Book Title: Buddhism: A Journey Through Art
Author: RM Woodward
THE first images of the Buddha appeared hundreds of years after his death. This early phase of Buddhist art didn’t depict the historical Buddha as a physical being but hinted at his presence through symbols and objects — such as a set of footprints, stupas, a vacant throne, or an empty seat beneath a parasol.
Providing an introduction to Buddhist artefacts, sculpture and paintings, spanning over 2,000 years, ‘Buddhism: A Journey Through Art’ is a catalogue chronicling the fascinating and varied history of Buddhist art.
Author RM Woodward has woven together its story through best representations across form, material, period and region for the book. In the Introduction, she says that art played an integral part in the early dissemination of Buddhist philosophy across Asia, painting and sculpture paradoxically being the best advert for a faith that does not encourage the practice of proselytisation.
While it is believed that much of early Buddhist art would have been created in perishable material such as wood, the author says that Gandhara, Amravati and Mathura are regarded as the regions where the first iconic image of the Buddha was created.