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The beginnings

of Buddhist art,

and other

3 1924 009 002 308

*....

/T/7

CORNELL

UNIVERSITY
LIBRARY

THE WASON
CHINESE COLLECTION

m
Cornell University Library

The

original of this bool<

is in

the Cornell University Library.

There are no known copyright

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text.

the United States on the use of the

http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924009002308

THE BEGINNINGS OF

BUDDHIST ART
IN

AND OTHER ESSAYS INDIAN AND CENTRAL-ASIAN ARCHEOLOGY

BY

A.

FOUCHER

OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PARIS

REVISED BY THE AUTHOR AND TRANSLATED BY


L.

A.

THOMAS

and

F.

W.

THOMAS

WITH A PREFACE BY THE LATTER

PARIS

PAUL GEUTHNER
13,

LONDON HUMPHREY MILFORD


AMEN CORNER.
MCMXVll
E. C.

RUE JACOB,

13

THE BEGINNINGS
OF

BUDDHIST ART

Printed for

PAUL GEUTHNER
and A.

by
Succ", Augers, France.

A.

BURDIN.

F.

GAVLTIER

THtBERT,

HARITt.

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA

Essay IX

.aiK^Kim
Dsmoulin
lrr*. Sc

PAINTING FROM TURFAN


NOW
IN

MUSEUM FUR VOI-KERKUNDE, BERLIN

THE BEGINNINGS OF

BUDDHIST ART
IN

AND OTHER ESSAYS INDIAN AND CENTRAL-ASIAN ARCHEOLOGY

BY

A.

FOUCHER

OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PARIS

REVISED BY THE
L. A.

AUTHOR AND TRANSLATED BY


F.

THOMAS and

W- THOMAS

WITH A PREFACE BY THE LATTER

TARIS

LONDON
HUMPHREY MILFORD AMEN CORNER, E. C
MCMXVII

PAUL GEUTHNER
13,

RUE JACOB, 13

v/

;^c\3

^DEDICATED
WITH PROFOUND RESPECT AND AFFECTIONATE REGARD
TO

M.

AUGUSTE BARTH
Member
of the Institute
:

MASTER OF PENETRATING AND CREATIVE CRITICISM


IN ALL BRANCHES OF SANSKRIT LEARNING

Jane 1914.

"PREFACE

To

the

rather limited circle of scholars interested in Indian


the

Art and

Archeology

work of M. Foucher
and

requires no introduction.

His numerous

studies devoted to these subjects,

in particular his comprehensive treatise

on the Grasco-Buddhist Art of Gandhdra, have fully established his position


as a leader in
this sphere.

collective edition

of his essays and addresses,

dispersed in various serial

and

periodical publications, will therefore be sure

of a

warm

welcome.
this

The translators do not disavow a hope that

English version

may

appeal

not only to those readers, chiefly in the East, to

whom

the author s original

presents

difficulty,

but also to a rather wider public


the interest

in

England and
the

America. Aware of

which in Paris attended


ij the

delivery of

M.

Boucher's lectures, they would regret

charm had

so far evaporated in

translation as to forfeit a share in the growing appreciation of Oriental art.

Buddhism
veyed

for
and

it is

especially

Buddhist monuments that are here sur-

is.

of course,

subject oj vast extent.


it is still

We may add
at

that it is

a highly

organic subject,
the stage

that the study of

a specially interesting stage,

of discovery.

We cannot

touch

it
.

in any part without evoking res-

ponses from distant


carpet
;

and unexpected quarters


well defined

We

might compare
us say,

it to

a magic
Greeco-

we fix upon some

topic, relating, let

to the

Buddhist school of Gandhdra, and promptly, even without our


analogy or connection transports us
to the

volition,

some

Central Asia, China or Japan of

many

centuries later, even if

we have

not to continue ourflight to Java in the

ninth century or Cambodia in

the twelfth.

The reader will find in

these

pages

abundant examples of such


ingenious
itself,

transitions.

The first essays reach back by a highly


Buddhist art in India
it

and

probable hypothesis to the very origins of


the

and give us

measure of its possibilities by what


detect

has achieved at

Sdnchl and Barhut. Already we


the Persia of the

some

traces of foreign influence,

from

Achxmenids. Soon an abrupt irruption of Hellenistic art

friU

PREFACE
the native schools,
the

*
a repertory of religious composi-

overwhelms
tions,

and

creates

which

Buddhist propaganda
islands.

carries to Central Asia, the

Far East,

and

the

Malay

Thus

is

established

genetic connection between the

religious art of

Europe and Asia, a

double efflorescence

from

one root, most


resembles

strikingly exemplified in the case of the


the earliest

Buddha

type,

which

closely

sculptural type of Christ, and most curiously in that of the 'Tute-

lary Pair', found throughout the whole Buddhist sphere


in ancient

and at

the

same time

Gaul

of

the

'Madonna' group (Essay IX), which

probability,

ultimately has ended by conquering from ancient Egypt


to be fruitful, both

or shall

we

claim

the highest degree of interest

for the case

derived, in all

the

whole world

This splendid generalization cannot fail

on the European
:

and

on the Asiatic side, in inspiration for future researches


it

in the mean-

while

may

be

welcomed as reestablishing by

the

aid of art that feeling of

solidarity and sympathy between India


the

and Europe, which flourished during


somewhat discouraged

palmy days of Vedic

studies, but latterly has been

by specialism.

Need we remark

that,

where religious art and archxology are

the theme,

literature and literary history cannot be far

away
of

M.

Voucher has commented


with which he
is

upon

the predominantly narrative character


: it

the bas-reliefs

dealing

may indeed

be said that, apart from purely decorative figures

and
the
to

symbols, the great bulk of them are illustrations of scenes

from

the life

of

Buddha. The

life

must, indeed, he conceived in an ample sense, according

that grandiose Indian conception whereby, as


us, the biography is not confined to

M.

Foucher opportunely reminds


the

a single span, hut covers


existence,

whole

series

of

countless births,

under all forms of

which were necessary for

the

accumulation of the positive and negative characteristics manifested finally in


the

Great Being,

the Perfectly

Illuminated. The scenes therefore need to be

read,

and at

first the

very alphabet

was wanting. The problem was offar

greater obscurity than in the case of what

M.

Foucher terms

the magnificent

illustrated bible constituted by the sculptors of the cathedral of Chartres.


texts

The
those
the

of

the

Buddhist religion have only gradually been made known


life

events in the

which

wen

specially

twelve acts of

Buddha and

so forth

had

marked out for

illustration
;

not been separated out

the

Jataka

book, recording the tales of previous births,

was

not at first available.

The

names of

those scholars to

whom we

are indebted for the first tentatives at

decipherment, such as the inspired, if not impeccable, archseologist. General Sir

Alexander Cunningham, Prof. Grtinwedel of the Berlin Ethnographical Museum, Dr. Serge d' Oldenburg, Perpetual Secretary of the Imperial

PREFACE
Academy
a long
of St. Petersburg,

IX
found recurring in
Foucher's

and
the

others will be

M. Fou-

cher's pages.

But undoubtedly
:

matter has in

M.

own work made

step forward so

the reader will

remark not only

the artistic insight

which gives

much

ease

and

certainty to the identifications in this volume, but

also the emergence of principles fitted to serve as

a guide for future discovery


see

and

criticism in this field of study. In


art,

a word, we

taking shape, not only

an

but also

a science of discovery and interpretation in


to

regard

to

Buddhist, and by consequence

Indian, illustration.
is

xA history of Buddhist Art

task for the future

may we some day

have the pleasure of welcoming a systematic treatise upon the subject from

M.

Foucher's

own

pen. For the present

we

are only at the commencement.


be found

Nothing guarantees us that in its beginnings the Art shall


with
it

on a

level

the doctrine, or that it shall follow

a parallel

course, or

again that
see

shall develops with

a proportional

rapidity.

Gn

the contrary,

we

already
it

that

at
its

Sdnchi

and Barhut,
to

after

centuries

of

active

speculation,

makes
piety.

appeal primarily
the case

a community

characterii^ed by naive

and simple
strife

In

of Christianity how
I

many

centuries

of dogmatic

precede the age of the primitives


essays on

Nevertheless the reader

who turns from

the

Barhut and Sdnchi

to those

dealing with the Great Miracle and


be his impression, if he

with Boro-Budur much clearer would


his

embraced in

view

the mediaeval

and modern art

of

China, fapan, and Tibet

cannot
the decay

fail to note the metaphysical contemplation which has

grown upon
as

of

the older

popular

piety.

Yet even here

we have a warning

to the

partial

reversions which
ticated society
:

may

result

from

the transplanting of religion to

less sophis-

since in the sculptures of


it is

Boro-Budur we find again

an

atmosphere,

true, of hypertropical softness

no small admixture of
in
is

that

frank

pleasure in

mere story-telling which

the

special

charm

of

Sdnchi and Barhut.


London. June, 1914.
F.

W. Thomas.

We are indebted for the


India. Dr. J. Bdrgess,

use of photographs to the Secretary of State for


;

and Prof. A. A. Macdonell (England)

to Prof. Ed.
;

Chavannes, Mr. Henry H. Getty and M.


A.
Sir

V Golodbew
;

(France)
to Mr. J
J.

to Prof.

Grunwedel and
to Major

Dr. A.

von Le

Coa (Germany)

H. (now

John) Marshall, Sir Aurel Stein and Mr. (now Prof.)


;

Ph. Vogel

(India)

Van Erp

(Java)
et

and for the loan of blocks to the


the
Soci6t6 Asiatique and

Acaddmie

des Inscriptions

Belles-Lettres,

MM.

Esperandieu, Guimet, Hachette et C'% E. Lerodx (Paris), and to

the Ecole frangaise d'Extrfime-Orient (Hanoi).


In the
will be

body of the work and

in

the descriptions attached to the plates

found indications in

detail of

what we owe to this kind cooperation.

We tender

here our grateful thanks for help in the absence of which the

majority of these essays either would never have

come

into being or could

not have been combined to form of a volume.

Some

faults of

impression and minor errata will perhaps be judged excu-

sable in an English

book printed

in France.

P.

.S".

It

should moreover be stated

which the reader himself may


enforced postponement of

in view of some few details that this volume, with exception notice
1914.

of the index and tables, has been in print since June


its

Through the M. A. Barth

appearance, the dedication to

has become (since April 15,

1916) unfortunately only a tribute to his

memory.

CONTENTS

I.

II.

Pagts

The

BEcrNNiNGS of Buddhist

Art

The Representations
Reliefs of Barhut

of

Jatakas on the Bas29


61
1 1 1

The Eastern Gate of the Sanchi Stup A .... IV. The Greek Origin of the Image of Buddha V. The Tutelary Pair Gaul and India VI. The Great Miracle at ^ravasti The Six-Tusked Elephant VIII. Buddhist Art Java IX. The Buddhist Madonna
ni.
. .
.

in

in

139

147
185

VII.

IN

205

271
293

Index

ILLUSTRATIONS

Hiriti, the Buddhist

Madonna

painting fromTurfan... frontispiece


Page

Plates I-IV.

Beginnings of Buddhist Art


1.

28

Buddhist symbols on ancient Indian coins.

II.

The The

three last Great Miracles

1 at
III.

SdncU

2 at Amardvati.
:

first

Great Miracle
;

1 in

Gandhdra

z at Amardvati.
:

IV.

The

four Great Miracles

1 in

Gandhdra

2 at

Amardvati

3" at Benares.

Plates V-VI.
v.

Jatakas at Barhut
In medallions.

....

...

60

VI.

On

the rail-coping.
i

Plates VII-X.
VII,
I.

The Eastern Gate of the SAnchi Stupa.


General view taken from the East.

10

2.

Back- view of Lintels of Eastern Gate.


Eastern Gate (front view).

VIII,

I.

2.

Divine guardian
Interior face of

at entrance.
left

jamb.

IX.

I.

The Conversion of the Ka^yapas.


Interior face of
left

jamb.

2.

The Return to Kapilavastu.


Interior face of right jamb.

X,

I.

The Vocation,

or Great Departure.
lintel.

Front view of middle


2.

Procession to the Bodhi-Trce. Front view of lower


lintel.

XIV
Plates XI-XVI.
XI,
I.

ILLUSTRATIONS
Pago

Greek Origin of the Buddha Type


Buddhas
in the

138

Lahore Museum.
Mess, Mardin.

