SACRED ART IN EAST AND WEST –
Its Principles and Methods
This is one of the best books on the subject of Sacred art to be written in our times and represents Burckhardt’s penetrating analysis of a subject that is extremely important but, nevertheless, suffers from a host of misconceptions. It is a work of profound importance—defining meaning and spiritual use of Sacred art through its symbolic content and dependence on metaphysical principles. Presentedsis the art of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Taoism where “the artistic rules of each are not only deducible from existing works, but are confirmed by canonical writings and by the example of living masters.” “In Islam the Divine Art is in the first place the manifestation of the Divine Unity in the beauty and regularity of the cosmos. Unity is reflected in the harmony of the multiple, in order and in equilibrium; beauty has all these aspects within itself. To start from the beauty of the world and arrive at Unity— that is wisdom.” There can be no doubt that Burckhardt blends in a masterly fashion a style that is eminently accessible with an insight of the utmost penetration.
“The ultimate objective of sacred art is not the evocation of feelings nor the communications of impressions; it is a symbol, and as such it finds simple and primordial means sufficient; it could not in any case be anything more than allusive, its real object being ineffable.” —A.J. Arberry