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Volume 9 Number 1, December 1955

Volume 9 Number 1

In Praise of Early Buddhist Art

In Praise of Early Buddhist Art (Editorial)

The Continuity of Tradition (with Portfolio)
Mulk Raj Anand 

Glimpses of Buddhist India
T.W. Rhys Davids

Evolution of Buddhist Architecture and Sculpture in the Time of Satavahanas
Krishna Gairola 

Reflections on Two Reliefs in Bhaja
E.H. Johnston 

Painting: The Charm of Ajanta

Frescoes of Ajanta: An Essay
Charles Fabri 

Some Motifs from Ancient Indian Jewellery


In Praise of Early Buddhist Art [Editorial]
Anand, Mulk Raj
Vol. 9 No. 1, December 1955, pp. 2-6
Marg brought out this special issue on Buddhist art to mark the birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha, and to indicate the relevance of the Buddha's teachings in the present era of conflict and dissension. Buddhist art, founded upon the people's participation and dedication towards common belief, fused the strands of indigenous folk tradition with the three-dimensional technique which came from outside into the Mauryan court. The Buddhist art tradition spread in two directions: from Bharhut to the valley of Mahiyar, Patna, Sarnath, Rajgir, Nalanda, and Bodhgaya; and through the Satavahana kingdom to the Deccan, Western Ghats and upto Madhya Bharat. The monuments of the Satavahana period -- the early gateways at Sanchi (1st century BCE), the monasteries of the Western Ghats, the early cave temples of the Deccan, and the first panels of Amaravati -- exhibit a mastery of the knowledge of human life, and the organization of its forms into giant works, and should inspire our people to build an equivalent contemporary grandeur while assimilating modern technical influences.
The Continuity of Tradition
Anand, Mulk Raj
Vol. 9 No. 1, December 1955, pp. 7-19
The continuity of tradition between earlier (vedic) times and the Buddhist period is indicated by the recurrence of certain symbols, such as the Tree of Life, the Earth Lotus, the World Wheel, the Lotus Throne, and the Fiery Pillar. Another example of such continuity is the Pre-Mauryan repousse figure of the earth goddess "Prithvi" found in the mound at Laurya-Nandangarh, which has its antecedents in the terracotta figures of the Indus period, and continued into the Kushana and later periods. Continuity of traditional forms may well have extended to monuments of plastic art in the Mauryan, Sunga, Satavahana, and later epochs, as evidenced by art remains.
Glimpses of Buddhist India
Rhys Davids, T.W.
Vol. 9 No. 1, December 1955, pp. 20-25
The writer describes the socio-economic conditions in Buddhist times (c. 7th century BCE): the organization of the village community and administration; ownership and care of cattle; cultivation and irrigation; individual and property rights; holding and distribution of land; and the role of customs and ideals. Besides the customs of connubium (the right of intermarriage) and commensality (the right of eating together), society was divided into the 4 varnas or colours -- Aryan, Brahmin, Vaisya, and Sudra -- and other lower and aboriginal tribes and trades (hina-jatiyo, hina-sippani, Chandalas, and Pukkusas). The division between the varnas was not rigid, and it was possible to rise to a higher grade. The Brahmin was yet to gain his superior status; the caste-system came much later.
Evolution of Buddhist Architecture and Sculpture in the Time of Satavahanas
Gairola, Krishna
Vol. 9 No. 1, December 1955, pp. 26-54

