Buddhist Art in Asia

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    About the Author

    Dr AS Bhalla ( MA Cantab; Ph.D Manchester) is a former Fellow ofSidney Sussex College, Cambridge, UK. His recent publications

    include the Royal Tombs of India: 13th

    to 18th

    Century (Mapin, 2009);and Poverty and Exclusion of Minorities in China and India (PalgraveMacmillan, 2013).

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    To Praveen, Ranjan and Arman

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    A . S . B h a l l a

    B U D D H I S T A R T I N A S I A

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    Copyright A. S. Bhalla (2014)

    The right of A. S. Bhalla to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the

    Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by anymeans, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,without the prior permission of the publishers.

    Any person who commits any unauthorized act in relation to this

    publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims fordamages.

    A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the BritishLibrary.

    ISBN 978 1 78455 059 2


    First Published (2014)Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.25 Canada SquareCanary Wharf

    LondonE14 5LB

    Printed and bound in Great Britain

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    The publisher and author acknowledge the following for their help andcopyright clearance:

    Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) (New Delhi) for Figs. 33 and 34

    (Chapter 6) taken from Ajanta Murals: An Album of Eighty-five Reproductions in Colour edited by A. Ghosh (New Delhi, 1987) and for Fig.39 supplied by the ASI.

    Attinger SA of Neuchtel (Switzerland) for Fig. 59 (Chapter 9) taken fromThailande: Art et religion (Neuchtel, 1974), Audio-Visual Department(DAV) of the Library of the City of Chaux-de-Fonds, Fernand Perret Fund.

    Terence Faircloth, Atelier Teee, Inc., California for Fig. 58 (Chapter 9)

    downloaded from the website:sacreddestinations.com.

    Dr John Listopad of California State University Sacramento for Fig. 49(Chapter 8) taken from Art from Thailand edited by Robert L. Brown (Mumbai, Marg Publications, December 1999).

    British Museum, London, for Figs. 9, 10 and 11 (Chapter 2) and Figs. 30, 31and 32 (Chapter 5), Trustees of the British Museum.

    Kolkata Museum for Fig. 29 (Chapter 5), taken by the author.

    Lahore Museum (Pakistan) for Fig. 6 (Chapter 2) taken by Ranjan Bhalla.

    Oriental Museum, Lisbon (Portugal) and the Berardo Collection for Fig.1,taken by the author.

    Wikipedia for Fig. 12 (Chapter 2).

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    List of Figures and Tables 7

    Preface 9

    Chapter 1 11

    Buddhism in India and Abroad

    Chapter 2 24

    Buddhist Art in Asia

    Chapter 3 51

    Bodhgaya: The Seat of Enlightenment

    Chapter 4 64

    Sarnath: Site of the First Sermon

    Chapter 5 74

    The Stupas of Sanchi, Bharhut and Amaravati

    Chapter 6 89

    The Cave Temples of Ajanta, Ellora and Karle

    Chapter 7 103

    The Temples and Sculptures of Angkor

    Chapter 8 121

    The Temples and Paintings of Ayutthaya

    Chapter 9 134

    The Temples of Bangkok

    Glossary 147

    Bibliography 150

    Illustration Credits 159

    Index 160

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    L i s t o f F i g u r e s a n d Ta b l e s

    1. Bodhisattvas Lokesvara and Manjushri, China2. Sarnath stupas, India3. San Fa Si pagodas, Dali, China4. A stupa, Wat Arun, Bangkok, Thailand5. A Japanese pagoda, Nikko Toshogu Shrine6. An emaciated Buddha, Gandhara, Pakistan7. A standing Buddha, Sarnath, India8. A Khmer Buddha, Angkor Thom, Cambodia

    9. Buddha footprints, Amaravati, India10. A medallion showing worship of Buddha relics, Amaravati, India11 A relief showing worshippers, a throne and Buddhas feet, Amaravati,

    India12. A rock painting from Sirigiya, Sri Lanka13. Banteay Srei temple, Cambodia14. Stone carvings, Banteay Srei15. Mahabodhi temple, Bodhgaya16. Granite railing, Bodhgaya Museum

    17. Current railing around the temple18. Daijokyo Buddha of Japan, Bodhgaya19. Great Buddha, Kamakura, Japan20. Tibetan temple and monastery, Bodhgaya21. A Buddha statue and tantric decorations, Bhutanese temple22. Clay carvings, Bhutanese temple23. Dhamekh Stupa, Sarnath24. Floral and geometric patterns on the Dhamekh stupa25. A decorated pediment, Sarnath

