• Older than Buddhism
• Remained the powerful religious force in India
• A composite of many worships
• Rich in mythology and pantheon of gods
• Buddha was identified as incarnation of Vishnu, an important Hindu deity.
• Video on Hinduism
• Video on Hindu gods
4. Important facts:
• Comprised of many interrelated sects focusing on the ancient wisdom of
the Vedas and the various gods/goddesses
• Depending on the sect, the most important gods are: Brahma (the
Creator), Vishnu, Shiva, and the goddess Devi.
• All the Hindu gods have multiple forms or aspects.
• Essentially one because each is a manifestation of the one-all inclusive and
eternal spiritual reality, brahman.
5. • The brahman encompasses all temporal and divine beings.
• Hindu deities come from the brahman, or Formless One.
• Brahmins- ancient highly trained class of priests dating back to Vedic times
that perform many of the Hindu sacrifices and rituals.
• Rituals– reciting prayers and placing offerings in fires so the flames will
carry the messages to the god
• This practice dates back to the Indus Valley period.
6. • Beliefs:
• They can form a strong personal bond with a bhakti (deity)
• Share in the deity’s wisdom and blessings
• Priests watch over the rituals so as to achieve moksa, state of pure
consciousness and bliss.
• It is also escape from samsara, the ongoing cycle of birth, death and
• To achieve moksa, Hindu must renounce all desires and consider every
action a sacrifice to the gods.
7. • Puranas and Tantras explain the rules and principles of the attainment of
• Puranas – book-length mythic poems about the gods
• Tantras- ritual forms for propitiating them.
• Bhagavad Gita – (Song of the Lord Krishna) one of the most important
Hindu texts explain how the faithful can bond with the godhead through
8. Hindu Art and Architecture:
• Pallava Dynasty (500-750 CE) ruled Kanchi west of Madras
• Reign of Mamalla I (630-668 CE) –conversion of granite outcrops and cliffs
along the coast of Bay of Bengal into series of monuments.
• Descent of the Ganges (The Penance of Arjuna)
9. Descent of the Ganges
• The Descent of the Ganges (the
Penance of Arjuna) In
Mahabharata, Arjuna was one of
the legendary Pandava brothers
who underwent penance beside a
river to enlist the aid of Shiva in a
• He is seated beside a small shrine
to Shiva to the left of the cleft in
• The enormous relief is not a
narrative and gives little sense of
any space or time.
• It represents all space and time-the
The Descent of the Ganges (or the Penance
Of Arjuna). Mamallapuram, India. Pallava
Period. 7th century
10. Dharmaraja Ratha
• Dharmaraja Ratha—good example
of an early southern-styled Hindu
temple, monumental stone
sculptures from the wooden, brick
and masonry types
• Rathas –vehicles of gods, carved
from a series of boulder outcrops
• Architecture in sculptural form, the
two art forms are inextricably fused
in monuments that may confuse
the viewer of what is architecture
• Rathas are envisioned as masses in
space, not spaces within a mass.
• 3-stepped pyramidal vimana
The Dharmaraja Ratha. Mamallapuram,
India. Pallava period, mid-7th century.
Most likely commissioned by Mamalla I.
Work may have stopped during his death
In 668 CE.
11. Kailasanatha Temple
• Kailasanatha Temple, a series of
32 cave temples in Ellora in the
Deccan, an important pilgrimage
site for Buddhists, Hindus and
• The monolithic rock cut temple
complex was dedicated to Shiva
as the Lord of Kailasa, the great
snow-capped mountain in Tibet
where his throne was said to have
• Carved out of a cliff (120 ft tall) of
hard volcanic rock.
• The box shaped courtyard is
roughly the size of a football field
while the temple is 96 feet high.
Kailasanatha temple. Ellora, India.