2.

Buddha

in the Guides'

XII,

I.

2.

The Village of Shihbaz-Garhi. The Ruins of Takht-i-Bahai. The


Village of Sahri-Bahlol.

XIII,

I.

2.

Excavations near Sahri-Bahlol.


Shah-ji-ki-Dheri (Kanishka Stupa).

XIV,

I.

2.

Indo-Greek and Indo-Scythic Coins.

XV,
XVI,

I.

2.
1.

The Relic- casket of Kanishka. The Bodhisattva Type.


Types of Bodhisattva, Buddha and monk.
Graeco-Christian Christ and Graeco-Buddhist Buddha.

2.

Plates XVII-XVIIL
XVII.
XVIII.

The Tutelary Pair The Great Miracle of Cravasti


:

146

In Gaul. In Gandhara.

Plates XIX-XXVIII.
XIX.

184

At Benares.
At Ajanta.
I
.

XX.
XXI,

At Ajanta
In China

after a wall-painting.

2.

in the Ta-t'ong-fu Caves,

XXII.
XXIII.
I.

On
2.

the Boro-Budur, Java.

InMagadha.
In the Konkan.

XXIV.

In Gandhira.
In Gandhara.
In Gandhara. In Gandhara.
I.

XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII,

InGandhsLra.

2.

At Barhut.

Plates

XXIX-XXX.
I.

The Six-tusked Elephant

204

XXIX,

At Barhut.
AtAmaravati.
In Gandhara.

2.

XXX,

I.

2.

At Ajanta.

ILLUSTRATIONS
Plates

XV
Page

XXXI-XLIV.
XXXI,
I.

Buddhist archjEOlogy
:

in

Java

270

Boro- Budur

General view (^from

the north-west).

2.

XXXII.
XXXIII,
I.

2.

First Gallery (part of west fafude)

Section and plan.


Silhouette.
Staircase (north side).

XXXIV,

I.

Story of Sudhana,
against

no.

Incantation

theNaga

(central portion)
1 1
:

XXXV,
I.

Story of Sudhana, no.

Manohara's flight.

Above

The

Bodhisattva's farewell to the

gods.

Story of Sudhana,no. i2:ThePrince'sreturn.

Alove

The

Bodhisattva's

descent

upon

earth.
2.

Story of Sudhana, no. 16


(right-hand portion).

At the fountain

XXXVI,

I.

Story of M4ndhltar, no. 12

The

rain of

garments.

Ahove

The Bodhisattva chooses

his bride.

Story of king Qihi, the Dove and the Hawk.

Above

The

first

of the Bodhisattva's four

promenades.

XXXVII,

I.

Story of Rudrayana, no. 6

Presentation ot

the cuirass (left-hand portion)


2.

Story of Rudrayana, no. 9


yana's
visit.

Mahikatyi-

Above

The

Bodhisattva with

his

first

Brahman
XXXVIII,
I.

teacher.

Story of Rudrayana,
^aili's

no. 10

The nun

sermon

(left-hand portion).
:

2.

Story of Rudriyana, no. 11

Queen CanJra-

prabhi's ordination (central portion).

XXXIX.
XL,
I.

Story of Rudrayana, fragments of nos. 12,


13 and 14.

Story of Rudriyana, no.


parricide.

16

After the

Above

The ascetic Bodhisattva

declines the

aid of the gods.

Story of Rudriyana, no. 19


jewels (left-hand portion).

The

rain of

XVI
XLI,
I.

ILLUSTRATIONS
Page

Boro-Budur

Story of the pair of Kinnaras {central portion of the second scene").

2.

Story of Maitrakanyaka, no.


offering (central portion').

The

purse-

XLII,

I.

The
Under

Story ofMaitrakanyaka, no. 2: The mother's


supplication (left-hand portion).

2.

Story of Maitrakanyaka, no. 7

In the

Inferno city (right-hand portion)

XLIII,

I.

unfinished statue of Buddha.


the central cupola,

Boro-Budur.

Trailokya-vijaya.

Bronze in

the

Batavia Museum.

XLIV.

The Goddess Cunda between two Bodhisattvas. On the south western wall of the Chandi Mendut,

Plates XLV-L.

The Buddhist Madonna


After a wall-painting
I
.

292

XLV.
XLVI.
XLVII.

from

Domoko (Chinese Turkestan).


2.

Side view before removal ;2.As set up in British Museum.


:

Suckling Madonna

i.

Romanesque;

Coptic.

Indo- Greek images of Hiriti.


I.

XLVin,
XLIX.
L,

Hiriti

and her partner

in

Gandhira.

2.

Hiriti in Java.

Japanese images of Ki-si-mo-jin.

Chinese images of Kuan-Yin.

N. B.

A
the

detailed description

of each plate will he found either in the body of the


the plate.

work or on

page de garde opposite

The Beginnings of Buddhist

Art.C)

is a historical fact; only it has not yet been completely incorporated into history sooner or later that will be achieved. Meanwhile its initial period remains, we
:

Buddhism

must confess, passably obscure. To add to our difficulty, the


little

that

we

think

we know
its

of the social and political


its

state

of India in the times of

birth has been learned


:

almost entirely through

medium

thus the frame


task,

is

no
is

better defined than the picture.


it

But the

arduous
B. C.

though

may

be, is not impossible.


it

The fifth century

not so remote a period that


;

logical research

the interval

must always elude archaeobetween the death of Buddha

and the

first

information transmitted to us concerning

him

is

not so considerable that


not

we cannot
it

flatter

oursel-

ves with the idea of discerning across

the veritable phy-

sionomy of the work,


pious, but

if

in

conformity with the

too tardy wish of later generations

the

actual features of the

worker. This hope

is still

more

confident, and the ambition less audacious,

question of the beginnings of Buddhist

art.

when it is a The appearance

phenomenon, since it presupposes not only the development of the community of monks, but also a certain organization of worship on the
of the
latter is a relatively late

part of the

laity.

If

among

the productions of this art

the sculptures are almost the sole survivors,


least preserved to us, notably in

we have

at

the labelled bas-reliefs

(^i)

Journal Asiatique, Jan. -Feb. 1911.

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


very highest rank.
:

of Barhut, documents of the


ainly the stones are by

Cert-

no means loquacious

but they

atone for their silence by the unalterableness of a testimony

which could not be suspected of rifacimento or interpolation.

Thanks

to their marvellous grain, they are to-day as


left

they were

when they

the hands of the image-makers

Qi'upakdrakd)

two thousand years ago; and upon this immu-

table foundation

we

can construct inferences more rigo-

rous than upon the


restless

moving sand

of the texts. In the ever

and changing play of the doctrines

we

are never
is

quite certain that the logical sequence of the ideas

exact-

ly parallel to the historical succession of the facts.

On

the

other side, the routine character of

all

manual technique
still

will allow us to detect with certainty, in the

existing

monuments, the material traces of the procedures which must have been usual earlier inversely, and by a kind of
:

proof backwards, the correctness of these postulates will


be verified in that they alone will be found to render a
satisfactory account of the often

uncouth character of that


All these reasons

which has been preserved to


to us to justify the task
assault delivered

us.

seem

which we have undertaken. In the

from various quarters upon the origins of Buddhism we beUeve even that the attempt to go
back to the very beginning of
its

art is,

methods of approach, that which has most chances of success.

for

among all the moment

the
the

None, indeed, of the monuments known

at

the present

time, building or sculpture, takes us further back than the

Maurya dynasty. Does

that

mean

that art

was created

entire

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


in India towards the year

250 before our


it

era,

by a decree of
to

the

Emperor A^oka? Of course

would be absurd

believe this.

From

the Vedic times Indian civilization had

at its disposal the services

not only of the carpenter, the

wheel-wright and the blacksmith, of the potter, the weaver and other fabricators of objects of prime necessity, but
also of those

whom we

call art- workers,


If the texts

painters, gold-

smiths, carvers in
to
tell

wood or ivory.

were not there


Fergus-

us this in words, the evidence of the sole surviving

monuments would
stone,

be sufficient to establish
all

it.

son has proved once for

that the oldest constructions in


in

by the

servile

manner

which they copy the

fra-

ming and

joining of timber work, testify to the previous

existence of

wooden
it

buildings.

On

the other hand

as

we know from
inscription

a rehable source

by means of an

explicit

was the ivory-workers of Vidi^a who


it

car-

ved, in the immediate vicinity of their town, one of the

monumental
first

gates of Sanchi. Besides,

is

obvious that the

finished and well polished bas-reUefs, which for us are the


in date, represent not

by any means the

first

attempts

of beginners, but the work of sculptors long familiar with


their business

and changing their material, but not

their

technique.

The whole

transformation which was accomis

plished during the third century before our era

limited to

the substitution, in religious and royal foundations, of the


reign of stone for that of

wood. Unfortunately, there

are

no worse conditions, climatic and


vation of

historical, for the preser-

monuments than those of India. All that was wood was condemned beforehand to fall into dust; all,
nearly
all,

of

or

that

was of stone and

that the climate

might

have spared has been destroyed by the vandalism of man.

Thus

is

explained

why

the

most ancient remains

of

Bud-

dhist art are at once so late and so rare. If

we

leave aside

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART

as the the great monolithic pillars dear to Agoka, as well sects caves excavated for the benefit of all the religious

in every place

where the geological formation of the rocks pendlent itself thereto, we find on the ground level, and ing more systematic excavations, scarcely anything to mention, except the debris of the balustrades, of Bodh-

Gaya and of Barhut, and the four gates of Sanchi. The mention of the kings Brahmamitra and Indramitra,
inscribed

on the second that of the dynasty of the ^ungas, and on one of the last that of the reign of Satakani suffice to date them generally, but with
on
the
first,

certainty,

as

belonging to the second, or


It is

first,

century

before our era.

doubtless to the same epoch,

if

we may

judge by the

we must refer the oldest fragments of the balustrades exhumed both at Amaravati and at Mathura. If to these few stray remnants of sculptures we add the remains of the most archaic paintings of Ajanta, we
style, that

shall very

soon have finished compiling the catalogue of


styled

what may be
influences

in opposition to the later school,

of

the north-west frontier,

the native school of Central


known
to surprise

much more

penetrated by foreign
India.

Let us go straight to the most striking feature of this old

Buddhist school. Although well


will not
fail

to speciahsts,

it

uninformed readers.

When we
we

find the ancient stone-carvers of India in full activity,

observe that they are very industriously engaged in carrying

out the strange undertaking of representing the

life

of Bud-

dha without Buddha.


ble as
is
it

We have

here a fact which, improba-

may seem, Cunningham long ago demonstrated. It


on the written testimony of the
artists

established

them-

Those of Barhut inform us by an inscription, that such and such a person on his knees before a throne is rendering homage to the Blessed One . Now, without
selves.

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


exception, the throne
is

vacant; at the most, there

is

symbol indicating the


latest researches

invisible presence of

Buddha 0). The

of the

field

have only opened our eyes to the extent of application of this constant rule; it holds

good for the years which preceded as also for those which followed the SambodU, for the youth as also for
the old age of the Master.

The
:

facade of the middle lintel


illustrates his departure

of the eastern gate of Sanchi

on

horseback from his house

the embroidered rug which


is

serves as a saddle for his steed

empty

Q. A
:

medallion

of Bodh-Gaya represents his


is

first

meditation

the seat before which the traditional

empty again ploughman is dri-

ving his plough

Q. Some

panels of Amaravati

show

us his birth and presentation to the sage Asita; only his


footprints

a direct ideographic transcription of the for-

mula which was in use in India to designate respectfully a person mark the swaddling clothes on which in one

place the gods, in another the old rishi are reputed to have

received
suffice

him

into their

arms

(*).

These

selected examples

to demonstrate that the ancient Indian

sculptors

abstained
sattva or

absolutely

from

representing

either

Bodhi-

tence

(^).

Buddha Such is

in the course

of his

last

earthy exis-

the abnormal, but indisputable fact of


art will

which every history of Buddhist


to render account.

have

at the outset

(i) A.

Cunningham, Stupa of Barhut,

pi.

XIII-XVII.
i.

(2) See below, pp. 75 and 105;

cf. pi.

X,

(3) ^rt greco-bouddhique du Gandhdra, (4) See on the staircase of the British

fig,

177 and

p. 345.

GDSSON, Tree and Serpent Worship, pi.

