Donors of Longmen is a fascinating study of one of China's most important Buddhist cave sites, Longmen. Despite Longmen's significance in medieval Buddhist art, a book-length Western-language study of this site has long been lacking. As the title of the book indicates, Amy McNair tackles Longmen from the perspective of its patrons and explores intersections between art, religion, and politics from the late fifth to the early eighth century (493–730). Because sponsorship was cut short after the political division of the Wei in 534, the period of greatest activity encompasses forty years under the Northern Wei and another century after Tang Taizong revived the court presence at Luoyang in 647.

When Luoyang was the Northern Wei capital, Longmen saw considerable Buddhist construction, and McNair's first three chapters examine crucial works of this era. Here, and in subsequent chapters, McNair presents accounts of iconographic and textual interpretations, woven into historical intrigues...

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