oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

A place to post videos, pictures, and any other sort of Buddhist or non-Buddhist media.
climb-up
Posts: 508
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:32 am

oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by climb-up » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:03 pm

[/media]

User avatar
Grigoris
Global Moderator
Posts: 18513
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Grigoris » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:33 pm

The style of the figures is soooooo Hellenic, which is no surprise given the finds are from Gandhara.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Tenma
Posts: 748
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:25 am

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Tenma » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:04 am

climb-up wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:03 pm
[/media]
viewtopic.php?f=39&t=26491

User avatar
Wayfarer
Global Moderator
Posts: 4292
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:12 am

Regardless, a superb artefact and a very interesting article. Thanks for posting.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

User avatar
Wayfarer
Global Moderator
Posts: 4292
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:29 am

Actually I did an interesting assignment on the origin of the Buddha image. It is often said that the reason the Buddha wasn’t at first depicted in human form was suggestive of his transcendent or elusive nature. However Sue Huntington (I think it was) said that many of the early, ‘aniconic’ depictions of devotees bowing to an empty seat, were actually depictions of visits to places of pilgrimage and sites that were associated with the Buddha. Coomaraswamy also said that it took generations for the traditional producers of iconic forms to work out how to depict the Buddha, as there was no existing pattern, for obvious reasons.

But as Grigoris says, the Greek influence on that figure is undeniable, although it is none the worse for it, as that ‘Greco-bactrian’ style embodied great classical beauty.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

Tiago Simões
Posts: 980
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:41 pm
Location: Portugal

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Tiago Simões » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:39 am

Here's a nice video to put things in historical context:

Then, the Licchavi Vimalakīrti spoke to the elder Śāriputra and the great disciples: “Reverends, eat of the food of the Tathāgata! It is ambrosia perfumed by the great compassion. But do not fix your minds in narrow-minded attitudes, lest you be unable to receive its gift.”

- Chapter 9, The Feast Brought by the Emanated Incarnation
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Teaching of Vimalakīrti”

User avatar
Grigoris
Global Moderator
Posts: 18513
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Grigoris » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:48 am

Tiago Simões wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:39 am
Here's a nice video to put things in historical context:

It was not a "Greek Empire" it was a Hellenistic Empire of Macedonians. There was no Greece back then, there was the Macedonian Empire that had initially conquered and unified Hellenic city states, before setting out towards the east.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Tiago Simões
Posts: 980
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:41 pm
Location: Portugal

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Tiago Simões » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:38 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:48 am
Tiago Simões wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:39 am
Here's a nice video to put things in historical context:

It was not a "Greek Empire" it was a Hellenistic Empire of Macedonians. There was no Greece back then, there was the Macedonian Empire that had initially conquered and unified Hellenic city states, before setting out towards the east.
Isn't "Hellenistic" just a synonym for Greek? Like the official name of Greece, "Hellenic Republic".
Then, the Licchavi Vimalakīrti spoke to the elder Śāriputra and the great disciples: “Reverends, eat of the food of the Tathāgata! It is ambrosia perfumed by the great compassion. But do not fix your minds in narrow-minded attitudes, lest you be unable to receive its gift.”

- Chapter 9, The Feast Brought by the Emanated Incarnation
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Teaching of Vimalakīrti”

User avatar
Grigoris
Global Moderator
Posts: 18513
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Grigoris » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:05 pm

Tiago Simões wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:38 pm
Isn't "Hellenistic" just a synonym for Greek? Like the official name of Greece, "Hellenic Republic".
Yes and no. Hellenistic/Greek describes a set of somewhat shared characteristics. Hellas/Greece describes the nation-state. There was no Greek/Hellenic nation-state until the war of independence from the Ottoman Empire. Even then pieces of what is now Greece joined the initial liberated region, starting from the early 1800's, and the last piece (Dodecanese Islands, which were held by the Italian Republic) joining in 1947.

