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Art of Faith: Buddhism

Year: 2020, 57 mins
Code: ILL-FaithBud

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Art of Faith is a sumptuous high-definition visual experience exploring the architecture and art of the world's religions, presented and narrated by the broadcaster John McCarthy. The films travel the world visiting the greatest and most significant religious buildings, exploring how the passions and complexities of religious beliefs have been expressed in architecture.

Looking back over the last 3000 years, the series provides an insight into how we have celebrated art through faith. With contributions from architects, scholars and worshippers, the films explain the buildings’ genesis, laying down the brush strokes of the sites’ design, whilst looking at the shared elements and contrasts between religions and the aesthetics of the places of worship.

Buddhism is a family of beliefs, derived from the teachings of Buddha who died around 400 BCE. The emperor Ashoka Maurya (who r.272-231BC) was responsible for the first large-scale stone art in India and he also redistributed the Buddha’s relics among (supposedly) 84,000 simple stupas (or solid memorial mounds containing relics) across his empire. It is from this act that Buddhist architecture and art springs.

In addition to offering an introduction to Buddhism, the documentary visits many locations including the Amaravati Monastery in Hemel Hempstead, England; the Great Stupa, Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh, India; an early Buddhist monastery carved out of rock in the Caves at Ajanta in Maharashtra, India; Borobudur in Central Java, Indonesia; the largest wooden building in the world that houses a colossal bronze statue of the Buddha in Nara, Japan; the Puning Temple in Chengde, China; and Komyo-ji Temple in Shikoku, Japan. 

Other titles in this series:
Hinduism
Religions of the Tao
Judaism
Christianity
Islam

John Patrick McCarthy CBE is a British journalist, writer and broadcaster, and one of the hostages in the Lebanon hostage crisis. McCarthy was the United Kingdom's longest-held hostage in Lebanon, where he was a prisoner for more than five years.

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