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History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura, ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE

Indian art and architecture, works of art and architecture produced on the Indian subcontinent, which is now divided among India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Introduction Although a great deal of Indian secular art was produced, it was essentially made of perishable material and has not survived.

What has survived in the medium of stone is religious art. In both Buddhist and Hindu art, symbolism in gesture, posture, and attribute contains many levels of meaning. In images of the Buddha, different hand positions mudras signify religious states, such as the Enlightenment Nirvana , Meditation, and Preaching.

In Hindu sculpture, deities see Vishnu , Krishna , and Shiva are frequently represented with many hands to indicate their power to perform multiple deeds at the same time, and the hands each carry their characteristic attributes. With the exception of Mughal art and architecture , which demands separate treatment, the major trends in Indian art—Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain—are discussed within this article.

Indus Valley Civilization The earliest Indian art emerged from the valley of the Indus River during the second half of the 3d millennium BC The best-known sites are Harappa, destroyed in the 19th cent. Houses, markets, storage facilities, offices, and public baths were arranged in a gridlike scheme.

There was also a highly developed drainage system. The Indus civilization produced many statuettes made of steatite and limestone. Some statuettes resemble the hieratic style of contemporary Mesopotamia, while others are done in the smooth, sinuous style that is the prototype of later Indian sculpture, in which the plastic modeling reveals the animating breath of life prana.

Also found in this region are square steatite seals adorned with a range of animals, including naturalistically rendered bulls; ceramic storage jars with simple, stylized designs; toys with wheels; and figurines, which may be mother goddesses. Bronze weapons, tools, and sculptures indicate a sophistication in craftsmanship rather than a major aesthetic development.

However, the principles of Indian architecture were developed in wooden buildings, long since disintegrated. From the great Maurya dynasty the most famous remains are the edict pillars, erected throughout N India by the Emperor Asoka to proclaim his devotion to Buddhism.

The monolithic, smooth columns are over 50 ft 15 m high and are surmounted by lotus capitals and animal figures. Some of the pillar capitals reveal forms that suggest Persepolitan influences. Also dating from the reign of Asoka is the earliest stone ogival chaitya window, found on the portal of a small rock-cut sanctuary near Bodh Gaya. The chaitya halls were monastic sanctuaries hewn out of rock. As they evolved, from the 3d cent.

BC through the 1st millennium AD, they became elaborate colonnaded halls, or walls embellished with painting or sculpture. Sunga and Andhra Dynasties The earliest extant stupas date from the Sunga dynasty 2d—1st cent. BC and early Andhra dynasty 1st cent. These relic mounds are surrounded by railings and gateways covered with carved ornament. One of the main stupas is at Bharhut, where the sculpture is archaic in character.

Relief medallions of the Buddha's life or of the jatakas tales of his previous lives are shallow cut, with all the incidents of each story arranged within a single composition.

The bodies of semidivine beings including yakshis female tree spirits are flattened against the pillar of which they form part; prana is still emphasized. The important stupa at Sanchi shows a similar style. Important carvings on the gateways of another stupa at Sanchi date from the early Andhra period. The yakshis have acquired full, graceful forms, and high-relief compositions are frequently conceived in a continuous method of narration. The carved railing from Bodh Gaya, the place of the Buddha's enlightenment, and the earliest surviving wall paintings are also early Andhra; paintings in the rock-cut cave at Ajanta narrate the Buddha's birth as an elephant and the entire synopsis of historic life.

In the far south, in the Deccan, the later Andhra dynasty continued to flourish into the 1st cent. AD The complex but coherent composition, the chiaroscuro, and the liveliness of the crowded surfaces distinguish these bas-reliefs.

Gandhara and Mathura Under the Kushans, conquerors from central Asia, two of India's most important styles were developed between the 2d and 5th cent. AD: Gandhara art and art of Mathura. Gandhara art, named after the region of Gandhara now in Pakistan, presents some of the earliest images of the Buddha. Earlier at Bharhut and Sanchi, the Buddha's presence was represented by symbols, such as the pipal tree, the wheel of life, footprints, and an empty throne.

