This introduction to the volume provides background information necessary for understanding the arrangement and content of the succeeding articles. The origin and general concepts of the Buddhist religion as they affect material culture are set out, with a glossary of terms keyed to all the articles. The spread of Buddhism is then briefly described through Sri Lanka into Southeast Asia, and through Afghanistan into East Asia. The articles are subsequently arranged in this geographical order. Because of the cumulative nature of the information presented, following the chronological development and spread of the religion, the volume is best read from beginning to end.