Art and Landscape
Buddhist Rock Sculptures of Late Antiqe Swat/Uddiyana
Reihe: Denkschriften der philosophisch-historischen Klasse, Band: 462
Format: 352 Seiten mit zahlr.Abb., 29,7x21cm, broschiert
However, archaeology also reveals that in Swat Buddhism was already on the wane before becoming irrevocably overshadowed by Islam. Against this background, an apparent anomaly is represented by the Buddhist rock sculptures that flourished in the country in the seventh to eighth centuries. Buddha and bodhisattva figures started populating numerous paths leading to Buddhist sacred areas that in most cases were already decayed if not abandoned. Due to their unusual features, poor preservation state and blurred cultural context, these sculptures have long remained almost ignored or at least underestimated.
In fact, analytical study – based on nearly two hundred specimens documented over the years by the Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan – reveals that the artistic value and theoretical foundations of these sculptures are far more refined than we used to believe. Thus they partly fill a void in the history and, moreover, start reducing the distance between the Uḍḍiyāna of the legend and the Uḍḍiyāna of real life, where even long after the advent of Islam Tibetan pilgrims came in search of the holy homeland of Vajrayāna Buddhism and its apostles Indrabhūti and Padmasambhava.
Gedruckt mit Unterstützung des Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF).
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