Buddhist Visual Culture from Theravada to Neo-Buddhism

-  Prof Y.S. Alone

This course studies the development of visual culture of Buddhism, from the Theravada tradition to the newly emerging Neo-Buddhist visual culture in India. Buddhist art and architecture undergo considerable changes through the millennia and follow very distinct patterns of development. Among the phenomena studied are the early Buddhist monuments and sculptures; the rise of the Mahayana tradition and its logical development into Tantric and other forms of Buddhism; sites with unique characteristics, such as Lalitgiri, Nalanda, Ellora etc.; and the further development of Buddhism in other countries such as China, Nepal and Sri Lanka. More recently, Neo-Buddhist visual culture attempts to adopt certain historical traits with fresh ideas and inputs according to the local needs and beliefs. The emphasis of this course is on an exhaustive survey of the Buddhist tradition from ancient to contemporary times, with reference to social and cultural politics in a historical perspective.