Overview for Buddhism and Gandhara Art
The present work is the outcome of an International Conference on â€œBuddhism and Gandhara Artâ€ organized in the joint collaboration of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla and Jnana-Pravaha â€“ Centre for Cultural Studies, Varanasi. The idea evolved at the juncture when the then Taliban government of Afghanistan was bent upon destroying the marvelous creations of Gandhara art including the great Bamiyan Buddha. It is an academic homage to those splendid treasures of Gandhara art, many of which are no more to be seen. The papers presented by a galaxy of art historians and archaeologists impart an excellent glimpse of the cultural development of Gandhara region from the pre-Christian era to the Islamic period. The book aims at presenting various facets of Gandhara art in a historical perspective and contains not only the unpublished material but also the analyses and fresh interpretations on the different aspects of Gandhara art including the emergence of the great school of Gandhara sculpture, the creation of Buddha image, development of Buddhist pantheon, interaction with several art styles in the neighbouring countries, construction of monasteries and stupas in the vast area termed as Greater Gandhara, and the delicate issue of Islam and iconoclasm. The documentation and research as a result of archaeological expeditions in several areas during the last two centuries have also been highlighted. The book thus presents important milestones of religious, cultural and the artistic journey of Gandhara area, now in Pakistan and Afghanistan.