This is the fourth part of a series of short films about Buddhism and especially its artistic and cultural contributions in India and surrounding countries by the renowned Indian cultural historian Benoy H. Behl, whose films I have featured many times on this website.
In this episode, after reviewing the main features of Indic art, with its emphasis on the eternal, Benoy directs our attention to the influence of the Kushanas, a people who moved down from China and ruled in India from around the 1st to the 3rd centuries CE.
They had their winter capital at Mathura in the heartland of India and their summer capital in the Gandhara regions in what is now Afghanistan. It was the Kushanas who first represented their earthly rulers, and subsequently their religious icons, which had been avoided before.
In Mathura the forms are gentler and more ethereal, while in Gandhara, under the influence of Greek ideals the forms became more masculine in their representations.
This week’s episode looks not just at Buddhism, but also at Jaina artworks, which are quite similar, and also at the first representations of the deities of the Hindu pantheon.
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