Re/crowning the Jowo Śākyamuni: Texts, Photographs, and Memories

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Section for Anthropology and Ethnography
From the eleventh century to the present, the Jowo (jo bo) Śākyamuni statue has
served as a perduring index of Tibetan Buddhist ecclesiastical history.  Tibetan writers employed the
Jowo as a discursive site where religio-political paradigms were negotiated and transformed through
accounts of ritual observance and visions received.  In 1409, Tsongkhapa Lozang Drakpa  (1357-1419)
crowned the Jowo, changing his doctrinal and iconographic representations.  I connect the controversy
surrounding Tsongkhapa's decision to re/crown the Jowo in 1409 to the significance placed on
authenticity, firstness, and ritual efficacy in Tibetan cosmology.  I follow the history of the Jowo's
crown into the present, including the voices of those Tibetans who blame the 1951 Chinese invasion of
Tibet on repercussions of Tsongkhapa's controversial decision.  A multidisciplinary perspective,
combining texts, photographs, and ethnographic interviews in Tibet, Nepāl, and India, explicates the
controversial implications of the Jowo's appearance, and serves as a model for the study of Tibetan
lived religion.


Translated title of the contributionRe/kroning Jowo Śākyamuni: Tekster, Fotografier, og Erindringer
Original languageEnglish
JournalHistory of Religions
Volume51
Issue1
Pages (from-to)1-30
ISSN0018-2710
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

    Research areas

  • tibet, Buddhism, art, politics, ethnography, history, Jowo

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 18924887