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God of War versus Bodhisattva of Compassion

Topics: Buddhism, Hinduism, Hindu / Pages: 4 (789 words) / Published: Oct 10th, 2013
God of War versus Bodhisattva of Compassion

Art 3
Asian Art History Survey

Two cultures, Hindu and Buddhist, which have many differences and produce so many different forms of art, are a little difficult to compare. Let alone comparing the cultures, but to compare two artworks can be a little bit of a challenge. These two cultures’ artworks are highly centered on their religious beliefs and their traditions.4 The artwork I have chosen from Hinduism is titled: Kattikeya, God of War, Seated on a peacock. To compare to the statue of the God of War I have chosen a similar in size figurine produced by the Buddhist culture titled: Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion. Both artworks, being of two different cultures, two different mediums, and two different types of dietes: one being a god of war and the other a bodisattva of compassion will be examined in this paper and the religious meaning, symbolic meanings, technique, and cultural value will all be compared between the two cultures. The figurine of Kattikeya, God of War, was produced by the Hindu culture during the Ganga Period in the 12th century. This figurine stands at about 60 inches tall and is carved out of basalt. Karttikeya, the god of war figurine probably came from the Nadanapalle region of Andhra Pradesh.5 According to Richard Blurton, this statue was carved so that Karttikeya is sitting in the neck riding the peacock, which is the commander of the god, is shown with six heads (shanmukha) and twelve arms, ten of which hold a whole bunch weapons. Blurton also went more in depth to write that “the multiple arms and heads of the Hindu dietes usually denote their superhuman power” A lot of Hindu art is primarily devotional, encouraging them to acknowledge the presence of a god or gods.1 According to the legend re-told by Blurton, Karttikeya was born from the split seed of the Hindu divinity Shiva. He developed his six heads in order to nurse from his six mothers, the Pleiades, a constellation of stars. Compared to Hinduism, Buddhists also believe in more than one god or diete. And like the Hindus, a lot of the Buddhists’ sculptures are based around a lot of figures and beings that are only imagined forms and have no defined look to model the figurines after. Before continuing to compare these subjects, First, to elaborate on the Buddhist work of art that will be compared to the Hindu work; the Buddhist figurine of Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion, was carved during the Gupta Dynasty during the third quarter of the 5th century and created from sandstone. This artwork most made in Uttar Pradesh, India and stands about 48 and a half inches tall. The Sanskrit name “Avalokiteshvara” can be interpreted in many ways: “The one who hears the Cries of the World”; “The Lord Who Looks Down”; “The Lord Who Looks in Every direction.”3 All of these translate into being a compassionate diete.
Something I find so intriguing about both these works of art is how the creators of these works were able to show the divine in concrete form, when there is no known form in which to model from? In an analysis of religious art such as this can only suggest the idea of the divine, which is ultimately unknowable.1 The fact that the artists have such skills and such training really amazes me. The fact that these figures have been reproduced many times with similar looks, even though there is no model, shows the traditional aspects that thrive in both cultures. The skills and techniques were passed down like the way the figures in the pyramids are all the same basic measurements due to the scale of figures because the ratios were passed down throughout many generations.2
India’s cultural legacy is extraordinarily rich diverse, and extremely influential. India was the birth of two of the world’s greatest religions, Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as the holy language of Sanskrit as well as the home of Sikhism and Jainism. For centuries India’s beliefs and myths have fascinated Westerners. These works in my opinion portray the two cultures and how they portray their dietes. Hindus and Buddhists do a great job of portraying the correct symbolism to portray the correct message. For example, the God of War having an animal leader carrying weapons obviously showing symbolism as war.

Bibliography
1 Blurton, T. Richard. Hindu art. Harvard University Press. 1993
2 Chihara, Daigoro. Hindu Buddhist architecture in southeast asia. EJ Brill. 1996
3 Crosthwaite, H.S. “Monograph on Stone Carving in the United Provinces”. 1906
4 May, IN. “Second World Wheel” (2007)
5 Norton, Bill. “The Society’s Tour of Central India, 28 January- 14 Feburary 2011
6 Ram- Prasad, Chakravarthi. Exploring the Life, Myth, and Art of India. The Rosen Publishing group. 2009.

Bibliography: 1 Blurton, T. Richard. Hindu art. Harvard University Press. 1993 2 Chihara, Daigoro. Hindu Buddhist architecture in southeast asia. EJ Brill. 1996 3 Crosthwaite, H.S. “Monograph on Stone Carving in the United Provinces”. 1906 4 May, IN. “Second World Wheel” (2007) 5 Norton, Bill. “The Society’s Tour of Central India, 28 January- 14 Feburary 2011 6 Ram- Prasad, Chakravarthi. Exploring the Life, Myth, and Art of India. The Rosen Publishing group. 2009.

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