Early Buddhist Art Of China And Central Asia Pdf
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His research, centering on Buddhist architecture in medieval China, emphasizes how built forms and spatial organization were shaped by the contexts of ritual, political, and social change. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1 December ; 79 4 : — For decades, architectural historical scholarship on China's early Buddhist monasteries has been dominated by two sacred monument types: the pagoda that enshrined the Buddha's relics and the image hall that venerated iconic images of the Buddha. Accordingly, scholars are forced to rely on textual sources, primarily from Buddhist and secular literature, and in most cases, these discuss only the buildings containing cultic objects—the monasteries' centers of devotional worship, referred to here as the principal buildings. The most valuable findings from these
Neolithic potters in Japan during the Jomon period produce containers that are among the world's earliest ceramic wares and are characterized by surfaces decorated with cord-markings the meaning of the term jomon and dramatic shapes. Read more Pottery containers made in the Chinese Neolithic village of Banpo are painted with geometric designs and linear patterns for funerary and domestic use. The Neolithic Liangzhu civilization of coastal China makes finely crafted and polished jade personal ornaments and religious implements for graves, possibly to convey and herald the status of the deceased.
Black-burnished pottery vessels with remarkably thin walls are distinctive to China's Neolithic coastal cultures. In particular, the Dawenkou culture is credited with developing the fast potter's wheel at about the same time as the ancient Egyptians, although there is no indication of mutual influence. Small stone seals with short inscriptions and figural images, frequently of a horned bull, are used by the inhabitants of the Indus Valley or Harappan culture, South Asia's earliest civilization.
These seals may have served an administrative function facilitating trade. Large anthropomorphic bronze statues are buried in pits along with elephant tusks, trees made of bronze and weapons made of bronze and jade in present-day Sanxingdui in Sichuan county, China. The technical sophistication of these objects and their use of imagery that is strikingly different from that found in central China indicate that early dynastic China consists of not one but several distinctive cultural centres.
Royal consort Fu Hao is buried in the Shang-dynasty capital in a tomb filled with numerous, large and skilfully crafted bronze vessels, jade implements and ceremonial weapons and lacquer coffins. The only Shang royal tomb found intact, the contents indicate the wealth and sophistication of ancient China and the inscribed oracle bones provide much useful information. Nomadic peoples of Central Asia, some of whom are known as Scythians, fashion gold horse trappings and portable ornaments, often in the shape of powerful animals.
The Oxus Treasure, found on the banks of the Oxus River in Bactria present-day Uzbekistan , consists of nearly precious objects that may have originally been used for temple rituals. Active trade exchange is indicated by the variety of regional styles visible in the objects in the hoard. The tomb of the Marquis Yi of Zeng contains several lacquer-painted carvings of animals, some of which immitate real animals such as ducks, while others represent fanciful beasts with horns and protruding tongues.
Large kettledrums are made of bronze and decorated with geometric patterns and miniature frogs, animals, warriors and human figures in Dong Son in northern Vietnam. Influenced by nomadic peoples to the north and northwest, Chinese metalworkers produce portable accoutrements such as belt plaques and clasps decorated in animal forms derived from Central Asian motifs for both the domestic market and for trade with northern peoples.
As part of King Ashoka's energetic support of Buddhism and its spread throughout the Indian subcontinent, he commissions many building projects, including the erection of a series of columns with symbolic references to the Buddha and his teachings.
Remnants of the world's earliest paper found in tombs in Xi'an date to the early Han dynasty. Paper is initially made of hemp fibres, producing a course tissue paper-like substance.
Mystical Daoism's rise in popularity inspires the production of bronze incense burners boshan lu in the shape of magical mountains. These censers are among the first representations of mountains in Chinese art, which become one of its most important subjects. Sanchi temple in central India is expanded and renovated with an upper level for circumambulation added to Stupa 1, which is said to contain some of the remains of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni.
A century later four gates or torana are added that are richly sculpted with instructional narratives of the life of the Buddha.
