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Article

T. I. Zeymal’

Buddhist monastery of the 7th century ad to first half of the 8th, in the valley of the Vakhsh River, 12 km east of Kurgan-Tyube, southern Tajikistan. During this early medieval period it belonged to Vakhsh (U-sha in Chinese sources), one of the 27 domains of Tokharistan. Excavations between 1960 and 1975 by the Academy of Sciences, Tajikistan, and the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, exposed the entire site; most of the finds are on loan to the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. The buildings, which covered an area of 100×50 m, were constructed of mud-bricks (c. 490×250×110 mm) and rammed earth, with walls surviving to a height of 5.5 to 6.0 m. The site comprised two square complexes linked by an enfilade of three rooms (see fig. (a)). The south-eastern complex or monastery (b) had domed cells (c) for monks, a hall or refectory (d), service quarters, store-rooms and a small sanctuary (e). An open courtyard in the centre had a fired brick path across it, linking the enfilade to the sanctuary. A corridor around the perimeter of the courtyard was divided into four right-angled sections by a deep iwan, or vestibule, in the middle of each side. One of these vestibules led into the sanctuary, the second into the meeting-hall, the third into the enfilade and the fourth to the monastery exit (j) and also on to a vaulted ramp (k) that originally gave access to the roof and the now lost second storey....

Article

Aihole  

Gary Michael Tartakov

[Aihoḷe, Aivalli; anc. Āryapura, Ayyāvoḷe]

Temple site and city in Karnataka, India, that flourished c. ad 525–1200.

An important centre of the early Chalukya dynasty (see Chalukya, §1), Aihole is situated, like the nearby sites of Pattadakal and Badami, near the Malaprabha River. Little is known of the ancient urban complex, but there are remains of a massive city wall with bastions and fragmentary crenellations. Inscriptions indicate that Aihole was a prominent commercial centre and the home of the ‘Ayyavole Five Hundred’, a corporation of traders and craftsmen. The remains of about 150 temples (in diverse styles) are preserved at the site. The oldest date to the mid-6th century and later examples to the time of the Rashtrakuta dynasty (c. 752–973) and Chalukyas of Kalyana (973–1189; see Chalukya, §2).

The temples at Aihole were first photographed and published in the mid-19th century by Col. Thomas Biggs, Bhau Daji and ...

Article

Robert Knox

[Amarāvatī]

Site near the ancient city of Dharanikota on the right bank of the Krishna River in Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, India, that flourished from the 3rd century bc to the 14th century ad. It is also the location of a modern town, but the site is celebrated for its stupa, which may have been the earliest Buddhist foundation in the region and which certainly came to be its largest and most elaborate (see fig.). It was rediscovered in 1799 as a ruined but largely intact mound by Colonel Colin Mackenzie, first Surveyor General of India. His work in that year and in 1816 led to the excavations conducted in 1845 by Walter Elliot of the Madras Civil Service. Most of the sculptures now in the British Museum, London, were excavated at that time, although part of the Elliot collection remains in the Government Museum, Madras. Unfortunately, between the rediscovery of the stupa and these early excavations, much damage was done to it, with limestone slabs being quarried for building materials by the local residents. The stupa was further excavated in ...

Article

Frederick M. Asher

[anc. Vikramashila, Vikramaśīla]

Site of Buddhist monastery on the River Ganga in Bhagalpur District, Bihar, India. Until recently, the location of the monastery of Vikramashila was known only approximately from Tibetan sources, but excavations at Antichak have almost surely revealed its remains. The monastery was founded by the Pala dynasty monarch Dharmapala (reg c. ad 781–812; see Pala and Sena family). At the middle of the site is a tall brick stupa with a cruciform plan, closely related in form and dimensions to the stupa at Paharpur, also part of a monastic complex built by Dharmapala. Both stupas are set on an elevated terrace for circumambulation and in both cases the lowest portion of the stupa wall (where it survives) is decorated with terracotta plaques. At Antichak these depict mostly animals, human figures and ritual devices (pots, conch shells etc). Although sometimes described as ‘folk art’, they are carefully rendered and appear to be arranged according to a systematic programme. A row of cells forms the site’s outer perimeter, enclosing the large courtyard in which the stupa stands. These may have been intended as dwellings for monks or to accommodate images and likely functioned as the outer rim of the three-dimensional ...

