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Reviewed Work(s): The Buddha Image: Its Origin and Development by Y. Krishan
Review by: Maurizio Taddei
Source: East and West, Vol. 47, No. 1/4 (December 1997), pp. 448-450
Published by: Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO)
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The subsequent Early Harappan Period is

marked mainly by ceramics of the Kot Dijian
style and by parallel-sided stone blades. This
period shows a very significant change from
nomadic to settled life style (the camp sites
dropped from 52% to 7.5% of the total).
The sites ascribed to the Mature Harappan

times (c. 2500-2000/1900 B.C.), are charac?

terized by a significant increase in their number,

extension and evidence of craft activities (kilns,

etc.). The use of fired bricks is evidenced

by exposed structures. The main discovered

settlement, called Ganweriwala, is believed to

cover an area as large as Harapp?. In general
these data suggest that Cholistan supported
a comparatively dense population during this


on the Islamic monuments at Uch Sharif, in the

Bahawalpur District, and on the ancient forts of
Cholistan, both illustrated by several photographs
showing details of constructions.

On the whole, we may remark that some

discoveries will provide a very important con?
tribution to further systematic research in

the country. We mainly refer to evidence

from Mature Harappan times, as the site of

Ganweriwala, which may open a new chapter
of research extended possibly to the political
conditions during the Urban Period. We also
refer to the Late Harappan times and to the
Cemetery 'H' horizon in particular, which was
investigated in previous years at Harapp? only

and could provide more evidence at various

Cholistan sites.

In the Late Harappan Period (c. 2000/1900

1500 B.C.), a different picture appears. Most
of the sites represent temporary occupations and
new locations with respect to the previous ones.

An increase in the number of camp sites (26%

of the total) 'might indicate a shift in the mode
of living and a renewed focus on the exploitation
of the desert environment' (p. 52). This change

corresponds to a decrease in the number of

settlements, suggesting a dispersal of inhabitants.

According to the Author 'the beginning of the

process of cultural change seems to coincide with
a time when water in the lower end of the Hakra

be diminished considerably, if not disappeared

The pottery of the Late Harappan or Post

Urban Period includes black-on-red painted

pottery decorated with designs very similar to

those of Cemetery 'H' at Harapp?. Some of

these motifs also occur on pots and vessels from

Bir-kot, in Swat, dated around the mid-2nd

millennium B.C.
Between the Hakra and Sutley rivers many
mounds of considerable height and size represent
fortified settlements from Islamic or Mediaeval
times. According to the Author, such settlements

Giorgio Stacul

Y. Krishan, The Buddha Image: Its Origin

and Development, Munshiram Manoharlal

Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi 1996; xii-152
pp., illustrations in the text.

Yuvraj Krishan is somehow an outsider to

Indology as his career has focused more on

administration and Law. Nevertheless, his
indological works cannot be set aside. If at times
they are a little unmethodical and reveal a lack
of up-dated bibliography, they are never banal.
This volume contains seven of his articles

published between 1962 and 1989 in different

periodicals. Our journal had the pleasure of

printing two of them: The Hair of the Buddha's

Head and Usnea'(EW, 16, 1966, pp. 275-89) and

'The Origin of the Crowned Buddha Image' {EW,

21, 1971, pp. 91-96). The others appeared in

M?rg, Oriental Art, JRAS, and in the Vishveshwa
ranand Indological Journal.

The texts have been slightly revised and

integrated; some particular topics being treated
in three Appendices. Here, I shall deal more

'seem to suggest a wide bracket between the

especially with these Appendices as they represent

the new contribution the author has made to this

'comparable materials are not sufficient due to

inadequate explorations of Early Historical and


12th and the 16th centuries A.D.', however

Medieval sites in the adjoining areas of the Panjab'

(p. 59).

Appendix 1 ('Was There No Aniconic Phase

in Buddhist Art?', pp. 20-22) is a very reasonable

restatement of the question raised by Susan

The last chapters (pp. 112-38) include a survey

Huntington, namely, whether or not the reliefs


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at Bharhut, Sanchi, etc., represent an 'aniconic'

phase in Indian Buddhist art. The negative

answer given by Huntington has already been
rejected both by Vidya Dehejia and Rob Linrothe
with definitive arguments. Krishan makes some
further criticism of Huntington's thesis. It is a
little strange that Krishan only refers to the

volume by S. and J. Huntington (1985) and

Linrothe's article (EW, 43, 1993, pp. 241-56),

whereas the argument caused a veritable debate
between S. Huntington (Art Journal, Winter 1990)

and Vidya Dehejia (Ars Orientalis, 21, 1991).

