The present book "Buddhist Art: Sanchi to Early Mathura" deals with the development, adaptation and changes from Sunga art style forms (including the art style of Bharhut, Sanchi Stiipa No. II and other contemporary sites) with special referenc6 to Stupa No. I of Sanchi to early Kusana art of Mathura.
So far no serious research work has been conducted in this direction particularly on Transitional phase of Sunga art to early Kusana art of Mathura, the present book will provide a insight in the development, transformation and evolution of Sunga art to Kusana art.
The objectives of the present book are to understand the following points:
1. Genesis of the Stupa Architecture
2. Symbolism in Buddhist Art: (during 3rd B.C.E) Buddhist Art: during 2' B.C.E. to 185 B.C.E.
3. Transitional phase of the Buddhist art between Sungan to Kusana period.
4. Development and transformation of Buddhist art from Suligan to Kusana period.
An in-depth study of early Buddhist art of Sanchi and Mathura in light of other centers and inscriptional evidences will certainly unfold the factors responsible for the growth, development and transformation of Buddhist sculptures in Mathura, Sanchi and elsewhere in the light of religious, political and administrative developments.
To meet the above objectives a detailed examination of all the facts available through various published sources in various fields of study have been collected and discussed, by dividing the book into seven chapters.
Dr. Archana Asthana is an Archaeologist and Art Historian. She did her M.A. in History from G.G.D. University, Bilaspur. She is a first class first Gold Medalist throughout her academic career, Dr. Archana was awarded P.G. Diploma in Archaeology from Institute of Archaeology, Archaeological Survey of India and D. Phil. Research on "Transitional Phase of Buddhist Art Between §ufiga to Kuskia Period" (with special reference to Sanchi Stupa No. I, to early art of Mathura in the Kusana Period) from National Museum Institute, New Delhi, Dr. Archana has experience of explorations and excavations of many archaeological sites of pre, protohistoric to Historic periods, all her works have been attested by the diversified publicaticn in forms of the book as co-author (Archaeological Heritage of Rig Vedic Saraswati) in press, articles in journals and news papers of national and international repute. She is also visiting faculty at the Kendriya Vidhyalaya, C.C.R.T., S.C.E.R.T. and Institute of Archaeology, Delhi. Presently she is working as Assistant Superintending Archaeologist in Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi.
Dr. Ashwani Asthana is an Archaeologist by field training. He did his M.A. in Ancient Indian History Culture and Archaeology from Osmania University. He stood 1 t in order of merit in P.G Diploma in Archaeology from Institute ofArchaeology, Archaeological Survey of India and D. Phil. Research on "Literary and Archaeological Heritage of Rigvedic Saraswati: (From. 5000 BCE to 1500 BCE)" from Kumaun University, Nainital (UK), Dr. Ashwani has experience of exploration and excavation of about15 years. he has participated in the excavations at Sanghol, Balathal, Kanmer, Nagiari, Dholavira, Mandoli, Vadnagar, Sankisa and other archaeological sites of pre, proto and historic periods, all his works have been attested by the diversified publication in forms of Books as co-author (Archaeological Heritage of Rig Vedic Saraswati) in press and articles in journals of national and international repute. Presently he is teaching and imparting field training to P.G. Student ofArchaeology and Heritage Management for the past 18 years in Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management GNCT Delhi, New Delhi.
It is my pleasure that two of my former students Dr. Archana and Dr. Ashwani Asthanahave produced this well researched book titled "Buddhist Art : Sanchi to Early Mathura" covering the age of evolution and early development of art and architecture of Buddhist panthcon and the period of transition from Sunga to Kushan age when a paradigm shift in conceptualization and execution took pace and the abstract nature as well as symbolism in art moved towards realism as per the demand of the time and also influences of folk art traditions combined with foreign art styles due to close interaction, As such the local traditions of Yaksha worship and technical execution influenced by the Hellenistic art influenced the art of the phase. The scholar couple has successfully analyzed details of both the phases of early Buddist Art of India which paved the way to reach to the stage of future classicism. The transitional phase had to pass through a phenomenon in which conceptualization of econometric and iconography was researched by contemporary scholars, artists and implementing authorities with approval of the monastic standard canonical discipline.
