Asian Art History

Both Buddhist and Hindu art are basically connected with their culture. Buddhist art According to Sandanshiv, is connected with culture which is developed through education. He explained that there cannot be culture without education, that is why the earliest world universities at Nalanda, Valabhi, Vikrasila and Takshasila were established by the Buddhist. Sandanshiv pointed out that Buddhist culture, its fruits in the form of fine arts, humanities and science are the express of wisdom, without superstitions and supernaturalism.

The fusion of Hinduism and Buddhism in Indian art, it is important to know first about their culture to understand clearly. Sandanshiv said: “culture which is derived from a word meaning “Tilling”, can be looked at from three points of view. First of all, it is the act of developing the intellectual, aesthetic, moral and social nature of man through education and discipline. Secondly, it is that knowledge in the fine arts, humanities and science that refined state of mind which such education tends to induce.

Thirdly, it is those objects which are the effect in the artist and the cause of the refinement referred to. The thing cultivated by education is a mental development and improvement in intelligence in raising to higher levels the intelligent quotient. Its fruits of such cultivation are manifested and found in fine arts, creative expression and scientific findings and their application in practical life through technology and mass production of socially useful goods and services.

For Buddhist culture must be able to function as means to enlightenment and since the fine arts like painting, music, poetry, science like physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, humanities like psychology and geography are by reason of their greater intellectual and emotional appeal to heighten consciousness to higher levels, Buddhism is not intimately connected”. (Sandanshiv 18-19). The various schools of Buddhist art of each era blended with the previous and added its distinct touch.

Detailed explanations are provided for the Buddha statues, their characteristics, different postures and subtle variations in the folds of the robes. Buddhist art is a popular nomenclature to distinguish one group of monuments, including painting, cave-temples and architecture, etc. , from another stand point of the predominance of one or the other religious theme. In the other hand, Indian art, according to Havell In his book “Indian Sculpture and Painting” thought that Indian art was conceptual, aiming at the realization of ‘something finer and subtle than ordinary physical beauty.

The image that the Indian created came from inside his head; he had no need of a goose-pimpled model posing uncomfortably in his studio. His achievement was not that of capturing real life in art, but of giving birth to an abstract ideal. He said: “A figure with three heads, and four, six or eight arms, seems to a European a barbaric conception, though it is not less physiologically impossible than the wings growing from the human scapula in the European representation of angels.

But it is altogether foolish to condemn such artistic allegories a priori because they do not conform to the canons of the classic art of Europe. All art is suggestion and convention, and if Indian artists can suggest divine attributes to Indian people with Indian culture, they have fulfilled the purpose of their art. ” Just as angels are given wings, or saints halos, or just as the Holy Spirit was portrayed as a dove, so Shiva or Vishnu were given extra arms to hold the symbols of their various attributes, or extra heads for their different roles.

Havell showed how consummately the Indian artist could handle movement. Taking the example of the famous Nataraja (dancing Shiva) bronzes of south India, he first explored its symbolism. No work of Indian art is without a wealth of allegory and symbol, ignorance of which was, and still is, a major stumbling block for most non-Indians. He says: “Art will always be caviar to the vulgar, but those who would really learn and understand it should begin with Indian art, for true Indian art is pure art, stripped of the superfluities and vulgarities which delight the uneducated eye.

Yet Indian art, being more subtle and recondite than the classical art of Europe, requires a higher degree of artistic understanding, and it rarely appeals to European dilettanti, who with a smattering of perspective, anatomy, and rules of proportion added to their classical scholarship, aspire to be art critics, amateur painters, sculptors or architects, and these unfortunately have the principal voice in art administration in Indian. ” (Havel, E. B. 24-69).

Although Buddhism and Hinduism had differences and conflict as Ninan in his book “Development of Hinduism” says, that the presence of Buddha remained a thorn to the Hinduism, but in art they had fusion in Indian. ( Ninan M. M 34). During the Southernization in China 350 C. E, and through its influence which create a great impact on China, and there was cultural exchange between China and India, which at that time the Buddhism became very important in China. And as late as ninth century India admired and appreciated by an influential Arabic writer Amr ibn Bahr al Jajiz. Shaffer, L. 8 ).

