Monday, December 29, 2014

Two Thousand Years Ago, Buddhist Not Christian Art Was Our Guiding Light

By Jonathan Jones
The great departure of Buddha: stone relief, c.100-300 from Gandhara, showing Prince
Siddhartha Gautama on horseback. Photograph: Universal History Archive/Rex Features
UNITED KINGDOM---A crowd of people gather round a man on a horse, in an ancient stone relief that roars with life. Is this Christ entering Jerusalem? Or even a nativity scene – a wise man heading for Bethlehem perhaps? In fact, it is an image of Prince Siddhartha setting out from his father’s palace. This masterpiece of Buddhist art was carved in Gandhara, on the borders of modern Pakistan and Afghanistan, some time between the second and fourth centuries AD. But like many other artworks from ancient Gandhara, it uncannily resembles early Christian art. Indeed, it is evidence of a fascinating encounter of east and west. [link]