Indra’s Jewels Book


American artist James Stanford’s photomontage series, Indra’s Jewels, presents meditative pictorial expressions of contemporary spirituality. In this remarkable group of works, Stanford has assembled motifs from ancient traditions, philosophy, iconic snippets of Americana, new digital technologies, and an artist’s eye for color and pattern in order to bring the most contemporary of mandalas to life.

As meditative visualizations of the Buddhist concept of the holistically interrelated cosmos, Stanford has composed each picture using manipulated symmetrical patterns to veil opaque and transparent imagery. Photos of archaic and iconic Las Vegas signs are reconfigured to create incandescent and shimmering mirages.

Stanford is inspired by the Buddhist metaphor, Indra’s Jeweled Net, an ancient allegorical visualization illustrating the interrelatedness of the cosmos. At the behest of the Chinese Empress Wu Zetian, Fa-tsang (643–712, the third patriarch of the Chinese Hua Yen Buddhists) poetically distilled this idea of totality (i.e., all phenomena are interconnected) within the metaphorical story of Indra’s Jeweled Net. This mystical net is a profoundly beautiful and evocative celestial lattice that expands infinitely and traverses the universe with its endless threads and jeweled knots, shining in boundless refracting light on all sides, representing the connected cosmos.

In keeping with Fa-tsang’s contemplation of interconnectedness, Stanford’s illustration of mystical vision is a limitless sea of lights which marks the interrelatedness of the earth and the heavens and echoes how causal relationships may be endlessly connected at any moment in time, suggesting the true holistic nature of the world, life, and the vision of the Buddha.

Copyright 2014 by James Stanford | ISBN: 0-9778806-3-X

Design and Topography: James Stanford and Milo Duffin

Published by Small Works Press