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ARTH406: Buddhist Art

Unit 1: Early Buddhist Art and Architecture in India   This unit focuses on the development of Buddhist art and architecture on the Indian subcontinent.  It begins with an overview of Buddhism and Buddhist iconography.  The unit then traces the development of Buddhist art and architecture from its early aniconic stage (3rd-2nd c. BCE) through the Gupta Period (320-550 CE), in which the form of the Buddha (which would prove to be the model used by generations of artists to come) took shape.  Finally it focuses on the importance of pilgrimage in Buddhism and the transmission of Buddhism and Buddhist Art across the Silk Roads.  After completing this unit, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the central beliefs of Buddhism, the major elements of Buddhist iconography, the early development of Buddhist art and architecture in India, and the role the Silk Roads played in the transmission of Buddhism to Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Himalayas.

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 45 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 12 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3: 10 hours

☐    Guided Observation 1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 1.4: 12 hours

☐    Subunit 1.5: 8 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Identify the core beliefs of Buddhism and basic Buddhist iconography.
  • Identify major early Indian works of Buddhist art and Buddhist monuments.
  • Identify, compare, and contrast major Indian artistic and architectural developments.
  • Explain the importance of the act of pilgrimage in Buddhism and identify major pilgrimage sites associated with events in the Buddha’s life.

1.1 Introduction to Buddhism and Buddhist Iconography   - Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “The Arts of South and Southeast Asia: A Resource for Educators” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “The Arts of South and Southeast Asia: A Resource for Educators” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please download this resource by clicking on the link
at the bottom of the page labeled, “Download the Resource (PDF).” 
Then, read the sections: “Buddhism,” “Buddhism and Hinduism in
Southeast Asia,” “Identification of Hindu and Buddhist Deities,” and
“Symbols and Attributes in Buddhist Art” on pages 17-20 and 25-28 of
the PDF file.  Please note that this resource will be used
throughout the course, so you might consider saving the file.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

1.2 Buddhist Art of the Mauryan and (325-185BCE) and Shunga Dynasties (c. 2nd-1st Century BCE)   1.2.1 Emperor Ashoka and Early Buddhist Art and Architecture   - Reading: PBS: MayaVision International’s The Story of India: “Edicts of Ashoka” Link: PBS: MayaVision International’s The Story of India: “Edicts of Ashoka”(HTML)

 Instructions: First, read the text about Emperor Ashoka (c.269-233
BCE) and his conversion to Buddhism.   After closing this box by
clicking on the X at the top left corner, click on “Show Hotspots”
above the “Explore the Topic” title, and two hotspots will appear. 
Click on each and read the accompanying text.  Afterwards, click on
the video link on the right side of the page, and watch the video
about the edicts of Ashoka.  Note that the Buddha was not portrayed
in human form in early Buddhist art.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

1.2.2 Early Stupas   - Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “The Arts of South and Southeast Asia: A Resource for Educators” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “The Arts of South and Southeast Asia: A Resource for Educators” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please download this resource by clicking on the link
at the bottom of the page labeled, “Download the Resource (PDF).” 
Then, read the section titled “The Buddhist Stupa” on page 33 of the
PDF file.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Sanchi,” “Amaravati” and “Bharhut” Link: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Sanchi,” (PDF) “Amaravati,” (PDF) and “Bharhut” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read about the Buddhist pilgrimage sites and stupas at Sanchi, Amaravati, and Bharhut.  Be sure to look at the more detailed images below the text.
     
    Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and can be viewed in its original form here, here, and here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder.

  • Reading: Boundless: “Stupas” Link: Boundless: “Stupas” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please read the text for a brief description of stupas.  Please study the images closely.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  It is attributed to Boundless, and the original version can be found here.

  • Web Media: YouTube: The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco’s “The Stupa” Link: The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco’s “The Stupa” (YouTube)

    Also available in:
    iTunes U
     
    Instructions: Please watch the brief video in its entirety (4:30 minutes) to get a good overview of the different forms and functions of stupas.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Art and Archaeology’s “The Great Stupa at Sanchi, India. Sandstone, circa 50 BC to 50 AD.” Link: Art and Archaeology’s “The Great Stupa at Sanchi, India. Sandstone, circa 50 BC to 50 AD” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please read the text in its entirety.  Please also click on the images to open them in a webpage and study the Buddhist Stupa located at Sanchi, India more closely.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licened under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.  It is attributed to Art and Archaeology and Blogspot user Molli, and the original version may be found here.