In early 300BC "Greece" was just a bunch of constantly warring city states (with shifting alliances) the main ones being: Thrace, Macedonia, the Corinthian League and the Thessalians (with the Persian Empire to the East). They did not share a common political system. They spoke two main Hellenic dialects. They did not have a shared religious system. They did not... ad nauseum.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Tiago Simões
Posts: 980
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:41 pm
Location: Portugal

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Tiago Simões » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:25 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:05 pm
Tiago Simões wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:38 pm
Isn't "Hellenistic" just a synonym for Greek? Like the official name of Greece, "Hellenic Republic".
Yes and no. Hellenistic/Greek describes a set of somewhat shared characteristics. Hellas/Greece describes the nation-state. There was no Greek/Hellenic nation-state until the war of independence from the Ottoman Empire. Even then pieces of what is now Greece joined the initial liberated region, starting from the early 1800's, and the last piece (Dodecanese Islands, which were held by the Italian Republic) joining in 1947.

In early 300BC "Greece" was just a bunch of constantly warring city states (with shifting alliances) the main ones being: Thrace, Macedonia, the Corinthian League and the Thessalians (with the Persian Empire to the East). They did not share a common political system. They spoke two main Hellenic dialects. They did not have a shared religious system. They did not... ad nauseum.
Yet people from outside the Hellenistic sphere would consider anyone from this bunch of constantly warring city states to be "Greek", no? For example would an Egyptian in Ptolemaic Egypt care from which city state a greek was?
Then, the Licchavi Vimalakīrti spoke to the elder Śāriputra and the great disciples: “Reverends, eat of the food of the Tathāgata! It is ambrosia perfumed by the great compassion. But do not fix your minds in narrow-minded attitudes, lest you be unable to receive its gift.”

- Chapter 9, The Feast Brought by the Emanated Incarnation
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Teaching of Vimalakīrti”

User avatar
Grigoris
Global Moderator
Posts: 18513
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Grigoris » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:48 pm

Tiago Simões wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:25 pm
Yet people from outside the Hellenistic sphere would consider anyone from this bunch of constantly warring city states to be "Greek", no? For example would an Egyptian in Ptolemaic Egypt care from which city state a greek was?
Depends. I imagine they would because the Ptolemaic Egyptians were part of a separate Hellenistic Empire anyway.

You are looking at all this through the lens of modern nation-states. Once you drop those blinkers, you will see that things were very different back then. Empires were multi-national affairs.

Take the Byzantine Empire for example. Started off as a village on the Bosphorous. Became Romanised. Then it was Hellenised. It's emperors were of a variety of Asia-Minor stock, Romans, Hellenes, Ilyrians, Bessians, Macedonians, Northern Africans, Germanics, Armenians, etc...

It split into two empires (east and west) was joined again, etc...
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 29048
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Malcolm » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:46 pm

Tiago Simões wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:38 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:48 am
Tiago Simões wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:39 am
Here's a nice video to put things in historical context:

It was not a "Greek Empire" it was a Hellenistic Empire of Macedonians. There was no Greece back then, there was the Macedonian Empire that had initially conquered and unified Hellenic city states, before setting out towards the east.
Isn't "Hellenistic" just a synonym for Greek? Like the official name of Greece, "Hellenic Republic".
Considering that the region was largely made of Iranian speaking peoples who used Aramaic as their lingua franca (the official business language of the Persian Empire at that time), it was at best Hellenic only at the very top.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

Tiago Simões
Posts: 980
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:41 pm
Location: Portugal

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Tiago Simões » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:00 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:46 pm
Tiago Simões wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:38 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:48 am
It was not a "Greek Empire" it was a Hellenistic Empire of Macedonians. There was no Greece back then, there was the Macedonian Empire that had initially conquered and unified Hellenic city states, before setting out towards the east.
Isn't "Hellenistic" just a synonym for Greek? Like the official name of Greece, "Hellenic Republic".
Considering that the region was largely made of Iranian speaking peoples who used Aramaic as their lingua franca (the official business language of the Persian Empire at that time), it was at best Hellenic only at the very top.
Pretty much like Ptolemaic Egypt was. Although I'm sure just as in the previously mentioned there was cultural and religious exchange between both cultures.
Then, the Licchavi Vimalakīrti spoke to the elder Śāriputra and the great disciples: “Reverends, eat of the food of the Tathāgata! It is ambrosia perfumed by the great compassion. But do not fix your minds in narrow-minded attitudes, lest you be unable to receive its gift.”

