Greco-Buddhist art

Gandhara artGandharan artGreco-Buddhistart of GandharaGandharaBuddhist art of GandharaGandhara (Greco-Buddhist) ArtGandhara BuddhaGandhara style of Buddhist sculptureGandharan
Greco-Buddhist art is the artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism, a cultural syncretism between the Classical Greek culture and Buddhism.wikipedia
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Art of Mathura

Mathura artMathuraMathura school
Under the Indo-Greeks and then the Kushans, the interaction of Greek and Buddhist culture flourished in the area of Gandhara, in today’s northern Pakistan, before spreading further into India, influencing the art of Mathura, and then the Hindu art of the Gupta empire, which was to extend to the rest of South-East Asia.
The art of Mathura is often contrasted with the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, which developed from the 1st century CE.

Gandhara

GandhāraGandharanGandahara
Under the Indo-Greeks and then the Kushans, the interaction of Greek and Buddhist culture flourished in the area of Gandhara, in today’s northern Pakistan, before spreading further into India, influencing the art of Mathura, and then the Hindu art of the Gupta empire, which was to extend to the rest of South-East Asia. The Greeks in Asia are well known archaeologically for their stone palettes, also called "toilet trays", round trays commonly found in the areas of Bactria and Gandhara, which usually represent Greek mythological scenes. It has been suggested that the art of Devnimori in Gujarat, dated to the 4th century CE, represented a Western Indian artistic tradition, based on the influence of the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, that was anterior to the rise of Gupta Empire art, and that it may have influenced it, and have influenced the art of the Ajanta Caves, Sarnath and other places from the 5th century onward.
Famed for its local tradition of Gandhara (Greco-Buddhist) Art, Gandhara attained its height from the 1st century to the 5th century under the Kushan Empire.

Indo-Greek Kingdom

Indo-GreekIndo-GreeksIndo-Greek Kingdoms
Under the Indo-Greeks and then the Kushans, the interaction of Greek and Buddhist culture flourished in the area of Gandhara, in today’s northern Pakistan, before spreading further into India, influencing the art of Mathura, and then the Hindu art of the Gupta empire, which was to extend to the rest of South-East Asia. The origins of Greco-Buddhist art are to be found in the Hellenistic Greco-Bactrian kingdom (250–130 BC), located in today’s Afghanistan, from which Hellenistic culture radiated into the Indian subcontinent with the establishment of the Indo-Greek kingdom (180–10 BC). Powerful Hellenistic states were established in the areas of Bactria and Sogdiana, and later northern India for three centuries following the conquests of Alexander the Great around 330 BC, the Seleucid empire until 250 BC, followed by the Greco-Bactrian kingdom until 130 BC, and the Indo-Greek kingdom from 180 BC to around 10 BC. These Greek elements penetrated India quite early as shown by the Hellenistic Pataliputra capital (3rd century BC), but the influence became especially strong, particularly in northwestern India, following the invasion of the Greco-Bactrians in 180 BC, when they established the Indo-Greek kingdom in India.
The diffusion of Indo-Greek culture had consequences which are still felt today, particularly through the influence of Greco-Buddhist art.

Buddhism

BuddhistBuddhistsBuddhadharma
Greco-Buddhist art is the artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism, a cultural syncretism between the Classical Greek culture and Buddhism.
An example of this is evidenced in Chinese and Pali Buddhist records, such as Milindapanha and the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhāra.

Indo-Corinthian capital

CorinthianCorinthian capitalsCorynthian
The buildings in which they are depicted incorporate Greek style, with the ubiquitous Indo-Corinthian capitals and Greek decorative scrolls.
These capitals are typically dated to the first centuries of the Common Era, and constitute an important aspect of Greco-Buddhist art.

Sanchi

Sanchi StupaBuddhist Monuments at SanchiGreat Stupa
According to some authors, Hellenistic sculptors had some connection with the creation of Buddhist art at Sanchi and Bharhut.
Similar scenes would later appear in the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, but this time with representations of the Buddha.

Greek art

GreekartGrecian
Many of the stylistic elements in the representations of the Buddha point to Greek influence: the Greek himation (a light toga-like wavy robe covering both shoulders: Buddhist characters are always represented with a dhoti loincloth before this innovation), the halo, the contrapposto stance of the upright figures, the stylized Mediterranean curly hair and top-knot apparently derived from the style of the Belvedere Apollo (330 BC), and the measured quality of the faces, all rendered with strong artistic realism (See: Greek art).
In the East, Alexander the Great's conquests initiated several centuries of exchange between Greek, Central Asian and Indian cultures, resulting in Greco-Buddhist art, with ramifications as far as Japan.

Corinthian order

CorinthianCorinthian columnsCorinthian column
The style is Greek, adorned with Corinthian columns in excellent Hellenistic execution.
These capitals are typically dated to the 1st centuries of our era, and constitute important elements of Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara.

Ancient Greece

Greekancient Greekancient Greeks
Greco-Buddhist art is the artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism, a cultural syncretism between the Classical Greek culture and Buddhism.
In the East, Alexander the Great's conquests initiated several centuries of exchange between Greek, Central Asian and Indian cultures, resulting in Greco-Buddhist art, with ramifications as far as Japan.

