Description: Collier recomposé selon la tradition de perles de corail, turquoise, perles gzi et métal argenté. Mongolie.
Notes: Buddhist art originated on the Indian subcontinent following the historical life of Siddhartha Gautama, 6th to 5th century BC, and thereafter evolved by contact with other cultures as it spread throughout Asia and the world.
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Buddhist art followed believers as the dharma spread, adapted, and evolved in each new host country.
It developed to the north through Central Asia and into Eastern Asia to form the Northern branch of Buddhist art, and to the east as far as Southeast Asia to form the Southern branch of Buddhist art.
In India, Buddhist art flourished and even influenced the development of Hindu art, until Buddhism nearly disappeared in India around the 10th century due in part to the vigorous expansion of Islam alongside Hinduism.
During the 2nd to 1st century BCE, sculptures became more explicit, representing episodes of the Buddha's life and teachings.
These took the form of votive tablets or friezes, usually in relation to the decoration of stupas.
Although India had a long sculptural tradition and a mastery of rich iconography, the Buddha was never represented in human form, but only through Buddhist symbolism.
This period may have been aniconic.
This reluctance towards anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha, and the sophisticated development of aniconic symbols to avoid it (even in narrative scene where other human figures would appear).
This tendency remained as late as the 2nd century CE in the southern parts of India, in the art of the Amaravati School (see: Mara's assault on the Buddha).
It has been argued that earlier anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha may have been made of wood and may have perished since then.
However, no related archaeological evidence has been found.
The earlist works of Buddhist art in India date back to the 1st century BC.
The Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya became a model for similar structures in Burma and Indonesia.
The frescoes at Sigiriya are said to be even older than the Ajanta Caves paintings.
Anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha started to emerge from the 1st century AD in Northern India.
The two main centers of creation have been identified as Gandhara in today's North West Frontier Province, in Pakistan, and the region of Mathura, in central northern India.
The art of Gandhara benefited from centuries of interaction with Greek culture since the conquests of Alexander the Great in 332 BC and the subsequent establishment of the Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek Kingdoms, leading to the development of Greco-Buddhist art.
Gandharan Buddhist sculpture displays Greek artistic influence, and it has been suggested that the concept of the "man-god" was essentially inspired by Greek mythological culture.
Artistically, the Gandharan school of sculpture is said to have contributed wavy hair, drapery covering both shoulders, shoes and sandals, acanthus leaf decorations, etc.
The art of Mathura tends to be based on a strong Indian tradition, exemplified by the anthropomorphic representation of divinities such as the Yaksas, although in a style rather archaic compared to the later representations of the Buddha.
The Mathuran school contributed clothes covering the left shoulder of thin muslin, the wheel on the palm, the lotus seat, etc.
Mathura and Gandhara also strongly influenced each other.
During their artistic florescence, the two regions were even united politically under the Kushans, both being capitals of the empire.
It is still a matter of debate whether the anthropomorphic representations of Buddha was essentially a result of a local evolution of Buddhist art at Mathura, or a consequence of Greek cultural influence in Gandhara through the Greco-Buddhist syncretism.
This iconic art was characterized from the start by a realistic idealism, combining realistic human features, proportions, attitudes and attributes, together with a sense of perfection and serenity reaching to the divine.
This expression of the Buddha as both man and God became the iconographic canon for subsequent Buddhist art.
It is interesting to note that the Buddha is an extensively used subject in plastic arts such as sculpture, paintings and literature, but not in music and dance.
Buddhist art continued to develop in India for a few more centuries.
The pink sandstone sculptures of Mathura evolved during the Gupta period (4th to 6th century) to reach a very high fineness of execution and delicacy in the modeling.
The art of the Gupta school was extremely influential almost everywhere in the rest of Asia.
By the 10th century, Buddhist art creation was dying out in India, as Hinduism and Islam ultimately prevailed.
At the end of the 12th century AD.