1.2.3 Chaitya Halls   - Reading: B. Annapurna Sastri’s “Buddhist Art and Architecture: Chaityas” Link: B. Annapurna Sastri’s “Buddhist Art and Architecture: Chaityas” (HTML)

 Instructions: Plead read the section of this webpage titled
“Chaityas.”  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Bhaja & Karle” Link: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Bhaja & Karle” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the above text about the early Buddhist rock cut temples at Bhaja and Karle.  View each of the images below the text when you are finished to see details of the main prayer hall and entrance to a cave at Bhaja.
     
    Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder.

  • Web Media: YouTube: Buddhist Films’s “Bhaja Caves” and “Kondavane and Karle Caves” Link: Buddhist Films’s “Bhaja Caves” (YouTube) and “Kondavane and Karle Caves” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Please watch these videos about the chaitya halls at Bhaja, Kondavane, and Karle in their entirety.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.3 Buddhist Art of Kushan Period (c. 2nd century BCE- 3rd century CE)   - Lecture: iTunes U: Asian Art Museum of San Francisco: Robert Brown’s “Buddhism in India, Part I and II” Lectures Link: iTunes U: Asian Art Museum of San Francisco: Robert Brown’s “Buddhism in India, Part I and II” Lectures (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Choose the hyperlinks for lecture 5 and lecture 6 in the list on this webpage.  Please view the entirety of video lectures 5 and 6 by Robert Brown from the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco’s “Divine and Earthly Visions” lecture series.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: University of Washington: Jason Neelis’s “Art of the Silk Road: The Kushan Empire” Link: University of Washington: Jason Neelis’s “Art of the Silk Road:  The Kushan Empire”(HTML)
     
    Instructions: Note this reading covers materials for subunits 1.3.1 and 1.3.2.  Read the introduction about the Kushan Empire and then click on each of the images on the left.  Please focus on the two Buddhist sculptures that represent the two different styles of Buddhist sculpture (Mathuran and Gandharan) under the Kushan Empire, when the Buddha was depicted in human form for the first time.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.3.1 Gandharan Sculpture   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading and lectures assigned beneath subunit 1.3.

1.3.2 Mathuran Sculpture   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading and lectures assigned beneath subunit 1.3.

  • Reading: University of Washington: Jason Neelis’s “Art of the Silk Road: The Kushan Empire” Link: University of Washington: Jason Neelis’s “Art of the Silk Road: The Kushan Empire” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read the introduction about the Kushan Empire, and then click on each of the images on the left.  Please focus on the two Buddhist sculptures that represent the two different styles of Buddhist sculpture (Mathuran and Gandharan) under the Kushan Empire, when the Buddha was depicted in human form for the first time.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: iTunes U: Asian Art Museum of San Francisco: Robert Brown’s “Buddhism in India” Parts I and II Link: iTunes U: Asian Art Museum of San Francisco: Robert Brown’s “Buddhism in India” Parts I and II (iTunes)
     
    Instructions: Choose the hyperlinks for lecture 5 and lecture 6 from the list on this webpage.  Please view the entirety of both videos.

    Note on the Link: These lectures by Robert Brown are part of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco's “Divine and Earthly Visions” lecture series.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Guided Observation 1: Buddhist Iconography and Kushan Buddhist Sculpture” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

    Submit Materials

1.4 Buddhist Art and Architecture of the Gupta Period (320-550 CE)   1.4.1 Buddhist Sculpture during the Gupta Period   - Reading: The Victoria and Albert Museum’s “The Gupta style of the Buddha & its influence in Asia” Link: The Victoria and Albert Museum’s “The Gupta style of the Buddha & its influence in Asia” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read this page as an introduction to Buddhist
sculpture during the Gupta period and its relationship to later
regional styles that developed throughout South and East Asia.  

 Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the
kind permission of the *[Victoria and Albert
Museum](http://www.vam.ac.uk/)* and can be viewed in its original
form
[here](http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/the-gupta-style-of-the-buddha-and-its-influence-on-asia/). 
Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be
reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the
copyright holder. 
  • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “The Arts of South and Southeast Asia: A Resource for Educators” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “The Arts of South and Southeast Asia: A Resource for Educators” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please download this resource by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page labeled, “Download the Resource (PDF).”  Then, read the entire section titled “Poster A: Standing Buddha” on page 53 of the PDF file to learn about an example of Buddhist sculpture from the Gupta Period.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Nalanda” Link: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Nalanda” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the above article about Buddhist site of Nalanda.  Make sure to view each of the images below the text to see details of buildings at Nalanda.
     
    Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder.

  • Web Media: YouTube: Buddhist Films’s “The Intellectual Quest” Link: Buddhist Films’s “The Intellectual Quest” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Please watch this video about Buddhist universities in its entirety (approximately 4 minutes).
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.4.2 Buddhist Caves and Murals   1.4.2.1 Ajanta   - Reading: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Ajanta Caves” Link: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Ajanta Caves” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the text about the Buddhist caves as Ajanta.  Make sure to view each of the images below the text when you are finished to see examples of Buddhist art at Ajanta.
 
Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder.

  • Reading: Smarthistory: “The Caves at Ajanta” Link: Smarthistory: “The Caves at Ajanta” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this article about the history and importance of the Buddhist caves at Ajanta.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license. It is attributed to Smarthistory.

  • Web Media: YouTube: Rechnomaniac’s “Amazing Ajanta Caves - Aurangabad - India” Link: YouTube: Rechnomaniac’s “Amazing Ajanta Caves - Aurangabad - India” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Please watch this short video clip documenting a tour of the Caves at Ajanta.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. It is attributed to Rechnomaniac’s and the original version can be found here.

  • Web Media: YouTube: Buddhist Film’s “Masterpieces of Buddhist Art” Link: Buddhist Film’s “Masterpieces of Buddhist Art” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Please watch this video about the Buddhist caves at Ajanta in its entirety (6:31 minutes).
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.4.2.2 Ellora   - Reading: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Ellora” Link: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Ellora” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read about the Buddhist caves as Ellora.  Make sure to view each of the images below the text when you are finished to see examples of Buddhist art at Ellora.
 
Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

1.5 Buddhist Art, Pilgrimage, and the Silk Roads   - Reading: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Pilgrimage to Buddha’s Life Sites” Link: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Pilgrimage to Buddha’s Life Sites” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please note that this reading will also cover the materials for subunits 1.5.1 and 1.5.2.  First, read over the text that explains the importance of pilgrimage in Buddhism.  Then, read the short text about each of these sites.  Make sure to look at the details below the passages. 
 
Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

1.5.1 Buddhist Pilgrimage and the Art and Architecture of Buddha’s Life Sites   - Reading: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Pilgrimage to Buddha’s Life Sites” Link: Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Pilgrimage to the Buddha’s Life Sites” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read over the text that explains the importance of pilgrimage in Buddhism.  Then read the short text about each of these sites.  Make sure to look at the details below the passages. 
 
Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of the Victoria and Albert Museum and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

  • Web Media: YouTube: Asian Art Museum’s “Bodh Gaya: Center of the Buddhist World” Link: YouTube: Asian Art Museum’s “Bodh Gaya: Center of the Buddhist World” (YouTube)
     
    Also available in:
    iTunes U
     
    Instructions: Please watch this brief video about the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Bodh Gaya in its entirety (about 3 minutes).
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.5.2 Buddhist Art and the Silk Roads   - Reading: Asia Society’s Buddhist Art and the Trade Routes: “Introduction,” “Trade Routes,” “Maritime Routes,” and “Overland Routes” Link: Asia Society’s Buddhist Art and the Trade Routes:Introduction,” (HTML) “Trade Routes,” (HTML) “Maritime Routes,” (HTML) and “Overland Routes” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read these webpages about the transmission of Buddhism and Buddhist Art over the Silk Roads in their entirety.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.