Early medieval period, Rashtrakuta
12. • The works at Ellora extend far
beyond the area seen here and
include Buddhist, Hindu and Jain
• Commissioned by Krishna I, it is
said to be the most impressive
set of rock-cut monuments in
• The plan reflects the design of
the Buddhist chaitya hall
• It has rich detailing of
freestanding towers, decorative
niches, statuary, and the four
14. • Brihadesvara Temple represents
the high points of the southern
Indian style of temple construction
under the rule of Rajaraja I during
the Chola dynasty (c. 850-1310)
• Southern India was able to
continue its indigenous artistic
traditions after 1000 CE, while the
Muslims took over much of
northern India by 1200 CE.
• Vimana—rises to 216 feet
• Worshippers move through a
succession of progressively smaller
and darker spaces until they arrive
at the cult image, a lingam, in the
A monolithic, 8-ribbed stupika (capstone),
topped by a gold finial rises above the steep
13-leveled pyramidal vimana.
15. Shiva as Nataraja, Lord of the Dance
• Shiva as Nataraja, Lord of the Dance
represents one of the many bronze and
copper sculptures housed in the
• The idealized, impassive god, with long
hair (a sign of asceticism) and smooth
features, dances with a flaming circle.
• His raised leg= symbol of escape from
the ignorance of the world
• Demon = symbol of the world
• He dances (tribhanga pose) to the
rhythm of the heartbeat of the cosmos
(fire of the ring encircling him).
• Mudra gesture = gesture of blessing
• Fire= destruction of the samsara/maya
(illusions brought by ego)
• Dance= embodies liberation or freedom
of the believer (through bhakti, love of
Shiva as Nataraja, Lord of the
Dance. India. Chola period, 11-12th
Century. Bronze, 32 inches high.
Museum Reitberg, Zurich.
16. Hindu Art and Architecture:
• Hindu temples in the north tend to be:
• very compact
• with high bases and tall central towers
• Excellent stones in the north afforded a variety of architectural sculptures
ranging from delicate decorative reliefs to nearly freestanding life size
17. Kandarya Mahadeva Temple
• This temple (meaning Lord of
Lords) in Khajuraho, capital of the
Chandella dynasty, is widely
regarded as the classic example
of the northern Indian Hindu
• It is compacted into a unified,
organic whole on a single high
• The tall buff sandstone structure
still resembles the crests of the
Himalayas, the inaccessible
snowy homes of the gods.
Kandarya Mahadeva Temple.
Khajuraho, India. C. 1000 CE.
18. • It is a double crucifix plan with
short arms extending from the long
east-west axis at the mandapa and
• Shikara – central tower under
which the cult image of Shiva
• Axial approach leads visitors up a
set of stairs through a porch to the
mandapa and the sanctuary.
• Patterns of horizontals and verticals
create a hypnotic rhythm similar to
• Builders used no mortar and few
clamps to secure the stones using
20. Vishnu and Lakshmi
• Over 800 sculptures on the temple twist
and turn on their pedestals in dynamic
• This gives a sense of movement to the piers
and walls, further animating the masses of
• The figures tend to be tall, with elongated,
tubular legs and bodies, and some are
arranged in erotic poses which maybe
Tantric metaphors for the linking of the
human soul with the divine.
• Images of sexual union represent the fusion
of female wisdom and male compassion
which reflect on Hindu union of the
• Their idealized bodies are unified in a single,
long, C-shaped curve make this one of the
masterpieces of Khajuraho sculpture.
22. Spread of Buddhist Art
• Buddhism spread outward from India in every direction: west of
Afghanistan, north to Kashmir, northeast to Nepal, Tibet, China, Korea and
Japan, south to Sri Lanka, and southeast through Burma to Indonesia.
• The spread in faith carried along with it traditions in the arts.
• Sculptors at Bamiyan, Afghanistan
expressed the magnitude of the
new Mahayana Buddhist ideal,
the Vairochana Buddha (the
Buddha Essence) by creating a
series of colossal sculptures.
• Located in Bamiyan, an
international trading center on
the southern part of the Silk
• It was destroyed in 2001 by the
Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamic
Colossal Buddha. Bamiyan,
Afghanistan. Stone, height 180 ft.
2 _ 5 century CE.
• Thangka (literally, rolled up cloth)
represents the best-known type of
painting that features the elements
of Gupta or Ajanta style of painting.
