Gandhara, the Renaissance of Buddhism

Gandhara, the Renaissance of Buddhism

This documentary is extracted from a series of films make by NHK and France 5 TV channels covering the history of the cultures of the Eurasian landmass and the silk roads that run through it.

This film focuses of Gandhāra, which straddles what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan (around the Swat and Kabul Valleys) and the emergent Buddhist culture that arose there just before the Common Era.

The film covers the rise and the fall of the religion in the area it covers, and has some interesting interviews with academics working on the material and remains, including Prof. Richard Salomon, an expert of the Gandhārian language.

We also see something of the Shöyen collection, one of the largest collections of Gandhāran texts in the world, and see how computer imaging is helping to reassemble the texts, while preserving the originals.

The film shows how the meeting of the Greaco cultures in Bactria and the Indian cultures represented by Buddhism gave rise to the first Buddhist statues, and a truly cosmopolitan culture that stood at the centre of the transmission of Buddhism.

The narration is in English, and is evidently a translation of either the French or the Japanese version, but unfortunately the interviews have no sub-titles, so unless you know the languages used part of the film will be lost.


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