Greek Buddhas: Alexander, Hellenism and Ghandaran Art

Alexander’s conquests spread Greek culture out of which, mixed with local cultures, emerged what is known as Hellenism. Greek art and intellectual culture merged with Buddhism to form a unique artistic genre, Ghandaran art.The physiognomy of many sculpted Ghandaran Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is classically Greco-Latin, rather than Asian.


Gandhara occupied a large area of what today are North West India, Pakistan and Afghanistan,
traversed by ancient roads linking India with China, Tibet and West Asia.



Seen in profile, this top-knotted head is purely Greco-Latin with no trace of Asian physiognomy.
The elaborateness of the hairdo is unique and reflects local cultural customs in the Hindu Kush, as well as
ancient Greek hair-braiding techniques. The topknot is often seen in the figure of Shiva.



Gandharan art offers clear evidence of the close merger of Greek and Buddhist cultures,
as in the above image showing Buddha seated on a lotus, draped in a Greek toga.


Gandhara frieze in purely Hellenistic style, 1st-2nd century CE. Buner, Swat, Pakistan.


Vajrapani the protector of the Buddha,is depicted as Heracles.2nd century

This Indo Corinthian capital depicts the Buddha seated within acanthus leaves.

Explore posts in the same categories: Alexander the Great, Macedonian Culture

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