Museum, n"' 44 and XCI, 4, and LXI, 2.

48, or Fer-

form

(5) Let us add, in order to be quite correct, at least under his human ; for we know that a bas-relief at Barhut represents the Blessed One
in

descending into the bosom of his mother


below, p. 20).

the form of an elephant

(cf.

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART

As

far as

of this fact

we know, no perfectly satisfactory explanation has until now been given. First of all we tried
more or
less

to dispose of the matter

by the supposition,

as

evasive as gratuitous, that the ancient school had either not


desired or had not been able to figure the Blessed

One

neither of these

two reasons appears

to us to have the least


?

value in proof. Shall

we speak

of incapacity

Assuredly, one

can see that the concrete realization of the image of the


perfect

Buddha

was not an easy task

and the

difficulty

could not but increase with the years, in proportion as the

time of the Master grew more distant and his features faded

more and more into the mists of the past. Nevertheless, we must not form too poor an opinion of the talent of the old image-makers, and the argument becomes moreover quite
worthless,

when one attempts to apply it to the youth of Buddha. What was he, in fact, up to the time of his flight
his native

from

town, but a

royal heir

apparent
is

Now

the type of rdja-kumdra, or crown-prince,

common on

on the balustrade of Barhut Q; what material hindrance was there to their making use of it
the gates of Sanchi, as also
to represent the Bodhisattva
? It

is

clear that they could


so.

have done
Shall

so,

and yet they carefully abstained from doing


back, then,

we

fall

upon

the other branch of the


?

dilemma and say


gravest
letter

that they did not dare

Assuredly the
to the

members of the order must long have held

the stern saying that

the master gone, the law

and we are quite willing to beheve that the law alone was of import for them. The reverend Nagaremains

sena

still

teaches

king

Menander

that

henceforth

the

(i) See
n" 538 jataka)
:

cf, infra, p.

Cunningham, Stupa of Barhut, pi. XXV, 4 {Mugapakkha-jdtaka 56 and pi. V, 6) and p. vi (mention of the Vifvaniarai.

north gate of Sanchi, lower lintel (Vi^vantara), etc.

(2) Mahdparinibbdna-sutta, VI,

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


Blessed

One

is

no longer

visible except in the

form of the
;

dharmakdyaQ), of the
express prohibition

body of the doctrine

but of any

of images we have in the texts no knowledge. Since when, moreover, and in what country does popular devotion trouble itself about the dogmatic
scruples of the doctors
India
:

Certainly

it

was not so
all

in ancient

for otherwise

we

could not at

understand the

enthusiasm with which the valley of the Ganges and the


rest

of the peninsula welcomed the Indo-Greek type of

Buddha. From Mathura to Bodh-Gaya, and from Cravasti


to Amaravati,

we

see

it

installed in

triumph on the circum-

ference of the stupas as in the interior of the temples.

So

rapid

conquest
if

is

a sufficient proof that the objections of


far

conscience,

any such existed, were

from being insur-

mountible.
But,
it

will be said, if

it is

true that the ancient Indian

image-nakers asked for nothing better than to represent


the Blessed One, and that,
capable ^f
it,

on the other hand, they were


?

why

then have they so carefully abstained

To this we see but one reply, in appearance, we must confess,


simple-m'nded enough,
still sufficient
it

but

one

which, in India,
it, it

is

for all

If

they did not do


it .

was because
it

was not

the

custom
:

to

do

And, no doubt,

would
off

be easy to

letort
;

oc

But you confine yourself to putting


possess,

the question

if it

does not arise with regard to the sculptors


it

whose worcs we

still

holds

good

entirely
far

with regard to their predecessors...

Certainly, and
point at which

from contradcting, that


wished to
such as
arrive.

is

just the

we

We

hold that this monstrous abstention,

we

observe

on the monuments of Barhut and

Sanchi, remaiis

perfectly incomprehensible, unless

we

(i) Milindapanha,id.

Trenckner,

p.

73; trans. Rhys Davids, p. 113.

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART

enquire into the traditional habits which it supposes and which, for that very reason, it is capable of revealing to
us.

Like certain anomaUes in animal species,


explained
as

it

can only
obso-

be

an

inheritance

from

nearly

lete past,

which

this survival helps us to reconstitute. In

other words,

it is

vain for us to seek a solution of the


relatively late

problem in the few

specimens

at present

known
still

to us

it

is

to the anterior history, to

what

is

the prehistoric period of Buddhist art that


to discover
it
it.

we

rnust

go
it is

To

such a typical case of

artistic Tera-

tology

is

the evolutionist

method of embryology

that

proper to apply.

II

To

begin,

we have

the

best

reasons

for

thinking

that the habit of adoring

human

images, and even^he art

offabricating them, were stillless general in thelndaofthe

Brahmans before Alexander than


try properly so-called did not in

in the

Gaul of

th-

Druids

before the time of Caesar. Certainly this absence of idola-

any way excludf, the


(
:

exis-

more rudimentary forms of fetichism } nevertheless, the fact remains that Buddhism did noldevelope, like Christianity, in a world long infected by 1,'ie worship turn. Not of images and prompt to contaminate it in
tence of
it,^

(i)

We allude

to the

golden purusha -which formed a pjt of the altar of


i.,

sacrifice
rites

(Qat.-Brahm., 7, 4,

(Ath. Veda, X, i), etc.

For what

15) and to the effigy krtya of the magic


is

to be underst/od

simulacra of Cassar (Bdl. Gall., VI, 4), see the article/)! on L'art plastique en Gaule et le druidisme (Revue Celtiqje,

M.

by the Gallic S. Reinach

t. XIII, 1892, pp. 190 sqq..), where are cited also corresponding testimonies of Hero-

dotus

(I,

131) and Tacitus (Germ., IX) as to the non-ffiistence of idolatry

among

the Persians and the Germans.

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


only did the
first

century already
;

know

symbolical or

alle-

gorical representations of Christ

but from the second cen-

tury

we meet
(*).

with his portrait on the paintings of the

catacombs

When
:

in India, the religion

Buddha makes its appearance which he had founded was already four
that of
it

hundred years old

even so

had required the contact of


art,

the civiHsation, and the influence of the

of Hellenism.

On
in

the other hand, Buddhism was not born, like Islam,

an environment beforehand and deliberately hostile to

idolatry.

We

do not
it,

find that the Vedic texts breathe a


:

word about

either for or against

and their silence


it

is

explained precisely by the fact that the idea of

had not
as the
fail

even presented
time for
to
it

itself to the

Indian mind.

As soon

shall

have come, the grammarians will not

mention in the employment of the learned language the

mode of designating the new fact of the Brahmanic idols Q. Likewise, when the question of the images of the Master
presents itself to the faithful Buddhists, their writings will

supply explicitly the opportune solutions; and


cessive solutions are, moreover, contradictory,

if
it

these sucis

simply

that in the interval the needs ofthe religious conscience

have

changed

at the

same time

as the conditions of artistic pro-

duction. But, as far as concerns the most ancient period

with which

we have

to deal, investigations into the litera-

ture have remained from an iconographical point of view


as sterile as the researches

on the

spot.

For the

moment

the
is,

history of rehgious art in India, previous to Buddhism,

(i)

M. Besnier, Les Catacomies

de Some, Paris, 1909, pp. 204, 208, 223-

224.
(2) Cf. Scholia

KoNOw

in his
:

to Pdnini, V, 3, 99, excellently discussed by Prof. Sten interesting Note en the use of images in ancient India (Ind.

Ant., 1909)

but they have no value as proof for the pre-Mauryan epoch


are here concerned.

with -which

we

10

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


it

must remain so or not, philologically a blank page, archseologically an empty show-case. That in Buddhism, as in all religions, art is at first only a simple manifestation of worship, every one will willwhether
ingly admit.

The

only question

is

to

know what branch


It is

of Buddhist worship has supplied this special excrescence

with an opportunity for

its

production.

evidently not

in the periodical reunions of the

the smallest decorative pretext.

monks that we shall find The veneration shown to

the mortal remains of the Blessed


role of the funeral

One explains the

leading
It

tumulus
it is still

in

Buddhist architecture.

will

not escape us that

the same veneration which, thus

advantaged, has offered in the obligatory surroundings

of those rehquary

monuments

the natural support to the

sculptures, the sole destination of which for a long time

was

to decorate the balustrades of the stupas.

We

might even

suspect a

mark of its
rite

influence in the almost entirely bio-

graphical character that this decoration has assumed, just


as,

by the

of circumambulation,

it

has fixed the direc-

tion in which the scenes must succeed one another and be read. But, beyond this general orientation, we discover at

the basis of this kind of devotion nothing that could have

of compositon of the bas-reliefs. There remains the third and last ancient form of Buddhist

determined the

mode

worship, that which Buddha himself

is

supposed to have

taught on his death bed to his well-loved disciple, There


are four places,

Ananda, which an honorable worshipper should visitwith religious emotion. What are these four? ...
are, as

They

we know,
last

those where the Predestined

One

for the first time received illumination

and preached and

those where for the

time he was born and

diedQ.

Now

(i) Mahdparinibbdna-suta, V, 16-22.

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


just in this

devout practice of the four great pilgrimages

resides any

hope which we have of at

last

coming upon the

long-sought point of departure. In order that


atoncetlie
it is

we may

grasp
art,

germ and the

directing principle of Buddhist

necessary and sufficient to admit that the Indian pil-

grims were pleased to bring back from these four holy


places a small material souvenir of

what they had there

seen.

We

can scarcely believe that the reader will refuse to

grant us this small postulate.


the outer world that

Can he be so ignorant of he does not know the universal emmanufacturers and shopkeepers
it

pire of the mania, innocent in itself, for souvenirs of tra-

vels?

The innumerable
everywhere
live

who

by

would quickly demonstrate

it

to him.

Has he never

in the course of his migrations,

whatever may have been the object or the cause of them,

bought

curios, collected photographs, or sent

ture post-cards?

These

are only the latest

away picmodes and a

profane extension of an immemorial and sacred custom. If he doubts this, let him lean, for example, over one of
the cases at the Cluny

Museum
all

(')

which contain the

emblematic

metal insignia of

the great pilgrimages

of the Middle Ages, as they have been fished out of the Seine in Paris. Mediaeval India has also left by hundreds
evidences of this

custom. Most frequently they


a seal,

are simple clay balls,

moulded or stamped with


reach

and

without doubt within the


served at the
are

of

all

pockets,

which

same time as memento and as ex-voto. They to be picked up nowadays on all Buddhist sites, even
same experiment

(i) Unless the British

it

is

more convenient

for

him

to try the

at

Museum, where

a case in

the Medieval Room also contains a

collection of these signacula.

12

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


and
in

in the peninsula of Malacca

Annam Q. Do we

compromise ourselves very much by conjecturing that these sacred emblems are in Buddhism the remains of a
tradition

which goes back

to the four great primitive pil-

grimages ?

The worst

that could result


its

from

it

would be

that Buddhist art

must have owed


say, of

origin to the satis-

faction of a need everywhere

and always experienced, and,


religious instincts of

we may almost
humanity.
It

one of the

would be difficult to imagine a theory more humble and more prosaic it is in our opinion only the more probable for that, nor do we see what other we
:

can substitute,

if,

at least,

we

are unwilling to attribute to

that art any but a rational origin.

In

fact,
is

this

point once gained,

all

the rest

follows.

Nothing

more easy than to guess what must have been

the souvenirs brought back by the pilgrims from the four


great holy places.

To

take the

modern example mostfstmiis

har to the French reader, what

represented by the images

or medals offered for sale and bought at Lourdes? First and


foremost,, the miraculous

grotto.
clay,

What must

have been

represented on stuffs,
the
first

on

wood,

ivory, or metal

by

objects of piety manufactured at Kapilavastu, at


at

Bodh-Gaya,

Benares, or at Kuginagara? Evidently the

characteristic point

towards which,

at the

approach of each

of these four towns, popular devotion

was directed. Now we


at

know

these points already from the picturesque expres-

sions of the texts.

What was

first visited

Kucinagara

was the

site,

very soon and quite appropriately marked by

(i) For specimens from India, see


J.

