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Buddhist Art
Dharmachakra – Eight-Spoke Wheel
Mauryan Art
The rule of the Mauryan
empire marked a period of
promotion in the Field of art
and architecture. They
Stupas:• They are solid domes built
of bricks and stones . They
are said to contain the relics
of Buddha.
The word "pagoda" derives from
the Sanskrit word bhagavat (cf. the
book Bhagavatgita) "holy".
Very Old Stupa in Modern Pakistan
Pagoda in Burma
Chinese Pagoda
Bhumisparsa Mudra
Touching the earth as Gautama did, to invoke
the earth as witness to the truth of his words.
Dharmachakra Mudra
The gesture of teaching usually interpreted as turning the Wheel of Law. The hands are held
level with the heart, the thumbs and index fingers form circles
Jnana Mudra
Teaching. The hand is held at chest level and
the thumb and index finger again form the
Wheel of Law.
Varada Mudra
Fulfillment of all wishes; the
gesture of charity.
Vitarka Mudra
Intellectual argument, discussion.
The circle formed by the thumb
and index finger is the sign of the
Wheel of Law.
Dhyana Mudra
The gesture of absolute balance, of
meditation. The hands are relaxed
in the lap, and the tips of the
thumbs and fingers touch each
other. When depicted with a
begging bowl this is a sign of the
head of an order.
Abhaya Mudra
Gesture of reassurance, blessing,
and protection.
"Do not fear."
The Fasting Buddha from
modern day Afghanistan.
Ashoka (Asoka)
Ashoka was no revolutionary. Rather than India
changing politically, Buddhism was changing. In the
years to come, Ashoka mixed his Buddhism with
material concerns that served the Buddha's original
desire to see suffering among people mitigated: Ashoka
had wells dug, irrigation canals and roads constructed.
He had rest houses built along roads, hospitals built,
public gardens planted and medicinal herbs grown. But
Ashoka maintained his army, and he maintained the
secret police and network of spies that he had inherited
as a part of his extensive and powerful bureaucracy. He
kept his hold over Kalinga, and he did not allow the
thousands of people abducted from Kalinga to return
there. He announced his intention to "look kindly" upon
all his subjects, as was common among kings, and he
offered the people of Kalinga a victor's conciliation,
erecting a monument in Kalinga which read:
All men are my children, and I, the king, forgive what
can be forgiven.
Range of Buddhist missionary work under Ashoka.
Buddhist statue from the
Mauryan period. Note the
relief on the base of the
pedestal. The Buddha’s first
sermon was preached in
“Deer Park” in Varanasi –
hence the deer in the scene.
Siddhartha’s first five disciples
are shown giving reverence to
a wheel – a symbol of the
Buddha’s teachings.
Buddha’s head done in the Greek style
Buddha wearing a Greek toga.
Heracles protecting the
Carving of the Buddha on the capital of a Greek Corinthian column.