What Medium Was Used Primarily For Buddhist Art In Nepal

What Medium Was Used Primarily For Buddhist Art In Nepal – Bodhisattva Maitreya Standing (Future Buddha), c. 3rd century, gray schist, 163.2 x 53.3 x 20.3 cm, Gandhara (Pakistan) (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

This essay focuses on a style of sculpture that arose and developed between 100 B.C.E. and 700 C.E. In the ethnically diverse and religiously tolerant culture of the ancient region of Gandhara in the northwest of the ancient Indian subcontinent. The main body of sculpture of this period, in the form of reliefs and free-standing works, which mostly functioned as expressions of Buddhist faith, is unique for its synergistic character, combining the influence of Hellenistic, Persian and Kushan cultural styles. Gandhara Buddhist sculptures are particularly interesting because they present anthropomorphic depictions of the Buddha, bodhisattvas, and related figures.

What Medium Was Used Primarily For Buddhist Art In Nepal

Gandhara is one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas of ancient northern India, and was founded as a province or

Buddha In Art

The Achaemenid Empire by Darius I in the early fifth century BCE, after which it experienced several waves of various dynastic dominations, including conquest by Alexander the Great. This cosmopolitan culture developed its own visual vocabulary that drew particularly on art that had historically received royal patronage—from the Macedonians, Greco-Bactrians (Hellenistic), Sakas, and Indo-Parthians—and Buddhist traditions largely introduced by the Mauryas. came Visual expression, especially in the plastic arts, flourished under the direct and indirect patronage of the Kushan court until the late 3rd century CE, and by the 6th century CE. It continued to grow in scale and complexity. However, it began to decline with him. The arrival of the Hephthalites and its subsequent shift of the empire’s focus to other cultural centers in northern India such as Sarnath and Mathura.

The images of Daphne and Apollo show the familiarity of Gandhara artists with Greek images and stories – possibly the result of trade contacts along the Silk Road. Dish with Apollo and Daphne, c. 1st century B.C.E., sherd, diameter 10.6 cm, Gandhara (Pakistan) (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Ancient Gandhara was a lively crossroads between the classical cultures of the Mediterranean region and South Asia, which is reflected in the Greco-Buddhist art of the area. The borders have been redrawn several times due to shifting geopolitical control in the region. Yet, amid these changes, the historic centers of Gandhara cultural production—Taxashila (now Taxila), Pushkalavati (now Charsaddha) and Purushapura (now Peshawar)—remain important and relevant, aided by Gandhara’s position on the Silk Road. The diversity and richness of the region’s artistic tradition is also largely due to varying levels of patronage from many donors who funded everything from small statues to full lines of relief panels and sacred relics.

The earliest examples of iconic sculpture in the early Greco-Buddhist Gandhara region date to the late first century BCE, under the Saka reign, the only extant example being a bodhisattva relief (not shown here) that may have been part of a stupa. . and monasteries in the region. The figures are presented in an austere but clear Greco-Roman style, as seen in the angular shapes and folds of their garments.

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Then, in the first century CE. And so, the Bodhisattva is depicted more naturally as a delicate figure wrapped in a thick robe. They are characterized by their mustaches and hairstyles, many of which are variations of the topknot: a theoretical interpretation of Buddhist Ushnisha.

Left: Standing Bodhisattva Maitreya (Future Buddha), c. 3rd century, sherd, 80.7 x 29.2 x 15.2 cm, Gandhara (Pakistan) (Metropolitan Museum of Art); Right: Seated Bodhisattva Padmapani, 2nd-3rd century, Schist, 54 x 31.4 x 12.5 cm, Gandhara (Pakistan) (© Trustees of the British Museum)

The bodhisattva understood as Maitreya, often depicted during the Kushan period (c. second century B.C.E.–third century C.E.), is distinguished by a knot wrapped in his left hand and a water flask. Avalokiteshvara (or Padmapani), otherwise the most popular bodhisattva in later styles, is shown holding a lotus. During the first five centuries bodhisattvas became more relevant to religious ceremonies, although ancient relics containing the relics of the Buddha remained central to all worship.

