Published: Nov. 18, 2019

The University Libraries recently accepted a Chinese set of the “Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts.” The 20-volume set of encyclopedias was donated by Fo Guang Shan, an international Chinese Buddhist monastic order of Taiwan, known for its efforts in promoting humanistic Buddhism and the modernization of Chinese Buddhism.

 The University Libraries and CU Boulder students with representatives of the Fo Guang Shan Denver Vihara.

“The Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts” is a comprehensive 20-volume reference collection of nearly 10,000 entries and over 14,000 pictures of Buddhist arts around the world. The artwork comes from nearly 30 countries and the contents of this set are introduced in categories such as architecture, caves and rock carvings, calligraphy, and more.

“Given the breadth of subject areas covered in these volumes, they will be an excellent teaching resource for our students,” Dean of the University Libraries Robert H. McDonald said during an official donation ceremony held in Norlin Library in November. “This addition of the encyclopedia set will no doubt benefit our scholars and students in the field of art history, religious studies, Asian studies and so on.”

Representatives of the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA), an international nongovernmental organization associated with Fo Guang Shan attended the ceremony and described the donation as an important passage of knowledge. The encyclopedia project was supervised by Fo Guang Shan’s founder, Venerable Master Hsing Yun and lasted over a decade. Hundreds of monastics, scholars, and volunteers from 16 different countries participated in the project.

“I think the Chinese edition will also make a valuable source as the set was compiled originally in Chinese. and Buddhist art is a major theme in Chinese art history,” said Xiang Li, Chinese and Asian Studies Librarian. “The two sets of the encyclopedia are a valuable and much-needed addition to the Libraries collection on Buddhism and arts.”

Art and Architecture Librarian Alex Watkins said these volumes will especially benefit art history students like Carolyn Click, who is studying Art and Art History with a focus on East Asian art. 

She attended the event to represent her professor, East Asian art historian Stephanie Su, who was an instrumental part of the book donation process. Click said this donation will be useful for helping students across disciplines learn more about Buddhism.

“When you’re studying contemporary China, you need to have a good handle on Buddhism,” Click said. “These books will help students with that understanding.” 

The Chinese "Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts" will be available in the Asian reference collection by the end of the year. The English set is available to view in the Art and Architecture reference collection now.