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Gandhara Art

Title:Gandhara Art
Author:Dickinson, Eric
Publication:Marg
Enumeration:Vol. 6 Issue no. 1; Deepavali 1952, p. 10-21
Abstract:The Gandhara school has come to be regarded as the culminating achievement of the Greco Roman plastic genius in the East. Gandharan art reached its peak of excellence by the end of the 1st century CE. The duration of the school's rise and sudden disastrous collapse covered nearly six centuries (c. 1st century BCE to 5th century CE). Two records of achievement are recognized at Gandhara: one with examples in blue schist (Gandhara I), and the other with examples in stucco (Gandhara II). It is more exact to call the school Roman-Buddhist rather than Greco-Buddhist, as the main emphasis is on Rome and not Athens. The personages of the Buddhist pantheon were rendered by equivalents taken from the Greco-Bactrian tradition, as visible in the sculptures of Buddha and Maitreya. The birth of the Buddha image (probably 1st century BCE) gave rise to a multiplicity of images, including stone-panels depicting the life of the Buddha. Signs of over production are seen in the last phases of Gandhara I. Subsequently, Gandhara II emerged with a startling originality, sense of freedom, and verve. These remains are not Gandharan, but belong to the Gandhara-Taxila area. The Kabul valley yields the richest harvest of originality. A series of sculptures are examined to illustrate Gandhara II's subservience to the art ideals of the Roman world. Four groups of personages are represented in Gandhara II: Buddhas and monks; Bodhisattvas and divinities; diverse personages in the scenes of the Buddha's life; and evil spirits and demons. The author feels \ that the study of Gandharan art has been neglected in India. In answer to the purists who \ criticize Gandharan art because of its hybrid nature and supposed lack of spiritual values, it is argued that this art does not subdue or destroya sense of spirituality.

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