The Gandhara style was profoundly influenced by 2d-century Hellenistic art and was itself highly influential in central and eastern Asia. Ivories and imported glass and lacquerware attest to the cosmopolitan tastes and extensive trade that characterized the period. Stupas and monasteries were adorned with relief friezes, often carved in dark schist, showing figures in classical poses with flowing Hellenistic draperies.

Farther east and south, contemporary Mathura, also under Kushan rule, created a wholly Indian sculptural art. Reddish limestone was the usual medium. More sensuous, heavier Buddhas whose limbs are created according to canonical instructions, smile directly at their worshipers.

Reliefs of the yakshis carved against railing pillars are more frankly sensual and erotic than those at Sanchi. Buddhist iconography was developed in Gandhara. Mathura, however, preserved and developed Indian forms for three centuries. The Gupta Period Buddhist art flourished during this period, which has often been described as a golden age. A famous rock-cut monastery at Ajanta consists of several chaitya halls and numerous residential viharas.

Both facades and interiors contain elegant relief sculpture, while interiors are covered with painted murals that feature superb figures drawn with a gracefully sinuous line. As in all periods, there is little difference in the images of the major Indian religions, Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain.

Large stone figures, stone and terra-cotta reliefs, and large and small bronzes are made in the refined Gupta style; the level of production is uniformly high. After the 7th cent. Images in bronze and in hard black stone from Nalanda and elsewhere reveal a development of the Gupta manner, with extensive attention to ornamental details.

Architecture and Sculpture of the Hindu Dynasties From the 6th cent. An entrance portico led to a pillared hall mandapa into the cella. The shrine was often crowned by a large tower known as the shikhara. In S India the Dravida tower rose in a series of terraces, each symbolizing a different divinity; in the north, nagara spires ascended in a massive conical shape.

Innumerable temples were built that were so exuberantly embellished with sculpture that their style is called "sculptural architecture. The Jain temples at Mt. Abu, constructed entirely of imported white marble and dating from the 10th and 13th cent.

In S India the 7th-century Pallava dynasty introduced the dravida style temple in a number of pyramidal raths temples at Mahabalipuram ; an enormous cliff-face at the site is carved with a life-size representation of gods, men, and beasts, including the elephant family. The dravida style plan was used also in the 8th cent. The Chola dynasty of S India further developed this form in the 11th cent. The dravida style culminated in a series of expanded "temple townships," of which the largest is Srirangam , consisting of seven concentric enclosures.

These ended in the comparatively crude stucco sculptured architecture of 17th-century Mandura. Medieval bronze sculpture was highly developed in S India. The chief subjects were the deities, figures of whom were used for processional and home ritual. Skilled cire-perdue sculptures were produced until the late 19th cent.

Indian Painting Adverse climate and other conditions have injured what wall painting existed. The most famous surviving Buddhist paintings are from the caves at Ajanta. Little is known of Hindu wall painting except for fragments at Ellora and Tanjore see Thanjavur. The earliest Indian manuscript paintings are Buddhist, of the Pala dynasty; they have a delicate color.

The 13th- to 15th-century Jain manuscript illuminations, painted in vivid red, blue, and gold, are most easily recognized by the characteristic protruding farther eye. Rajput miniature painting , which was practiced in N India from the 16th through the 19th cent. It illustrates a variety of Hindu subjects: the ragamala series musical modes , the legendary epics and romances, and particularly Krishna's deeds. Rajput painting is characterized by lyrical landscapes, sinuous grace in the depiction of the human form, and an interest in perspective.

The Modern Era Little of the glorious tradition of Indian artistic achievement survived British rule. Indian artists adapted Western techniques and produced gouache paintings to suit the tastes of European buyers. Patua scrolls, containing swiftly executed watercolor illustrations of many subjects, became one source for the revival of Indian themes during the 20th cent.

A growing nationalist sentiment pervaded Indian art in the early decades of the 20th cent. Bendre, M. Bibliography See H. Zimmer, The Art of Indian Asia 2 vol. Harle, Gupta Sculpture ; J. Guy and J. Beach et al. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. March 4, Retrieved March 04, from Encyclopedia.

Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.