The exposition of the transitional phse is explicit in the iconography of anthropomorphic evolution of Buddist art as well as in the architecture of stupas, shrines and monastic embellishments. The artists received directions form the tradition of Buddhist, Brahamanical and Jaina panthcons and from various Buddhist councils which determined the way of life for both monks and laity and decided about the patterns of worship as well Archaeological material belonging to the phase under study in forms of sculptures and structures confirm the developments which took place during the formative years of their tangible art which gave birth to different schools of art in India in coming years and thus influencing the art and architecture of various regions of Asia where Buddhism became popular later, I am sure this well researched work would prove very much informative for both researchers and general readers. I wish the authors all success.
The working on the present book "Buddhist Art: Sanchi to Early Mathura" in fact started long back in our mind, when we were on tour to the Buddhist sites and Museums of India along with other archaeological sites. Once, we discussed some of our thoughts about the development, transformation and evolution of Suinga art to Kusaua art and their interrelating art features with our teachers of Art and Archaeology, Late Dr. S.P. Gupta, Late Shri. J.P. Joshi, Late Shri, M.C. Joshi, Late Shri R.C. Mishra, Dr. B.R. Mani. All expressed one thing saying "Is it possible to trace in realm"? "If you feel so, both of you start research on these issues."
We humbly approached Dr. B.R. Mani for detailed discussions on the various issues pertaining to the subject, and for seeking his suggestions and guidance. The conspicuous question which emerged at the end of the discussion was that, how far the early Buddhist art of Sanchi and Mathura in light of other centers, keeping in mind the literary, inscriptional and numismatic evidences will unfold the process of the growth, development and transformation of Buddhist sculptural art in Mathura, Sanchi and elsewhere in light of religious, political and administrative developments?
We started working on the topic as per his guidance and advice on the issue by presenting and publishing our research papers in national and international seminars, conferences, books and journals, to know the truth and reality of the problem. It is common knowledge that the subject is vast and voluminous, much has been written on it. Even now each year several research volumes are produced. But, why! What is so very special about this subject? Just, because today we know so little about it. The scholars are still working on the issue around the world, but they are working only in their specific fields of specialization, but not undertaking interdisciplinary approach in the subject matter.
The present book has been written with an interdisciplinary approach on the subject, taking into account of all the available published facts and figures of almost all the researches done so far by the expert researchers from different fields of studies for analysis under one roof, just to examine and understand the process of growth, adaptation, development and transformation of art form and various factors responsible for the entire process. A the initial stage of the research work it was felt a necessity and need of the hour to present the Buddhist art, from the beginning to the time of the Kusanas, when the Buddhist art was almost developed; and reached to its zenith during the time of Gupta period. The present work deals with the emergence, evolution, development and transformation of sculptural art from Suirga to Kusarra period. The book is divided into seven chapters as briefly described below, to make it understandable to the common people and specially students of art history to appraise about the continuous and uninterrupted evidence of Indian Sculptural Art Heritage.
(1) It deals with the emergence of the cult of stapalt also includes the explanation of the symbolism of the cult of stirpa from the earliest time to the days of Buddhism. The literary evidences of this has been found mentioned in .."atapatha Brahmana, Mahaparinibban Sutta, Mahavarbsa etc. 2) Much attention has been given to the Sarnath lion capital with special reference to its symbolic meaning. 3) The Buddhist art has been discovered as seen at Bharhut and other contemporary sites like Bodhgaya, Pauni, Sanchi Stapa No. II, Katar (Musanagar, U.P.) etc., In stirpa No. II at Sanchi a sculpture, carved in the medallion, has been identified as naga king Muchalinda. 4) It deals with more stylish and intricate phase of Buddhist art of Sanchi. An attempt has also been made to identify some unidentified sculptures carved in the stilpa No. I, for example identification of naga Sudarfana, Kamdeva and Rati. 5) It deals with the early sculptural art of Mathura discussing the early sculptures of Maurya and Sunga period. Factual descriptions of the sculptures of Buddhist, Brahmanical and Jain sects have been described in this chapter. 6) All the aspects of sculptural art, during the transitional phase have been discussed in this chapter. Transitional phase is evidently witnessed in the gyagapammas depicting symbols and jinx figures. 7) It deals with the fully developed form of Buddha / Bodhisattva figures. Iconography of these figures were the result of combined features of ascetic and clialcravartin elements except for halo which is the Iranian influence, and is known as liven-' or the disk of divine glory.
We hope that in posterity the present research work in form of this book, will not only throw new light on the studies of sungan - Kusaria art, but will also help the students of art history in their further researches.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Language & Literature (442)
Sacred Sites (102)
Tantric Buddhism (87)
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