hairdo, ferocious or serene appearance, number of eyes and heads, hair standing up and/of flaming, number of ~ and attributes held in 11 consort 16 of the family kulesa), and so esoteric name symbolic form (samaya), bija (hierogram), mantra mudra and mandala are given in this Dictionary for the fiat time and on an extensive scale. The Sanskrit, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Manchu and other names am given under the main entry, as well as cross referenced in their own alphabetic order. The Dictionary details the the attributes, chronology and symbolism over twelve thousand main and minor deities. It reflects the extraordinary cultural, literary, 'sthetic and spiritual of several nations of Asia over two millennia.
Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography, vol. 9, Lokesh Chandra, International Academy of Indian Culture and Aditya Prakashan, 2003, HC, 328 pages, $75.00
Prof. Lokesh Chandra is a prominent scholar of the Vedic period, Buddhism and the Indian arts. He was the president of Indian Council for Cultural Relations during 2014-2017. He is also the Director of the International Academy of Indian Culture.