Creating the Universe

9780295744063: Hardback
Release Date: 7th March 2019

153 illus., 118 in color, 1 map

Dimensions: 178 x 254

Number of Pages: 304

Series Global South Asia

University of Washington Press

Creating the Universe

Depictions of the Cosmos in Himalayan Buddhism

Hardback / £54.00

Winner, 2018 Edward Cameron Dimock, Jr. Prize in the Indian Humanities

Buddhist representations of the cosmos across nearly two thousand years of history in Tibet, Nepal, and India show that cosmology is a rich language for the expression of diverse religious ideas, with cosmological thinking at the center of Buddhist thought, art, and practice.

In Creating the Universe, Eric Huntington presents examples of visual art and architecture, primary texts, ritual ideologies, and material practices—accompanied by extensive explanatory diagrams—to reveal the immense complexity of cosmological thinking in Himalayan Buddhism. Employing comparisons across function, medium, culture, and history, he exposes cosmology as a fundamental mode of engagement with numerous aspects of religion, from preliminary lessons to the highest rituals for enlightenment. This wide-ranging work will interest scholars and students of many fields, including Buddhist studies, religious studies, art history, and area studies.

Art History Publication Initiative. For more information, visit

Eric Huntington is a postdoctoral scholar in religious studies at the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, Stanford University.

A profoundly innovative and engaging study of cosmological thinking in texts, rituals, imagery, and architecture across the Buddhist world of the Himalayas.

Catherine Becker, author of Shifting Stones, Shaping the Past: Sculpture from the Buddhist Stupas of Andhra Pradesh

Offers a new perspective on the depictions of cosmological imagery. A timely topic that makes major contributions to the field of art history.

Christian Luczanits, David L. Snellgrove Senior Lecturer in Tibetan and Buddhist Art, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Creating the Universe will reveal to readers how much they have been missing. . . . Carefully marked diagrams, clear summaries, and exceptionally clean prose combine to make this long-overdue resource valuable for those interested in Buddhism, comparative religion, and art history.