GS Paper 1 Mains 2019 Question Analysis

  • Highlight the Central Asian and Greco Bactrian elements in the Gandhara art.

Mains Assignment Question

Highlight the Central Asian and Greco Bactrian elements in the Gandhara art. (150 Words)

Subjects : History of Modern India

Answer Approach :
  • INTRODUCTION: Highlight about the Gandhara Art and its evolution
  • BODY: Discuss as to how Central Asian and Greco Bactrian elements were incorporated in Gandhara Art.
  • CONCLUSION: Highlight as to how Gandhara Art continuously evolved due to outside influences.

Punit Tiwari

Gandhara school of arts which was developed in 1st century AD and patronised by Kushanas especially during the regime of Kanishka.

Reasons for influence (Precursors to development and assimilation of multiple techniques to this art form):

1. After the Alexanders invasion Greeks divided and assimilated into the territories of bactria and thus got ruled by Satrapas (Greek rulers) and thus Indo-greek population.

2. Spread of Buddhism during the Ashokan regime to Kandhar in modern day Afganistan.  

3. The building of Great Wall of China by Quing dynasty and thus series of displacements Hunas ->Kushans (Yuechis)->Scythians->Indo-Greeks one after the other.

Thus leading to adoption of various art forms.

Greek & Bactrian Influence on this art form:

1. Use of Bluish stone.

2. Hair lock curls shown on Buddha idols

3. Vajrapani or protector mode with different mudras. (Inspired form Greek god Hercules.) 

4. Hair Buns shown in Buddha idols in meditation state with semi-closed eye.

5. Realistic beauty or natural beauty.

6.Cloth draping.

7. Head sizes and well built body of Buddha idols.

8. Halo around his head.

 

These are the reasons that this art is also called to be inspired from Hellenistic school of arts.

Bactrian Influence

1. Circumbulatory corridor is inspired definitely from the Iranian Art.

2. Disc shaped Halo around Buddha's head. (Sun god Worship in Iran)

3. The cloth drapery (orientation) found around Buddha is looks like Parthian style. 

 

 Hence, Gandhara school of arts shows multiple resemblance to Central Asian and Greco-Bactrian art forms. 

 

 

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Gandhara school of arts which was developed in 1st century AD and patronised by Kushanas especially during the regime of Kanishka. (Introduction is good and apt, better if you mention the area in which it flourished)

  • Reasons for influence (Precursors to development and assimilation of multiple techniques to this art form)( This part should come in latter part as it is allied portion of Main demand of the question)
  • After the Alexanders invasion Greeks divided and assimilated into the territories of bactria and thus got ruled by Satrapas (Greek rulers) and thus Indo-greek population.
  • Spread of Buddhism during the Ashokan regime to Kandhar in modern day Afganistan.  
  • The building of Great Wall of China by Quing dynasty and thus series of displacements Hunas ->Kushans (Yuechis)->Scythians->Indo-Greeks one after the other.
  • Thus leading to adoption of various art forms.

(Upper portion of answers should come in second part and instead of only political developments, it should depict the cultural characteristics of these dynasties i.e. why and what kind of elements they brought in idol art.)

---------------------------------------Exact demand of question starts here in 2nd part of the answer-------------------------------------------

  • Greek & Bactrian (Since it is written separately so there is no need to mention here) Influence on this art form: (This is the main demand of the question hence should come first.)
  • Use of Bluish stone.
  • Hair lock curls shown on Buddha idols
  • Vajrapani or protector mode with different mudras. (Inspired form Greek god Hercules.) (Greek god was Heracles while Roman version was known as Hercules. Please remember to differentiate.)
  • Hair Buns shown in Buddha idols in meditation state with semi-closed eye.
  • Realistic beauty or natural beauty.
  • Cloth draping.
  • Head sizes and well-built body of Buddha idols.
  • Halo around his head.

(All required and expected points are well written, only thing you need to do is that put examples of Idols where these were found)

  • These are the reasons that this art is also called to be inspired from Hellenistic school of arts.
  • Bactrian Influence
  • Circumbulatory corridor is inspired definitely from the Iranian Art.
  • Disc shaped Halo around Buddha's head. (Sun god Worship in Iran)
  • The cloth drapery (orientation) found around Buddha is looks like Parthian style. 

 

 Hence, Gandhara school of arts shows multiple resemblance to Central Asian and Greco-Bactrian art forms. 

Overall Feedback:

  • Your answer contains all the relevant and required points.
  • Second part of the answers is full of content but lacks examples.
  • Change in orientation of content in first part is required. You need to specify the elements introduced by different dynasties.
  • Influence of Saka, Persian, Kushan should be mentioned in a very brief manner.
  • Little bit of re-ordering of point in orderly fashion is required such as embodiment of Budhha(Point no 3), then Asthetic aspects (Hair locks, Hair buns, clothing etc) and in the last material used should be written.
  • Be aware of the words limit and just to put more content you have crossed the words limit. You need to learn to write in compact and more organised style of writing and adopting new ways of presentation (such as flowchart, table etc.)

Add your Answer below

Description

The Gandhara art, propagated by Kushanas developed in the region extending from Punjab to the borders of Afghanistan. This region was the important centre of Mahayana Buddhism.

Greco-Bactrian Elements in Gandhara Art

Buddha was conceived in human form and his images were made in Greeco-Roman Style. Buddha resembled Greek God Apollo and hence even though the subject was Indian, but the art form was foreign. The Buddha is depicted with focus on bodily features such as curly hair, elongated ears, long nose, semi-transparent clothes and mandatory presence of halo around head.

Central Asian Elements

Some of the Influences of the Central Asia in the Gandhara art form include:

  • Oval Face of Buddha
  • Broad Muscular Shoulder
  • Slightly chubby cheeks
  • Elongated Ears

Thus, owing to its strategic location the Gandhara School imbibed all kinds of foreign influences like Persian, Greek, Roman, Saka and Kushan.

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