Buddhism in its full glory came to be preserved only in the Himalayan regions in India.
These areas, helped by their location, were in greater contact with Tibet and China - for example the art and traditions of Ladakh bear the stamp of Tibetan and Chinese influence.
As Buddhism expanded outside of India from the 1st century AD, its original artistic package blended with other artistic influences, leading to a progressive differentiation among the countries adopting the faith.
A Northern route was established from the 1st century CE through Central Asia, Tibet, Bhutan, China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam, in which Mahayana Buddhism prevailed.
A Southern route, where Theravada Buddhism dominated, went through Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.
The Silk Road transmission of Buddhism to Central Asia, China and ultimately Korea and Japan started in the 1st century CE with a semi-legendary account of an embassy sent to the West by the Chinese Emperor Ming (58-75 AD).
However, extensive contacts started in the 2nd century CE, probably as a consequence of the expansion of the Kushan Empire into the Chinese territory of the Tarim Basin, with the missionary efforts of a great number of Central Asian Buddhist monks to Chinese lands.
The first missionaries and translators of Buddhists scriptures into Chinese, such as Lokaksema, were either Parthian, Kushan, Sogdian or Kuchean.
Central Asian missionary efforts along the Silk Road were accompanied by a flux of artistic influences, visible in the development of Serindian art from the 2nd through the 11th century in the Tarim Basin, modern Xinjiang.
Serindian art often derives from the Greco-Buddhist art of the Gandhara district of what is now Pakistan, combining Indian, Greek and Roman influences.
Silk Road Greco-Buddhist artistic influences can be found as far as Japan to this day, in architectural motifs, Buddhist imagery, and a select few representations of Japanese gods.
The art of the northern route was also highly influenced by the development of Mahāyāna Buddhism, an inclusive branch of Buddhism characterized by the adoption of new texts, in addition to the traditional āgamas, and a shift in the understanding of Buddhism.
Mahāyāna goes beyond the traditional Early Buddhist ideal of the release from suffering (duḥkha) of arhats, and emphasizes the bodhisattva path.
The Mahāyāna sutras elevate the Buddha to a transcendent and infinite being, and feature a pantheon of bodhisattvas devoting themselves to the Six Perfections, ultimate knowledge (Prajñāpāramitā), enlightenment, and the liberation of all sentient beings.
Northern Buddhist art thus tends to be characterized by a very rich and syncretic Buddhist pantheon, with a multitude of images of the various buddhas, bodhisattvas, and heavenly beings (devas).
Buddhist art in Afghanistan (old Bactria) persisted for several centuries until the spread of Islam in the 7th century.
It is exemplified by the Buddhas of Bamyan.
Other sculptures, in stucco, schist or clay, display very strong blending of Indian post-Gupta mannerism and Classical influence, Hellenistic or possibly even Greco-Roman.
Although Islamic rule was somewhat tolerant of other religions "of the Book", it showed little tolerance for Buddhism, which was perceived as a religion depending on "idolatry".
Human figurative art forms also being prohibited under Islam, Buddhist art suffered numerous attacks, which culminated with the systematic destructions by the Taliban regime.
The Buddhas of Bamyan, the sculptures of Hadda, and many of the remaining artifacts at the Afghanistan museum have been destroyed.
The multiple conflicts since the 1980s also have led to a systematic pillage of archaeological sites apparently in the hope of reselling in the international market what artifacts could be found.
Central Asia long played the role of a meeting place between China, India and Persia.
During the 2nd century BCE, the expansion of the Former Han to the West led to increased contact with the Hellenistic civilizations of Asia, especially the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom.
Thereafter, the expansion of Buddhism to the North led to the formation of Buddhist communities and even Buddhist kingdoms in the oasis of Central Asia.
Some Silk Road cities consisted almost entirely of Buddhist stupas and monasteries, and it seems that one of their main objectives was to welcome and service travelers between East and West.
