Art, Architecture, and Mythology
DOI link for Art, Architecture, and Mythology
Art, Architecture, and Mythology book
Siddhartha Gautama was a prince born in Nepal probably between 485 and 450 BCE (Leidy 2008:1-2). He forsook the worldly luxuries of the court to meditate outdoors, finally achieving a breakthrough enlightenment on life and salvation. His sophisticated philosophy attracted intellectuals, while his compassion brought multitudes to the temples and monasteries they founded across Asia. Perhaps because the Buddha (“the Enlightened”) was a prince who renounced competing for a crown, kings were comfortable with supporting his teachings. In kingdoms great and small, statues and bas-reliefs silently instructed worshipers to respect the Buddha’s gentle leadership, and to recognize evils portrayed as demons. Originating from Hindu India, the religious iconography was broadened with figures from Hinduism such as Vishnu, Shiva, and female devas (minor goddesses or divine attendants). Lotuses, shells, thunderbolts, and other traditional symbols clued viewers’ identifications of scenes and figures, and were entwined in ornamental borders. Overall, Hindu-Buddhist art and architecture was ornate, baroque, and naturalistic.