BUDDHIST WALL PAINTINGS AS SOCIORELIGIOUS PRACTICE
Dolores Zoé Bertschinger
dissertation project looks at Tibetan Buddhist wall painting as
a place of negotiating cultural and religious meaning. From a
cultural studies perspective this project examines how images
are both a result and a carrier of social transmission and lines
of tradition in Tibetan Buddhism. The main thesis of this dissertation
project is that change and modernisation of Tibetan Buddhism does
not only happen in centres of Tibetan Buddhism in Western Europe
or North America, but in monasteries in Nepal and India as well.
The focus therefore lies on five case studies of contemporary
Tibetan wall paintings in the Himalaya region and in Central Europe.
With a visual studies approach, this project examines on the one
hand how Tibetan wall painting is changed by complex transcultural
interaction processes of tradition and innovation in Tibetan Buddhism.
On the other hand it will show how wall painting visualizes, represents
and carries on these processes. In accordance with Aby Warburg's
idea of Bilderfahrzeuge (image vehicles) wall paintings are understood
as cultural practice that enables processes of transmission, homogenisation,
and differentiation of Tibetan Buddhism. This dissertation project,
which will lead to a PhD in the Study of Religion, connects a
cultural studies perspective with the history of images and ideas
of Tibetan Buddhism. It is an interdisci- plinary and transcultural
project that is based on a close cooperation of Study of Religion