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The Divine Palaces Of The Buddha: Architectural Frames In Western Himalayan Art

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Chapter Summary

In Indian Buddhist art, at least since Gandharan period (1st–5th c. CE), it is customary to enclose Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and other prominent personages inside architectural frames. The combination of different forms and patterns in the Himalayan architectural frames is definitely more rich and complex than in the early specimens from India. There is a vast quantity of examples to study among Indian architectural frames. Primarly one finds sculptured examples, such as the stūpa basement known as the ‘double-headed eagle shrine’ at Sirkap (Taxila), or a fragment showing a devotee within a toraṇa, from Butkara I (Swāt), now in the National Museum of Oriental Art in Rome. The gser khang at Lha lung (Spiti) has some beautiful sculptured Buddha palaces projecting from the walls: once not confined to the decoration of door frames, the representation of architecture seems to evolve in complex and detailed design.

Keywords: divine palaces; gser khang; Himalayan architectural frames; Indian Buddhist art; stūpa basement



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    Proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the IATS, 2003. Volume 8: Discoveries in Western Tibet and the Western Himalayas — Recommend this title to your library
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