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PRESENTATION
LIBRARY
Lecture by Akira Shimada (Department of History, State University of New York)
19 JULY 11
"Formation
of Buddhist Narrative Sculpture in Andhra (Ca. 150 BCE-300 CE)", by Shimada Akira, Assistant
Professor, Faculty
Tower 904, Department
of History, State
University of New York at New Paltz, e-mail: shimadaa@newpaltz.edu, at 4 pm at the EFEO Centre of Pondicherry:
The
Andhra region located in the south-eastern Deccan saw vigorous
Buddhist construction activity after ca. 200 BCE, as indicated by
numerous remains of stūpa-s along the Godavari and Krishna river
valleys. Many of these stūpa-s were embellished by limestone relief
sculpture that depicts Buddhist narratives, typically jātaka-s and
the Buddha’s life events.
Owing
to the detailed stylistic and iconographic studies of the two
principal sites (Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda), a chronology of
Andhran sculpture is well established. Andhran narrative sculpture
thus provides us with a good visual resource for examining the early
development of Buddhist narrative in south India. This paper will
give an overview on the development of Andhran narrative sculptures
by focusing on Amaravati (ca. 150 BCE-250 CE) and Nagarjunakonda (ca.
200-300 CE), which thus far have yielded the two largest sets of
narratives in the Andhran region. The paper particularly seeks to
address the following questions: (1) When and how did the Andhran
region increase the depiction of different topics from the Buddhist
legends? (2) When and how did this region develop different narrative
cycles in order to depict more elaborate and longer stories of the
Buddha’s life? When did a complete set of reliefs showing the
Buddha’s life from the birth to nirvāna appear in Andhra? (3) Can
we observe any significant difference between the narratives from
AmaravatiNagarjunakonda and other sets of Andhran-school narrative
sculptures, such as the ones at Phanigiri and Kanganhalli? (4)
What are the essential differences between the early Buddhist
narratives in Andhra as compared to those from Gandhara?

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