Buddhist Art Of The Wei Dynasty

2429 words - 10 pages

Although Siddhartha Gotama spread the religion of Buddhism in India, his teaching had a great impact on other countries. Buddhist first made their way to China via the silk route; this was a network of caravan tracts that linked China to the rest of central Asia to the Mediterranean region. Buddhist monks also made their way into China with Buddhist scriptures and Buddhist art in their possession. This is the first time that Buddhism made a substantial impact on the Chinese. Quickly many Chinese began to convert to the new religion that was brought into china. In fact, Buddhism would become a central aspect to culture of the Chinese. Buddhism had a great impact on the Chinese, philosophers, and Chinese emperors. Additionally, Buddhism had a great influence on Chinese art, and Buddhism was the greatest foreign influence on the artwork of the Chinese. Chinese artist would mix their traditions, with other popular Buddhist art forms from places, such as India. The arrival of Buddhism in China greatly influenced the art of China for many dynasties.
According to Art in China by Craig Clunas, the Wei Dynasty, which started in 386 and ended in 535, was an era in which Buddhism was central to the culture of both the noble and common people. For much of the Wei dynasty the artists and sculptors were slaves to the state. Different styles of Buddhist art were popular during this period. At first, the artists copied some elements from Indian Buddhist sculpture, but then they developed their own style. During the Wei most of the art produced had a connection to Buddhism, and the emperors spent a great amount of resources to have the Buddhist art pieces produced (Clunas 92-97).
According to the, biography Buddha written by Karen Armstrong, Buddhism was a religion started by Siddhartha Gotama, in his younger years he lived in a pleasure palace of the Sakka tribe in present day Nepal. He lived in this pleasure palace because his father wanted him to be kept away from suffering. Additionally, a prophecy was made that he would become either a spiritual seeker or a great political leader, and his father preferred that he become a political leader. Siddhartha remained in the palace until he escaped, and he saw people suffering, and a spiritual seeker. As a result of seeing the spiritual seeker he set out on a journey to try to find an end to suffering. Siddhartha would follow many spiritual seekers, but unfortunately, none of them helped him to achieve enlightenment, and as a result, he decided to find his path to enlightenment. He was successful, and after achieving enlightenment, he began to share his teachings with others in India until his death (Armstrong 66-98).
After the Siddhartha’s death, his followers began to teach and many forms of Buddhist emerged the Mahayana form would be the type of Buddhism to come to China via the Silk Road. According to Living Religions, the basic explanation of this sect of Buddhism is primarily focuses on liberating all...

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