Relief sculptures that originally decorate the railings and gates of the Bharhut Stupa incorporate among the representations of the Buddha's life foreign imagery and such pre-Buddhist indigenous deities as male and female earth spirits yaksas and yaksis respectively and serpent kings nagarajas. The Marchioness of Dai is buried in a tomb at Mawangdui in Hunan province in a series of wooden coffins topped by a painted silk banner that provides China's earliest complete painting and reveals the religious beliefs and artistic practices of the day.
Because the tomb was never looted, the varied and sumptuous furnishings and even the body of the noblewoman remain in exceptionally good condition. Voluptuous females who look filled with life and fecundity are represented on terracotta plaques made in northern India in the Mauryan and Shunga periods. The visual appeal of these images is heightened by abundant surface decoration and production speed is aided by the use of moulds.
Parthian coins are struck with figures shown in an innovative frontal pose, a distinctive element of Parthian art that appears in temple sculptures as well as portraits on coins.
The Great Stupa at Amaravati in southern India is refurbished with numerous religious and decorative images rendered in relief on the stupa railings and surrounding gates. Dotaku , cast bronze bells, are among the most impressive and distinctive examples of early Japanese metallurgy.
Based on Korean horse bells, Japanese dotaku , which could be quite large, have some of Japan's earliest pictorial scenes cast in relief on their sides. Chinese bronze-casters laud the speed and grace of horses imported from Central Asia and are inspired by them to cast one in full gallop with only a single hoof alighting on a flying swallow.
A large Buddhist monastery is cut into the rock walls at Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Flanking the monks' cells are two colossal stone Buddhas destr. Court painter Gu Kaizhi sets a style, as seen in his Admonitions of the Court Instructres s, for figure paintings that incorporates firm and fluid brushwork and subtle expression, which is revered for millennia. It forms an important step inf the evolution of writing and brushwork from a tool for scribes to a highly expressive and dynamic art form.
The richly decorated stupa at Svayambhunatha is built and becomes the most important Buddhist site in the Kathmandu Valley. Emperor Nintoku's keyhole-shaped tomb in central Japan is the largest burial site of its type. Rulers of the Northern Wei dynasty commission the construction of a series of elaborately carved and painted caves at Yungang in northern China.
The centrepiece of this religious site is a massive sculpture of Shakyamuni Buddha, carved from the limestone cliffs. The Buddhist monastery and pilgrimage site at Ajanta realizes its most vigorous period of growth.
Excavated from the cliffs, the rooms are decorated with some of the oldest surviving Buddhist paintings in India. Xie He writes the Six Laws of Chinese painting, the earliest known and one of the most influential texts on painting theory. Chinese potters are the first in the world to invent porcelain. Large, free-standing images of the Buddha are sculpted in Sri Lanka.
All present him as a monk, standing frontally and with little sense of movement, which conveys a sense of monumentality. One of the earliest sources of silk outside China is Sasanian Iran, which produces and trades silk with China. Weavers in other regions, including China, adopt and adapt Sasanian decorative motifs. Benefitting from imperial patronage and highly skilled craftsmen, the Shaiva cave temple at Elephanta contains technically and icongraphically sophisticated sculptures of Shiva.
Horyuji temple in Nara is established by Prince Shotoku. The wooden buildings and sculptures are among the earliest surviving examples of 7th-century Buddhist art in Japan. With fluid drapery, serene facial expressions and delicate modelling, they exhibit all the features of early Korean Buddhist sculpture. The Mandala of Five Divinities of Avalokitesvara is painted on silk and stored in one of the cave-temples at Dunhuang on the Silk Route.
Elegant in execution and opulent in detail, the colourful visualization of a saviour deity in a celestial realm epitomizes the complexity of Buddhist thought and the splendour of Tang-dynasty art. Carved by imperial commission, the metre tall seated stone image of Vairochana, the Universal Buddha, at Fengxian Temple at Longmen, China embodies prevalent esoteric Buddhist concepts of deities with great power.