    26. Round stone pillars, Sarnath27. Great Stupa, Sanchi28. Northern gateway to the Great Stupa, Sanchi 29. A Bharhut yaksi30. A limestone pillar showing the conversion of Nanda, Amaravati31. Great Departure of Prince Siddharatha, Amaravati32. Floral decoration on a limestone pillar, Amaravati33. Round floral decorations, Ajanta34. A close-up of an apsara, Ajanta35. Carvings on the facade of Cave 19, Ajanta36. Nagaraja and his consort, facade of Cave 19, Ajanta37. Chaitya interior with a standing Buddha, Ajanta38. Facade of Cave 10 (Carpenters cave), Ellora 39. A loving couple on the facade of the Karle monastery40. A naga hood, Angkor Thom

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    41. Nagas on a pediment, Banteay Srei42. General view of Angkor Wat43. Painted ceiling and columns, Angkor Wat44. A group of dancing apsaras, Angkor Wat45. Demon gods, Angkor Thom

    46. Bodhisattvas as guardians, Angkor Thom47. Khmer army marching into battle, Bayon48. A devata from the central sanctuary, Bayon49. A jataka scene on a wall painting, Wat Ratchburana, Ayutthaya50. Wat Mahathat behind a meditating Buddha, Ayutthaya51. Khmer-style central tower, Wat Ratchburana, Ayutthaya52. Stupas of Wat Ratchburana, Ayutthaya53. Golden Buddha statue in royal attire, Wat Na Phra Men, Ayutthaya54. A close-up of the reclining Buddha, Wat Po, Bangkok

    55. Buddhas feet with mother -of-pearl inlay, Wat Po, Bangkok56. Wat Arun from the river, Bangkok57. Temple guardians, Wat Arun, Bangkok58. General view of Wat Phra Keo, Bangkok59. A mur al painting depicting a scene from Buddhas life, Bangkok


    Table 2.1Ancient Indian dynasties and patronage of Buddhist art

    Table 4.1Differences between Sarnath and Mathura images of Buddha

    Table 5.1Characteristics of the railings in Sanchi, Bharhut, Amaravati and Bodhgaya

    Table 7.1Temples of Angkor

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    P r e f a c e

    Buddhism, which originated in India in the sixth century BC, faded into nearoblivion by the thirteenth century. However, it spread to other countries in Asia,and along with it, Buddhist art. Tracing the Indian influence on Buddhist art inAsia is a central theme of the book.

    Why did Buddhism disappear in India? This question has not yet found asatisfactory answer. Some scholars and historians believe that Buddhism was sotolerant of other faiths that it was gradually reabsorbed by the Hindu tradition. Itmay have lasted as long as it received royal patronage during Ashokas reignand that of his successors. This religion was also popular among the mercantilecommunity which provided financial support to the Buddhist temples andmonasteries. The decline of the mercantile community may have lowered thestatus of Buddhism. Lack of resources to sustain a new religion may havefurther contributed to its downfall. The arrival of Islam in India in the thirteenthcentury was perhaps the final blow to Buddhism.

    Chapter 1 presents a brief history of Buddhism in South Asia, SoutheastAsia and East Asia as a background to a discussion of monuments (temples,monasteries, stupas), sculpture (Buddha statues, medallions and relief panels) aswell as paintings in Ajanta, Bodhgaya, Ellora, Karle Sarnath and Sanchi inIndia, Angkor in Cambodia, and Ayutthaya and Bangkok in Thailand. It

    examines reasons for the spread and later downfall of Buddhism in India and itsexpansion in countries such as Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Sri Lanka andThailand.

    Chapter 2 discusses the patronage of Buddhist art by kings, rich merchantsand ordinary people as well as Indian influence on Buddhist art in South Asiaand the rest of Asia particularly Southeast Asia (that is, Cambodia, Indonesiaand Thailand). There are wide variations in the features of Buddhist art(especially Buddha sculptures) across countries and regions. We examinewhether these differences are due to history, culture, legends or geography.

    Early conservative form of Buddhism did not present Buddha in a human form.His presence was shown by such symbols as the Wheel of Law, lotus, a tree,footprints, a stupa and an empty throne. However, later the form of Buddhism

    broke away from the above symbolism and allowed Buddhas humanembodiment for worship. Buddha sculptures grew rapidly throughout Asia andreplaced the earlier symbols.

    Chapter 3 on Bodhgaya discusses its importance as a Buddhist holy placewhere Buddha attained enlightenment. It is a small town of internationalsignificance. It contains Buddhist temples and monasteries built by Bhutan,

    Burma (Myanmar), China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Tibet (China), whichrepresent different styles of architecture. Similarly, Buddhist sculptures varyfrom temple to temple.

    Sarnath is another important Buddhist holy place where Buddha deliveredhis first sermon. At the end of the first sermon, five monks became the firstmembers

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