Reference Encyclopedias almanacs transcripts and maps Indian art and architecture. Indian art and architecture columbia. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. More From encyclopedia. Although day-to-day existence took precedence over artistic endeavors, Native Americans beautified even mundane objects in s… Persian Art And Architecture , Persian art and architecture, works of art and structures produced in the region of Asia traditionally known as Persia and now called Iran.

Bounded b… Tibetan Art And Architecture , Tibetan art and architecture Tibetan art and architecture have been almost entirely religious in character see Tibetan Buddhism.

Kushan art and architecture

Indian art and architecture, works of art and architecture produced on the Indian subcontinent, which is now divided among India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Introduction Although a great deal of Indian secular art was produced, it was essentially made of perishable material and has not survived. What has survived in the medium of stone is religious art. In both Buddhist and Hindu art, symbolism in gesture, posture, and attribute contains many levels of meaning. In images of the Buddha, different hand positions mudras signify religious states, such as the Enlightenment Nirvana , Meditation, and Preaching. In Hindu sculpture, deities see Vishnu , Krishna , and Shiva are frequently represented with many hands to indicate their power to perform multiple deeds at the same time, and the hands each carry their characteristic attributes. With the exception of Mughal art and architecture , which demands separate treatment, the major trends in Indian art—Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain—are discussed within this article.

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Kushan art , the art of the Kushan Empire in northern India, flourished between the 1st and the 4th century CE. It blended the traditions of the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara , influenced by Hellenistic artistic canons, and the more Indian art of Mathura. Before invading northern and central India and establishing themselves as a full-fledged empire, the Kushans had migrated from northwestern China and occupied for more than a century these Central Asian Hellenistic lands, where they are thought to have assimilated remnants of Greek populations, Greek culture and Greek art , as well as the languages and scripts which they used in their coins and inscriptions: Greek and Bactrian , which they used together with the Indian Brahmi script. The Gupta Empire incorporated vast portions of central, northern and northwestern India, as far as the Punjab and the Arabian sea , continuing and expanding on the earlier artistic tradition of the Kushans and developing a unique Gupta style. Some traces remain of the presence of the Kushans in the areas of Bactria and Sogdiana.

Kushan, Kushano-Sasanian, and Kidarite Coins [Hardback]

A stupa, literally meaning heap, is a mound-like structure designed to encase Buddhist relics and other holy objects. Stupas exist all over the world and are the oldest Buddhist religious monuments. Originally a simple mound of clay or mud, stupas evolved from simple funerary monuments to become elaborately decorated objects of veneration. Legend has it that following the cremation of Buddha, his ashes were divided into eight parts and distributed among various rulers to be enshrined at special burial mounds.

Kushan art , also spelled Kusana , art produced during the Kushan dynasty from about the late 1st to the 3rd century ce in an area that now includes parts of Central Asia , northern India , Pakistan , and Afghanistan. The Kushans fostered a mixed culture that is best illustrated by the variety of deities—Greco-Roman, Iranian, and Indian—invoked on their coins. At least two major stylistic divisions can be made among artifacts of the period: imperial art of Iranian derivation and Buddhist art of mixed Greco-Roman and Indian sources. The best examples of the former are gold coins issued by the seven Kushan kings, the Kushan royal portraits e.

For many instructors of the art history survey, teaching Asian Art can be intimidating since it falls outside of the parameters of a Western area of expertise. It can be helpful for the instructor as well as the students to find connections between other cultures that have previously been discussed in class. Introducing similarities between what has already been discussed can provide comfort and familiarity before moving into a discussion of Buddhism and Hinduism, concepts that can be challenging to those new to these traditions. It is also helpful to explain to the class that although Buddhism is an outgrowth of Hinduism, there is a specific reason to begin the discussion with Buddhism.

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3 COMMENTS

Karen M.

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The term Kushan art refers to a variety of artistic expressions that developed under the rule of the Kushan dynasty during the first three centuries of the Common Era on a territory spreading broadly between north of the Oxus River and the Gangetic plain in North India.

Maurice M.

REPLY

The temple buildings at Surkh Kotal (Fig. 7), dedicated to the dynastic cult of the Kushans, may be viewed as of representative character. They stand on a hill from​.

Larry B.

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View Kushan art and architecture Research Papers on elmhurstskiclub.org for free. This is a pdf of an extended label accompanying a special display of a Kushan.

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