Appendix 2 ('Numismatic Evidence and the

Origin of the Buddha Image: Gandhara vs.

Mathura', pp. 49-50) contains a critical study of

J. Cribb's article which appeared in Studies in
Buddhist Art of South Asia, ed. A.K. Narain, New

Delhi 1985, pp. 59-87. The opinion he puts

forward that 'the earliest Buddhist images of the

G?ndh?ran school are based on the sculptures of
the Mathuran school which first created images
of the Buddha early in the reign of Kaniska', is
rejected by Krishan on the basis of some clearly
dissimilar evidence shown in the ?m?, in the form
of the usnisa, in the shape of the nimbus, the folds

of the cloak, etc.).

Appendix 3 ('Does the Maitreya cult of

Kushanshahr represent a Mah?y?na Paradise?',
pp. 107-10) is an interesting excursus on the
relationship between the paradise of Maitreya and
that of Amit?bha and those of the other Dhy?ni
Buddhas of the Mah?y?na. The author draws the

conclusion that 'the cult of the Bodhisattva

Maitreya's heaven was a late development' and
that the figurative representations of the Kus?na
Period refer rather to the Maitreya paradise which

is one of the six heavens of Kamadh?tu ? and

very different from the Mah?y?na paradises.

The article on the 'crowned Buddha images'
reappears with a different title ('The Crowned and

Bejewelled Buddha Image', pp. 132-42), but with

few significant changes. An appendix should have
been provided if only to discuss the recent works
that have come out on the subject by J.C. Harle,

Nagoya Studies in Indian Culture and Buddhism, 16

1995, pp. 67-90; 18, 1997, pp. 63-96).

For the rest, the volume provides further
stimulating reading on subjects which are far from

being exhausted as yet.

Although criticism could be levelled at this or
that of Krishan's interpretations, I have chosen
to confine myself to a few essential points.
On p. 45 Krishan observes that 'there is no
motivating factor at Mathura and Amaravati
which impelled the artists and donors to break
with the past and portray the Buddha in human
form', since at Mathura and in Gandh?ra the
Sarv?stiv?din, who were very strong, 'considered
the Buddha a prthagjana, an ordinary human

being'. The conclusion drawn is that 'the

Buddhology of the Sarv?stiv?dins, therefore,

could not provide the inspiration. The impulse
came from Greece'. I have to admit that I fail
to grasp the logic of this: it for the Sarv?stiv?dins

the Buddha was 'an ordinary human being', why

shouldn't they have (or couldn't they have)

depicted him as such, like the many human beings

who crowd the reliefs at Bharhut and at Sanchi?

On p. 48 (cf. n. 32 on p. 47) there is a table

of the stratigraphical provenances of the images

from Butkara I (based on the volumes by D.

Faccenna published in the 1960's) ? a totally

useless tool on account of the fact that the reliefs

at Butkara I were for the most part re-employed

and consequently their stratigraphical origin has

little meaning. Though they certainly provide

precious evidence in view of a chronological
sequence, but on the basis of a different and more

complex evaluation ? also, in the last analysis of

a stratigraphical kind (D. Faccenna, 'Excavations
of the Italian Archaeological Mission (IsMEO) in
Pakistan: Some Problems of Gandharan Art and

Architecture', in Central'naja Azija v kusanskuju

epohu, I, Moskva 1974, pp. 126-76; Id., Butkara
I, 5 vols., Rome 1980-81).
On p. 123 it is stated that 'the ?rn? appears

and others, amongst whom the present reviewer

only in the early Buddhist sculptures from

Gandh?ra; it is a less marked feature of the
Buddhas from Mathura and it eventually
disappears altogether'. This is untrue: more

figures (in South Asian Archaeology 1989, ed. C.

