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Iconography of The Buddhist Sculpture of Orissa Vol.I (Texts) and Vol. II. (Plates)

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Item Code: IDJ925
Author: Thomas E. Donaldson
Publisher: Indira Gandhi Natioal Centre for the Arts and Abhinav Publication
Language: English
Edition: 2001
ISBN: 8170173752
Pages: 792 (Black & White Illustrations 528 & Col. Illustrations 22, Maps 6, Diagrams 10 & Charts 4)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.0" X 8.6"
Weight 3.20 kg
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Book Description

About the Book

The present book on the Iconography of the Buddhist Sculpture of Orissa utilizes the author's expertise of Orissan Brahmanical Art to develop a similar consistent and reliable iconographic and stylistic evolution for the Buddhist Arts of Orissa and its adherence to, or deviation from, surviving textual iconographic peculiarities. There is little doubt that Orissa played a major role in the creation, development and dissemination of Buddhist doctrines and concepts throughout India and the Buddhist world, particularly in respect to Vajrayana Buddhism and the iconography of sculptural mandalas. Particular emphasis in this book is placed on the reciprocal influence between Brahmanical and Buddhist Art in Orissa, both religions expanding at the same time in regard to the proliferation of deities and their variant forms, and each apparently competing with the other for patronage and converts.

About the Author

Prof. Thomas Donaldson received his B.F.A., and M.A., from Wayne State University in Detroit and his Ph.D., from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He taught Asian Art History for three years at the University of North Dakota and, for the last thirty years, at Cleveland State University, Ohio. Most of his scholarly research has focused on the Art of Orissa, with special emphasis on the stylistic development and iconographical peculiarities of Hindu Temple Art. In addition to several chapters in major works on the art and culture of Orissa and some forty articles on the Brahmanical Art of Orissa published in scholarly Art History Journals, his major publications include Kamadeva's Pleasure Garden - Orissa; a monumental three volume book on the Hindu Temple Art of Orissa; and a co-authored book Masterpieces of Orissan Sculpture: Style and Iconography. Another co-authored book Ornaments of Orissa is in press. Other books at publishers for future publication include The Iconography of Vaisnava Images in Orissa and a two volume book on Sakta/Tantra Art of Orissa.


With the recent publication of the excavations carried out at Ratnagiri some twenty years earlier by the Archaeological Survey of India and the ongoing work at Udayagiri and Lalitagiri, it is hoped that more attention will be focused on the Buddhist art of Orissa. For the most part scholars, including myself, have concentrated on the Brahmanical art of Orissa, partially due to its greater visibility and accessibility in the form of extant temples which dot the countryside. Thus, very little attention has been paid to Buddhist sites, as noted by Debala Mitra, "which also stand in need of scientific excavations. To judge, however, by the numerous Buddhist images and mounds, Buddhist remains in the State are indeed extensive and would form, when unearthed, a substantial part of the Buddhist heritage of India." Although Orissa nourished the faith long after the Muslim conquest of India, even being a refuge for Buddhists fleeing from the Muslim onslaught in the adjacent of India, even being a refuge for Buddhists fleeing from the Muslim onslaught in the adjacent areas such as Bihar/Bengal, patronage was especially strong during the Bhauma-kata period (A.D. 736-931) at which time her contribution towards Vajrayana, according to D. Mitra, was overwhelming. The construction of temples and monasteries continued even as late as the reign of Mukundadeva (A.D. 1558-68), as recorded by Taranatha, though patronage obviously was sporadic as it is stated that this king had revived the religion after it had suffered reverses at the hands of king prataparudradeva (A.D. 1497-1540).

In addition to the excavations at Ratnagiri, Lalitagiri and Udayagiri, smaller excavations have been carried out by the Orissa State Archaeology at Kuruma (near Konarak) and at Brahmavana (near Kalanapur) on the Citrotpala river while chance discoveries have unearthed a hoard of bronzed at Acutrajpur (near Banpur) and a monastery complex at Langudi hillock (near Salipur). Other recent finds include stone images retrieved from rivers or canals as at Nagaspur and Tarapur. Excavations supposedly will begin at Aragarh in the near future while other promising sites, such as Vajragiri and Solampur, are patiently waiting their turn. It is thus obvious that the study of the Buddhist art of Orissa is still in its infancy. Although there are numerous sites scattered throughout the countryside, unfortunately many of them have been plundered, the surface images being removed to various villages, private collections and museums, so that their original find spot is often unknown. Due to the veritable lack of dated inscriptions, dating has to be based primarily on stylistic analysis and thus must be considered tentative until more excavations can be undertaken and the results of those already conducted are more fully published. Due to the paucity of architectural remains, this study will concentrate on the sculptural finds.