Article

Senake Bandaranayake

[Anurādhapura]

Ancient city and religious centre in north-central Sri Lanka on the Malvatu Oya River. The site (see fig.) extends over an area of about 64 sq. km. At its centre are the vestiges of a fortified inner city, surrounded by several ancient Buddhist monastery complexes and four large, man-made lakes. The founding of Anuradhapura as a major urban complex is traditionally ascribed to the semi-historical figure of the pre-Buddhist period, King Pandukabhaya, in the 4th century bc. Recent excavations indicate the existence of settlement, import ceramics and early writing from a horizon of the 5th century bc or earlier, indicating the possibility of urbanization taking place from c. mid-1st millennium bc. The earliest rock shelter monasteries at the site date from the last few centuries bc.

Anuradhapura was the country’s principal political and religious centre for nearly a millennium and a half, until the closing decades of the 10th century ...

Article

Bonnie Abiko

Period in early Japanese history (see Japan, §I, 2). It is variously defined and dated, depending on the criteria under consideration, but conventional dates are from ad 552 (traditionally the year of the introduction of Buddhism into Japan) to 710, when the imperial capital was moved to Nara. In some contexts, for example ceramics or tomb-building, this century and a half is usually considered part of the Kofun period, while in others it is either termed Asuka (as in discussion of some forms of religious and secular architecture) or subdivided (as for large-scale sculpture) into the Asuka (552–645) and Hakuhō (645–710) periods (the last is also referred to as ‘Early Nara’).

The most far-reaching development in Japan during this period was the formal introduction of Buddhism. When, in 552, the king of Paekche in Korea (Jap. Kudara) presented Emperor Kinmei (reg 531 or 539–71) in Japan with a bronze image of the Buddha, some canopies, banners and copies of Buddhist ...

Article

Gary Michael Tartakov

[ Auraṅgābād]

Buddhist monastic and pilgrimage site—fl c. 100 bcad 600—and later city in Maharashtra, India. Together with Ajanta and Ellora, it represents the culmination of Buddhist rock-cut art along the trade routes of western India. The Buddhist site, located in the hills north-west of the city, contains a dozen excavations, an aniconic prayer-hall (Skt caityag ṛha) of the 1st century bc, two possibly Mahayana Buddhist designs that resemble examples at Ajanta closely enough to be by the same artists, a series of profusely decorated Vajrayana Buddhist ma ṇḍala shrines and a unique syncretic temple combining Brahmanical and Buddhist deities within a single sanctum. The richness and sensuousness of both the architecture and the sculpture is exceptional.

The earliest structure at the site is an aniconic caitya (Cave 4) of the 1st century bc. This prayer-hall was followed in the 5th century ad by two caves in the manner of later Ajanta: Cave 1, a ...

Article

M. Yaldiz

[Bazaklik]

Site in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China, 56 km north-east of Turfan. It is the site of the most outstanding complex of Buddhist cave temples in Khocho and is located in the steep side of an extensive terrace above the Murtuk River. At one time access to the caves was via free-standing timber buildings or terraces constructed in front of them, but by the time the caves were discovered by Albert von Le Coq at the beginning of the 20th century these were largely in ruins. In type the caves conform to those in the Kucha region (see Kizil; see also Central Asia, §II, 2).

The cave temples contained sculptures made of unfired clay, but it was mainly the wall paintings (removed by von Le Coq for safekeeping, few survive; see below) that in their unsurpassable diversity provided evidence of a flourishing Buddhist community. The most impressive were the paintings depicting consecration of a ...

Article

Frederick M. Asher

and Gaya [Bodhgayā and Gayā]

Pilgrimage centres and towns located on the Phalagu (Niranjana) River in Bihar, India. From an early date Gaya has been a site for the performance of śrāddha, rites for recently deceased parents. This ancient tradition and the general sanctity of Gaya in the 5th century bc probably drew Siddhartha Gautama to its outskirts, to the place now known as Bodhgaya, where, following profound meditation, he became a Buddha (Enlightened One). The tree under which he meditated (the bodhi tree) became an object of veneration; initially it was surrounded by a hypaethral temple (Pali bodhighara), the general form of which is known from relief sculptures of the 2nd–1st centuries bc at Bodhgaya and other sites (see also Indian subcontinent, §III, 3). A stone slab (Skt vajrāsana) at the site, dating to the 3rd century bc, carries motifs similar to those found on contemporary Mauryan pillars (see...