R. A. S,, 1900, p. 432, etc.

Cunningham, Mahdbodhi, pi. XXIV; from Burmah, ArdiBol. Survey of India,


from Malacca, Bull, de
la

Annual

Teport, 1905-1906, pi. LIII;

Commission

Archiologique de I'lndo-Chine, 1909, p. 232; from

Annam,

B. E. F. E.-O.,

1901, p. 25, etc.

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


a stupa ('), of the last death of the Master. In the

13

same way,
its

the essential miracle of Benares having taken place at the


Mriga-dava , the Gazelle-park,
it

was

inevitable that

consecrated description as putting the wheel of the law


in

motion

should be translated in concrete terms

by a

wheel, usually accompanied by two gazelles.

What was
One
cer-

contemplated

at

Bodh-Gaya, on the other hand, was the


at

evergreen fig-tree,

the foot of which the Blessed

had
tain

sat to

attain
at

omniscience. Finally, what would be


?

worshipped
;

Kapilavastu

Here the answer

is less

undoubtedly the great

local attraction consisted in


;

the recollection of the nativity of

mentioning

his paternal

Buddha but, without home, the most ardent zeal might

hesitate between the place of his material birth and that

of his spiritual renaissance, between the parkof Lumbini,

where he issued from the

right side of his mother,

and the

no

less

famous

gate,

through which he escaped from the

miserable pleasures of the world. Whatever might in this


case be the difficulty of choice, with regard to the three

other sites at least no hesitation was possible.

tree, a

wheel,

a.

stupa, these suffice to recall to

our

memory

the

spectacle of those holy places, or even,


ciation of ideas

by

a constant asso-

and images, to evoke the miracles of which

they had been the theatre. Again, these things could be


indicated as summarily as one could wish
:

if

human

weakness cannot dispense with the material sign, imagination makes up for the poverty of artistic means.

(i)

Stupa of A^oka

says Hiuan-tsang; that


I,

is,

of archaic form

cf.

alsoFa-hian (Beal, Records,

p. ui,

and

II, p.

32).

14

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART

III

Such is the sole part which hypothesis plays in our theory. The whole subsequent development of Buddhist art flows logically from these premises and henceforth there are none
;

of the

still

surviving documents which do not successively


its

corroborate the various stages of

evolution.
to us

The

oldest

monuments which have come down


it is

from Indian

antiquity are a few rectangular coins of copper or silver.

Now

very remarkable that,

among

the symbols with

which

they are punch-marked, the tree, the wheel and the stupa
play a considerable, and indeed,

on many

of

them, a predo-

minant part

Q.

the existence of

Thanks to the chance of their discovery, the signacula, which we imagined to have
conjecture (see
pi. 1,

been made for the use of pilgrims, ceases to be, for as far back

we can go, a pure still, we can clearly


as

B, C, D). Better

discern in the infantile simphcity of


style of the

most ancient manifestations of the rehgious art of the Buddhists. They are, properly speaking, less images than hieroglyphics endowed for the initiated with a conventional value and, at the same time, we succeed in explaining to ourselves what we have already more than once had occasion to note, that is, the abstract
these
:

emblems the

and quasi algebraical character of this

art at its

commenceconsepil-

ment

Q.

Moreover,

we

easily conceive that, in

quence of being conveyed beyond the great centres of


(i)

latest study, cf D. B, Spooner, A new find ofpunchArch. Survey of India, Annual Report 1^0 ^-1^06, 1909, p. 150. According to the excellent analysis which Dr. Spooner has given of this dis-

To

quote only the

marked

coins, in

covery, out of 61 coins 22 bear


sociate the

all

three synabols at once and 22 others as-

two

last

together.

(2) Cf. for instance,

Art greco-houddhique du Gandhara, p. 608.

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


grimage,
artistic

15

emblems of
as

this

sort

may

have seen
degrees,

their initial signification modified.

They came, by

to be regarded less

mementos of

sacred spots than as

figurative representations of miracles, the

memory of v^hich
words, in pro-

was connected with those

places. In other

portion as they were propagated further and further from


their place of origin, their topographical

and

local character

diminished more and more, to the advantage of their symbolical and universal value, until they ended by becoming

the

common

patrimony of the image-makers and being

fabricated everywherewithout distinction

where a Buddhist
of diffusion and

donor ordered them.


IV"* century

It is just this state is

subsequent generalisation that


led Buddhist coins.

proved to us even in the

by the banality and dispersion of the so-cal-

But we must hasten,

in this rapid sketch, to

come

to the

monuments whose Buddhist character can no longer be disputed. We know what impulse was towards the middle
of the third century given by the imperial zeal of Acoka
to the religious foundations of the sect.
It is,

therefore, only
after

the

more curious to observe how, even

hundred years

him, the school of Central India continues to follow


fully in the beaten track of the past.

faith-

From this point of view,


a fairly safe criterion of

the four gates of Sanchi, which


to retain almost intact,

we have had the good fortune

may furnish

the degree of persistence of the ancient usages.

Now

Fer-

gusson long ago remarked there the extreme frequency of what he called the worship of the tree, the stupa and
the wheel. According to statistics hardly open to suspicion,
since they

were drawn up
first

in support of theories quite diffe-

rent

from ours, the

emblem
;

is

repeated no less than


if

67 times, the second 32 times


reappear

and

the last does not


suffices,

more

that 6 times, this

number

never-

i6

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


it

theless, to assure

the third place in the order of impor(').

tance of the subjects

We have not,

of course, to follow
speculations

Fergusson in the strange

anthropological

which he has engrafted on

to these observations. All that to read in his table

we should

be tempted at

first

would

be the preponderance of the miracle of the Sambodhi, or of


the Parinirvdna, over that of the Dharmacakra-pravartana.

number of the first two symbols depends upon another cause. The artists proceeded to apply
In reality the larger
to
at

the Buddhas
first

of the
for

past the formulas

which had
age.

served

the

Buddha of our

People

were pleased to
at

level all the seven

by representing them
another, and

one time by

their funeral tumulus, at

much more
their

frequently,

by

their
:

empty throne

under

Tree of Knowledge
special

Q
;

the wheel alone had re-

mained the

apanage of our ^akya-muni, and con-

sequently was repeated only at rarer intervals. But these


are only subsidiary details
their

taking these figures

all

together,

imposing

total testifies

loudly enough to the cons-

tant repetition in traditional

form of what we know, from


first

the evidence of the coins, to have been the


at

attempts

Buddhist

art.

Being forced to cover the relatively

extensive surfaces placed at their disposal, the sculptors of

(i) Cf. Fergusson, Tree and Serpent-Worship, a""* edition, 1873, pp. 105 and 242. Here is the table, in which he has included the data of the sole gate of one of the small neighbouring siupas
:

Tree, Great Siiipa.

Stupa,

Small Stupa.

South Gate North Gate East Gate West Gate Only Gate

i6 19 17
15 9

(2) See helovt, Eastern Gate of Sdnchi, pp. 72 and 104.


for the

The

decisive reason

predominance of the inspired compositions of the type of the Samlittle

bodhi over all the others will be given a

further on, p. 19.

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


Sanchi evidently
in the

17

commenced by

re-editing profusely, right


era,

middle of the second century before our

the

summary and

hieroglyphic compositions which they had


predecessors, the makers of
pi. II).

inherited from their direct

religious objects in the fifth century (see

IV
This
is

a first

and certainly very important, but purely


There
are proofs

material, verification of our hypothesis.

more

subtle than the proof of statistics, which

open up

deeper views of the development of the ancient Buddhist


school.

The

years have passed, technical

skill

has increased,

the iconographic types of gods and genii have been formed, the gift of observation and a sense of the picturesque have

awakened in
tive

it

:but

it

remains nevertheless, as regards the

capital point of the figuration of

Buddha, the docile capit

of custom. Around the old themes of the studios,


it

embroiders,

is

true,

some

variations

it

embellishes

the stupas, surrounds the wheels with wreaths, or, careless

of the anachronism, gives beforehand to the tree

of the Sambodhi the curious stone surround which, more


than two and a half centuries
the piety of A?oka (*)
;

after the miracle,


all

it

owed

to

but for

that

it

does not go beyond

the ancient formulas.


sacred miracles, does

Weary
it

of eternally repeating the


treating

risk

some

still

uncan-

published episode?

The
its

idea of taking advantage of this, in


it.

order to break free from routine, never occurs to

It

not but

know

that

business

is

no longer

to supply piltheir

grims with a memento of what they had seen with

own

eyes in the course of their visits to the sacred places


p.

(i)See below. Eastern Gate of Sdnchl,

102.

i8
it is

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


fully conscious that

what

it

has

now to do

is

to illus-

trate

on

permanent monument the biography of Buddha;

but

it

new

appears hardly to grasp clearly the fact that for this purpose the old procedures, formerly perfectly appro-

priate to their object, are

no longer

suitable. Evidently,

it

was too
legends

late to rebel

and to shake
ere long

off the

yoke of an

artistic

tradition
;

which had

been strengthened by religious


this

at least it is

about

same time that the

texts,

until then silent

claim

soon

after

with an excessive the by


posterity

on the question, suddenly decide to proprecipitation to be contradicted

previous incapacity of the

artists to portray

during his hfetime the ineffable linea(').

ments of the Blessed One


fact,

And how

otherwise,

in

explain the persistent absence of his image, whilst so

many

of the popular divinities were paraded


?

on the

pillars

of Barhut and Sanchi

Henceforward there

is

only one way, in conformity with

the hving reality, of conceiving the study of the ancient

Indian school.
surreptitious,

Its

history

is

between the

more or less two tendencies which divided it


that of a struggle,

against

itself,

an irrepressible desire for


respect for
its

new

scenes and

a superstitious

precedents.

On

the one

hand,

it

experiences a growing need for the form of

Buddha
;

to serve as a centre or pivot for the scenes of his

life

and
then

on

the other hand,

it

accepts as an

axiom

that, in

order to

represent the Blessed

One,

it

suffices to

do what

until

had always been done, that

one of

his three

him by the sight of speaking emblems. Watch it at work. The


is,

to evoke

tumulus

of the Parinirvdna, the ultimate


ipso facto beside

end of the career

of the Master, was

the point,

when

it

was

question of representing

some

incident in that career.

The

(i) Divydvaddna, p. 547,

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


symbol of the wheel,
First

19

specialized in the representation of the

Preaching

could scarcely be employed again,

except

on

the occasion of the similar miracle wrought at


(').

^ravasti for the greater confusion of the rival sects

There remained
Sambodhi. And, in

for ordinary

employment

in miracles of

the second rank the heraldic emblem already utihzed for the
fact,

we

can well see

how
all

the studios of
to this proceless success-

Central India resign themselves once for

dure and accommodate themselves more or


fully thereto. All the same, they

cannot

resist slipping in

here and there a few variants, or even trying on occasions

some different course. It is under an empty throne, surmounted by a tree, that at Barhut Buddha receives the visit of the ndga Elapatra; when he preaches in the heaven
of the Thirty-three Gods, the motif
is

in addition graced

with a parasol; and this

latter, in its

turn, takes the place

of the tree on the occasion of the


^atru.

visit of

Indra or Ajata-

At times the throne by

itself

does the work. In two

on the eastern gate of Sanchi, the school even ventures so far as to avail itself solely of the promenade ,
cases,

or cankrama, of the Master in order to suggest his pre-

sence Q). But the boldness of


further,
city.
it

its

innovations goes no
its

and we very quickly reach the limits of

auda-

have indeed sketched them above (pp. 4-5), and would have been superfluous to return to the matter,

We

did

we

not now believe that

we have divined the raison d'etre, we had


to

and actually the manner of production, of the strange anomalies which at the beginning of this study
confine ourselves to stating.

We have, likewise, explained above how and now we


(i) See below, Essay VI. (2) Cf. Cunningham, Stupa of Barhut, pi. XIV, 3;

XVI,

3;

XVII, i;

XXVIII, 4

etc.,

and below, Eastern Gate of Sanchi, pp. 93 and 100.