Indo-Parthian Kingdom

Indo-ParthianIndo-ParthiansParthian
Production continued until the time of the Indo-Parthians, but they practically disappeared after the 1st century.
Today, it is still unclear when the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara exactly emerged, but the findings in Sirkap do indicate that this art was already highly developed before the advent of the Kushans.

Bharhut

BhārhutBarhutBharhut stupa
According to some authors, Hellenistic sculptors had some connection with the creation of Buddhist art at Sanchi and Bharhut.

Alexander the Great

AlexanderAlexander III of MacedonAlexander of Macedon
Powerful Hellenistic states were established in the areas of Bactria and Sogdiana, and later northern India for three centuries following the conquests of Alexander the Great around 330 BC, the Seleucid empire until 250 BC, followed by the Greco-Bactrian kingdom until 130 BC, and the Indo-Greek kingdom from 180 BC to around 10 BC.
The resulting syncretism known as Greco-Buddhism influenced the development of Buddhism and created a culture of Greco-Buddhist art.

Buddhas of Bamyan

Buddhas of BamiyanBamiyan BuddhasBamiyan
The most striking of these realizations are the Buddhas of Bamyan.
The Buddhas of Bamyan were two 6th-century monumental statues of Gautama Buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km northwest of Kabul at an elevation of 2,500 m. Built in 507 CE (smaller) and 554 CE (larger), the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.

Kushan Empire

KushanKushansKushana
Under the Indo-Greeks and then the Kushans, the interaction of Greek and Buddhist culture flourished in the area of Gandhara, in today’s northern Pakistan, before spreading further into India, influencing the art of Mathura, and then the Hindu art of the Gupta empire, which was to extend to the rest of South-East Asia.
The art and culture of Gandhara, at the crossroads of the Kushan hegemony, continued the traditions of Greco-Buddhist art and are the best known expressions of Kushan influences to Westerners.

Pataliputra capital

Pataliputra
These Greek elements penetrated India quite early as shown by the Hellenistic Pataliputra capital (3rd century BC), but the influence became especially strong, particularly in northwestern India, following the invasion of the Greco-Bactrians in 180 BC, when they established the Indo-Greek kingdom in India.
The Corinthian order later became overwhelmingly popular in the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, during the first centuries of our era.

Stone palette

stone palettes
The Greeks in Asia are well known archaeologically for their stone palettes, also called "toilet trays", round trays commonly found in the areas of Bactria and Gandhara, which usually represent Greek mythological scenes.
They are disconnected from the Buddhist narrative to which works are usually associated in the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara.

Bimaran casket

The earliest known image of the Buddha with approximate indications on date is the Bimaran casket, which has been found buried with coins of the Indo-Scythian king Azes II (or possibly Azes I), indicating a 30–10 BC date, although this date is not undisputed.
It is considered as a masterpiece of the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara.

Antialcidas

AntialkidasAṃtalikitasa
Around 115 BC, the embassy of Heliodorus from king Antialkidas to the court of the Sungas king Bhagabhadra in Vidisha is recorded.
According to some interpretations (Grousset), the baby elephant may symbolize the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, who took the shape of a small elephant to enter the womb of his mother Queen Maya, a scene often depicted in Greco-Buddhist art.

Kanishka

Kanishka the GreatKanishka IEmperor Kanishka
The next Greco-Buddhist findings to be strictly datable are rather late, such as the c. AD 120 Kanishka casket and Kanishka's Buddhist coins.
He encouraged both Gandhara school of Greco-Buddhist Art and the Mathura school of Hindu art (an inescapable religious syncretism pervades Kushana rule).

Serindian art

Serindian
The art of the Tarim Basin, also called Serindian art, is the art that developed from the 2nd through the 11th century AD in Serindia or Xinjiang, the western region of China that forms part of Central Asia.
It derives from the Greco-Buddhist art of the Gandhara district of what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Yuezhi

Da YuezhiLesser YuezhiGreat Yuezhi
He sent an envoy to the Yuezhi in northwestern India, who brought back paintings and statues of the Buddha, confirming their existence before that date:
There they introduced the Brahmi script, the Indian Prakrit language for administration, and Greco-Buddhist art, which developed into Serindian art.

Ajanta Caves

AjantaAjanta caveAjantha
It has been suggested that the art of Devnimori in Gujarat, dated to the 4th century CE, represented a Western Indian artistic tradition, based on the influence of the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, that was anterior to the rise of Gupta Empire art, and that it may have influenced it, and have influenced the art of the Ajanta Caves, Sarnath and other places from the 5th century onward.
Some connections with the art of Gandhara can also be noted, and there is evidence of a shared artistic idiom.

Tokyo National Museum

TokyoTokyo Imperial MuseumFormer Tokyo Imperial Museum
There is also a large collection of Greco-Buddhist art.

Taxila Museum

TaxilaTaxila Site Museum
The museum is home to a significant and comprehensive collection of Gandharan art dating from the 1st to the 7th centuries CE.

Western Satraps

Western SatrapWestern KshatrapasWestern Kshatrapa
The Indo-Scythian Western Satraps (1st century CE-405 CE) may have played a role in the transmission of the art of Gandhara to the western Deccan region, as may also have the southern expansion of the Alchon Huns in the 6th-7th century.
The Buddha images in Devnimori clearly show the influence of the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, and have been described as examples of the Western Indian art of the Western Satraps.