The Art of Buddhism, a riveting book of show-and-tell, may well be the finest single volume on Asian Buddhist art. Drawing from her own expertise in Chinese and Southeast Asian art and relying on the research of leading scholars in other specialist fields, Denise Patry Leidy brings our attention to one compelling object after another, explaining each work’s intrinsic importance, distinctive beauty and unique historical value. From a vast sea of information, the author highlights some of the formative periods, classical phases and seminal works of art created in the service of Buddhism as it spread from India across the Asian continent. For centuries after his death in the mid-fifth century b.c.e., the Buddha was represented only in symbolic form: a tree, an empty throne, a wheel, footprints with sacred markings. However, during the early centuries c.e., Indian artists began to create Buddha figures in human form. Toward the end of the fifth century, these powerful but earthbound prototypes gave rise to sublime figures epitomizing the Buddha’s transcendent grace. Carried to distant lands by merchants from Sarnath and elsewhere in north India, these superb images—and the teachings and practices that gave rise to them—inspired generation after generation of artists across Asia to create their own transcendent visions of the faith. Leidy’s text puts into perspective the patronage, the individual genius and the wider social forces that conspired to create enduring works of sculpture, painting and architecture.