Development of Buddhism into a religion
Art and culture have been closely intertwined since the dawn of history. This is because artistic expression serves religious worship.
It also serves to aesthetically process spiritual experiences and thoughts. Buddhism can look back on 2500 years of art history. Since the 5th century BC., Buddhist monuments have impressed with their creative artistry and singular craftsmanship.
For numerous epochs, Buddhist art has transcended national borders and become the defining art movement of the Asian continent. The figurines, relics, costumes, jewelry, musical instruments and vessels from various materials, times and countries origin all speak volumes about the wealth and versatility of this art-historical epoch in human history. The skilled observer can trace the evolution of motifs and symbolism in these creations, while the central elements of their mythology can still be found in Buddhist art to this day. These artworks, which will be going under the hammer in the ‘Buddhist and Indian Art’ and ‘Important Asian Art’ live stream auctions, span the breadth of centuries of artistic craft from the Far East and demonstrates its versatility.
The teachings of Buddhism date back to 5th or 4th c. AD India and originate from Siddharta Gautama, the ‘historic Buddha’. Buddha is the honorable title of the enlightened. Enlightenment, or ‘Bodhi’, is the aim of Buddhist life praxis, which propels a practitioner beyond the suffering of earthly existence. Buddha achieves enlightenment and serendipity: Nirvana.
In the centuries following the death of Siddhartha Gautama, Buddhist art was born. The first period of its development is known as the aniconic Phase, as Buddha was not portrayed in a corporal form. Buddha was always represented by a symbol: Lotus blossoms, a Bodhi tree, the Dharmacakra wheel, footprints or in the form of a stupa or lion. It means that both the respect for the enlightened one and the torment caused by his subsequent death were so great, that his followers did not portray him in corporal form. The oldest Buddhist artworks are edifices, usually stupas, relics or scriptures. The meaningful motifs and symbolism, which was prominent during the aniconic phase, remains the basis for the powerful imagery of Buddhist art. Every symbol carries a unique meaning and usually refers to the life and teachings of the historical Buddha.
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What religion did Buddhism develop from?
Buddhism is one of the oldest religions in the world and did not stem from another religion, but rather the teachings of Buddha.