"Not all who wander are lost." -- J.R.R. Tolkien

"This is no dry academic treatise. Coupled with superb photography by Bill Wassman, Cummings's learned but accessible book enriches our knowledge far beyond such a facile purpose."

The Australian

Buddhist Stupas in Asia: The Shape of Perfection

Buddhist Stupas in Asia: The Shape of Perfection

Buy it from for US$24.49
Buy it from for £19.99
Buy this book from for CDN$33.58
What The Press Says
Slide Show

Buddhist Stupas in Asia: The Shape of Perfection is a lavish exploration of one of the oldest and most persistent religious and architectural icons in the world. Transcending architecture and archaeology, the stupa fuses the physical with the spiritual into a living embodiment of Buddhist teachings. This beautifully illustrated, full-colour hardback explores the spread of stupa building across India and Asia, encapsulating the lasting appeal and allure of stupas to travellers, scholars and those interested in architecture and religion.

  • more than 250 beautiful photographs
  • ten pages of transparent architectural overlays depicting plans and elevations of major stupas
  • thorough coverage of 13 countries: India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Java, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Nepal, Tibet, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam
  • learned and authoritative narration to explain the symbolism, rituals and mystic power associated with these monuments, great and small
  • detailed investigations of the world’s most significant Buddhist sites, from Angkor in Cambodia to Borobudur in Java, the largest Buddhist monument in the world

"This beautiful book takes us around some of the millions of stupas that transform our planet... It is a pleasure and a privilege to wander through its pages from place to place, experiencing the faith and determination of so many individuals in so many civilisations who have shown their aspiration and vision by creatively and patiently placing one stone upon another in the myriad shapes of perfection."

from the Foreword, by Robert AF Thurman

"'Sermons in stone, brick and mortar', one Buddhist scholar has called them. Diagrams of synchronicity in which 'time is fixed, crystallised, rendered static', claims a Western architect. Attempts to encapsulate the durable appeal of the stupa are confounded by the vast and varied history of stupa-building and stupa-worshipping, all but silencing the would-be inquisitor. Yet the stupa continues to inspire us to take photographs, sketch diagrams and write thousands of words, digging to uncover a key that might unlock its mysteries."

excerpt from the book

More books...