Has christian/Byzantine church art been influenced by Buddhist/Indian art?

David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
. . .

Well here you go, a 2nd century carving of the goddess Nike from Ephesus:



The Sassanid carving is very likely based on similar Greco-Roman examples, particularly in that it wears Greek dress; a diadem and peplos, namely.

Apropos of nothing, I was startled to see this image as I have a foto of my spouse posing in front of this in such a way that Nike is placing the laurel crown on her head!

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i am not aware of european art research on european topics, but on indian topics i simply found a complete lack of understanding/in depth research . . .

regards

Can you give us some examples of bad western research into Eastern/Indian art so we can know to avoid it or at least question what we’re studying? Thanks
 
Last edited:
Mar 2019
1,535
KL
Can you give us some examples of bad western research into Eastern/Indian art so we can know to avoid it or at least question what we’re studying? Thanks

Dr David stronach ''proves'' that charbagh design was present in achaemenid garden designs, an ameteur like me can debunk his PhD arguments, for instance achaemenid charbagh has no square area, only rectangular, and charbagh was about division of a square area into four smaller and equal squares, in persian they call it chartaq for the square area and its architecture, a basic research from iranica encyclopedia would reveal that chartaq designs were not familiar to the achaemenids and only came to persia via rome during parthian era, stronach uses lame arguments just to make confirmation bias that charbagh garden is a persian design.

regards
 
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Feb 2019
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i am not aware of european art research on european topics, but on indian topics i simply found a complete lack of understanding/in depth research and totally bogus non scientific method which have been used here in this area. its probably because europeans are more experts in european arts than say eastern/indian arts.

regards
But Indian experts must be dating, studying the pigments and techniques, creating a timeline of the evolution of the art style and trying to pinpoint eras of advancements. From what I've studied about Indian metal working, it was highly advanced and almost out of sync with the rest of the world in terms of how much more highly refined it was in comparison... the quality of the metal itself was analyzed, how ancient tools could have executed the designs and intricacies... etc. So there must be experts studying mural arts to this level as well.
 
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But Indian experts must be dating, studying the pigments and techniques, creating a timeline of the evolution of the art style and trying to pinpoint eras of advancements. From what I've studied about Indian metal working, it was highly advanced and almost out of sync with the rest of the world in terms of how much highly refined it was in comparison... the quality of the metal itself was analyzed, how ancient tools could have executed the designs and intricacies... etc. So there must be experts studying mural arts to this level as well.
indian historiography is dominated by cambridge school which is eurocentric and normally indian and south asian scholars tow this british colonial era line when defining all things indian not only murals. for the buddhist murals from central asia for instance they are completely rejected as having any indian influence only few minor influences are debated.

regards
 
Feb 2019
831
Pennsylvania, US
indian historiography is dominated by cambridge school which is eurocentric and normally indian and south asian scholars tow this british colonial era line when defining all things indian not only murals. for the buddhist murals from central asia for instance they are completely rejected as having any indian influence only few minor influences are debated.

regards
I see what you're saying... so this is partially about your observations of possible influences taken from Indian art... and partially about the possible biases that may be skewing the understanding of those influences one way or another.

What would the advantage be to misinterpreting these influences and hiding the truth?
 
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Mar 2019
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KL
I see what you're saying... so this is partially about your observations of possible influences taken from Indian art... and partially about the possible biases that may be skewing the understanding of those influences one way or another.

What would the advantage be to misinterpreting these influences and hiding the truth?
buddhism had a dominant influence in the silk road for a certain period of time from west to east, denying indian influence is denying its influence which traversed silk road, there are some ridiculous notions such as chinese Buddhist art is a greco buddhist art, so where ever the buddhist influence goes, the argument becomes european centred rather than indian, i dont think indians want to claim any thing like europeans do with their greco buddhist art notion, but i think a very basic thing that buddhist art is indian and hence buddhist art in central asia had indian roots is not a very complicated thing to admit. it is even claimed that buddha representation was a greek influence, i mean there is a limit to a nonsense.

i was reading about buddhist architecture being influenced by persian, greek, anything but indian buddhist architecture itself, one research paper makes no mention of buddhist architecture in india which preceded the central asian buddhist architecture, which seems to be very eurocentric bias.

regards
 
Last edited:
Feb 2019
831
Pennsylvania, US
buddhism had a dominant influence in the silk road for a certain period of time from west to east, denying indian influence is denying its influence which traversed silk road, there are some ridiculous notions such as chinese Buddhist art is a greco buddhist art, so where ever the buddhist influence goes, the argument becomes european centred rather than indian, i dont think indians want to claim any thing like europeans do with their greco buddhist art notion, but i think a very basic thing that buddhist art is indian and hence buddhist art in central asia had indian roots is not a very complicated thing to admit. it is even claimed that buddha representation was a greek influence, i mean there is a limit to a nonsense.

i was reading about buddhist architecture being influenced by persian, greek, anything but indian buddhist architecture itself, one research paper makes no mention of buddhist architecture in india which preceded the central asian buddhist architecture, which seems to be very eurocentric bias.

regards
I'd look to more technical elements (formulation of pigments, tools, etc) used to create the art for evidence than to stylistic similarities in designs. Plus, finding a link between pigment types or techniques is something that can be objective data rather than subjective. India was known for being leaders in the areas of dyeing and glass making (even Rome looked to India for their expertise in these mediums) and alloys... did they use dyes or glass techniques before anyone else? India was also known for its advanced metal work... the understanding of how to work iron came from India and was imported from there to China and Europe... the technology behind Damascus blades came originally from India and was passed to the Persian and then the Arabs.

Styles and design elements may have fluctuated in whether they spread one way or another... I always thought India was ahead of the game in their techniques and formulas (chemistry, basically), so following that line of research may show more of the direct line of influence.
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
All I see in this thread is Indian nationalism rearing its head and insisting that everyone copied India as always, and any of the scholars that disprove that (i.e. most of them) are instantly labelled as "Eurocentric" and dismissed. I've yet to see - reading through this entire thread - any proof as demonstrated by scholars of a tangible connection between Byzantine art and Indian art, and without scholarly evidence, history is nothing but opinions, and opinions are worthless when asserting a factual or non-factual claim. It's clear that the person that posted this went in with a strong agenda on the topic and wanted to make facts fit around that, rather than vice versa.
 
Mar 2019
1,535
KL
All I see in this thread is Indian nationalism rearing its head and insisting that everyone copied India as always, and any of the scholars that disprove that (i.e. most of them) are instantly labelled as "Eurocentric" and dismissed. I've yet to see - reading through this entire thread - any proof as demonstrated by scholars of a tangible connection between Byzantine art and Indian art, and without scholarly evidence, history is nothing but opinions, and opinions are worthless when asserting a factual or non-factual claim. It's clear that the person that posted this went in with a strong agenda on the topic and wanted to make facts fit around that, rather than vice versa.
i have not tried to claim that byzantine art derived from indian/buddhist art, that is the question i have left in the very title of the thread if you tried to notice, i have created the very thread to discuss this matter and european views and their data, which indeed so far from the points i raised has been successfully countered specifically the flying apsara/flying nike iconography seems to be coincidental, the eurocentrism is present and have been publically acknowledged by the western scholars themselves, so nothing is not already know or nothing which im accusing the western scholars of, it has been academically admitted. being in denial of eurocentrism will not work, because it is very much a reality, as i have already tried to argue that art history is presently very much subjective, a very easy counter arguments can be made as i have demonstrated above when it comes to ''persian origin'' of charbagh.

regards