Except for the early phase at Lalitagiri, only recently excavated and as yet unpublished, the overwhelming majority of the Buddhist images from Orissa correspond in date to a similar intense period of Brahmanical activity and there is little doubt that there must have been keen competition and rivalry between these two religions for patronage as well as for converts. It is also a period dominated by Sakta/Tantra concepts and incessant experimentation with new and esoteric forms of deities created to meet the changing needs of society. As noted by one scholar:


From the close study of images and also liturgical literature it is apparent that the Mahayanists were determined to win over the masses saturated with Brahmanical concepts by bringing the religion within their reach and conceding to them what they expected from the Brahmanical deities, even though such a concession would require a radical change in the religion.

She further states that the Mahayanists and afterwards the Vajrayanists, in order to make their religion attractive and acceptable to the maximum number of people from all ethnic groups, including aboriginal and tribal, "introduced the Buddhist counterparts of the Brahmanical and folk deities who would bestow on the votaries what the latter so long got or expected from the Brahmanical gods and goddesses and folk divinities." Thus, M. Ghosh continues,


to counteract the overpowering, ever-spreading and all-pervading forces of Brahmanism, the Buddhists did not hesitate, even at the cost of their original precepts, to take over the concepts and even iconography of many of the Brahmanical gods and goddesses… In their frenzied zeal to obtain supremacy by drawing people of all walks of life away from the Brahmanical fold, the Vajrayanists took pains to make their pantheon as comprehensive as possible by incorporating all possible iconographic concepts from different religions in order to cater to all tastes and religious temperaments.

This process, of course, was reciprocal as the Hindus likewise borrowed or adopted Buddhist iconographical concepts and deities to similarly make their pantheon as comprehensive and attractive as possible. This reciprocal influence is thus a major underlying thread running through this manuscript in respect to iconographic peculiarities of individual deities. In that both religions, expanding at eh same time, are responding to, and drawing from, a common Indian heritage, similarities in respect to concept and purpose are to be expected. In some cases each is incorporating into its pantheon Pan-Indian concepts, such as river-, serpent and fertility deities, while in other cases the evolving deities represent parallel developments where it is not always possible to determine who is influencing whom, as in the case of Tara and Durga.

Unfortunately very little in the way of early textual iconographic source material has survived in India so that the identification of specific images in many cases has to remain tentative. Where possible identification is based upon descriptions found in available texts, such as the Nispannayogavali and the Sadhanamala, though quite obviously these are incomplete compendiums, which may be more regional in scope than comprehensive. Although later in date than most of the images, these texts to preserve earlier descriptions culled from various sources and thus are invaluable in the study of Buddhist iconography. Other source material, used primarily for comparative study rather than positive identification, include lost texts, which were translated and preserved or elaborated upon in Tibet, China and Japan. In that some of the most popular iconographic forms of Buddhist deities appearing in Orissan sculpture do not find mention in these texts, or differ still from even later Sanskrit texts or inscribed images, it is obvious that other iconographical source material or local traditions, whether textual, oral or visual, must have been operative at specific locales but have not survived. The study of regional contributions in the form of surviving concrete images is thus essential in constructing a more comprehensive picture of Buddhist iconographic traditions throughout India and the Buddhist world. Indeed, the images themselves may have served an incipient sources for the texts. Hopefully this modest study on the surviving Buddhist sculpture of Orissa will help in this construction and increase our overall knowledge of Buddhist iconography.