20

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART

understand

why

the artists came into collision with

the impassable barrier of ancient usages,


represent the form of the Predestined

when One in
at the

they had to
the course

of the
his

first

twenty-nine years of his

life,

time

princely

surroundings

still

hid under

when mundane
not
aid of

cloak the
able

Buddha about

to appear. In truth,

we were

as yet (p. 13) to determine exactly,

by the

the texts, which episode of his youth the faithful had cho-

sen as the principal object of commemoration,

nor in

what manner the old image-makers must have


to

set to

work
this

commemorate

it. It is

curious to note that the sculptors


in

of the second century shared our perplexities


regard. Those of Barhut adopted the precise

moment when
his mother,

the Bodhisattva descended into the

bosom of

when,
in the

at least,

the

latter
little

dreamed that he descended there


elephant
(').

form

of a

Those of Sanchi
on
all

do not represent the Conception, save incidentally;


the other hand, they complacently detail
stances of the prince's entry into religion, that
flight on horseback from his native town
:

the circumis,

of his

they portray

town and several times the horse, the groom and the Gods they leave to be understood only the hero of this Hegira ('). As to those of Amaravati, on the stelas where they have set one above another the four
the gate of the
:

grand miracles, they employ indifferently, in


fill

side by side Bodh-Gaya, the wheel of Benares and the stupa of Ku^inagara (see pi. II, 2) now the same

the panel reserved


tree of

for Kapilavastu,

order

to

with the

cc

great

abandonment of home

where we see nothing

but the horse passing under the gateway,

now

a nati-

(i)

Cunningham,

Stiipa of Barhut, pi.

XXVIII,
pi.

2.
(cf. pi.

(2) See

hdow Eastern

Gate of Sanchi,

75 and p. 105

X,

i).

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


vity ,

21

where we of the new-born

see only the


child (').
is

mother, to the exclusion


of these three compo-

Which

sitions (see pi. Ill)

the

most

archaic and best preserves

for us the aspect of the souvenirs

which the pilgrims


at present find

of the

fifth

century were already able to purchase at Kapiis

lavastu? This
difficult to

a question which
If,

we

very

answer.

again,

on

this point

we

confide our-

selve to the numismatic documents, they will persuade us


that

from the beginning

a certain wavering manifested

itself in

the choice of the artists and the faithful.

Most

ot

the Buddhist coins devote two abbreviations, instead of one,


to the Nativity alone; at least, of the five usually associated

symbols, the lotus, the

bull, the tree, the

wheel and the


to

tumulus, the two


the
first

first

must correspond simultaneously

of the four great miracles. Apparently, the lotus

recalled those

which had sprung up spontaneously under


steps

the

seven

first

of

the

Master,

whilst

the bull,

almost always flanked by his zodiacal emblem, incarnated the traditional date of the birth, the day of the full

month Vaigakha (see pi. I, A). On other occasions, but more rarely, the bull is replaced by an elephant, a plastic reminder of the Conception (^). It may be

moon

of the

(i) Fergusson, Tree and Serpent-Worship, pi. XCIII-XCVIII. With regard groupe to this we may note that much later stelas of Benares continue to Kapilavastu the birth (with or without the conception, the in the scheme of

seven steps, or the bath) and the

great departure (see pi. IV,

and

cf.

pi. 67-68, loc. cit., pp. 156-157. As for the (2) Cf. the tables of D. B. Spooner, of the lotus and the bull, we, for our above mentioned interpretations we may at this point part, give them as simple conjectures. In any case, lotus has retained the symbolical signifiobserve that in later Buddhism the etc.).

Anc. Mon. Ind.,

and that the bull appears again with its astronomical value on one of the best-known bas-reliefs of the Lahore Museum Indien, 2<i ed., p. 121, or Bud(cf. A. GRiiNWEDEL, BuddUsHsche Kunst in Bloch in one of his last dhist Art in India, p. 129). The lamented D'Th.
cation of miraculous birth
.

22

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


although

also,

we

possess no concrete proof of this, that

the gate through which the Bodhisattva

had been

cast

by

his vocation out of the

world may,

at

an early date,

have found copiers and amateurs. But these are merely what is important here is that only accessory questions
:

the traditional avoidance of images, inherited from the

humble pioneers of former


later

days, can give us the key to the

improbable compositions, child-births without chil-

dren, rides without riders.

V
This is not
all.

The

sculptors of the second century verify

our hypothesis not only in what they reproduce and in

what they imitate of the works of the past


tain that they

we may main-

do

this, also, indirectly, in

what they inno-

vate.

However

unreflecting and mechanical their submis-

sion to custom

may

have been, the forced absence of the

protagonist from the scenes of his

own

biography could

not help but inconvenience them considerably. Let the


career of the Blessed

One

be no m,ore than a

tissue of conversations

ment

yet only a

more full small number

monotonous of edification than moveof episodes allowed

of

being portrayed independently of the principal personage.

With the aid of what subjects were the artists to cover the numerous medallions, the long stretches, or the high gates of the stupa balustrades? The first expedient of which they
articles (Z. D. M. G. 1908, vol. LXII, pp. 648 and sqq.) thought he recognised in a defective photograph of this bull Virith the hanging tongue the

image of a wild boar, and he


suffices to refer the reader

built up a whole theory on this mistake it anxious to clear up this matter with his own eyes
:

to Bdrgess, Anc.

Mon.

Ind., p. 127.

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


bethought
themselves

23

was

to

turn

to

the

previous
all

existences of the Master, at the time

when under

animal
quali-

torms, and later under

all social

conditions, he

was

fying by means of perfections for the final attainment of the

Bodhi. Thereby

we

explain

why

the sculptors of Barhut

preferred to dip into this treasure of tales

and

fables (').

In treating this
led, as

new

matter they were no longer trammel-

when

illustrating the last life of the Master,


a law.

by

custom which had been elevated into


each scene, and
at

Accordingly

they have no scruples in representing the Bodhisattva in


it is

with a perfect Hberty of mind that,

the time of his penultimate terrestial existence, they give

to Vicvantara the features

which they so jealously abstained

from lending

to Siddhartha (cf. above, p. 6). Representa-

tions oi jdtakas are far from being

unknown

at

Sanchi

but

the decorators of the gates had recourse once again to another stratagem in order to shp between the links of tradition. It

goes without saying that in

all

the scenes posterior

to the Parinirvdna the absence of the figure of the Blessed

One became

perfectly justified

and

at the

same time ceased

to be an inconvenience to the artist.

Thus, they soon took

pleasure in cultivating this part of the Buddhist legend.

According to

all

probability they began by illustrating the


,

famous

war of relics

which the death of the Blessed One


trial,

nearly precipitated. Encouraged, apparently, by this

they did not fear to attack even the cycle of Acoka and to
represent at one time his useless pilgrimage to the stupa at

Ramagrama, and
the Sambodhi

at

another his solemn

visit to the tree

of

Q.

Thus, under the pressing incentive of

necessity, the native school, incapable of openly shaking

(i) See below, Representation of Jdtakas on the Bas-reliefs of Barhut (Essay U).

and 108-109. (2) See below, Eastern Gate of Sanchi, pp. 78-79

24

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


had
artificially created

off its slavery,

for itself a

double

means of escape,
part,

in the legends previous to the last renais-

sance or posterior to the final death of Buddha. For our

we do

not doubt

that, if

it

had continued to develop


rules,

normally and according to


seen the

its

own

we should have
expense of

number of these sham

historical pictures or these

illustrations of popular stories increase at the

the old fund of pious images.


It is

no longer
cataclysm.

a secret to

anyone that the regular sweep

of this evolution was brusquely interrupted by a veritable


artistic

The

Hellenized sculptors of the north-

west, strangers to the native tradition of Central India,


satisfied to the full,

and even outwent, the wishes of their


their

Buddhist patrons by creating for

use the Indo-Greek

type of Buddha. Immediately their colleagues of the


country, seduced by this wonderful

low

innovation, greeted
laity the

with no

less

enthusiasm than the

rupture of

the magic

charm which had weighed so heavily and

so

long upon the ancient Buddhist school.

We

have

already remarked

upon
:

the fact of the rapid diffusion of the

new

type (p. 7)

it

is

now

clear to us that its adoption

did not
judice.
set

come

into direct collision with

any dogmatic pre-

Always

docile interpreters of current ideas, the texts

themselves henceforth to guarantee, by the aid of

apocryphical traditions or an abundance of miracles, the


authentic ressemblance of those
bility

portraits
(*).

whose

possiis

they were a

moment ago denying

The

reason

(i)
dal

By apocryphal
(trans.

traditions

we mean

those relative to the statue of san-

wood, carved even during the


Legge,
I,

life-time of

Buddha and

attributed

by

Fa-hian
(trans.

p. 56) to Prasenajit of Qravasti,

and by Hiuan-tsano-

Stan. Julien,

pp. 283 and 296) to Uda5'ana of Kaucambi,


(cf.

whose
p. xliv

example had only been imitated by Prasenajit


and 235
;

Beal, Records,

I,

II,

p. 4).

As regards the miracles, see those which are related

to us

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


that, in
reality,

25

the

new mode

(see

pi.
:

IV) did not exit

pressly infringe any ritualistic prohibition

did nothing but

overthrow the

artistic

procedures of composition, and the


a

bonds which
the
to
it

fell

were of

purely technical kind.

We

have

seen clearly enough

how

the image-makers of the basin of

Ganges had slowly


itself

suffered the spider's

web of custom
tear
free

weave

around them, and how, not daring to


had already endeavoured to

apart, they
it.

themselves

from

Under the stroke of the revelation which came to them from Gandhara their emancipation was as sudden as it was complete but even through this unexpected
:

development we are prepared to follow up the

test to
it

which

we have
The
to the

submitted our theory and from which


far issued

seems to

us to have so

with honour.
in fact, be

history of the ancient regime in Buddhist art prior

Gandharian revolution may,


as follows.
first,

summed up

somewhat

We

have every reason to suppose


fifth

that there was,

from the

century onwards, local

production at the four great centres of pilgrimage, and con-

veyance into the interior of India, of rude deUneations

copying the sacred vestiges

actually

still

visible

above

ground
rally

in

the sites of the miracles.

It

was these natudis-

unpeopled tableaux which, thanks to time and

tance, ended

by being regarded

as systematic representalife

tions of the four principal episodes in the

of the

Blessed One, and which, joined to

some

routine variations
served,

composed
C),
the

in accordance with the

same formula,

before as well as after

A^oka (middle of the


century
(still

third century B.
;

for the decoration of religious foundations

finally,

on

monuments of the second

before our era)

(trans. Stan. concerning the image of the temple of Mah^bodhi by Hiuan-tsang Heal, II, p. 120) and Taranatha (trans. Schiefner, p. 20). JDLIEN, I, p. 465
;

26

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


already tentatives towards freedom from the

we remark

tyranny of the ancient customs by recourse to subjects previous or subsequent to the last existence of Buddha.

However, the school of the north-west comes on the scene. By reason of the very fact that it has been almost entirely

removed from these

traditional influences,

it

must, in our

system, present characteristic signs


those of the ancient school.
extensive study which

quite different

from

Now,

the conclusions of an

we have long

dedicated to the
in

Greco-buddhist bas-reliefs, seem to have conspired

favouring, point for point, the reverse of the preceding


propositions.

What we
of

have observed

at

Gandhara

is, first,

the almost total disappearance of legendary scenes later

than the

cycle

the

'Parinirvdm, as also a

marked

diminution in the number of jdtakas; in the second place,


there
is

an indefinite multiplication of episodes borrowed

from the youth or the teaching career of the Master, whose


corporeal image occupies

now

the centre of

all
is

the com-

positions; finally and correspondingly, there


rarity of symbolical representations ('). In
this is

an extreme

our concluding argument

the old emblems do


at

any case

and

not disappear completely. Not only

Gandhara, but even

productions of mediaeval India, not to mention the Lamaist images of the present day, these survivals
latest

on the

of a former age continue to manifest themselves. If the

on nearly all the new representations of the Parinirvdm become superfluous, the Tree of Knowledge never fails to rear itself behind the Buddha of
stupa is regarded as having

the Sambodhi, whilst the wheel between the

two

gazelles,

either back to back or face to face, continues to

mark the

throne of his First Preaching (see

pi.

VI, 2).

And

thus

(i) Cf. Art greco-iouddhique du Gandhara, pp, 266, 270,427 etc.

THE BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART


the decline of Buddhist art
visible origins,
is

27

linked to

its

most

distant

the only ones (need

we specify?), which have


(').

been taken into consideration here


Such,
at least, is

the theory which


to
it is

we

could not refrain


of
Indianists.

from

submitting
altogether,

the

appreciation

Taken

only an attempt

at synthesis,

an

effort first to

coordinate logically, then to organize in

accordance with the laws of an historical development, a


series of facts already

one son

and

Our
give,

known. In this sense there is not Buddhist archaeologist, commencing with Fergusand Cunningham, who has not contributed to it, it may be found more or less devoid of originality. whole ambition would be precisely that it should

when

read, the impression of being already public

property.
is

That would be the

best of

symptoms

for

none

better adapted to produce a belief

that except

for the

retouches which the progress of research will inevitably


give to
it

it is

destined to endure.

