Overview for Buddhist Bronzes of Odisha: A Study in Context of the Evolution of Buddhist Deities
The discovery of ninety-two brinze icons, majority of which are Buddhism from Achutarajpur of Banpur in 1963 was rather unusual. Never before so many metal objects connected to Buddhism were found from any part of the state despite Odhisha being an important center of Buddhism. It is rather strange that no scholar ever tried to study the evolution of Buddhism images in the religion which started opposing idolatry. Though none of the bronzes bear any name on its body, yet it can be suggested that all these belonged to 7th-8th century AD when Odisha was an important centre of Buddhism. With dissention creeping into the religion after Buddhism's Nirvana, Buddhism virtually was dicided on the issues of ethics and metaphysical ritualistic doctrines. Both Hinayana and Mahayana agree Buddha as Sakyamuni, being born to Mayadevi. While, Hinayana regards him as Progenitor of law and call him a man with extraodinary intellect, Mahayana portrayed him as a Divine being. Thus the misogynistic religion turned into more flexible to accommodate female divinities into the pantheon. This proximity to female divinities gave birth to another seet, Vajrayana-Tantrayana. The Banpur hoard contains images of Heruka, Vajrahunkara, Kurukulla thus making it clear that it was a centre of Vajrayana. These images make an interesting study in the context of evolution of Buddhist deities.
Sagarika Mohapatra (Author)
Sagarika Mohapatra is a distinguished scholar of Buddhist studies, in her own right. With a lst class in Philosophy from Ravenshaw College, Utkal university she studied Ancient Indian History and Archaeology in Martin Luther University, Haale, Germany under the great Indologist Prof. Heinz Mode. Securing Grade I in the university, she did her Ph.D in Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan with direct UGC fellowship. Being a recipient of prestigious Japan Foundation fellowship, she did her Post-Doctorate in Bukkyo Daigaku, Kyoto Japan in 1980-1982. She joined North Eastern Hill University for some years after shifting to Bhubaneswar. She has published a number of Papers in both National and International journals besides, attending a number of International conferences in Buddhism.