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In Praise of Later Buddhist Art (Editorial)

Title:In Praise of Later Buddhist Art (Editorial)
Author:Anand, Mulk Raj
Publication:Marg
Enumeration:Vol. 9 Issue no. 2; March 1956, p. 2-6
Abstract:Demarcates the various historical phases of Buddhist art in India: (1) The ancient schools, mainly of the Maurya, Sunga, and Satavahana periods; (2) The Gandhara school (end of the 1st century to end of the 5th century CE), with a mixed indigenous and Greco-Roman tradition, which introduced the anthropomorphic Buddha and themes from his worldly life; (3) The Mathura school under Kushan patronage, which portrayed the indigenous sensibility and inner rhythm in the depiction of the human figure, yakshas and yakshis, and Bacchanalian bas-reliefs; (4) The extensions of the Gandhara style in Afghanistan (the Khyber Pass, Begram, Hadda, and Khotan); (5) The Satavahana tradition which continued between 25 BCE and 320 CE in the stupas of Amaravati, Ghantasala, Nagarjunakonda, Goli, Gummadidirum, and elsewhere; (6) The Gupta and post-Gupta periods (320-c. 700 CE), when free-standing chaityas and the paintings of Ajanta, Bagh, Badami, and Sittanvasal were executed; (7) The survival of Buddhism in eastern India between the 7th and 12th centuries under the Pala-Sena dynasties of Bengal, and the emergence of the Tantric interpretations of Buddhism; (8) The spread of Buddhism to Nepal and Tibet. In order to understand the nature of the Buddha image, it is important to contemplate upon the images produced under Buddhist patronage, but with their antecedents in the pre-Buddha Indian tradition. Buddhist art developed through a five century period of symbolic (geometric, theriomorphic, vegetable) depiction of the Buddha, similar to the aniconic phase of the pre-historic and vedic periods.

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