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

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,006
#62
I must say, I think this is a silly thread. The OP is silly, and how the "discussion" has developed isn't much better.

The problem is precisely that culture is by its nature promiscuous. Humans borrow, mix, blend and improvise endless. Add to that the very prevalent phenomenon of independent invention. The amount of superficial similarities that have zero to do with one another is staggering. (Wang An-shih's Neoconfucian LOGICS has some striking similarities with Aristotelian logics – but you need to be really blinkered to try arguing either of them was somehow influenced by the other. Since its logics, it requires imposing a kind of intellectual rigour that will in itself produce similarity.)

That said, where GARDENS are concerned, there's a history that's rather well known. And well, what do you know, European Renaissance garden design was inspired, among other things, by the Persian tradition of garden designs.

That is to say, there was direct influence on the layout of Renaissance gardening from Arab garden design (and if one wants to bolster it philosophically there was a strain of philosophical Averroeanism/Ibn Rushd involved). And Arab garden designs was inspired by traditional Persian, Sassanian, garden designs.

But then the story goes wonky again, because Sassanian garden design ALSO drew inspiration for Ancient Greek philosophical ideals of geometry and symmetry.

So, arguably it's Greeks – Persians – Arabs – European Renaissance. IF that even matters?

Anyone who thinks this is about ESSENTIAL something or another is an idiot. "Human culture" perhaps, in a general sense, at best. But every kind of ethnic essentialism proposed tends to have to become VERY disappointed in the end.

Everyone borrows incessantly. Chinese traditional medicine over time received a massive influence from ancient Greek medicine, though the influence of Arab medicine. Modern traditions of Indian yoga derives a staggering amount of its sheer codification from nothing less than 19th c. "Swedish Gymnastics", in turn heavily influenced by idealistic Romantic German philosophy. (But OF COURSE modern Indian nationalism has strenously denied this influence – instead inverting it by claiming that Swedish Gymnastics was modeled on Indian yoga. Personally I'm in favour of the Swedish 19th c. poet Esais Tegnér's dictum – friend of Per Henrik Ling, inventor of Swedish Gymnastics btw – that: "Once only barbarism was patriotic", i.e. it's ALL borrowed stuff.)

This CIRUCULATION is a large and growing field of historical research. And every time someone or some group wants to claim something to originally and essentially be theira and theirs alone, they tend to be disappointed by the findings.

Yes, and if there is a documented DIRECT easthetic influence on art along an east-west axis that CAN be documented, it's the massive influence of Ancient Greek sculpture on Indian Gandharan Buddhist art – effectively the classical, traditional imagery of the Buddha has to a large extent been shaped by application of Greek (western, European, whatever) aesthetics. Considering Byzantine art is a direct continuation of Greek art, it would be very odd of similarities would not occur...

And know what, the Indians borrowed, adopted and then transformed these borrowings because the were cool and looked good, and they were NOT irrationally obsessed with being "authentically" Indian in any way. Like people with massive self-regard and huge stores of confidence in themselves tend to. They knew who they were, and making cool stuff was part of it, and so what if it involved borrowing things – since THEY were the ones in charge, doing the borrowing.
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#63
effectively the classical, traditional imagery of the Buddha has to a large extent been shaped by application of Greek (western, European, whatever) aesthetics. Considering Byzantine art is a direct continuation of Greek art, it would be very odd of similarities would not occur...
nobody denies that gandharan arts borrowed from greek elements of statuary but to deny gandharan statues are not indian but greek and to deny that byzantine arts didn't borrow elements from indian buddhist arts is just being in denial.

yes arts borrowed from each other, why does it shock you if we talk about european arts borrowing stuff from indian arts haven't we discussed gandharan borrowing as well? so why not european borrowing can be discussed. no body says that byzantine arts was not rooted in pre byzantine artistic traditions but it did get influenced by buddhist arts

for starters you can watch the Sotheby's video which shows one aspect of borrowing.

And know what, the Indians borrowed, adopted and then transformed these borrowings because the were cool and looked good, and they were NOT irrationally obsessed with being "authentically" Indian in any way. Like people with massive self-regard and huge stores of confidence in themselves tend to.
european art was itself not even independent, for indian we can say, indian arts is rooted in bronze age arts, but european/classical arts doesnt even have that luxury, the european art is basically the copy paste of west asian bronze age arts as a matter of fact. There is no one element missing from european arts which were not directly borrowed from west asian counter parts.

modern traditions of Indian yoga derives a staggering amount of its sheer codification from nothing less than 19th c. "Swedish Gymnastics", in turn heavily influenced by idealistic Romantic German philosophy. (But OF COURSE modern Indian nationalism has strenously denied this influence – instead inverting it by claiming that Swedish Gymnastics was modeled on Indian yoga. Personally I'm in favour of the Swedish 19th c. poet Esais Tegnér's dictum – friend of Per Henrik Ling, inventor of Swedish Gymnastics btw – that: "Once only barbarism was patriotic", i.e. it's ALL borrowed stuff.)
yoga may have got some european influence of gymnastics, but then again, how can it be established? indians themselves had a very ancient tradition of gymnastics thousands of years older than any western european ones, it will be very hard to justify five thousand years of yogic traditions, and codification involving millions of indian manuscripts written solely for yoga topic alone and different branches of yoga, indian gymnastic traditions and insert swedish gymnastics influence. wont work mate. are you seriously suggesting yoga was only codified in the nineteenth century plagiarizing swedish gymnastics?

regards
 
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