Table of Contents
  Abbreviations xv
  List of Colour Plates xvii
  Introduction xix
  A. Early Historical Background 1
  B. Uddiyana-pitha 8
  C. Later Historical Background 16
A. Balasore District 31
  1. Ayodhya/Nilgiri/Shergarh Area 31
  2. Avana/Soro/Badgaon/Orasahi 33
  3. Balasore/Kasba 33
  4. Jayarampur/Basta 35
  5. Kaupur/Kupari/Gandivedha 36
  6. Khadipada 36
  7. Solampur (Solanapura-vihara) 37
B. Bolangir District 38
C. Cuttack District 39
  1. Alaka River (Jagatsinghpur Area) 39
  2. Baneswarnasi/Narsinghapur 41
  3. Chaudar 42
  4. Citrotpala River (Salipur/Kendrapara/Brahmavana/Nagaspur Area) 43
  5. Cuttack 46
  6. Brahmani River (Dharmasala/Vajragiri/Langudi/Ali/Singhapur Area) 47
  7. Jajpur/Kapila/Taranga 50
  8. Lalitagiri (Sri candraditya vihara) 52
  9. Ratnagiri (Sri Ratnagiri-mahavihara) 57
  10. Tarapur/Paradipgarh/Tirthamatha 60
  11. Udayagiri (Sri Madhavapura-mahavihara) 61
D. Dhenkanal District 65
E. Ganjam District 66
F. Keonjhar District 66
G. Mayurbhanja District 68
  1. Khiching 69
  2. Ranibandh/Udala/Badasahi 70
H. Phulbani District 71
  1. Baudh 72
  2. Paragalapur/Syamasasundarpur/G. Udayagiri 72
I. Puri District 73
  1. Acutrajpur/Banpur/Gopalpur 74
  2. Daya River (Bhubaneswar/Dhauli/Aragarh/Kurkimundia Area) 79
  3. Garedipancana/Bhillideuli 82
  4. Kuruma/Ramacandi/Bada-Tara 83
  5. Praci River ( Amaraprasadgarh/Amaresvara/Astaranga/Kenduli) 84
J. Sambalpur District 85
A. Images of Standing Buddha 97
  1. Descent from Trayastrimsa Heaven 97
B. Images of Seated Buddha 100
  1. Buddha in Bhumisparsa-mudra/Aksobhya 100
  2. Buddha in Dharmacakra-mudra/Mahavairocana in Bodhyangi-mudra 105
  3. Buddha in Dhyana-mudra/Amitabha/Vairocana/Mucilinda Buddha 107
  4. Buddha in Abhaya-mudra/amoghasiddhi 110
  5. Buddha in Varada-mudra/Ratnasambhava 111
C. Vajrasattva/Vajradhara 112
D. Maitreya 114
A. Stupa Mandalas with eight/sixteen Bodhisattvas 120
B. Sculptural Mndalas with Eight Bodhisattvas 127
C. Mandalas with Eight Free-standing Bodhisattvas 132
  D. Mandala Bodhisattva Iconography 133
  1. Samantabhadra 133
  2. Maitreya 135
  3. Lokesvara 138
  4. Ksitigarbha 138
  5. Akasagarbha 141
  6. Vajrapani 143
  7. Manjusri/Manjughosa 146
  8. Sarvanivaranaviskambhin 149
  9. Unidentified Bodhisattvas 151
E. The Cult of Eight Bodhisattvas 152
A. 2-Armed Images with a Book 160
  1. Standing Images 161
  2. Seated Images 163
B. Seated Manjusri in a Relaxed Pose/Maharajalila Manjusri 164
C. Seated Manjusri in Dharmacakra-mudra/Manjuvara/Manjughosa 165
D. Seated Manjusri with Book and Sword/Arapacana/Vajratiksna 167
E. Seated Manjusri in Dhyana mudra/Vajraraga/Amitabha/Dharmasankha 169
F. 2-Armed Manjusri with Bow and Arrow/Vajraraga (Mara) 171
G. 6-Armed Manjusri with Bow and Arrow/Manjuvajra 172
H. 8-Armed Manjusri with Bow and Arrow/Dharmadhatu-Vagisvara 173
A. 2-Armed Avalokitesvara in Varada-mudra/Lokanatha or Lokesvara 179
  1. Standing Images 180
  2. Standing Lokesvara as "Giver of Prosperity"/Cintamani Lokesvara 181
  3. Seated Images 183
B. 2-Armed Pensive Bodhisattva/Cintamnicakra Avalokitesvara 185
C. 2-Armed Khasarpana Lokesvara 186
D. 2-Armed Avalokitesvara in Dharmacakra-mudra 191
E. Rakta-Lokesvara/Vajradharma 191
F. 4-Armed Sadaksari Likesvara 193
G. 4-Armed Avalokitesvara/Jata-mukuta Lokesvra/Mahakaruna 193
  1. Standing Images 194