(i) Cf. Art greco-bouddhique, figg. 208 and 209 and Iconographie bouddhique de I'Inde, figg. 29 et 30 the latter is a representation of the Parinirvdna, still
:

surmounted by a

stupa.

PLATE

Cf. pp. 14, 21.

The elements
M. Lemoine,

ot

this

plate

have been

obligingly . sketched

by

Professor of

the following publications


;

Drawing at the Lyc^e at A. Cunningham, Coins

Quimper, from
of

Ancient India

(London, 1891) Museum, Calcutta (Oxford, 1906); D. B. Spooner, A new find of punchmarked coins (in Arch. Surv. of India, Annual Report, ipoj 6, pp. 150
sqq.)
:

Vincent Smith, Catalogue of the Coins in the Indian

cited respectively as
2,

C,
13)
:

Sm., Sp..
pi. I,
I,

A. i(C.,pl. XI,
3,

4); 2

(C,

5,

6);

(Sp-,pl. LIVfl,

14); 4 (Sm.,

pi.

XIX,

variants of the lotus, the

symbol of the

miraculous birth of the Bodhisattva.

The most

characteristic form,
:

with eight petals,


in addition
sols in

is

two

fantastic,

found on the coins of Erin (no. i) we give here composed of three parabut current, forms

and of three ((taurines ov nandi-padas,{vamed{no 2),or not (no.3). petals and one quite stereotyped form (no- 4).
.

(C,

pi. I,

23 or

pi. II,

8 etc.);
:

8 (Sm.,

pi.

XIX,

15, etc.)

6(Sm., pi. XX, 8); 7 (C, pi. 11, 20) variants of the taurine or nandi-pada
;

symbol, denoting the zodiacal sign Taurus, the Bull (Ski. Tdvura),
which, during the month of Vaigikha (April-May),
the Nativity of the Bodhisattva.
presided over

The most simple form, and the starting-point of the development, is composed of a point surmounted by a crescent (no. 5). In the most elaborate form a vardhamdna, a
trifdla,

or even a triratna have in turn been detected

we do
it

not per-

ceive any reason

why

in

becoming more complicated

should have

changed

its

name and
Ill,

signification.

9(C.,pl.
pi. Ill,

2)

2); 10 (C, pi. I, 26): II (C, pi. Ill, 3); 12 (C, from the Buddhist point of view these four sacred animals

typify respectively, the elephant the Conception, the bull the (date of

the) Nativity, the horse the Great Departure, and the lion, generally,
the lion
B.
pi.
I

among (Cpl.I,
5)
:

the ^akyas
i); 2

{^dkya-simha, that

is

^akya-muni).
7-8);

(Sm.,

pi.

XIX, 11);

(C

pi. II,

4(Sm.

XX>
I

variants of the tree of the Perfect Illumination (^Sambodhi).


fairly

Nos.
C.
of the

and 2 present
;

well the form of the leaf of the afvaitha, or


is

ficus religiosa
I

the foot of the tree

always surrounded by a
pi, III,

railing.

(Sm.,

pi.

XIX, i,etc.);2 (C,


no. 2
plI,

13): variants of the

Wheel
15)

Law (Dharmacakra). On
I

it is

surrounded by small parasols.


b, 1,

D.

(C,
pi.

pi.

4, 5)
II,

2 (Sp.,
;

LIV
i

13);

(C

pi. II,

4 (Sm., arrow

XX,

12)

variants of the stupa, or tumulus, of the

Parinirvdna. Later the form of no.


;

was mistaken

for a

bow with

its

we seem

to recognize in origin a stdpa crossed by the staff


:

its parasol (chattra) we need only compare the parasols which enter into the composition of the lotuses of nos. A. 2 and 3.

{yashti) of

BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART

PL.

no

'<

Icirf
10

^
11

12

BUDDHIST SYMBOLS ON ANCIENT INDIAN COINS

PLATE

II

Cf. pp. 17, 20, 73, 148.

The
stApa,

three S^nchi panels belong to the western gate of the great-

B
is

to the front facade, lent to us

and

to the rear

were kindly
rivati

The stele of Amaby Mr. J. H. Marshall. reproduced from the photograph published by Fergusson,
2''

the photographs

Tree and Serpent Worship,

ed., pi.

XCIV.
Gayi

B. Miracle of the Perfect Illumination {Samhodhi), near to

represented by a tree above a throne. Note the characteristic leaf of the


tree of

^ikya-muni

(cf. pi. I,

B).

C. Miracle of the First Preaching, or Putting in motion the


of the

Wheel

Law

(JDharma-cakra-pravartana), near to Benares


a throne.

represented

by a wheel above

D. Miracle of the Final Extinction {Parinirvdna), near to Ku^inagara; represented by a stilpa.

Worshippers
divine

press round each of these symbolical representations. Those


B
i

on

the earth

human and
i

of both sexes, in the air

in the top corners of

and

have a

human

bust terminating in

the stereotyped body of a bird.

We

are not long in remarking the

constant contrast, both in the material objects and in the persons, be-

tween the
vati,

still

heavy and clumsy

style of

S4nchi and that of Amari

almost too elegant and affected. What here concerns us most is the fundamental identity of the subjects is not in the slightestdegree compromised by these differences of treatment.
that

BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ART

PL.

II

iimi tc E55?E

THE THREE LAST GREAT MIRACLES


1"

AT SANCHl

2"

AT AMAnAVATi

PLATE

III

Cf. pp. 21, 148.

r.

The

three Gandh^ra panels are reproduced

A', from a photo-

graph taken by the author in the


in the

Lahore Museum;

A',

from a photograph

Lahore Museum, copy kindly lent by Prof. A. A. Macdonell; A', from a photograph by Mr. A. E. Caddy in the Calcutta Museum. A', from a photograph taken by 2. The three Amar^vati panels
:

the author in

the Madras
;

Museum
;

(Cf. Burgess, Buddhist Stapa of

^mardvali,
Serpent

XXVIH, i) AS from Fergusson's photograph, Tree and Worship, pi. LXV, 3 A', from the same source, pi. XCVL 3pi.

The

locality of the scene is in all cases Kapilavastu.

We

shall not

here insist further on

the differences of type, costume, furniture


the Bodhisattva

and

ornamentation.
A'.

The Conception
The

{Garbha-avakrdnti)

descends

of his mother's bosom in the form of a Httle school of Amaravati always places at the four cardinal points of the room the four Lokapdlas, or Guardians of the World; but sometimes, as here, it forgets to represent the elephant, and. as
into the right side

elephant.

little

as at

Barhut (Cunningham,
the top), does
it

pi.

XXVIII, 2) and

at

Sinchi (see infra,


lie in

pi.

IX,

2, at

think of making

Miy^

such

manner that she can properly present her right side to the Blessed One. The school of Gandh^ra is never guilty of these negligences, which are contrary to the letter of the texts (Art g.-b. du Gandh I, figg. J49 and 160 a cf. however ibid., fig. 148, from Amar^vati).
,
;

A2.

The

Nativity Qdti)

the Bodhisattva issues from the right flank

of his mother,

who

is

standing and holding a branch of a tree. Theresee in the centre


raised,
it

fore in both views

we
arm
But

standing, with one

of the composition May^ between the gods on the right and her
tliat

women on
her attitude

the

left.

will be noticed

on

this occasion

also

is in Gandh&ra more rational, leaving free the right hip, by which the child is supposed to issue. As regards the latter, who on the panel at Lahore is perfectly visible, we perceive at Amaravaii only the imprint of his sacred feet on the cloth, which is held by the four Lcka-

pdlas together, and no longer by Indra alone.


A.

The Great

Departure (^Mahdbhinishkramana')

the Bodhisattva

town on horseback. At Amarivati we perceive only the gate of the town (cf. the gates at S^nchi on our pll. VI- VII) and the riderless horse, preceded by a god and followed by a squire holding the parasol. In Gandhira the indication of the gate has in our reproduction (but cf. Art g.-b. du Gandh., I, fig. 187) been cut away; yet Chandaka is to be seen holding high the parasol, while Yakshas raise the horse's feet and Mira, armed with his bow, stands at its head. Above Chandaka, again, is seen a half-length figure of Vajrap^ni, armed with his thunderbolt, and above Mira, between two divinities, the personification (recognizable by the turreted crown) of the town of
leaves his native

Kapilavastu. Finally and above

all,

the Bodhisattva

is

this

time

shown

on the back of

his horse.

BEGINNINGS OF BUDDHIST ABT

PL^

III

t**iV)!il

THE FIRST GREAT MIRACLE


(CONCEPTION, NATIVITY OH VOCATION)
1"

IN

GANDHARA

2'

AT AMARAVATI

PLATE
Cf. pp. ^5-26,

IV
r..{

2
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BEGINNINGS OT nUDDHTST ART

PL. IV

CQ

W X

The Representations of "Jatakas" on the Bas-reliefs of BarhutQ.

Ancient India has bequeathed to us a considerable mass of texts and a very restricted number of sculptures this
:

means

that for our instruction concerning

its

civilization

we

many more written documents than carved monuments. The latter deserve all the more to attract our
possess
attention. Their

most ancient remains may,

in fact, furnish

us, as regards the external appearance

and the material side

of Indian

life

in the second century before our era, with a

number of
the

concrete and precise details which

we should

never have been able to expect from the most extensive or

most profound study of the literature. I hasten to add that I do not conceive the identification of these works of
art as possible

without

their confrontation

with the

texts.

These

latter

alone can help us to understand the mute

language of the stones and, even in the absence


speech to the gestures, in one word
In
practice
it

of any

explanatory inscription, to assign names to the characters,


titles to

the subjects.
fall

is

precisely

thus

that

matters

out.

We find ourselves possessing in the holy


dhism a ready made commentary for the
surviving ancient bas-reUefs
rare or scattered
;

scriptures of

Bud-

greater part of the

and these pieces of sculpture,


be, are, for their part, a

though they

mine

of illustrations quite appropriate to as

many

episodes of the

Buddhist legend.
(i) Lecture at the

You

divine without difficulty the interest


du Musee

Musee Guimet,
1908.

in Bibliotheque de vulgarisation

Guimet, vol.

XXX,

30

JATAKAS AT BARHOT

of this intimate accord

between the written and the figured

versions of the

same

stories

and the advantage

still

to be
is

obtained from

it

for the

comprehension of both. This

what

should like to verify experimentally by studyaccordance with the texts

ing, in

and the monuments,

the traditions relating to

some of

the previous existences

Buddha (Jakya-Muni. For this purpose we will make use, on the one hand, of the PaU collection of the Jdtakas (*) and, on the other, of the bas-reliefs of the stupa
of the of

BarhutQ. From
emerge
for

their

rapprochement will quite natua small illustrated collec-

rally

our convenience

tion of some twenty-five Indian tales;


if I

and you

shall

judge

exaggerate their charm.

The Jdtakas.

some explanations
tales

owe however (by way of preface) which may allow you better to underI

stand the meaning and

more

to enjoy the flavour of these


as naive.

and images,

as

amusing

But these necessary


and
it

explanations

may

be extremely

brief,

will

suf-

fice if I rapidly recall to

your mind three essential notions.


not only sure of dying

The
being,
is

first is that,

according to Indian ideas, every living


be, is
:

whoever he may
of lost

it

no

less certain that

he must be born again in one of the


soul,

five

conditions

ghost,

animal,

man

or

(i) Jdtaka, dd. Fausb0ll, 6 voll.

iti-S"

and one volume of index, London,

1877-1897 ; translated into English under the direction of Professor E. B. Cowell, 6 voll. in-8, Cambridge, 1895-1907.
(2) Cunningham, The Stupa of Barhut, London, 1879 (published by order
of the Secretary of State for India,

who
S.

has kindly authorised the repro-

ductions given in this book).

Cf.

d'Oldenborg, Notes on Buddhist

Art, St. Petersburg 1896 (in Russian; translated into English in the Journal oj the American Oriental Society , XVIII, I, Jan. 1897, PP- 183-201).

