Buddhist Art as Visual Communication

Subject Code: 


  Lecture Date Census Date Location

Semester 2 2017 18–22 September 2017 18 September NTI Wollongong Campus

Understanding Buddhist art is an essential part of understanding and analysing the influence of Buddhism from historical to modern times.

'Buddhist Art as Visual Communication' explores the history and development, form and meaning of Buddhist arts and their influence in different cultures and contexts.

While Buddhism is notable for its sacred texts and sutras, Buddhist art also encapsulates Buddhist thought and makes it accessible to different cultures. From the early days of Buddhism, paintings, sculptures and icons embody Buddhist enlightenment and mark the stages of the spread and development of Buddhism.

Topics include the beauty of Chan and Purity Land, Buddhist architecture, spiritual totems of Tibetan Buddhists, calligraphy and stone inscriptions, as well as the influence of Buddhism on art, music and dance in different cultures.

Students will:

  • Analyse and critically evaluate the inter-relationships between Buddhism and culture.
  • Demonstrate critical knowledge of the history, form and meaning of Buddhist art.
  • Analyse the history and development of Buddhist arts and their cultural influence in different contexts.


   Jackie Menzies

Who is it for?

'Buddhist Art as Visual Communication' is ideal for:

  • any student in NTI’s postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or Masters program in Applied Buddhist Studies
  • artists, art critics, art gallery curators, art publishers, and art appreciators
  • Buddhist academics, teachers, teachers, publishers, librarians
  • anyone interested in the beauty and messages of Buddhist art and
  • Buddhism devotees and anyone interested in learning more about Buddhism.


Preliminary reading       1 week 

Lectures and workshops (5 day intensive on-campus)

                                             18-22 September 2017 (9:00am - 5:00pm daily)

Assignments                   3 weeks


Class participation


Individual class presentation (15 minutes)


Review of preliminary reading (600 - 800 words)


Reflective journal including critical appreciation of a particular work or set of works of Buddhist art (1500 words)


Research paper (2500 words)



'Buddhist Art as Visual Communication' can be taken as a non-award subject, or as part of NTI’s Applied Buddhist Studies or Health and Social Wellbeing postgraduate program.

This 6 credit point subject can be part of:

Master of Arts (Applied Buddhist Studies)

72 credit points

Graduate Diploma of Applied Buddhist Studies

48 credit points

Graduate Certificate in Applied Buddhist Studies

24 credit points

Total cost:

Australian students


International students


Entry requirements

There are no prerequisites to study this subject as a non-award student. Buddhists and non-Buddhists are welcome, and no prior knowledge is required.

There are academic and/or program and work experience prerequisites for studying this subject as part of the NTI Applied Buddhist Studies program. Contact NTI for details on entry requirements.