The eastern part of Central Asia (Chinese Turkestan (Tarim Basin, Xinjiang) in particular has revealed an extremely rich Serindian art (wall paintings and reliefs in numerous caves, portable paintings on canvas, sculpture, ritual objects), displaying multiple influences from Indian and Hellenistic cultures.
Works of art reminiscent of the Gandharan style, as well as scriptures in the Gandhari script Kharoshti have been found.
These influences were rapidly absorbed however by the vigorous Chinese culture, and a strongly Chinese particularism develops from that point.
See also: Dunhuang, Mogao Caves, Kingdom of Khotan, Silk Road, Silk Road transmission of Buddhism.
Buddhism arrived in China around the 1st century AD, and introduced new types of art into China, particularly in the area of statuary.
Receiving this distant religion, strong Chinese traits were incorporated into Buddhist art.
Korean Buddhist art generally reflects an interaction between other Buddhist influences and a strongly original Korean culture.
Additionally, the art of the steppes, particularly Siberian and Scythian influences, are evident in early Korean Buddhist art based on the excavation of artifacts and burial goods such as Silla royal crowns, belt buckles, daggers, and comma-shaped gogok.
 The style of this indigenous art was geometric, abstract and richly adorned with a characteristic "barbarian" luxury.
Although many other influences were strong, Korean Buddhist art, "bespeaks a sobriety, taste for the right tone, a sense of abstraction but also of colours that curiously enough are in line with contemporary taste" (Pierre Cambon, Arts asiatiques- Guimet').
Before the introduction of Buddhism, Japan had already been the seat of various cultural (and artistic) influences, from the abstract linear decorative art of the indigenous Neolithic Jōmon from around 10500 BC to 300 BC, to the art during the Yayoi and Kofun periods, with developments such as Haniwa art.
The Japanese discovered Buddhism in the 6th century when missionary monks travelled to the islands together with numerous scriptures and works of art.
The Buddhist religion was adopted by the state in the following century.
Being geographically at the end of the Silk Road, Japan was able to preserve many aspects of Buddhism at the very time it was disappearing in India, and being suppressed in Central Asia and China.
From 711, numerous temples and monasteries were built in the capital city of Nara, including a five-story pagoda, the Golden Hall of the Horyuji, and the Kōfuku-ji temple.
Countless paintings and sculptures were made, often under governmental sponsorship.
Indian, Hellenistic, Chinese and Korean artistic influences blended into an original style characterized by realism and gracefulness.
The creation of Japanese Buddhist art was especially rich between the 8th and 13th centuries during the periods of Nara, Heian and Kamakura.
Japan developed an extremely rich figurative art for the pantheon of Buddhist deities, sometimes combined with Hindu and Shinto influences.
This art can be very varied, creative and bold.
From the 12th and 13th, a further development was Zen art, and it faces golden days in Muromachi Period, following the introduction of the faith by Dogen and Eisai upon their return from China.
Zen art is mainly characterized by original paintings (such as sumi-e) and poetry (especially haikus), striving to express the true essence of the world through impressionistic and unadorned "non-dualistic" representations.
The search for enlightenment "in the moment" also led to the development of other important derivative arts such as the Chanoyu tea ceremony or the Ikebana art of flower arrangement.
This evolution went as far as considering almost any human activity as an art with a strong spiritual and aesthetic content, first and foremost in those activities related to combat techniques (martial arts).
Buddhism remains very active in Japan to this day.
Still around 80,000 Buddhist temples are preserved.
Many of them are in wood and are regularly restored.
Chinese art is visual art that, whether ancient or modern, originated in or is practiced in China or by Chinese artists or performers.
Early so-called "stone age art" dates back to 10,000 BC, mostly consisting of simple pottery and sculptures.
This early period was followed by a series of art dynasties, most of which lasted several hundred years.
The Chinese art in the Republic of China (Taiwan) and that of overseas Chinese can also be considered part of Chinese art where it is based in or draws on Chinese heritage and Chinese culture.
