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Unit 7

7.3 Central Asia

2 min readโ€ขoctober 29, 2020

cait

Cait Levin

charly511115

Charly Castillo


AP Art Historyย ๐Ÿ–ผ

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Central Asia

Buddhas of Bamiyan

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-qWBaFeI4JBEs.jpg?alt=media&token=111d5b9e-9154-4b2f-862f-eefadcb5e241

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia (CC BY 4.0)

Form

  • Cut rock with plaster and paint, which has since worn away.

Function

  • The Buddhas of Bamiyan were made for practicing Buddhists in the area. Some circumambulated the sculpture as a form of worship, and monks from surrounding monasteries would come to it to pray ๐Ÿ™

Content

  • This work is of two statues of Buddha (the founder of Buddhism) with Greek-style clothing and hairstyles, showing the extent of both religious and cultural syncretism in Central Asia.
  • The larger Buddha sculpture pictures Vairocana (the universal Buddha), while the smaller one is of Sakyamuni (the historical Buddha AKA Gautama Buddha).
  • Decorations made of paint ๐ŸŽจ, stucco, and wood once covered the statues, but they have since come off.

Context

  • The Bamiyan Valley was located along the Silk Road, which explains how Greek artistic traditions influenced this work and how Buddhism spread to the region.
  • In 2001, the statues were destroyed by the Taliban in an act of iconoclasm, the destruction of works with icons, in this case, because of religious differences.

Jowo Rinpoche

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-CPqHMtnKer4o.jpg?alt=media&token=a979ab66-4fd5-4fd5-9b00-930394ff462c

Image Courtesy of Khan Academy

Form

  • Gilt metal with stones and paint.

Function

  • This statue was made to represent the Buddha after his parinirvana, which refers to his death.

Content

  • Buddha is depicted with his legs in padmasana ๐Ÿง˜, also known as lotus position, and his left hand signifying dhyana mudra (the gesture of contemplation), which suggests that he is meditating.
  • His elaborate decoration and food offerings ๐ŸŒ left by visitors to the statue shows how revered the Buddha is to his followers.

Context

  • Tibet was exposed to Buddhism during the 6th to 9th centuries CE by travelers from India.

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