The Art of South and Southeast Asia Before 1200
South and Southeast AsiaReligion is the maininfluence on art duringthis periodBuddhism and Hinduismare the religions of thistime; often coexistingSculpture andarchitecture became thepredominant art formsSensuous deitiesdecorated temples andmonasteriesMore Buddhist influencedart still exists today thandoes Hindu art.
Buddhism and Its BackgroundBuddha (the EnlightenedOne) was the originalfounder of BuddhismThe religion focuses onmeditation, beingenlightened, andsearching for knowledgeBuddha preached aboutthe Wheel of the Law andthe Four Noble Truths(both of which areinfluential in artwork ofthis period)
Robed Male FigureFrom Mohenjo-dara,Pakistan, ca. 2000 –1900 BCEA characteristic ofearly Indus sculpturewas its small form.Sculpture wasinfluenced by the eliteclass and politicalleaders.
Lion CapitalPolished sandstone, ca.250 BCECapitals such as thiswere highly decoratedsculptural architecturecharacteristic of thisperiod.These capitals weredisplayed throughout theMaurya Dynasty duringAshoka’s reign.The Wheel of the Lawdisplayed symbolize theking’s divine authority.
Great StupaFrom Sanchi, India, thirdcentury BCE to firstcentury CEMonument that housedreligious relicsRelief sculpture wasdisplayed on the outerarchitectureConsists of manybuildings constructedover the centuriesincluding the viharas andthe chaitya halls
YakshiDetail of eastern gatewayof the Great Stupa; mid-first century BCE to earlyfirst century CEGoddesses thatpersonified fertility andvegetationScantily clad, sensuouswomen used as reliefsculptureWorshipped throughoutIndia
Standing YakshaFrom the Maurya periodYakshas are the maleequivalent of yakshisCharacteristics includemales depicted aspowerful, robust, broadshoulders, and open,staring eyesBuddha statues oftenresembled yakshas butdiffer in that they areclothed in a monk’s robe
Canonical Buddha StatueUnder the Guptas artistsformed a canonical figurefor the BuddhaMonastic robe coveredboth shouldersBuddha depicted withsoft, full bodySmooth, unadornedsurface that is symbolic ofBuddha’s spiritualityEyes downcast inmeditationImages of the Wheel ofthe Law are displayed
Painted Caves of AjantaImage of BodhisattvaPadmapani; wall paintingin Cave 1, Ajanta, IndiaThese cave paintings aresome of the only Indianpaintings that remaintodayMethod of painting differsfrom other cultures asthey painted on dryplasterResults proved to be lessdurable than other frescostyle paintings in othercultures
HinduismLike Buddhism, Hinduism is a polytheisticreligionSacrifice is essential as it is meant toplease deities and gain favor with themHindu deities vary in form and naturesThree most important deities are Shiva,Vishnu, and Devi
Dancing ShivaRock-cut relief in cavetemple; late sixthcenturyShiva is often shownwith multiple limbsand/or heads as asign of his super-human natureHindu deities oftenrepresented as parthuman, part animal
Shiva with three facesShiva as Mahadeva; ca.550 – 575AKA the “Great God”Each face shows adifferent aspect of thedeityThe main frontal facedisplays Shiva’s quiet,balanced demeanorThe right face is acreative femaleThe left face a fierce,destructive male
Vishnu asleep on the serpent AnataDetail of façade of VishnuTemple; early sixthcenturyIn this relief Vishnu ismeant to be dreaming theuniverse into realitySurrounding him areother deities including hiswife Lakshmi and ShivaAlso included arepersonifications ofVishnu’s various powers
Rock-cut TemplesMamallapuram, India;seventh centuryIndian architects began tocarve freestandingtemples from rockyoutcroppingsVery rare in relation toother cultures andreligionsFive temples were carvedout of one huge boulder
Rajarajeshvara TempleThanjavur, India; ca.1010Enormous, grandtemples were createdduring this periodDedicated to ShivaExterior walls displaynumerous reliefs inniches
Vishvanatha TempleKhajuraho, India; ca.1000Vishvanatha is anothername for ShivaRising towers resemblerising foothills of theHimalayas, home ofShivaTemples are comparableto actual mountain cavetemplesDesigned with idealmathematical proportions
Shiva as NatarajaBronze statue; ca. 1000One of many examples ofportable statues of deitiesUse of hand gestures,symbols, etc. allrepresent some deepermeaningThey viewed the statuenot as a symbol of thegod, but as the actual godhimselfHindus would care forimages such as this byfeeding, clothing, bathing,and taking it on outings
Death of the BuddhaSri Lanka; ca. 11th to12th centuryLargest sculpture inSoutheast Asiameasuring 46 feetlongBuddha’s cousin, andchief disciple, standsat the left mourninghis death
BorobudurJava, Indonesia; ca. 800Colossal BuddhistmonumentStructure containsmillions of blocks ofvolcanic stoneMore than 500 life-sizeBuddha images1000 relief panels1500 stupas
Angkor WatAngkor, Cambodia; 12thcenturyThe largest of all Khmertemple complexesPurpose was to associatethe king with his personalgod (Vishnu)Five towers symbolizefive peaks of Mount MeruStone reliefs glorifyVishnu
BayonAngkor Thom, Cambodia;ca. 1200Unique in that thecombination of circularterraces, towers, andgiant faces were usedThe king turned from theHindu traditions of hisancestors to worshipingthe Buddha
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