Creating the Universe Depictions of the Cosmos in Himalayan Buddhism

Eric Huntington

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.

Huntington Creating cov3


  • $65.00 cloth, 978-0-2957-4406-3
  • $65.00 ebook, 978-0-2957-4407-0
  • 304 pages
  • 154 illus., 118 in color, 7 x 10 in.

about the author

Eric Huntington studies the relationships between visual art, ritual, and philosophy in the Buddhist traditions of Tibet, Nepal, and India. He works on topics related to religion and material culture, including the role of illustration in Buddhist manuscripts and the nature of embodiment in consecrated images. Prior to joining the Stanford community, he served as a Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University and received a PhD from the University of Chicago.