• Thangka represents Buddhist
authority figures: political leaders,
revered teachers, lamas,
bodhisattvas, and the Buddha
• It is hieratic, presented in a way so
the figure appears to have a ‘higher’
sense of authority than the other
figures around it.
• Manjushri= a high ranking
bodhisattva and symbol of wisdom
Manjushri. Cental Tibet. Thangka,
Gouache on cotton, 22” (h). Private Collection.
• The 5th Dalai Lama (died 1682)
allied with the Mongols, unified
Tibet, consolidated all political
and religious powers and
expressed that power in
building hilltop monasteries.
• The Potala monastery is one
• The red palace around an
atrium at the center of the
complex where the tomb of the
fifth Dalai Lama is located
became the religious center of
The Potala monastery-palace,
26. Sri Lanka
• Legend has it that a son and
daughter of Ashoka carried
Buddhism to Sri Lanka in the
late 3rd century BCE.
• It remained a stronghold of
• The scence presents Ananda
(Buddha’s favorite disciple)
attending the Buddha’s
• The Sri Lankan style is
graceful yet archaic (in
keeping with the ancient
Ananda Attending the Parinirvana of the
Buddha. Gal vihara, near Polonnaruva, Sri
Lanka. 12th century CE. Granulite, 23 feet (h).
• In the 9th – 13th century, Buddhist
art flourished in the
administrative center of Pagan.
• This was before Burma was
invaded by the Siamese and the
Chinese leader Kublai Khan.
• This is the most famous and
venerated shrine among the
roughly 2000 Buddhist
monuments in the area of Pagan.
The Ananda Temple. C. 1100.
Pagan, Burma (Myanmar).
Borobudur, Java. Aerial view. Late 8th century.
• The cruciform plan underwent changes
when it was used as a basis for the
construction of a mountain-shaped
stupa at Borobudur on the island of Java
• The origins of the monument
are obscure but it may have been built
around 800 CE.
• It represents Mount Meru, the
centerpiece of the Buddhist and
Hindu universes, and the name of this
monument may mean “mountain
of the Buddhas.”
• Hindu art of the Gupta period
spread from India southeast to
Burma and Cambodia.
• In Cambodia, it developed a new
and distinct imperial character
under the patronage of the
Khmer (Cambodian) monarchs.
• As a devaraja, a Khmer ruler was
deified during his own lifetime.
• The largest of temples at that
time, Angkor Wat (temple of the
capital) was built during the reign
of King Suryavarman II (1112-
• Built in a short span of 30 years.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Aerial view.
Early 12th century.
• Jayavarman VII, the son and
successor of Suryavaman, ruled
• He expanded the empire to its
greatest dimensions by conquering
portions of Malaysia, Thailand and
• He founded a new royal city for his
court, Angkor Thom, with Buddhist
and Hindu monuments.
• This massive mountain-shaped
Buddhist temple in the city center
was dedicated to the bodhisattva
• Today, the temple is in ruins like the
rest of the city.
The Bayon Temple
Angkor Thom, Cambodia.
• The major religions developed in India- Brahmanism, Hinduism, Buddhism
• These were derived from the Indian philosophical writings of the first
• Members of all the religions use yoga, a form of meditation and discipline
for the mind and body.
• With meditation, they practice darsana, visualizing the gods.
• Indian art, which gives visual forms to the gods, helps worshippers in the
process of visualization.
• Temples and other places of worship not only provide homes for images:
they are microcosms of the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain worlds.
• Through the help of art and practice, devotees can make symbolic
journeys along spiritual paths. The transcend the material world and enter
the transcendental realms.
• With powerful messages and spectacular forms, the arts of India spread in
• While the arts of India spread beyond its borders, the country’s art and
architecture were also influenced from outside.
• For more than 900 years, Muslim art has been part of Indian history.
• Under British rule, the arts of India were heavily influenced by European
styles and techniques.
• Indian artists found many productive ways to combine their heritage and
Western art in a series of movements leading up to India’s independence
in 1947 and following it in the late 20th century.
• O’Riley, Michael Kampen, Art Beyond the West,
Second Edition, 2006, Pearson Education, Inc.