Early forms of art in China are found in the Neolithic Yangshao culture (Chinese: 仰韶文化; pinyin: Yǎngsháo Wénhuà), which dates back to the 6th millennium BCE.
Archeological findings such as those at the Banpo have revealed that the Yangshao made pottery; early ceramics were unpainted and most often cord-marked.
The first decorations were fish and human faces, but these eventually evolved into symmetrical-geometric abstract designs, some painted.
The most distinctive feature of Yangshao culture was the extensive use of painted pottery, especially human facial, animal, and geometric designs.
Unlike the later Longshan culture, the Yangshao culture did not use pottery wheels in pottery making.
Excavations have found that children were buried in painted pottery jars.
The Liangzhu culture was the last Neolithic Jade culture in the Yangtze River delta and was spaced over a period of about 1,300 years.
The Jade from this culture is characterized by finely worked, large ritual jades such as Cong cylinders, Bi discs, Yue axes and also pendants and decorations in the form of chiseled open-work plaques, plates and representations of small birds, turtles and fish.
The Liangzhu Jade has a white, milky bone-like aspect due to its Tremolite rock origin and influence of water-based fluids at the burial sites.
Jade is a green stone that cannot be carved so it has to be ground.
The Bronze Age in China began with the Xia Dynasty.
Examples from this period have been recovered from ruins of the Erlitou culture, in Shanxi, and include complex but unadorned utilitarian objects.
In the following Shang Dynasty more elaborate objects, including many ritual vessels, were crafted.
The Shang are remembered for their bronze casting, noted for its clarity of detail.
Shang bronzesmiths usually worked in foundries outside the cities to make ritual vessels, and sometimes weapons and chariot fittings as well.
The bronze vessels were receptacles for storing or serving various solids and liquids used in the performance of sacred ceremonies.
Some forms such as the ku and jue can be very graceful, but the most powerful pieces are the ding, sometimes described as having the an "air of ferocious majesty.
"It is typical of the developed Shang style that all available space is decorated, most often with stylized forms of real and imaginary animals.
The most common motif is the taotie, which shows a mythological being presented frontally as though squashed onto a horizontal plane to form a symmetrical design.
The early significance of taotie is not clear, but myths about it existed around the late Zhou Dynasty.
It was considered to be variously a covetous man banished to guard a corner of heaven against evil monsters; or a monster equipped with only a head which tries to devour men but hurts only itself.
The function and appearance of bronzes changed gradually from the Shang to the Zhou.
They shifted from been used in religious rites to more practical purposes.
By the Warring States Period, bronze vessels had become objects of aesthetic enjoyment.
Some were decorated with social scenes, such as from a banquet or hunt; whilst others displayed abstract patterns inlaid with gold, silver, or precious and semiprecious stones.
Shang bronzes became appreciated as works of art from the Song Dynasty, when they were collected and prized not only for their shape and design but also for the various green, blue green, and even reddish patinas created by chemical action as they lay buried in the ground.
The study of early Chinese bronze casting is a specialized field of art history.
Porcelain is made from a hard paste made of the clay kaolin and a feldspar called petuntse, which cements the vessel and seals any pores.
China has become synonymous with high-quality porcelain.
Most china pots comes from the city of Jingdezhen in China's Jiangxi province.
Jingdezhen, under a variety of names, has been central to porcelain production in China since at least the early Han Dynasty.
The most noticeable difference between porcelain and the other pottery clays is that it "wets" very quickly (that is, added water has a noticeably greater effect on the plasticity for porcelain than other clays), and that it tends to continue to "move" longer than other clays, requiring experience in handling to attain optimum results.
During medieval times in Europe, porcelain was very expensive and in high demand for its beauty.
TLV mirrors also date from the Han dynasty.
