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Historical Perspective of five Iconic Buddhas

Korean

Seokguram Grotto is one of South Korea's national treasures and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995. The Grottos construction began in 742 CE and was completed in 774 CE.

Korean sculptures of Buddha are relatively rare and this scarcity of images has made it difficult for scholars to understand their development. However, some of the finest and most technically accomplished Buddha sculptures in the world were produced in Korea. The iconic Buddha at Seokguram Grotto served as the model for the Korean Buddha.

 Sukhothai

The Sukhothai Kingdom is thought to have begun in the year 1238 CE and continued until 1438 CE. Some Thai historians believe the Sukhothai kingdom is the beginning of their Thailand nation.

Sculptures were exclusively of Buddhist images. This period of Buddha Sculptures is well known for their elegance. They feature a flame aureole, closed eyes and slightly amused smile. They are worthy of high praise as a unique, beautiful style.

 Burmese

The Pyu Kingdom existed in present day upper Burma from circa 200 CE to the middle of the 11th century CE. It probably reached its peak from the 5th to 9th century and was possibly the first Buddhist culture in Burma.

Initially, historians may have overlooked the formative influence of the Pyu civilization on Burmese culture. This is, in part, due to the lack preserved examples. The bust chosen for replication is thought to have originated in the seventh century CE.

Borobudur

Temple construction thought to have begun 778 CE and completed in 842 CE. Considered one of the greatest Buddha monuments in the world. Of the original 504 carved stone Buddha statues, over 300 have been damaged most (headless). 43 have been stolen, mostly by collectors and western museums.

This place of power and peace was a Buddhist destination from the mid 9th century. It is located on the island of Java and is Indonesia’s leading tourist attraction.

 Gandhara

Alexander the Great invaded northwest India (now Pakistan) in 326 BCE. This area was already under the influence of Buddhism. The character of the Indo-Greek Kingdom (180 BCE to 10 CE) was the result of the interaction between the Hellenistic and Buddhist cultures.

Buddhism was able to flourish during this period and these early stone sculptures were likely to be the first attempts of sculptural representations of Buddha. The stylized realism of the Greek sculptors allowed the Gandhara style to convey the inner peace so often associated with Buddha images.

The above five iconic Buddhas represent some of the most commonly recognized styles. Within each of these styles, there are many variations according to the artists perception. These are mine. 

 



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