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

31

god; after which he will have to die again, in order to be born once more, and so on for ever, unless he attains salvation,

which

is

nothing

else

than the

final escape

from

this frightful circle of transmigration.

The second

point

is

that not only the attainment of this

deliverance, but the conditions even of each of the ephe-

meral existences are regulated automatically by a moral

law as general and as unavoidable


gravity, the

as the physical

law of

law of

works

or (to employ a Sanskrit

word, the use of which has been popularized by the theosophists) of Karma.

At the death of each being

there

is

drawn up a kind of debit and credit account, with


liabilities,

assets

and

between the sums of the merits and demerits


exist-

accumulated by him in the course of his anterior


ences
cally
:

and an immediate sanction, resulting mechanithis

from

simple mathematical operation,

fatally

decides his future destiny.

In the third place,


in India that

it is

a belief

no

less generally

admitted

whoever has attained

to sanctity possesses,

among other supernatural


gift

faculties, the privilege of

remem-

bering his past existences and even those of others. This

of extra-lucid intuition,

or, as

it

was

called,

of divine
to possess
it

sight ,
in a

no one, of course, was considered more eminent degree than Buddha. Now
his

was,

we

are told, his habit, with regard to incidents arising in the

bosom of
itions

community,

to point or justify his prohib-

or his precepts by the opportune reminiscence ot

some analogous occasion which had already confronted him in the course of his previous lives.
These three points agreed,
all

becomes

perfectly clear.
like all

We

admit

fully

henceforth

that

^akya-Muni,

others,
births.

must have traversed

a long series of successive re-

We

understand, also,

why

he accomplished on the

52

JATAKA.S

AT BARHUT

many good actions, displayed so many virtues, reanothing less was lized so many superhuman perfections required to enable him to acquire merits capable of conveying him to the supreme dignity of Buddha. Nor could we get our information concerning his past lives from if we believe the tradition a better source, since it is from the mouth of the Master himself that the story
way
so
:

had been gathered before being consigned in writing to the

works which have come down to us and which it would be useless to-day to enumerate and criticize. If we proceed to make use of the Pali collection, it is not that I am
under any illusion
as to the antiquity of the prose

com:

mentary on the

versified, the
is

the reason for this choice nearly five hundred and

only canonical, part C) simply that, as containing


that collection is

fifty narratives,

by

far the

most considerable of all.

II

The

Bas-reliefs of Barhut.

Thus famiharized afresh with


Buddhist

the jdtakas,

you

will not be surprised to note that the sculp-

tors charged with the decoration of the ancient


edifices of central India

have drawn copious inspirations


as

therefrom.

Not only

did they,
feel

we beheve we have

demonstrated above
in

Q,

themselves under less restraint

the treatment of subjects of this kind, but moreover


subject could
artist.

no

answer better to the needs and


it

the

aim of the
of the
(i)

Seeing that

was

a question of religious

foundations, thai aim was quite naturally the edification


faithful,

both sedentary and pilgrim

and what could

On

this subject see below, essay

VII on the Saddania jataka

(2) See^ p. 23.

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
be more edifying, in default of scenes derived from the
life

33

last

of the Master, than narratives of which he himself had

previously been the hero before becoming the narrator?


the other hand, their familiar and picturesque character
ted in marvellously

On
fit-

certainly

much

better than

considerations or metaphysical speculations

moral

with the

exigences of an
ting so

art

so concrete as sculpture and necessita-

much

precision in material detail.

Thus

the good

stone-cutters of Barhut and Sanchi have had recourse, like

the sculptors of our cathedrals, to the treasure of their

Gold-

en Legend

and have

created,

by the very

force of things,

a plastic art at once narrative and religious, which recalls in

many ways the formulas Thus it is, for example,


these
latter,

of our

artists

of the Middle Ages.

that they did not,

any more than

prohibit the juxtaposition of episodes and repe-

titions of persons in the

framework of one and the same

panel.

We shall have many opportunities of remarking this


it

naive proceeding.

But

is

well to form beforehand


these bas-reliefs

monuments which
lus ,
relics.

some idea of the adorned. The Buddhist


tumuup
a deposit of

sanctuary was preeminently the

stupa, that is the

and

its

principal role

was

to cover

As we
it

see

it

in India

from the

third century before

was already a stereotyped edifice of brick or stone, which presupposed the art of the architect and utilized that of the sculptor. Its chief feature was a full hemispherical dome, usually raised on a terrace. This dome,
our
era,

which was

called the

egg (andd), supported a sort of kiosk


several parasols, an
signification in
like
all

(harmika), itself

surmounted by one or

emblem of which you know the honorific the East. The whole was surrounded,
places in India,

sacred

by a high

barrier, at first
its

of wood, then
prototype. This

directly imitated in stone

from

wooden

34

jAtakas at barhut

enclosure was flanked at the four cardinal points by

monu-

mental gates

(toranfl),

with
at

triple

curved lintels of which


(*).

most ancient specimens from the basin of the Ganges the decoration was strictly limited to the doorways and railing. At Barhut
fine

we have

examples

Sanchi

On

the

medalhons were strewn over the upright


bars of the latter, whilst
all

pillars

and cross-

along the inner face of the

coping further motifs were ensconced in the intervals of


the undulations of a serpentine garland.

You

will recognize
all

one or other

alternative of this double

provenance in

the reproductions

which

are about to defile before

your

eyes (PI. V-VI).

One

last

question

Why have we

chosen by preference
:

the bas-rehefs of Barhut?

The answer is easy because most


which towards the

of them are accompanied by an inscription written in the


oldest alphabet of central India, the one

middle of the third century before our era was used by the

famous king Agoka for his pious jambs of the eastern gate, found

edicts.
in
situ,

On
we

one of the
read, in

somewhat
yas

later script, a

mention of the ephemeral suzewhich succeeded the MaurC.


;

rain dynasty of the ^urigas,

towards the year

i8o B.

it

relates

to

the

erection of the gate, or, to be

more
stone

exact, the replacement

an old wooden model by a


feel

work

and thus we

certain that

towards the end of the second century

the final touch the stupa,

must have been given to the decoration of commenced, no doubt, during the third. This is
and sixty
graffiti,

not

all.

Among the hundred

more or

less,

observed on the recovered debris of the balustrade more than half are restricted to giving merely the name of
the donor, male or female, of such and such a pillar or

(i) See below, pp. 65-66, and

cf. pi.

VII and VIII,

i.

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
such and such a transverse bar; but the
cit

35

rest give us expli-

information concerning the subjects which the sculp-

tures claimed to represent.


reliefs sufficiently

Thus we have

to deal with bas-

dated and identified beforehand by their

authors for the benefit of their contemporaries and of the

most

distant posterity. In the

moving sands of Indian an-

tiquity

can find no better data, nor firmer ground on which to work.

we

Ill

The animals.

After

this indispensable preparation

we

may

with

full

knowledge broach the examination of the

twenty-five jdtakas, of which, possessing the text,


nize also the representation
.

we
it,

recog-

A perfectly
may

natural plan will be

imposed upon us

it

will be, if we

so express

the bio-

graphical sequence of these successive lives, as well as the


hierarchical order of the conditions into

which the future

Buddha had successively to be born. We shall see him mount one by one the rungs of the ladder of beings, first animal, then woman, and finally man. And indeed, putting
aside
all

one's complacency as Indianist,

do not think that

the imagination of any race has ever created a finer or


vaster subject for a

in

whom are

poem than this destiny of a single being shown all aspects of life, in whom is concenone word,
in

trated all the experience of past ages, in

whom
comes

the evolution of the entire

human

race is reflected. Unfor-

tunately, as usually happens in India, the execution


infinitely short of the conception.

To sum up

in

one work,

spacious and substantial, in view of the


career of the Predestined

immense and varied

One, the

original Indian system ot

the universe, would have required the powerful constructive

genius of a Dante

Buddhism had not

that

good fortune.

36

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
this is

And

why we do

in Indian literature not

meet with
Bodhi-

more than

scattered fragments of the epic of the

sattva, or future

Buddha,

To-day we are concerned only with the period of his previous lives, beginning with the most humble of them but even within these Hmits we cannot help but
:

regret the

manner
as,

in

which the monks, more

solicitous for

edification than for poetry, have

bungled the subject. In the

same way

according to the naturalists, the


its

embryo of

mammaha
like

reproduces in the course of

development

the divers characteristics ofthe inferior species, so

we should
forms

to follow through the course of the animal

which he remembered having assumed one after the other the whole fish, reptile, bird, quadruped, quadruman

embryology of
of the

a Bodhisattva.

But

for that

we should

have to give ourselves up, in the midst ofthe disorder


still

or

more outlandish order (')

of the texts, to a

veritable task of patchwork, joining together here

and there
written.

the scattered portions of a

poem which was never

Evidently the idea of following out any series and gradation whatever did not occur to the

minds of the compilers

of these stories.

We

must say

in excuse for

them that
if

the

theory of evolution troubled them, for reasons easy to


guess,

much

less

than

it

does us. Furthermore,


a

they

are incapable of

composing

harmonious whole, they

make up for it in detail by the naive savour and, at times, humourous attractiveness of their style it is impossible to deny them a veritable talent as narrators. Once we have renounced for them higher ambitions, the compensation
:

will appear to us very appreciable.


(i)

Their stories of aniexample, these are


verses

We know that

in the Pali collection of Jdtakas, for

classed solely according to

the increasing

number of

which they

contain, without regard to subject.

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

37

mals form
that

in fact a veritable Jungle

Book

long before

which did so much


:

for the reputation of


latter

Rudyard

Kipling

moreover, the

was, in

his, directly inspi-

red by popular Indian tradition.


first the stories which present animals only, and which, consequently, are pure fables . There were related in India two thousand years and

Let us examine

more ago
toise

tales
I

with which

we

are

still

to-day familiar

from infancy.

will cite, for example, that of the


,

Tor-

and the two Ducks

which

is

depicted already

on the

ancient balustrade of Bodh-Gaya.

Among the

fragments of

Barhut which have survived until our time we do not find any equally celebrated. On the other hand, when we see the
Bodhisattva appear there, he has already arrived
or
if
I.

at

the state,

you

prefer, at the

genus of

bird.

Here (Cunningham, XXVII, 11)


if

in his character of
it,

royal swan he refuses,

we may

so express

the hand

of his daughter to the peacock, in spite of his magnificent

plumage and because of his indecent dance (Jdt. 32). II. There (Cunningham, XLV, 7) under the form of
pigeon, he reprimands the lazy and gluttonous crow,
the cook punishes so cruelly for an attempted raid
his

whom
upon

pots(/4^ 42;

III.

274 and 375). Elsewhere (Cunningham, XLVII, 5) he


cf.

is

the cock

perched on a

tree,

who

wisely

resists

the

treacherous
(^Fables,

seductions of a she-cat
II,

{Jdt.

383). La Fontaine

5) says

of a fox.
further

IV.

Still

on (Cunningham, XXV,
race,

2),

born an

elephant, he exterminates, with the help of his faithful wife,


a terrible

enemy of his

an enormous crab,

cc

as broad

as a threshing-floor , which, in order to devour them,

had Ridden

itself at the

bottom of the lake

in

which the

pachyderms were accustomed to bathe (Jdt. 267).

38

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

As we cannot

see

all

in detail, I will detain

you

only a

moment

with the

fifth jdtaka,

spoken (and even


3 5

written) of as

of the Quail

As

usual, the text (/i/.


fable

7)

indicates first of all


It

on what occasion the

was

related

was not the

first

time that Devadatta, the traitor cousin

of

Buddha and

the Judas Iscariot ofhis legend, proved the

hardness of his heart. At that time the Bodhisattva was

born in the form of an elephant, chief of a troop of

80,000 others

India

is

very fond indeed of this round


their

number.

quail,

which had made her nest within


scarcely hatched,

pasture ground and


still

incapable

whose young, of moving, begs him


this,

were

to spare her offspring.

