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Volume 50 Number 2, December 1998

Volume 50 Number 2

Chinese Buddhist Art

From the General Editor’s Desk

Early Chinese Buddhist Architecture and its Indian Origins
Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt

Paradise Images in Early Chinese Art
Wu Hung and Ning Qiang

Foreigners in Early Chinese Buddhist Art: Disciples, Lohans, and Barbarian Rulers
Janet Baker

Avalokiteshvara in Sixth-Century China
Denise Patry Leidy

Two Kushan Period Buddhist Sculptures
Pratapaditya Pal

The Conservation of Mohenjo-daro
Shereen Ratnagar

Architecture as a Second Nature – A Feminine Discourse? The Work of Itsuko Hasegawa
Udo Kultermann

Newsletters

Book Reviews

From the General Editor's Desk [Editorial]
Pal, Pratapaditya
Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998, pp. 8-9

Having completed 5 years as Marg's general editor, Dr Pal shares his thoughts on "the agonies and ecstasies of the job".

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Early Chinese Buddhist Architecture and its Indian Origins
Shatzman Steinhardt, Nancy
Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998, pp. 10-25 [Also in The Flowering of a Foreign Faith: New Studies in Chinese Buddhist Art edited by Janet Baker; Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998; ISBN: 81-85026-42-4, pp. 38-53]

While China had a tradition of state rituals performed in buildings or on altars, the introduction of Indian Buddhist forms dramatically and permanently altered the Chinese architectural system. As outlined by the author here, the stupa, the chaitya, and the vihara required significant modification in order to create a Buddhist temple plan that was in harmony with existing Chinese concepts of imperial and residential space yet also preserving the sacred meaning and function of these elements in Buddhist worship. Few freestanding examples of early Chinese Buddhist architecture survive today, but mural paintings and architectural elements carved in stone at grotto sites across China make it possible to trace the evolution of Chinese Buddhist architecture during the six Dynasties and Tang periods.

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Paradise Images in Early Chinese Art
Hung, Wu and Qiang, Ning
Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998, pp. 26-39 [Also in The Flowering of a Foreign Faith: New Studies in Chinese Buddhist Art edited by Janet Baker; Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998; ISBN: 81-85026-42-4, pp. 54-67]

Pictorial images of the Western Paradise or "Pure Land", as it was known, evolved in Buddhist cave murals during the 5th and 6th centuries. As elaborated in this essay, at first these scenes focused on the icon of Amitabha, but gradually began to include architectural and landscape elements. By the 7th century, murals at Dunhuang show the Western Paradise as a wonderful illusory kingdom. The complex compositions are highly symmetrical and geometric, with the architectural elements adding a sense of three-dimensionality. Though differing in iconography, the images of the Buddhist Western Pure Land and the pre-Buddhist immortal paradise both supported a family-oriented society whose needs for continuation through ancestral worship had to transcend the different religious traditions to which these images originally belonged.

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Foreigners in Early Chinese Buddhist Art: Disciples, Lohans, and Barbarian Rulers
Baker, Janet
Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998, pp. 40-59 [Also in The Flowering of a Foreign Faith: New Studies in Chinese Buddhist Art edited by Janet Baker; Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998; ISBN: 81-85026-42-4, pp. 68-87]

This essay considers works of art from India, Central Asia, and China of pre-12th century date, to reveal the early Buddhist source of certain Chinese painting styles. It analyses how these styles were related to new subject matter and almost exclusively used to depict foreigners prior to the later Tang period.

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Avalokiteshvara in Sixth-Century China
Leidy, Denise Patry
Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998, pp. 60-75 [Also in The Flowering of a Foreign Faith: New Studies in Chinese Buddhist Art edited by Janet Baker; Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998; ISBN: 81-85026-42-4, pp. 88-103]

Images of Avalokiteshvara in his role as "Saviour from Perils" came into prominence in the second half of the 6th century in Chinese art. Both historical records and visual remains indicate that devotion to this aspect of the Bodhisattva was particularly important in the area around the cave-temples at Dunhuang. The writer explores the development of various new types of Avalokiteshvara images, particularly the bejewelled style. It is noted that this style marks a distinct contrast to the asceticism characteristic of Indian images of Avalokiteshvara.

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Two Kushan Period Buddhist Sculptures
Pal, Pratapaditya
Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998, pp. 76-83

The author describes two modest-sized but unusual Kushan-period Buddhist sculptures from Mathura, in the collection of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. The first is a fragment showing the bust of a female figure, probably part of a Birth of the Buddha stele showing his mother Maya. Stylistically similar to the yakshi figures particularly popular in Kushan Mathura, its iconographical details are interesting. The second sculpture is of a 12-inch bust of a Buddha image in the characteristic spotted red sandstone or Sikri stone of Mathura. Considering the distinctive childlike features of this image, it is proposed to identify the figure as that of the young Buddha. Images of the child Buddha from Japan, China, Kashmir, and Nepal are illustrated for comparison.

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The Conservation of Mohenjo-Daro
Ratnagar, Shereen
Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998, pp. 84-89

As a guest of the Pakistan Directorate of Archaeology and Museums in March 1998, the writer has been able to learn what precisely the conservation of Mohenjodaro entails. Presented here is her summary of the measures that have hitherto been taken to preserve the site, their success or failure, and the perspective that has now formed on what can and should be done.

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Architecture as a Second Nature - A Feminine Discourse? The Work of Itsuko Hasegawa
Kultermann, Udo
Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998, pp. 90-97

Several of the innovative developments taking place in countries in Asia, Africa, and South America are spearheaded by women architects today. These new and exciting transformations are especially visible in the work of the Japanese architect Itsuko Hasegawa. In her completed works of the last two decades, she has contributed an important new perspective to international architecture.

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Newsletters
Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998, pp. 98-105

Monisha Ahmed reports on an exhibition of Indian art from the Berlin museum, the Nicholson collection of contemporary art, a seminar on coastal forts in Maharashtra and conservation efforts; John Siudmak reviews Minakar, reports on Asian Art in London and the many venues for India-related art in London; Tushara Bindu Gude writes about the newly opened Getty Center in LA.

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Book Reviews
Vol. 50 No. 2, December 1998, pp. 106-109

The Buddha Image: Its Origin and Development by Y. Krishan reviewed by John Siudmak; The Durga Temple at Aihole: A Historiographical Study by Gary Michael Tartakov and Ganesa: The Enchanter of the Three Worlds by Paul Martin-Dubost reviewed by Pratapaditya Pal; Ganesa in Indian Art and Literature by Nirmala Yadav reviewed by B.V. Shetti.

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