Mathura Art

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It was with the Mathura and Gandhara schools of art, that Buddha started getting represented in anthropomorphic form. Mathura school belonged to Northern India, where it developed indigenously with Mathura, Sarnath and Kosambi being its main centres of production. Until the formation of this school, Buddha was never depicted in a human form. Anthropomorphic images including those of Vishnu, Shiva, Yakshas, Yakshinis, Jinas etc, were starting to emerge with Mathura art along with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. This art school arrived its epitome during the Gupta period in 6th or 7th century. Initially the artisans of Mathura did not give much attention to create anatomically correct Buddha images. This can be seen early images they made of the…show more content…
In this art, features of Buddha were extremely stylised, for example his curls were altered into wavy hair and his head matched very much with Greek God ‘Apollo’, resembling Hellenistic tradition. Like Mathura art, Gandhara sculptures also seemed to depict Buddha as a ‘man-god’, but by using the Greco-Roman influence. This depiction is believed to be inspired from Greek mythology. The wavy hair, sandals and extensive drapery were characteristics of Gandhara Buddha. Some examples of Gandhara art depict both Buddha along with Greek demigod, Hercules. The legendary interpretation of Buddha is sometimes presented through roman motifs like triton and he is sometimes shown using vine scroll along with cherub wearing garland. The outer robe of Buddha of Gandhara like kaaya and antarvasa corresponds to attire of roman gods. These representations of Buddha human form implicates the inspired from roman anthropomorphic tradition. Vajrapani, a Bodhisattva, is considered as a figure transformed icon of Hercules.The Gandhara Buddha’s eyes usually are half closed and the face and cheeks are not round like the images found in Mathura. The ears are prolonged especially the earlobes. Overall design of the image projects calmness as the centre point of attraction. The Indian elements like the ideal yogi figure, lotus seat, pensive gaze, folded drapery, heavy ornamentation and moustache can be seen assimilated in these figures. Another interesting fact is that, Buddha is shown making four types of hand gestures in all representations of Gandhara art. These gestures are: Abahayamudra , Dhyanamudra , Dharmachakramudra, and Bhumisparshamudra The Buddha head at Taxila and The Bamyan Buddha of Afghanistan are a fine examples of Buddha sculptures of the Gandhara

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