Brussels Buddha

Brussels Buddha
(Inscribed "Year 5")
Gandhara is located in South Asia
Gandhara
Gandhara
Location of Gandhara, where the Brussels Buddha was probably created.

The Brussels Buddha is a famous Buddha statue from the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara.[1] It is named after the first collection to which it belonged, the Claude de Marteau collection in Brussels, Belgium, although it is now in a private collection in Japan, belonging to the Agonshū sect of Buddhism.[1] The Brussels Buddha belongs to the category of the "Seated Buddha triads", which can be seen contemporaneously in the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara and in the art of Mathura in the early Kushan period.[2] The precise location where the statue was discovered is unknown, but it was acquired in Peshawar, and it is thought to have been excavated in Sahri Bahlol due to its similarity with a statue from the same location, now in the Peshawar Museum.[3]

Characteristics

In this statue, the seated Buddha is attended by Brahma and Indra, as well as two Bodhisattvas.[4] The scene shows the "Miracle at Śrāvastī".[5]

The statue is remarkable in that it is one of the rare Gandhara Buddhist statues to bear a dedication with a date.[1] The inscription in Kharoshti reads:

Inscription of the Brussels Buddha [1][1]
Original (Kharosthi script) Transliteration English translation
𐨯𐨎 𐩃 𐩀 𐨥𐨒𐨂𐨣𐨯𐨨𐨯𐨯 𐨡𐨁 𐨤𐨎𐨕𐨨𐨁 𐨦𐨂𐨢𐨣𐨡𐨯 𐨟𐨿𐨪𐨅𐨤𐨁𐨜𐨐𐨯 𐨡𐨣𐨨𐨂𐨑𐨅 𐨨𐨡𐨤𐨁𐨡𐨪𐨣 𐨀𐨢𐨿𐨬𐨡𐨁𐨡𐨣 𐨤𐨂𐨩𐨩 𐨧𐨬𐨟𐨂 saṃ 4 1 Phagunasamasasa di paṃcami Budhansadasa trepiḍakasa danamukhe madapidarana adhvadidana puyaya bhavatu In the year 5, in the 5th day of the month Phalguna: the pious gift of the Monk Buddhananda, learned in the Tripiṭaka: may it be for the honouring of his deceased (?) mother and father.

The date "Year 5" should normally refer to the Kanishka era, now thought to start in 127 CE, giving a date of 132 CE.[1][6] However, the advanced character of the iconography has led some authors to support a later date, based on a supposed second Kanishka era starting a century later or a theory according to which the hundreds would have been omitted from the date.[1] Some much later dates have been suggested as well, for example a date in the Huna era of Khingila, which would give a period circa the 5th century CE, but such a date can be considered as too late.[4][1] A date in the Gupta era has also been suggested, but there is no evidence of the Gupta era being used so far north.[7]

According to Gérard Fussman, who analyzed the paleography of the inscription, there is no doubt that "Year 5" corresponds to the era of Kanishka I, as the shapes of several letters are typical of that period.[3] The language of the inscription is a mix of Prakrit and Sanskrit.[3] This dated sculpture suggests that the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara was already at a very advanced stage of sophistication at the beginning of the Kushan period, in the early 2nd century CE, implying the existence of a long preliminary tradition leading up to it.[3]

Other examples

There are a few examples of similar triads in Gandhara as well as in Mathura, most dated to the early Kushans:[8][9]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g The Classical Art Research Centre, University of Oxford (2018). Problems of Chronology in Gandhāran Art: Proceedings of the First International Workshop of the Gandhāra Connections Project, University of Oxford, 23rd-24th March, 2017. Archaeopress. p. 43–44.
  2. ^ Rhie, Marylin M. (2010). Early Buddhist Art of China and Central Asia, Volume 3: The Western Ch'in in Kansu in the Sixteen Kingdoms Period and Inter-relationships with the Buddhist Art of Gandhara. BRILL. p. 105, note 95. ISBN 978-90-04-18400-8.
  3. ^ a b c d e Fussman, Gérard (1974). "Documents Epigraphiques Kouchans". Bulletin de l'École française d'Extrême-Orient. 61: 54–57. ISSN 0336-1519. JSTOR 43732476.
  4. ^ a b Rhie, Marylin Martin (2010). Early Buddhist Art of China and Central Asia, Volume 3: The Western Ch'in in Kansu in the Sixteen Kingdoms Period and Inter-relationships with the Buddhist Art of Gandhāra. BRILL. p. 244–245. ISBN 978-90-04-19019-1.
  5. ^ Hargreaves, H. (1930). Handbook to the Sculptures in the Peshawar Museum. p. Plate 2.
  6. ^ Rhi, Juhyung. Identifying Several Visual Types of Gandharan Buddha Images. Archives of Asian Art 58 (2008). pp. 53–56.
  7. ^ Behrendt, Kurt A. (2004). Handbuch der Orientalistik. BRILL. pp. 283–284. ISBN 978-90-04-13595-6.
  8. ^ Rhie, Marylin M. (2010). Early Buddhist Art of China and Central Asia, Volume 3: The Western Ch'in in Kansu in the Sixteen Kingdoms Period and Inter-relationships with the Buddhist Art of Gandhara. BRILL. p. 105, note 95. ISBN 978-90-04-18400-8.
  9. ^ Rhi, Juhyung. Identifying Several Visual Types of Gandharan Buddha Images. Archives of Asian Art 58 (2008). pp. 53–56.
  10. ^ Rhi, Juhyung. Identifying Several Visual Types of Gandharan Buddha Images. Archives of Asian Art 58 (2008). pp. 53–56.
  11. ^ The Classical Art Research Centre, University of Oxford (2018). Problems of Chronology in Gandhāran Art: Proceedings of the First International Workshop of the Gandhāra Connections Project, University of Oxford, 23rd-24th March, 2017. Archaeopress. p. 45, notes 28, 29.
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