The article begins with a historical note on the Satavahana dynasty, followed by sections on architecture and sculpture. The relative chronological features of the Buddhist monuments at Sanchi (gateways), earlier western Indian cave temples, Amaravati, Bhaja, Kondane, Pitalkhora, Bedsa, Nasik, and Kanheri developed -- with the influence of contemporary and later art in the course of three centuries of Satavahana rule (c. 73 BCE- 220 CE). The absence of Buddha figures in early western Indian caves suggests that they were executed by Hinayana Buddhists. The motifs and styles in the Sanchi stupa suggest an affinity with prototypes in wood and ivory. The Bhaja cave was designed after some prevalent wooden model. The facade of the Bedsa cave offers elements which influenced the chaitya at Karle. At Nasik, the development of the decorative system of capitals indicates that they are the chaitya pillars at Karle. Karle is the longest and finest of the western Indian cave temples, with the innovation of a rock-cut screen (instead of the earlier wood screens) under the arch of the horse-shoe chaitya window. The earliest figure sculptures of the Satavahana period -- and also the first portrait-sculptures in India -- are in the Nanaghat caves (c. 1st century BCE), which continue the Bharhut-Sanchi style (2nd-1st century BCE). The Bhaja sculptures include 5 armed figures and 2 reliefs depicting Surya and Indra (which are of the same period as the Nanaghat sculpture). Certain motifs relate the Bharhut and Bhaja sculptures, although the latter came later. Western Indian cave temple sculptures of the Satavahana period were influenced by the contemporary "Kushana period" Mathura school (1st-2nd centuries CE), while motifs of human figures show an affinity between Karlepre-Kushana period (c. 1st century BCE). The Kanheri sculptures show an appreciable advancement over Karle. The sculptures at Sanchi are narrative in character, and devoid of anthropomorphic representation of the Buddha. This convention is followed by early Amaravati sculptures, but later ones -- inspired by the new Buddhist doctrine of Mahayana -- introduced the Buddha figure. The reliefs of Sanchi Stupa II are at least as old as those of Bharhut, but some reliefs in the former can be taken as later additions to the old balustrade.

Vol. 9 No. 1, December 1955, pp. 31-42
A historical note on the Satavahana dynasty followed by sections on architecture and sculpture.
Vol. 9 No. 1, December 1955, pp. 43-58
A historical note on the Satavahana dynasty followed by sections on architecture and sculpture.
The Charm of Ajanta
Vol. 9 No. 1, December 1955, 6 unnumbered + pp. 59–60
This is an introduction to the article by Charles Fabri which follows (pp. 61-76). The introduction is accompanied by some tracings and preceded by colour plates of paintings from the earlier Ajanta caves carved out under the Satavahanas. The Ajanta paintings have a unity of theme insofar as they depict the life of the Buddha as the Sakya prince or in one of his previous births, but a diversity in treatment. They do not strive after an illusion of depth. The art perhaps achieved full flowering during the Gupta period, but it is incorrect to attribute the technique entirely to Gupta inspiration: in certain ways, they are akin to Amaravati and have a southern inspiration.
Frescoes of Ajanta: An Essay
Fabri, Charles
Vol. 9 No. 1, December 1955, 4 unnumbered + pp. 61–76

The writer disagrees with some of the conclusions of archaeologist Ghulam Yazdani (author of a multi-volume work on Ajanta) regarding the chronology of the Ajanta paintings, and maintains that Buddhist patronage and occupation at Ajanta lasted until the end of the 8th century CE. The two attempts by Stella Kramrisch and Hermann Goetz -- at dating the various paintings are critically examined. Compositionally, the paintings fall into three distinct groups: 2nd-1st century BCE (Caves IX and X); development from the archaic art to the classical style (4th-5th century CE); and 6th century onwards, when the linear or total composition of earlier phases gives place to a maze of little structures, marked by Mannerism and Baroque. Stylistic details such as treatment of pose, facial features, and hair-dress also suggest the dating of the panels to various phases: the occurrence of the crowned Buddha in "Temptation of the Buddha" (Cave I) shows that the painting is at least as late as 720, as no crowned Buddha is known to exist from earlier decades.

Some Motifs from Ancient Indian Jewellery
Vol. 9 No. 1, December 1955, pp. 77-78
The motifs are based on magic, superstition, religious ritual, and mythology. Their symbolism is derived from non-Aryan, pre-vedic, and archaic origins. The designs were influenced by agricultural techniques and familiarity with foliage and flowers, and developed into fine works of art, as evident in the earliest medallions and reliefs at Bharhut, Sanchi, Bhaja, Kondane, Ajanta, and Amaravati. The designs have not substantially changed in India over the last 2000 years.