Spinning the Wheel of the Dharma: Buddhist Art on the Indian Subcontinent

Spinning the Wheel of the Dharma: Buddhist Art on the Indian Subcontinent

  • 20 Nov
    04 Dec

    Buddhist Aesthetics

    Pia Brancaccio

Spinning the Wheel of the Dharma: Buddhist Art on the Indian Subcontinent

This short course will examine the main artistic traditions associated with the practice of Buddhism in the ancient Indian Subcontinent. The first lecture will discuss visual materials associated with representations of the Buddha and his life, and will survey artistic evidence from the early centers of Bharhut and Sanchi, from Gandhara as well as from Mathura and Sarnath.

The second lecture will explore loci of Buddhist devotion and will focus especially on architecture. It will address how the cult of relics helped in establishing a Buddhist sacred geography on the Subcontinent and will survey the architecture of devotion in India and Sri Lanka, including stupas and chaityas.

The third lecture will examine Buddhist art in monastic contexts. Monks played key roles as custodians and transmitters of the Buddhist dharma  -  what was the layout of Buddhist monasteries? How were they built? How were they decorated ? Key examples of monastic art and architecture will be discussed from the regions of Gandhara, Gujarat, the Deccan plateau, and Sri Lanka.

Duration -

November 20, 27 ; December 4, 2020

Timing: 6:30 - 8:30 PM


Rs. 3,500

Pia Brancaccio

Pia Brancaccio

Pia Brancaccio is Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Drexel University in Philadelphia, USA. She earned her Ph.D. in Indian Art History and Archaeology at the Universita’ degliStudi di Napoli ‘L’Orientale’ (Italy). She has done extensive research on Buddhist art in ancient South Asia with a special focus on the ancient regions of Gandhara and the Deccan plateau. Dr. Brancaccio’s publications include a monograph on The Buddhist Caves at Aurangabad: Transformations in Art and Religion (Brill Publishers, 2010), two edited volumes entitled Living Rock: Buddhist, Hindu and Jain Cave Temples in Western Deccan (Marg, 2013), and Gandharan Buddhism: Archaeology, Art and Text with Kurt Behrendt (UBC Press, 2006) as well as several book chapters and articles in conference proceedings and academic journals (Ars Orientalis, Archives of Asian Art, East and West, and South Asian Studies, among others). She is currently working on the topic on Buddhist Monumentality in early South Asia, and most recently she delivered the 2019 Distinguished Lecture on the Arts of South and Southeast Asia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.