Article

R. Soekmono

[Barabudur]

Indonesian monumental site, located in central Java, c. 40 km north-west of Yogyakarta. Indonesia’s largest religious monument, Candi Borobudur was erected c. ad 800 to glorify the founder of the ruling Buddhist dynasty of the Shailendras. In addition to demonstrating high esteem for the ancestors, it was also intended to express in visual form the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. This dual purpose accounts for its unique plan. The stepped pyramid surmounted by a stupa symbolizes the merit accumulated by the dynasty along the way shown by the Buddha. Candi Borobudur was constructed on a natural hill some 15 m above the extensive Kedu Plain. The construction required about two million blocks of volcanic stone. Rising from a redented square base 107×107×3.7 m, the monument is set back 6 m from its edge, so that a broad platform is created. Each of the five succeeding square terraces is set back just 2 m from the one below, forming narrow galleries that have balustrades on their outer sides. The superstructure, set on the uppermost square terrace, is composed of three circular platforms, each of which supports a ring of latticed stupas or dagobs (72 in total). Surmounting the whole edifice is an unlatticed central stupa, the top of which is more than 30 m above ground-level. Access to the upper part of the monument is by stairways on the axes that bisect the sides of the pyramid. They lead through a series of gates directly to the circular platforms, intersecting the corridors of the square terraces....

Article

Donald F. McCallum

[Kuratsukuri no Tori; Shiba Kuratsukuribe no Obito Tori]

(fl early 7th century).

Japanese sculptor. He is associated with the inception of Buddhist image production in Japan and is generally considered to be the first great master of Japanese Buddhist sculpture (see also Japan §V 3., (i)). Tori Busshi is believed to have worked on the most important monumental sculpture of the Asuka period (c. 552–710), the bronze Great Buddha (Jap. Daibutsu) enshrined in the Asukadera (Japan’s first fully fledged temple complex, on the Yamato Plain c. 25 km from Nara). In addition, his name is inscribed on the mandorla of the gilt-bronze Shaka Triad of the Golden Hall (Kondō) at Hōryūji in Nara (623). He may, however, have operated primarily as a supervisor rather than a craftsman. Scholars usually associate most Asuka period images with his studio, which produced work modelled on the stone sculpture of Chinese Buddhist cave temples of the Northern Wei period (386–535). This is termed ...

Article

Butkara  

E. Errington

[from Pers. butkada, ‘house of images’]

Group of three sites east of Saidu Sharif, Swat, Pakistan. The sacred precinct of the great Buddhist stupa at Butkara I (3rd century bc–10th century ad) and the graveyard known as Butkara II (c. 4th century bc) were excavated by the Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Extremo Oriente; Butkara III, a smaller Buddhist site (c. 1st–4th century ad), was excavated by the Department of Archaeology, Peshawar University. Finds are in the Swat Museum, Saidu Sharif, the Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, Rome, and the Department of Archaeology Museum at Peshawar University.

Butkara II, a necropolis of 48 tombs, pre-dates the arrival of Buddhism in the area. The burials were of two types: inhumation, with funeral vases, some jewellery and, occasionally, weapons or working utensils; and cremation, the burnt bones being placed in a large closed jar encircled by funerary vases. The red or grey wheelmade pottery was glazed and polished, with some incised decoration. Only one painted fragment and two terracotta figurines (one animal, one human) were found. The graves were identified by ...

Article

Joan Stanley-Baker

[ Wu Daoxuan, Wu Tao-hsüan ; Wu Tao-tzu ]

(b Yangzhe [modern Yu xian, Henan Province]; fl c. ad 710–60).

Chinese painter . Later known as Wu Daoxuan, he is a legendary figure said to have depicted human beings, landscapes, architecture, Buddhist deities, demons, birds and animals. Reportedly, he derived his inspiration from wine and had a mercurial, responsive brushstyle, producing breathtaking vistas of natural scenery and figures across vast areas of temple wall.

