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Art History- South and southeast Asia before 1200 - Research Paper Example

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Buddhist art and sculpture has proliferated since the flourishing of Buddhism and a number of monumental structures and mental images of Buddha were preserved in rock cave temples. The lifelike, intimate, and contemporary concepts of beauty reflected by Buddha statues were…
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Art History- South and southeast Asia before 1200
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Art History – South and Southeast Asia Before 1200 Buddhist art and sculpture has proliferated since the flourishing of Buddhism and a number of monumental structures and mental images of Buddha were preserved in rock cave temples. The lifelike, intimate, and contemporary concepts of beauty reflected by Buddha statues were considered as the great age of sculpture and thus, became an international style that spread to Korea, Japan, and other lands. During the late 1st to early 2nd century C.E., the Buddha and Attendants in the Kushan Period is a famous example of classical and traditional Buddha structure.
The emergence of contemporary era has molded and changed forms of art, including the Buddha statues. The Buddha and Attendants in the Kushan Period (late 1st – early 2nd century) is in reference with the Amida, the Buddha of Infinite Light, and Two Attendants during the Edo Period of Japan (18th century). The Buddha and Attendants in the Kushan Period have height of 27 ¼ inches while the Amida, the Buddha of Infinite Light, and Two Attendants is only 1 3/8 inches in height (Thorndike, n.p.).
The two sculptures are related because they depict the practice of Buddhism, specifically the practice of how people should meditate and mourn. They are also related because of similarities in the two attendants that are believed to welcome the souls of the dying person. I found the contemporary example compelling and exciting as well as poor and uninspiring in reference to the original. The Amida, the Buddha of Infinite Light, and Two Attendants is compelling and exciting because the sculpture is made with wood and gold. Anyone who would see the sculpture might draw attention due to the distinguished gold color. On the other hand, I found the contemporary sculpture poor and uninspiring compared to the original because of its size. The contemporary example is too small compared to the original. During the Kushan Period, the size of the reclining Buddha clearly discerned the emotional reaction of the mourners, which explains why the size of the reclining Buddha increases dramatically in size (Karetzky, 43). If the belief could be applied to the contemporary example, it would be disrespectful to the mourners to make a Buddha of approximately an inch in height. In addition, the small size of the contemporary example makes it uninspiring because the beauty of the structure of Buddha cannot be completely appreciated. I also believed that when it comes to religious beliefs and other arts concerning religion, artists should maintain the traditional sculpture and simplicity of the design as religious arts reflect our rich culture and value of spirituality; thus, gold must not be used to ornament Buddha.
I found my contemporary example by searching on different museums and art galleries online that have Buddha with Attendants sculptures. As I was searching, I reached the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and found the Amida, the Buddha of Infinite Light, and Two Attendants sculpture. As I was completing the assignment, I looked also for books and other resources that would discuss in detail the difference between Buddha in the early and contemporary centuries.
Works Cited
Karetzky, Patricia E. Early Buddhist Narrative Art: Illustrations of the Buddha from Central
Asia to China, Korea and Japan. Maryland: United Press of America, 2000, pp. 43. Print.
Thorndike, John H. “Amida, the Buddha of Infinite Light, and Two Attendants”. Museum of
Fine Arts Boston. N.d. Web. March 27, 2012, from Read More
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