  2. Seated Images 198
H. 4-Armed Avalokitesvara with a Conch/Sankhanatha Lokesvara 200
I. 4-Armed Avalokitesvara with a Noose/Amoghapasa Lokesvara 200
J. 4-Armed Avalokitesvara with a Trident/Sugatisandarsana Lokesvara 206
K. 6-Armed Avalokitesvara with a Trident/Sugatisandarsana Lokesvara 207
L. 6-Armed Avalokitesvara with a Consort/Halahala Lokesvara 207
A. Vajrapani 214
  1. 2-Armed Images 216
  2. 4-Armed Images 217
B. Male Emanations of Aksobhya 219
  1. Candarosana/Acala 219
  2. Heruka/Hevajra 221
  3. Sambara 222
  4. Vajrahunkara/Trailokyavijaya 223
  5. Yamantaka/Tamari and Hayagriva 227
C. Mahakala 230
A. Astamahabhaya Tara 237
B. 2-Armed Images of Tara 239
  1. Standing Images 240
  2. Standing Tara as "Giver of Prosperity"/Cintamani Tara 242
  3. Seated in Lalitasana 243
  4. Seated in Lalitasana with Lion(s)/Simhanada Tara 246
  5. Seated in Lalitasana with Attendants/Khadiravani Tara 247
  6. Seated in Vajraparyanka/Mahattari-Tara 250
  7. Seated and in Dharmacakra-mudra/Mahasri-Tara 251
C. 4-Armed Images/Dhanada Tara 252
D. 4-Armed Images/Sita Tara 254
E. 4-Armed Images/Durgottarini Tara 254
F. 6-Armed Images 255
G. 8-Armed Images/Vajra-Tara 256
A. Female Companions & the Formative Stage of Prajna Development 263
A. Female Companions & the Formative Stage of Prajna Development 263
  1. Female Companions of Avalokitesvara 263
  2. Prajna Development & Imagery 270
B. Goddesses of Knowledge and Teaching 274
  1. Arya-Sarasvati 275
  2. Prajnaparamita 276
  3. Cunda 282
  4. Usnisavijaya 288
C. Bhrkuti 289
D. Unidentified Seated Goddesses 292
E. Goddesses Seated above/Trampling upon Corpses or Hindu Deities 295
  1. Aparajita 295
  2. Parnasavari 297
  3. Kurukulla 298
  4. Vajravarahi/Nairatmya/Vajrayogini 301
F. Marici 306
  1. Asokakanta-marici 306
  2. 6-Armed Seated Marici 308
  3. 6-Armed Standing Marici 308
  4. 8-Armed Standing Marici/Maricipicuva 311
  5. 8-Armed Standing Marici/Samksipta Marici 314
  6. 12-Armed Standing Marici/Uddiyana Marici 319
A. Jambhala/Pancika 329
B. Hariti 332
C. Vasudhara 334
D. Companion Deities 335
  1. Arya-Janguli 336
  2. Asokakanta-Marici 337
  3. Bhrkuti 338
  4. Ekajata 342
  5. Hayagriva 346
  6. Mahamayuri 350
  7. Sudhanakumara 351
  8. Sucimukha/Pretas Beseeching Boons/Jewels 352
  9. Tara 354
  10. Yamantaka (Yamari) 357
E. Pedestal Decoration 359
  1. Maravijaya/Aparajita and Acala 360
  2. Sapta-ratna Motif 363
A. Architectural Features 369
  1. Doorframe 371
B. Sculptural Features 378
  1. Body Ornamentation 379
  2. Coiffure 380
  3. Back-slab Decoration 384
C. Brahmanical Parallels, Composite Deities & Pan-Indian Concepts 389
  1. Buddha/Lakulisa 389
  2. Standing Lokesvara/Standing Visnu 392
  3. Composite Deities 393
  4. Mahacina Tara/Mahavidya Tara 395
  5. Janguli/Manasa 402
  6. River Goddesses 407
D. Religious Syncretism 409
  1. Buddha as Avatara of Visnu 410
  2. Vajrayogini/Chinnamasta 411
E. Sectarian Bias: Adopted Deities in a Subordinate Role 413
F. Sectarian Animosity and Humiliation 414
  1. Buddhist/Brahmanical Deities with a Sava-vahana 417
  2. Brahmanical Goddesses with Hindu Deities as Sava-vahanas 420
  3. Buddhist Divinities Trampling on Hindu Deities 424
  4. Siva-lingas and Yupas 429
G. Erotic Motifs 430
  A. Site Index 484
  B. Major Figure Motifs 486

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