Meanwhile, the specific example of iconography as I read the book, I observed that The beauty of cult objects is believed to contribute to their power as sacred instruments, and their ornamentation is held to facilitate the process of inviting the divine power into them. Statues of gods are not intended to imitate ideal human forms but to express the supernatural. A divine figure is a “likeness” (pratima), a temporary benevolent or terrifying expression of some aspect of a god’s nature.

Iconographic handbooks attach great importance to the ideology behind images and reveal, for example, that Vishnu’s eight arms stand for the four cardinal and intermediate points of the compass and that his four faces, illustrating the concept of God’s fourfoldness, typify his strength, knowledge, lordship, and potency. The emblems express the qualities of their bearers—e. g. , a deadly weapon symbolizes destructive force, many-headedness omniscience. Much use is made of gestures (mudras); for example, the raised right hand, in the “fear-not” gesture (abhaya-mudra), bestows protection.

Every iconographic detail has its own symbolic value, helping devotees to direct their energy to a deeper understanding of the various aspects of the divine and to proceed from external to internal worship. For many Indians, a consecrated image is a container of concentrated divine energy, and Hindu theists maintain that it is an instrument for ennobling the worshiper who realizes God’s presence in it (Hinduism). From the web site source the author explained, Like literature and the performing arts, the visual arts contributed to the perpetuation of myths.

Images sustain the presence of the god: when Devi is shown seated on her lion, advancing against the buffalo demon, she represents the affirmative forces of the universe and the triumph of divine power over wickedness. Male and female figures in uninterrupted embrace, as in Shaiva iconography, signify the union of opposites and the eternal process of generation. In Hindu sculpture the tendency is toward hieratic poses of a god in a particular conventional stance (murti; image), which, once fixed, perpetuates itself. An icon is a frozen incident of a myth.

For example, one murti of Shiva is the “destruction of the elephant,” in which Shiva appears dancing before and below a bloody elephant skin that he holds up before the image of his horrified consort; the stance is the summary of his triumph over the elephant demon. A god may also appear in a characteristic pose while holding in his multitudinous hands his various emblems, on each of which hangs a story. Lovers sculpted on temples are auspicious symbols on a par with foliage, water jars, and other representatives of fertility.

Carvings, such as those that appear on temple chariots, tend to be more narrative; even more so are the miniature paintings of the Middle Ages. A favorite theme in the latter is the myth of the cowherd god Krishna and his love of the cowherdesses (gopis) (Hinduism). From the web site source the author explained, Like literature and the performing arts, the visual arts contributed to the perpetuation of myths. Images sustain the presence of the god: when Devi is shown seated on her lion, advancing against the buffalo demon, she represents the affirmative forces of the universe and the triumph of divine power over wickedness.

Male and female figures in uninterrupted embrace, as in Shaiva iconography, signify the union of opposites and the eternal process of generation. In Hindu sculpture the tendency is toward hieratic poses of a god in a particular conventional stance (murti; image), which, once fixed, perpetuates itself. An icon is a frozen incident of a myth. For example, one murti of Shiva is the “destruction of the elephant,” in which Shiva appears dancing before and below a bloody elephant skin that he holds up before the image of his horrified consort; the stance is the summary of his triumph over the elephant demon.

A god may also appear in a characteristic pose while holding in his multitudinous hands his various emblems, on each of which hangs a story. Lovers sculpted on temples are auspicious symbols on a par with foliage, water jars, and other representatives of fertility. Carvings, such as those that appear on temple chariots, tend to be more narrative; even more so are the miniature paintings of the Middle Ages. A favorite theme in the latter is the myth of the cowherd god Krishna and his love of the cowherdesses (gopis) (Hinduism).

Despite the fundamental differences between both the religions, Hinduism and Buddhism influenced each other in many ways. The Buddhist notion of non-injury and compassion toward all living beings took deep roots in the Indian soil, while Mahayana Buddhism took cue from the traditional Indian methods of devotional worship. Buddhism influenced the growth and development of Indian art and architecture and contributed richly to the practice of breathing and meditation in attaining mindfulness and higher states of consciousness. The Hindu tantra influenced the origin and evolution of Vajrayana Buddhism.