Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
Crowned Buddha in Dharmachakra, 11th century. This sculpture is a typical representation of ‘Pala’ art found in Bihar, India. Many such scultpures were placed in niches around the Bodh Gaya temple.
Stone relief with scenes from the life of Buddha, 4th – 5th century found in Gandhara North West India:
Sandstone scultpure of Buddha protected by Naga Muchalinda, 11th – 12th century, Cambodia
Head of Buddha, Lte 18th century, Shan state, Burma
Multi armed Quan Am, Lacquered and guilded bronze, 18th century or later, North Vietnam,
Buddhist art covers a wide spectrum of longitudes – from Gandhara to Japan, some discovered some waiting to be discovered.
The art and the philosophy are undeniably beautiful. But the irony is not. Buddha preached against idol worship. But mankind ended up making idols of him and worshipping those idols.
The poem in Hindi by literateur Harivanshrai Bachan titled “Buddha aur Naach Ghar” (recitation link) is a good starting point for a longer exploration of this irony.
All the above images are of exhibits at the Asian Civilisation Museum, Singapore