Imagining the Divine: Art and the Rise of World Religions

Philippa Adrych, Nadia Ali, Robert Bracey, Dominic Daglish, Jas Elsner, Miriam Frenkel, Katherine Kross, Stefanie Lenk, Maria Lidova, Yuthika Sharma, Rachel Wood

Research output: Book/ReportBook


A first attempt to show the developing visual cultures of the world religions in the first millennium A.D. both individually and in dialogue with each other. The book tells both the stories of each individual religious culture and gives some hints as to shared themes and interconnections. It contains a fine selection of illustrations, comparing the religions and their artReligion has always been a fundamental force for constructing identity, from antiquity to the contemporary world. The transformation of ancient cults into faith systems, which we recognise now as major world religions, took place in the first millennium AD, in the period we call 'Late Antiquity'. Our argument is that the creative impetus for both the emergence, and much of the visual distinctiveness of the world religions came in contexts of cultural encounter. Bridging the traditional divide between classical, Asian, Islamic and Western history, this research highlights religious and artistic creativity at points of contact and cultural borders between late antique civilizations. This book-catalog features the creation of specific visual languages that belong to five major world religions: Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherAshmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Number of pages232
ISBN (Print)9781910807187
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • art, religion, islam, buddhism, hinduism


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