The energetic sense of movement of the surrounding attendant figures shows artistic developments of the period. Sogdian weavers in Central Asia make silk garments that combine fine workmanship with motifs drawn from various regions, inspired by the goods traded by Sogdian merchants. Emperor Shomu constructs the Buddhist temple Todaiji in the capital city of Nara.
Todaiji's storehouse, called the Shosoin, is one of the richest repositories of Buddhist and secular treasures, containing items obtained throughout East Asia and the regions around the Silk Route. The carved granite Seated Buddha at Sokkuram cave temple, Korea is among the most important and imposing examples of Buddhist art in East Asia and is stylistically closely related to the Tang sculpture of China.
Kailasa Temple, dedicated to Shiva, is the most important rock-cut temple at Ellora. Filled with imposing relief sculptures, the temple is viewed as the abode and sacred mountain of Shiva. Over carved panels are used to decorate with walls and balustrades with narrative reliefs. The oldest surviving printed book in the world is preserved in the repository at the Buddhist site of Dunhuang.
This illustrated text is a Chinese-language version of the Diamond Sutra and is now in the British Library. The Samanid rulers build a mausoleum at Bukhara of fired brick that is decorated with vegetal and geometric patterns.
Fan Kuan paints one of the most famous Chinese paintings, Travellers among Mountains and Streams , which epitomizes the towering peaks, diminuitive figures and varied brushstrokes of the monumental landscape tradition. King Vidyadhara commissions the Kandariya Mahadeva temple, a complex and richly decorated structure that exemplifies mature sacred architecture in central India.
Japanese sculptor Jocho develops the joined-woodblock technique whereby a statue is made of several, hollowed-out sections joined together. This system makes it possible to make larger sculptures with a wider variety of postures that give them a greater sense of movement and dynamism. This method also ushers in the workshop system. Su Shi, a renowned government official and poet, develops the idea of literati painting that emphasizes the expression of artistic spirit over capturing the physical appearance of the subject.
This concept assumes paramount importance in later Chinese painting connoisseurship. Artist, connoisseur and patron, Emperor Huizong assembles the finest painters in the country at the Hanlin Painting Academy. Chosen by means of an examination, these artists produce images for the court that set a standard that continues to influence artistic tastes throughout East Asia.
One of the world's most sublime and short-lived ceramic wares is made for Emperor Huizong's court. Ru ware has a thick and creamy greenish-blue glaze with a buttery texture coating thinly potted vessels with forms derived from nature. The Cholas in southern India favour portable Hindu images cast in bronze. One of the most graceful and symbolically rich images is that of Shiva Nataraja , depicting the god performing the dance of destruction and creation. The Buddhist monastery of Alchi in northern India is built, perhaps by the Tibetan teacher and 'great translator' Rinchen Sangpo.
Situated in an isolated area, the treasure house remains intact and its murals of deities and mandalas are among the most complete. King Kyanzittha builds Ananda temple in his capital of Pagan, Burma. Consisting of four shrines situated back-to-back, this large structure contains four colossal wood sculptures of the Buddha and a storehouse of rare sacred treasures. The earliest known illustration of the Tale of Genji is painted for the enjoyment of members of the imperial court.
This series of paintings of scenes from the world's first novel is part of the beginning of the Japanese fondness for illustrated narratives. Monumental images of Buddha are sculpted from the living rock at the monastery complex at Polonnaruva in Sri Lanka. King Suryavarman II builds the magnificent temple-mountain of Angkor Vat, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and expressive of his own position as god-king.
The Chinese court terms this ware 'first under Heaven'. Court artist Ma Yuan paints delicate images of nature with soft colours and highly skilful brushwork that capture the philosophic and aesthetic interests of the Song dynasty.
The Quwwat al-Islam Mosque is the first congregational mosque built in Delhi and incorporates such native characteristics as the use of sandstone and the decorative scrolling lotus motif. Sculptors in Sukhothai, Thailand develop a distinctive type of free-standing walking Buddha. Rendered in bronze, the arms of these figures typically show one hand making a religious gesture mudra and the other moving in counterbalance. Following his construction of several stupas for Kublai Khan in Tibet, Nepalese artist Arniko becomes director of the imperial workshops in Beijing and designs the famous White Pagoda, a stupa illustrating the fusion of Indian and Nepalese architectural styles.