Jarrige, Madison, Wise, 1992, with bibliography,

especially the statements made in n. 90 on p. 130

are untrue: viz. that 'the stone sculptures in the

D. Klimburg-Salter, A. Miyaji, A.D.T.E. Perera

to which one should now add M. Deeg, 'Origins

and Development of the Buddhist Pancav?rsika',

Gandhara have ?rn? as a rule but in stuccos it

tends to disappear'. The heads of the Buddhas


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the examples that have preserved their colour, or

Notwithstanding its many shortcomings, it

is my opinion that this is a useful book; it is
nicely printed and illustrated, containing only a

One last observation, I consider to be of

of non-English names, but the bibliographical

in stucco which do not have a visible ?m? in relief,

had a painted one in colour, as is shown by all

traces of colour.

particular importance, concerns p. 122 where one

reads that 'if usnisa is interpreted to mean cranial

protuberance or bump, it would be surprising

indeed that this important mah?purusa laksana
was not represented on the Buddha heads [...].
It could not be due to the inability of the artists

to make a cranial bump on the head. In our

opinion the absence of the cranial protuberance
[in Gandharan sculpture] can be explained only
by the fact that this mah?purusa laksana did not
stand for such a physical abnormality'. Whatever
may be the true meaning of the term usnisa,
one must nevertheless keep in mind that it is
not true ? as many others before Krishan have
held ? that the Buddha in Gandharan art is never

shown with any sort of cranial protuberance:

there are some reliefs in Gandh?ra (e.g. from
Butkara I ? D. Faccenna, Sculptures from the
Sacred Area of Butkara I, vol. 2, pis. XXVII,
XXXII, XXXV, XXXVI: probably dating to the
1st century A.D.) which show without a shadow
of a doubt that the Buddha's hair covers a cranial


Maurizio Taddei

Urmila Agarwal, North Indian Temple Sculpture,

Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd,

. New Delhi 1995; xii-202 pp., XI plates of
drawings, 96 b/w photographs numbered as
figures in 41 unnumbered plates.

More than anything else this is a descriptive

presentation of Hindu gods in Northern Indian
architecture, but two chapters are devoted to

Jainism and Buddhism. Other chapters deal

with 'Social life', 'Dress, cosmetics and coiffure,
ornaments, hobbies and recreations', 'Economic
life', 'Political life and war', 'Art and architecture'

? according to the well-established tradition

of Indian doctoral dissertations on iconography.

This is however no doctoral dissertation and

its great merit lies in the survey the authoress

has carried out in museums as well as in the


few misprints, most of them being misspellings

references are too often incorrect ? e.g. 'Jouveau

Dubrenil' instead of Jouveau Dubreuil; 'Otto

Shroder' instead of F.O. Schr?der (the author
of the Introduction to the P?ncar?tra and the

Ahirbudhnya Samhit?, Madras 1916, which is

listed in the Bibliography as 'Introduction to the
Pancharatra and Ahirabudhanya', with no date of
publication); the last entry of the Bibliography

on p. 199 is an article by L.K. Tripathi for

which neither the title of the journal nor the

year, but only the page numbers are given; many

of the foot-notes are carelessly compiled (e.g.

p. 185, n. 54, where the journal's title in the
first reference is wrong, the issue's number is also

wrong, the second reference omits the journal's

title and is therefore incomprehensible); etc.

One might have expected a more critical

approach to the study of iconography, though
it is only fair to say that this is not a book on
iconography and many questions have therefore

not been addressed. On the other hand the

examples taken into consideration are so

numerous and the subject matter distributed in

such a way that the book inevitably becomes a
sort of iconographical repertory.
Chapter 15, the concluding one, might have
offered the opportunity of providing an overview
and suggesting possible correlations between
geographical areas and iconographical trends or
innovations had these conclusions not been so
succinct to be of real use.

As a companion to the books on Indian

sculpture, this book is also rather disappointing

as the most recent handbook known to the

authoress seems to be Rowland's.
The Bibliography at the end of the volume
also shows some surprising lacunae. For instance,

it would be quite natural ? I presume ? to

expect that such books on iconography as Visnu's

Flaming Wheel by W.E. Begley (New York

1973), or Religion in Art and Archaeology by
J.N. Banerjea (Lucknow 1968), to quote only
two, would have been taken into consideration.
Unfortunately they are ignored, like other volumes

dealing with subjects very close to the one of this


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