Hearing of his extraordinary talents, the Emperor Xuanzong (Minghuang; reg 712–56) summoned Wu to his palace at Chang’an (modern Xi’an). Between 742 and 755 the emperor dispatched Wu to the Jialing River in Sichuan Province to paint the scenery. On his return, Wu stated, ‘I have made no draft, but have committed all to memory.’ He proceeded to paint the walls of the hall known as the Datong dian with 300 or more li (c. 150 km) of Jialing River scenery in a single day. Five dragons in the Inner Hall, painted by Wu on another occasion, supposedly had scales so lifelike that each time it was about to rain, they emitted misty vapours (the dragon symbolized imperial power over rain and irrigation). Contemporary accounts report that Wu covered 300–400 wall surfaces in Buddhist and Daoist temples in the two Tang-dynasty (...

Article

Henrik H. Sørensen

[Teng-feng.]

County in Henan Province, China, east of the city of Luoyang. The presence of Mt Song (also called Mt Xiaoshi, Mt Songyue or Mt Songgao) means that the county is primarily known as a centre of Buddhism. Mt Song was a Buddhist sanctuary as early as the Three Kingdoms period (ad 220–80). When Emperor Xiaowendi (reg ad 471–99) of the Northern Wei (386–534) moved the dynastic capital from Datong in north-western Shanxi Province to Luoyang, the mountain was selected as an ideal place to establish Buddhist temples.

The Fawang Temple (Fawang si) is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary on Mt Song, supposedly dating to ad 234. It features a large, square, brick pagoda of the mid-8th century ad, 15 storeys and 40 m high, built in the same style as the Xiaoyan ta (Small Wild Goose Pagoda) in Xi’an. Other buildings in the Fawang Temple, including the Precious Hall of the Great Hero (the main hall), the Hall of the Four Heavenly Kings and the Ksitigarbha Hall, date from the Qing period (...

Article

Dorothy C. Wang

[Tun-huang.]

Site of Buddhist cave sanctuaries located 25 km south-east of the county town of Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China. In the wider definition Dunhuang also includes the Yulin caves at Anxi and the Xi qianfo dong (Western Cave of the Thousand Buddhas). From the 4th century to the 14th, Buddhist cave sanctuaries were continuously carved out in four or five tiers on the cliff face of an alluvial hill that faces east over the Dang River. At its height as a Buddhist complex in the 8th century ad, the complex is believed to have comprised more than 1000 caves. A total of 492 caves with wall paintings and sculptures survive, the earliest of which date to the early 5th century ad. A hoard of old and rare manuscripts was also found at Dunhuang, including the world’s oldest complete printed book (see China, People’s Republic of, §XIV, 3).

Dunhuang was first established as a garrison town in the ...

Article

A. P. Jamkhedkar

[Gharapuri]

Island 10 km from Bombay, India, renowned for its rock-cut temples and sculptures. The name Elephanta is derived from a stone elephant, removed (with other sculptures) to Bombay. The locally popular name Gharapuri is a corruption of agrahārapurī (Skt: rent-free village in the possession of brahmins). The names of localities near the present jetty such as Shet Bandar, More Bandar and Raj Bandar indicate the island was used as a port.

The coasts and both of the hills dominating Elephanta were once scattered with antiquities. An image of a horse, reported in the vicinity of the elephant, is no longer extant. Datable finds include large numbers of coins of the 6th-century Kalachuri king Krishnaraja. The style of the characters of an inscription on the base of a Brahma image suggests a date around the 9th century; and an inscribed copper vessel (dated ad 1086) was recovered during the clearance of a cistern. Perhaps the earliest remains (undated) are those of a stupa built of bricks (380×230×64 mm). Located on the eastern hill of the island, the stupa has cisterns and undecorated caves near by, which may have formed a Buddhist monastery....

Article

Ellora  

M. Soar

[Elura, Marathi Verul; anc. Elāpura.]

Site of outstanding cave temples, datable between c. ad 575 and the end of the 9th century, 20 km north of Aurangabad in the Sahyadri Hills, Maharashtra, India. The caves were excavated into volcanic rock along a 2-km stretch of west-facing embankment; there are 34 major caves, numbered consecutively rather than chronologically, starting with the Buddhist group (Caves 1–12) in the south. Other groups are dedicated to the Brahmanical pantheon (Caves 14–29) and to Jainism (Caves 30–34). The most notable monument is Cave 16, the Kailasa Temple.

