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The Formation of a Daoist Pictorial Iconography in the Tang: New Images from the Longmen Caves
Abstract

Abstract:

Imperial patronage of Daoism in the Tang dynasty led to developments in the teachings and an expansion of the pantheon. These high-level patrons commissioned the construction of a great number of temples and icons creating a demand for art. It was the court artists, not Daoist artists, who were enjoined to create the religious art and the great advances such masters made in the representational arts at court, especially in portraiture, are evident in depictions of the various Daoist gods. They portrayed both their physical appearance and aspects of their divine nature and visually distinguished the growing members of the expanded pantheon by size and placement in the group and by personal attributes. Donor portrayals too appear among the panoply of divinities. These achievements of the Tang artists in the service of Daoist patrons were the basis for later temple art.