Artist, scholar and government official Zhao Mengfu paints Autumn Colours on the Qiao and Hua Mountains , one of his landscape compositions in which he uses archaic imagery to develop a new kind of expressive painting style. The so-called 'David vases', once owned by Sir Percival David, are a pair of exceptionally large and dated vases made for a temple in China.
They are a prime example of blue-and-white porcelain produced during the Yuan dynasty.
Direct contact between Central Asian and Chinese Buddhism continued throughout the 3rd to 7th centuries, much into the Tang period. From the 4th century onward, Chinese pilgrims like Faxian — and later Xuanzang — started to travel to northern India mainly Gandhara [ citation needed ] in order to get improved access to original scriptures. The Indian form of Buddhist tantra Vajrayana reached China in the 7th century. Tibetan Buddhism was likewise established as a branch of Vajrayana, in the 8th century. But from about this time, the Silk road trade of Buddhism began to decline with the Muslim conquest of Transoxiana e. Battle of Talas , resulting in the Uyghur Khaganate by the s.
This paper considers the process of how the image of Mount Sumeru, the axis mundi of the Indian Buddhist cosmology, was transmitted from the Indo-Iranian cultural sphere to the Chinese cultural sphere in the fifth and sixth centuries. The research focus is mainly on the representations of Mt. In Dunhuang, on the other hand, the earliest-extant Sumeru representation clearly shows the visual syncretism of Buddhist and Taoist cosmologies. This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution. Lower levels of heaven are located on Mt. Kirfel : —; Kloetzli : 29; Dietz : ; Zin : fn. The wall paintings of this cave were partly detached by the third and fourth German expeditions, and brought to Berlin.
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The spread of Buddhism from its Indian homeland through western and eastern Central. Asia to China in the first centuries of our era was one of such movements.
Art of the Americas. Buddhist art is the artistic practices that are influenced by Buddhism. It includes art media which depict Buddhas , bodhisattvas , and other entities; notable Buddhist figures, both historical and mythical; narrative scenes from the lives of all of these; mandalas and other graphic aids to practice; as well as physical objects associated with Buddhist practice, such as vajras , bells, stupas and Buddhist temple architecture.
Spreading from India to Central and Southeast Asia , China , Korea, and Japan , Buddhism has played a central role in the spiritual, cultural, and social life of Asia , and, beginning in the 20th century, it spread to the West. Ancient Buddhist scripture and doctrine developed in several closely related literary languages of ancient India, especially in Pali and Sanskrit. In this article Pali and Sanskrit words that have gained currency in English are treated as English words and are rendered in the form in which they appear in English-language dictionaries. Exceptions occur in special circumstances—as, for example, in the case of the Sanskrit term dharma Pali: dhamma , which has meanings that are not usually associated with the term dharma as it is often used in English. Pali forms are given in the sections on the core teachings of early Buddhism that are reconstructed primarily from Pali texts and in sections that deal with Buddhist traditions in which the primary sacred language is Pali.
Can be downloaded as a. Part of an online exhibit "organized as part of Silk Road Seattle, a collaborative public education project exploring cultural interaction across Eurasia from the first century BCE to the sixteenth century CE. Knapp, examines China, from CE, early medieval Europe from CE, and the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties CE in the Arab world to delineate a common set of characteristics that can be called "medieval" across Eurasia. With 10 related artworks. Also includes a map.
Early Buddhist Art of China and Central Asia
Volume 1. Leiden and Boston: Brill, Maps, 16 colored plates, 67 black-and-white plates, figures. Names and terms are given according to the Wade-Giles system. Since pinyin is the official romanization of the People's Republic, with a population of over one billion, it is perhaps advisable to supplement Wade-Giles with pinyin in either the text or glossary of a scholarly publication like this one. Included in part 1 is a social and political history of China at the time of the introduction of Buddhism during the Western former and Eastern later Han, along with translations of some Buddhist texts.
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