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Frontispieces preceding the texts of Buddhist and Daoist scriptures are often thought to resemble each other. They commonly share diagonal and symmetrical compositions that constitute the majority of scripture frontispieces in China since their initiation in the 9th century. However, did similar pictorial scenes develop from shared compositions and represent the same kind of religious scenario? Who were the religious figures chosen to star on the frontispieces? What were the major concerns behind this choice?
This paper examines different combinations of figures found in Buddhist and Daoist frontispieces from the 15th to 17th centuries, analyzes their different connotations, and examines the reasons behind the different development of scripture frontispieces in the two religions.