The Multicultural Roots of Buddhist Art in Ancient Gandhara
Some of the earliest images of the Buddha were made in Gandhara, an ancient region that extended from northern Pakistan to eastern Afghanistan. Pia Brancaccio explores how Gandharan Buddhist art between the first and third centuries became an expression of the region’s multicultural roots, where Indian, Greco-Roman, Iranian, and Central Asian traditions all existed side by side.
This richly illustrated keytalk is part of Exporting Enlightenment, a ten-part series over the summer that traces the spread of Buddhism and Hinduism along these cultural and trade trajectories. For the full series that accompanies the exhibition From India East see www.rmanyc.org/exportingenlightenment
About the Speaker
Pia Brancaccio is the coordinator of the art history minor and a member of the Visual Studies Department at Drexel University. She teaches courses on Asian art and culture in addition to the Western art history survey. Before Drexel she taught at UCLA; Temple University, Rome; and The College of New Jersey. She was also a research associate at the Getty Research Institute and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the Department of Indian and Himalayan Art. Her research focuses on Buddhist art from South Asia, where she has traveled extensively. She has also done significant work on topics dealing with art and multiculturalism in the ancient world. Her most recent publications include a co-edited book entitled Gandharan Buddhism: Archaeology, Art, and Text (on sale after this talk); articles in international journals such as Ars Orientalis, East & West, and South Asian Studies; as well as entries for the Encyclopedia of India and the Enciclopedia Archeologica Treccani.
Image: Shakyamuni Buddha - Life Story; (item no. 700085), Gandhara (ancient), 21.59cm (8.50in) high, Stone, Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin, P2000.22.27