In ancient China, painting and calligraphy were the most highly appreciated arts in court circles and were produced almost exclusively by amateurs, aristocrats and scholar-officials who alone had the leisure to perfect the technique and sensibility necessary for great brushwork.
Calligraphy was thought to be the highest and purest form of painting.
The implements were the brush pen, made of animal hair, and black inks, made from pine soot and animal glue.
Writing as well as painting was done on silk.
But after the invention of paper in the 1st century, silk was gradually replaced by the new and cheaper material.
Original writings by famous calligraphers have been greatly valued throughout China's history and are mounted on scrolls and hung on walls in the same way that paintings are.
Wang Xizhi was a famous Chinese calligrapher who lived in the 4th century AD.
His most famous work is the Lanting Xu, the preface of a collection of poems written by a number of poets when gathering at Lan Ting near the town of Shaoxing in Zhejiang province and engaging in a game called "qu shui liu shang".
Wei Shuo was a well-known calligrapher of Eastern Jin Dynasty who established consequential rules about the Regular Script.
Her well-known works include Famous Concubine Inscription (名姬帖 Ming Ji Tie) and The Inscription of Wei-shi He'nan (衛氏和南帖 Wei-shi He'nan Tie).
Japanese art covers a wide range of art styles and media, including ancient pottery, sculpture in wood and bronze, ink painting on silk and paper and more recently manga, cartoon, along with a myriad of other types of works of art.
It also has a long history, ranging from the beginnings of human habitation in Japan, sometime in the 10th millennium BC, to the present.
Historically, Japan has been subject to sudden invasions of new and alien ideas followed by long periods of minimal contact with the outside world.
Over time the Japanese developed the ability to absorb, imitate, and finally assimilate those elements of foreign culture that complemented their aesthetic preferences.
The earliest complex art in Japan was produced in the 7th and 8th centuries in connection with Buddhism.
In the 9th century, as the Japanese began to turn away from China and develop indigenous forms of expression, the secular arts became increasingly important; until the late 15th century, both religious and secular arts flourished.
After the Ōnin War (1467-1477), Japan entered a period of political, social, and economic disruption that lasted for over a century.
In the state that emerged under the leadership of the Tokugawa shogunate, organized religion played a much less important role in people's lives, and the arts that survived were primarily secular.
Painting is the preferred artistic expression in Japan, practiced by amateurs and professionals alike.
Until modern times, the Japanese wrote with a brush rather than a pen, and their familiarity with brush techniques has made them particularly sensitive to the values and aesthetics of painting.
With the rise of popular culture in the Edo period, a style of woodblock prints called ukiyo-e became a major art form and its techniques were fine tuned to produce colorful prints of everything from daily news to schoolbooks.
The Japanese, in this period, found sculpture a much less sympathetic medium for artistic expression; most Japanese sculpture is associated with religion, and the medium's use declined with the lessening importance of traditional Buddhism.
Japanese ceramics are among the finest in the world and include the earliest known artifacts of their culture.
In architecture, Japanese preferences for natural materials and an interaction of interior and exterior space are clearly expressed.
Today, Japan rivals most other modern nations in its contributions to modern art, fashion and architecture, with creations of a truly modern, global, and multi-cultural (or acultural) bent.
Traditional Thai art is primarily composed of Buddhist art.
Traditional Thai sculpture almost exclusively depicts images of the Buddha.
Traditional Thai paintings usually consist of book illustrations, and painted ornamentation of buildings such as palaces and temples.
Traditional Thai paintings showed subjects in two dimensions without perspective.
The size of each element in the picture reflected its degree of importance.
The primary technique of composition is that of apportioning areas: the main elements are isolated from each other by space transformers.
This eliminated the intermediate ground, which would otherwise imply perspective.
Perspective was introduced only as a result of Western influence in the mid-19th century.
The most frequent narrative subjects for paintings were or are: the Jataka stories, episodes from the life of the Buddha, the Buddhist heavens and hells, and scenes of daily life.