Brahmanism and Buddhism adopted symbol and image worship almost simultaneously in the pre and early centuries of the Christian era. With the passage of time, the forms and plethora evolved and despite several distinctive features common elements between the two religions continue and fructified. The fact is revealed both at the philosophical and artistic levels.
The present volume is the outcome of the well discussed theories by the experts, assembled in an International meet on the subject in February 2003 at Jnana-Pravaha, Varanasi, organized in the joint collaboration of Acharya Narendra Dev International Research Institute for Buddhist Studies, Lucknow.
The book incorporates a good number of papers dealing with philosophical and artistic interaction between Brahmanism and Buddhism for more than a millennium years. The interaction was largely peaceful but there were certain phases in the Medieval period when clash also surfaced. It was most profound in the region of art and architecture, as a result of which some similarities as well as unique features between the two had emerged. All these aspects have been brilliantly discussed and specific references to famous places associated with Brahmanical and Buddhist arts in Asia as well as textual references to unravel basic iconographical principles have been adequately reflected in the present volume.
The book besides being useful to scholars and students researching on ancient Indian art and architecture would appeal to general readers interested to know more about India's glorious art traditions.
About the Author
Prof. R.C. Sharma headed important Museums of the country like Government Museum, Mathura; State Museum, Lucknow; Indian Museum, Kolkata and finally, the National Museum, New Delhi as the Director General and Vice-Chancellor, National Museum Institute. He also served the Banaras Hidnu University as the Director, Bharat Kala Bhavan and Professor of Indian Art and Museology. Presently, he is the Honorary Director/Acharya of Jnana-Pravaha - Center for Cultural Studies, Varanasi. Beside authoring several books and editing journals and bulletins in the field of early Indian art, he has contributed a large number of papers published in India and abroad.
Dr. Pranati Ghosal is a promising scholar in the field of Sanskrit and Vedic studies and engaged in the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, Varanasi Branch. She has contributed brilliant papers in different seminars and co-edited five issues of the Annual Research Bulletin and twelve proceedings of Jnana-Pravaha. Her book Prasnavali has already seen the light of the day and the other book Lifestyle of Vedic People is in the process of publication.
Besides the present volume, the two authors have co-edited another impressive book on Buddhism and Gandhara Art.
It is a great pleasure to place before the scholars and researchers, the proceedings of an International Seminar held at Jnana-Pravaha, Varanasi in February 2003 on Interaction Between Brahmanical and Buddhist Art.
With the exchange of thought process of two religions, artistic traits were interwoven, mostly happily and sometimes forcefully and malignantly. The seed of interaction was sown in the Kusana period and this continued to grow for more than a millennium and half. We, thus, find the fusion of Brahmanical and Buddhist deities in different parts of the country, either in the forms of symbols and motifs or through iconographic representation. It was, therefore, deemed proper to elucidate this important theme in some important academic forum. Consequently, a good number of aspects has been covered by the scholars who presented their papers; they deserve our heartfelt gratitude.
The seminar was organized in collaboration with Acharya Narendra Dev International Research Institute of Buddhist Studies, Lucknow - an organization, which is deeply involved in the dissemination of Buddhist theme and culture at higher level. Besides Dr. Yogendra Singh, Director of the Institute, we are much indebted to Sri Sailesh Krishna, the then Secretary of Culture, Government of Uttar Pradesh for his benevolent attitude and release of grant not only for Seminar, but also for the publication of this volume. Similarly, Smt. Bimla Poddar, Founder Trustee of Jnana-Pravaha lent her tremendous support at every stage of Conference and in bringing out the proceedings. Dr. Gouriswar Bhattacharya deserves our special thanks for his multiple cooperation.
Sri Chandraneel Sharma and Dr. Neeraj Kumar Pandey have assisted in different ways in preparation of the press copy of the book.
The book is dedicated to Prof. Herbert Hartel, and Dr. Gourishwar Bhattacharya, two eminent German scholars, who have seen eighty springs of life and whose contribution in the field of Indology is laudable. We wish them.
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