The caves contain some of the best examples of large-scale sculptured reliefs in India. The earliest caves, which are Hindu, were excavated between c. 575 and 600, when the Kalachuris of Maharashtra family and Chalukya §1 were struggling for supremacy of the Deccan. Cave 29 is largely modelled on Cave 1 at Elephanta but without the three-faced relief of Mahadeva and the central positioning of the four-doored ...

Article

Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan

[Hieizanji; Hieizan Enryakukji; Sanmon.]

Japanese Buddhist temple on Mt Hiei (Hieizan), north-east of Kyoto, in the city of Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture.

Enryakuji was founded in ad 785 by the Tendai-sect patriarch Saichō [Dengyō Daishi] (767–822). Enryakuji is the head temple of the Sanmon branch of the Tendai sect, and, together with the Shingon-sect temple Kongōbuji in Wakayama Prefecture, it is one of the two principal seats of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism (mikkyō). Hie Shrine is its major tutelary Shinto shrine. Enryakuji occupies c. 4 sq. km on the slopes of Mt Hiei, a sacred mountain long worshipped as the abode of some of the main guardian deities of Kyoto. In the Heian period (ad 794–1185) it comprised 3000 buildings, and although these now number only about 70 it remains an imposing temple–shrine complex. It is divided into three compounds, called ‘pagodas’ ()—the Tōtō (East Pagoda), Saitō (West Pagoda) and ...

Article

Maurizio Taddei

Buddhist sanctuary on a hill in the Ghorband Valley, Parvan Province, Afghanistan. The site was surveyed in 1936 and excavated in 1937 by the Délégation Archéologique Française en Afghanistan. The finds were divided between the Kabul Museum (sculptures and wall paintings) and the Musée Guimet, Paris (sculptures).

The sanctuary comprises a courtyard with a central stupa built of schist, surrounded by 12 niches of mud-brick and rammed earth, decorated with painted clay sculptures and wall paintings. The unbaked clay sculptures from Fondukistan were developed from Indian Gupta models and show only traces of the Hellenistic tradition of the north-west Indian subcontinent. The sculptures are quite similar to those of the late period from Tepe Sardar and a few other sites in Afghanistan and the north-west, such as Ushkar in Kashmir, and possibly inspired some later developments in eastern Central Asia. The formal characteristics of the sculptures from Fondukistan have even led some scholars to recognize in them a peculiarly moving formula of refined religious expression, in the manner of Late Gothic art. Whatever the aesthetic evaluation, it is clear that Fondukistan and the other cognate sites were able to synthetize Indian and Gandharan models with the same Sasanian formulae and patterns that later also influenced European medieval art....

Article

Guanxiu  

Joan Stanley-Baker

[Kuan-hsiu; original family name Jiang; zi Deyin; hao Chanyue

(b Lanxi, Zhejiang Province, ad 832; d Chengdu, Sichuan Province, 912).

Chinese painter, calligrapher, poet and Buddhist monk. During the reign (ad 901–3) of the Tang emperor Zhaozong (reg ad 888–904), he visited Sichuan Province and was honoured by the King of Shu, who bestowed on him the title of Master. At that time, Daoism and Buddhism flourished in Sichuan, prompting many temple-building projects and giving an unprecedented impetus to the liturgical arts and figurative painting. Of the 50 or more painters recorded as then working in Sichuan, most were producing Daoist and Buddhist figure paintings.

According to contemporary sources, Guanxiu deviated from current fashions in depicting the Buddhist luohan (Skt arhats; enlightened beings) in his paintings with Tatar features and Indian faces. Like those of his predecessor, Yan Liben, these ascetics had long, trailing eyebrows, enormous, deep-set eyes, huge ears and bulbous noses. Guanxiu said that his inspiration ‘came from dreams’. Although he is said to have used only ink wash, his dexterity in that medium produced the effect of a full-colour spectrum. He reputedly sat in meditation in a room perfumed by incense and, when a genuine vision of the Buddha came to him, leapt up and rapidly depicted two or three ...