- Chapter 9, The Feast Brought by the Emanated Incarnation
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Teaching of Vimalakīrti”

User avatar
Wayfarer
Global Moderator
Posts: 4292
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:14 pm

It seems the name that has been omitted in the above was Alexander the Great, whose empire it was that straddled Gandhara, and whose language and artistic culture had profound influence in that part of the world. The Questions of Kind Milinda were an account of a dialogue between a Buddhist monk, Ven. Nagasena, and a Greco-Bactrian King. It is said to be one of the very oldest continuously extant written texts in the Buddhist corpus, or indeed world literature.

I have always found the 'Gandhara' style of Buddhist iconography beautiful, such as these. I understand that it's a kind of 'hybrid tradition', but then many others were as well - the Kusharan culture nearly always depicted bodhisattvas with moustaches! But then, that's how tradition, like language, evolves.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

User avatar
Grigoris
Global Moderator
Posts: 18513
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Grigoris » Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:18 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:14 pm
It seems the name that has been omitted in the above was Alexander the Great, whose empire it was that straddled Gandhara, and whose language and artistic culture had profound influence in that part of the world. The Questions of Kind Milinda were an account of a dialogue between a Buddhist monk, Ven. Nagasena, and a Greco-Bactrian King. It is said to be one of the very oldest continuously extant written texts in the Buddhist corpus, or indeed world literature.
King Milinda (Menander) was the only one of the Gandharan Bactrian kings to convert to Buddhism. The previous and following kings apparently maintained the religion of their Macedonian forefathers.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

User avatar
Wayfarer
Global Moderator
Posts: 4292
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:40 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:18 am
King Milinda (Menander) was the only one of the Gandharan Bactrian kings to convert to Buddhism. The previous and following kings apparently maintained the religion of their Macedonian forefathers.
Yeah, that Nagasena was a gun, wasn't he :smile:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

User avatar
Yavana
Posts: 955
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:15 am
Location: Trumpaloka

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Yavana » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:10 pm

I found these interesting. Tangentially related.


User avatar
Grigoris
Global Moderator
Posts: 18513
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Grigoris » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:17 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:40 am
Grigoris wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:18 am
King Milinda (Menander) was the only one of the Gandharan Bactrian kings to convert to Buddhism. The previous and following kings apparently maintained the religion of their Macedonian forefathers.
Yeah, that Nagasena was a gun, wasn't he :smile:
Yup, he certainly was.

On a side note: I translated an abridgment of the Milindapanha from English into Greek (there has not been a translation done into Greek yet!) and I cannot find a publisher for it. Such is the nature of modern Hellenism!
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 29048
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Malcolm » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:26 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:14 pm
It seems the name that has been omitted in the above was Alexander the Great, whose empire it was that straddled Gandhara, and whose language and artistic culture had profound influence in that part of the world. The Questions of Kind Milinda were an account of a dialogue between a Buddhist monk, Ven. Nagasena, and a Greco-Bactrian King. It is said to be one of the very oldest continuously extant written texts in the Buddhist corpus, or indeed world literature.

I have always found the 'Gandhara' style of Buddhist iconography beautiful, such as these. I understand that it's a kind of 'hybrid tradition', but then many others were as well - the Kusharan culture nearly always depicted bodhisattvas with moustaches! But then, that's how tradition, like language, evolves.
As above, the dominant culture of Bactria, etc., was Persian.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Grigoris
Global Moderator
Posts: 18513
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: oldest, dateable depiction of the Buddha in human form

Post by Grigoris » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:36 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:26 pm
As above, the dominant culture of Bactria, etc., was Persian.
Maybe, but you haven't really provided any evidence.

The ruling strata though, were definitely Hellenistic.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Post Reply

Return to “Media”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 28 guests