The earliest anthropological representations of the Buddha are some relief images on bimaran relics from the late first century CE, based on iconography attested in the century and beyond. With local and royal patronage under the Kushan dynasty, Gandhara artisans further developed the Greco-Roman anthropomorphic style and created large, free-standing stone statues of the Buddha, carved from the blue or gray schist of the Swat Valley.

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Scene from the Life of the Buddha (probably a gift from Anathapindada), 2nd-3rd century, Schist with traces of gold foil, 24.4 x 22.5 x 3.8 cm, Gandhara (Pakistan) (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The introduction of the anthropomorphic Buddha paved the way for narrative reliefs depicting his life, replete with iconography borrowed from Greco-Roman and subcontinental cultures. These reliefs, usually depicting episodes from the Buddha’s last life, line the domes and foundations of stupas and are recited in religious processions (

) clockwise around the stupa. For larger stupas, this narrative is supplemented with further stories of the Buddha’s past lives. Buddhas in this format are usually depicted in statues: without halo and adornment, wearing long flowing robes and having a serene face. The women in the narrative scenes are modeled after Yakshas but are shown holding cornucopias and wearing garlands and robes, similar to classical Greek style. His depiction under a canopy of trees and leaves is symbolic

Or “Virgin of the Sal Tree,” a popular image in later reliefs and sculptures. In this phase of relief art, there are close references to textual sources such as the Abhinikramana Sutra, which show a closer relationship with the Central Asian and Chinese textual traditions of Gandhara than with North Indian oral traditions.

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Siddhartha on the Bodhi Tree, c. 100–200, Sherd, 73.7 x 57.2 cm, Gandhara (Pakistan) (Cleveland Museum of Art)

After the second century, the narrative element was abandoned in favor of relief and decoration, especially figures of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. This is a clear devotional depiction, and it shows a clear hierarchy of scale – the Buddha is depicted as a giant figure, surrounded by smaller subordinate figures. Single reliefs like these are placed above the entrance of the stupa and on top of the drum indicating the sanctity of the monument. The most common theme in these depictions is the Buddha seated under the Bodhi tree in his moment of enlightenment, leading early scholars to conclude that such images are part of a series of Buddhist miracle stories. Friezes that do not depict the Buddha but depict lesser subjects, such as bodhisattvas and characters from the Buddha’s life, are used as steps (vertical faces of stairs leading up the length of the stupa).

These steps sometimes include non-Buddhist mythological figures carved in a strictly Hellenistic style, either as tributes to Indo-Greek culture or as surviving relics. A few of these interesting examples include a series of spear-bearing Greek gods by Corinthian columns, a row of drunken figures tempting a man who looks like the Greek god Dionysius, an image of Hercules

(weapons representing diamonds and thunderbolts), and a figure of Atlas positioned around the base of the stupa, symbolically holding it up. Another sculptural element represented in this style, probably from the early first century, is the bead-bearing ring: a procession of male and female figures arranged around the surface of a stupa drum, carrying heavy beads on their shoulders. Inscriptions indicate that donors sponsored statues like these, as well as large reliefs and free-standing sculptures.

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In addition to stupa reliefs, free-standing statues and statues of Greek gods such as Athena and Poseidon were also created in Gandhara, though in very few numbers and in an unknown shade. In contrast to the apparent emphasis on Buddhism, many fine objects for personal use, such as combs and vases, display almost exclusively Greek imagery.

Dish with Drunken Hercules Supported by Two Women and Flanked by a Lion, c. 1st century CE, schist, Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara), diameter 12.4 cm (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

In particular, stone palettes (also known as toilet trays) used for mixing cosmetic pastes and powders, featuring relief images of Greek gods, sea monsters and Nereids. This is unique to Gandhara, and the second century B.C.E. were made between and the first century CE.

Gods and Animals in a Landscape, Fragment of Buddha View of Shakyamuni Preaching to Indra, 2nd–early 3rd century, gray schist with paint stains, 39.37 x 43.81 x 7.62 cm, Gandhara (Pakistan) (Los Angeles County Art Museum)

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Gandhara sculpture can be broadly classified—based on the primary medium used—into the schist and stucco phases. 3rd century CE Until then, the stone used was almost entirely gray and sometimes green.

Column with Bodhisattva Shakyamuni seated by worshipers and elephant, c. 4th–5th century, stucco, Afghanistan (Hadda), 42 x 46.4 cm (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Later stucco was also used for relief

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