He

wilHngly consents to

and by his

orders his
file

80,000 subjects respect the young birds as they


doubtless, this
is

past

what they

are in the act of

doing on the

right lower part of the medallion (pi. V, i).But he

warns
latter,

the quail that a fierce solitary

is

following him.
:

The

deaf to
the

all

prayers, crushes the nest


his right

you perceive one o^

young ones under

hind foot, exactly on the

edge of the break in the stone, whilst the weeping mother


is

perched on a tree in front of him. But vengeance


:

is

not

long delayed

for already

on the bulging forehead of the


its its

cruel elephant a

crow

is

busy, pecking out his eyes with

beak, whilst a big blue fly deposits


sockets.

eggs in the
is

third ally of the quail,

its

gossip the frog,

sea-

ted at the top of the medallion in a conventional rocky

landscape. Its role, in the story as

on the bas-relief,
it

is is

by

its

croaking to attract the enormous animal, which

blind

and burning with

fever,
it

by making
leads

believe in the proxi-

mity of water. Thus

him

right to the edge of a


:

sharp precipice, where he

falls

headlong

only his hind

part has not yet quite disappeared into the abyss. Appli-

cation

the Bodhisattva

was the

leader of the troop of

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
elephants, D^vadatta

39

was the

solitary.

Well, what

about the quail ,you will ask.

You

desire to

know too

much.

IV
The Bodhisattva under an animal form and mankind.
In these five fables
others in which he

five

man
is

does not intervene. Here are


first,

seen and, at

hardly to his credit.

up the two preceding births, let us take a new one in the form of an elephant and even of an elephant with six tusks Qdt. 514). The wonderVI. In order to follow
ful

animal

is

standing in the foreground, leaning against the

banyan tree
to

(pi.

XXIX,
left

him

for a shelter.

which the oldest tradition assigns Behind him, likewise in profile, is his
i)

first wife,

her

temple adorned with a lotus, whilst,

seen
at
is

full face in

the background, his second wife, furious

not having herself received any such flowery ornament,

showing unmistakable signs of

jealous anger. She goes

so far as to suffer herself to die of hunger, while forming the


aspiration of being born again as a

woman and becoming


ful-

queen of Benares. Scarcely has her double wish been


filled

than she charges the cleverest hunter in the country to carry out her vengeance. Hidden at the bottom of a pit, the latter discharges a poisoned arrow into the bowels of
the elephant, as
is

written and

is

elsewhere found figured,

on the sculptures of Amaravati and of Gandhara. But at Barhut, when we again (on the left of the medallion) see moment when, the hero of the story, it is already the

wounded
oJ0Fences,

to death

and practising the

virtue,

which was

Buddhist before

becoming

Christian, of pardoning all

he docilely stoops down, in order to allow his enemy to cut off his triple tusks with the help of an enor-

40

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
saw.

mous

We

must turn

to the Pali collection or to the


to

paintings of the Ajanta Caves

learn

that the wicked

queen, at the sight of the tusks of her former husband, which her emissary brought back to her, felt nevertheless a
revulsion of conscience, of which she died heart-broken
VII.

Q.

No

less naively illustrated

is

the ne-birth as an

antelope, kurunga.
text {Jdt.

On

pi.

V, 2

we

read as plainly as in the

206) that there were once an antelope, a tortoise and a wood-pecker, which, united by friendship, lived toge-

ther

on the shores of

a lake in the depths of the


:

woods.

The

antelope has just been caught in a trap

and, whilst

the tortoise exerts itself to

gnaw through

the fetters, the

wood-pecker, represented a second time on the right, does


all

that

it

can, in

its

character

delay the

coming of the hunter. Soon


its

be found in the picture for this


antelope will in

but no room could second adventure the


:

of bird of ill-omen, to

turn deliver the tortoise

Ainsi chacun en son endroit

S'entremet, agit et travaille,

as

we

are told

by La Fontaine,

who

to

our

trio

of friends

has added also a


VIII.

rat {Fables, XII, 15).


(pi.

Another medallion

V, 3) contains no less than


ruru,

three episodes.

At the bottom the tender-hearted stag,

saves the son of the merchant,

who was going

to

drown
river.

himself in the Ganges, and brings him on his back to the


bank, where one of his roes
is

stooping to drink at the

At the top, on the right, the king of Benares, guided by the young merchant, who is evidently acting as his informant,
is

preparing with bent

bow

to kill the great rare

stag, the object

of his desires as a hunter. But the words ad-

(i)

We

shall

have an opportunity

later

(Essay VII) of recurring

more

in

detail to the Saddanta-jdtaka (cf. pi.

XXIX

and XXX).

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
dressed to
fall

41

him by

the latter quickly cause the

weapons

to

and we find him again in the centre in edifying conversation with the wonderful animal, whilst the treacherous informer seems to be hiding behind the
his hands,

from

royal person.

We know

from another source

that the

Bodhisattva, always charitable, intercedes with the king in favour of his perfidious debtor Qdt. 482 not to be confused
;

with 12).
IX.

Of the two

births as ape,

which we meet next, the


a quite

one

(Jdt.

516) contains a story with


is

analogous

moral, but the bas-relief

very

much damaged (Cunnin-

gham, XXXIII,
sattva,

who

Brahman, saved by the Bodhirescues him from the bottom of a precipice,


5),

repays

him with

the blackest ingratitude, attempting to

assassinate his benefactor during his sleep.

On
is

this

occa-

sion also the

magnanimous animal
(Jdt.

forgives.

X. More original and much better preserved


jdtaka of

the other

Mahakapi

407;

pi.

V, 4). At that time the

Bodhisattva was in the Himalayas, king of 80.000 monkeys,

and he took them to feed upon a gigantic mango-tree


others say a fig-tree, and the bas-rehef agrees with this

whose fruits were delicious, but the branches of which unfortunately spread over the Ganges. In spite of the precautions
prescribed by the foreseeing

wisdom of
falls

the great

mon-

keys, a

fruit,

hidden by a nest of ants, escapes the investiinto the stream of water,

gations of his people^ ripens,

and

is

caught in the nets which surround the bathing-place

of the king of Benares.

The

latter

fmds

it

so

much

to his

taste that, in order to procure others like


tate,

it,

he does not hesi-

when he

has obtained information from the


its

wood-

rangers

to follow the river to

source, until he arrives at

the wonderful tree.


as usual
:

At night the monkeys gather together

but the king of Benares has the tree surrounded

42

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
his archers,

by

with fixed arrows and only awaiting the day

to begin the slaughter.

There

is

alarm in the camp of the


it.

Bandar-log, as Kipling expresses


sures

Their leader reas-

them and promises to save their lives. With a gigantic spring, of which he alone is capable, he clears a hundred bow lengths as far as the opposite bank of the river, there cuts a long rattan, the one end of which he fixes to
a tree

on this bank, whilst he


is

attaches the other to his foot,

and with another spring returns to his


the vine which he has cut

own

people. But
it is

a httle too short, and

only

by stretching out
this

his

hands that he can reach the branches

of the fig-tree. Nevertheless, the 80,000

monkeys pass over


indicated by
fish are

improvised bridge and descend in safety on the other

side of the river.

This

latter is, as

usual,

sinuous

lines, in

which

a tortoise

and some

swim-

ming. But already two


into

men

of the court of the king of

Benares are holding by the four corners a striped coverlet,

which the Bodhisattva, exhausted with


fall

fatigue, has

only

to let himself
saved.

when
him
is

the last of his subjects has been


is

At the bottom (and this

the second picture within

the frame)

we

find

sitting in conversation

with his

human
nuity,

colleague,

who

amazed

at his

vigour, his inge-

and his devotion to his people. Between them a

person, of

whom we

see only the bust


is, if

and the hands


judge from the
apparently that

respectfully joined together,

we may
caste,

absence of the turban, a

man

of

low

one of the

wood-rangers

who

guided the royal caravan

towards the Himalaya.

V
The Bodhisattva in human form and animals.
last narrative

In

this

the king of Benares gives a proof of

good

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
feeling
:

43

therefore he

is

presented to us as an ancient incardisciple. In the four

nation of

Ananda, the well-beloved

preceding fables
a hunter, except

man appears to us in the odious form of when he reveals himself as a monster of


show an example
in

ingratitude, whilst the brute continues to

of the most

difficult virtues.

However, we must not be


in fact,

too great a hurry to conclude that, in the Jdtakas, the better


part always belongs to the animals
:

it

only

falls

to

them when they

incarnate the Bodhisattva. In other words,

in the Buddhist adaptation to

which these

tales

have been

subjected the Bodhisattva has been incarnated in animal

form only

in those cases

where

it

was decidedly more


are four other
ingrati-

flattering to be beast than to be

man. Here

examples which will abundantly prove to us that


not, in the

tude, foolishness, the aggressive instinct, and dishonesty are

minds of our authors, the

privilege of

humanity
stories

you might have been ought indeed to come a little


alone, as

led to believe.

The

later in the plan


is

which we

have adopted, since the Bodhisattva


ed in the

there already cloth-

human form
worth while

par

excellence, I

mean that

of a

man

but for the advantage of warning ourselves against a wrong


idea
it is

slightly to disarrange the hierarchical

order of the sexes.

XI.
left

Do you
I

desire further simian stories?

Look on

the

young novice, or Brahmanic student, who is giving a thirsty monkey something to drink. Now he goes away towards the right, having loaded on his
of pi. VI,
atthis

shoulders, at the

two ends of a stick placed like a balancing beam, his two round pitchers, suspended in nets of cord after the manner of the time and of the present day; meanwhile the animal, who has mounted into the tree again,
makes grimaces
a villain,
at

him

as a reward for his charity

Oblige

and he

will spit in

your

face , says

our proverb.

44
If

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

we

are to believe the text, the

monkey did worse


which
is

still

on

the head of the Bodhisattva, a thing


the habits of these horrid beasts.

quite

among

It is

needless to repeat to

you

that he

XII.
to take

was none other than Devadatta Qdt. 174). Another time Qdt. 46 and 268), a gardener, wishing his hoHday, has charged the monkeys which haunt
it

his garden to water

in his stead.
(pi. VI, 2);

And

in

fact

they set

about

it

with pitchers

but on a suggestion ot

their king, cally

who by

nature prefers to do things methodi-

and does not intend his water to be wasted, they


roots the exact quantity of

begin by pulling up every shrub in the nursery, so as to

measure by the length of


water which
it

its

will require.

The
left

Bodhisattva

is

the

wise

man

who

enters

by the

and surprizes them while


himself to stating that
:

thus occupied.
hell is paved

He

does not

restrict

with good intentions

there

is

no

lack of

moralizing, also, about the stupidity of the king of the

monkeys
XIII.

if

he

is

the

most

intelligent,

what must be

thought of the

rest

of the troop ?

On
is

another fragment of the coping (Cunningham,


figured in

XLI, 1-3)

two successive scenes the story of a


is

stupid fighting ram,


to charge a

who

inspired by his warlike instincts


:

Brahmanic

ascetic

we must

say in his excuse


(Jdt. 324).

that the latter

was wearing

garment of skin

The whole humour of the affair is that the monk imagines, at the moment when the ram stoops, ready to rush upon
him,
that even the beasts

bow

before his worth.

It

is

in vain that a
sattva,

young merchant, no other than warns him of his imprudent mistake


:

the Bodhithere he
is

soon on

his back, upset along

with the double burden

which he was balancing on his shoulder. XIV. Again in another place it is the turn of the Bodhisattva to carry the water-vessel and wear the big chignon

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

45

and the summary costume of an ascetic (pi. VI, 3); and it is in this guise (and not that of a tree-god. as the commentary
gives
at a

400) that he is present as a simple spectator very amusing scene. Two otters, by uniting their efforts,
it,

Jdt.

have dragged a big


river, the

fish to the
it

dry ground on the bank of a

by the head, the other by the tail; but, their united exploit accomphshed. they quarrel about the sharing of the booty and take a passing jackal as arbiter.

one holding

The

latter is

represented twice,

first

seated between the


:

litigants,

then walking proudly away to the right

he

is

carrying the best piece in his

mouth and
tail

leaving to the

two

deceived otters only the head and

of their prey.

The

moral

is

easily guessed.

The

text states very explicitly that

the best law-suits in the world only serve to enrich the


coffers of the king;

and you,

for

your

part,

have in the
an Indian

Jackal and the

two Otters

already recognised

variant of the Oyster and the Litigants

of La Fontaine.

XV. For
rules.

the rest

we must
tales

not in the presence of the


claim to set up too general

extreme variety of these

little

further

on

(pi. VI,

4) animals
play a

reappear

side

by side with another and


this

identical incarnation

of the

Bodhisattva,
rable
part.

time they
here

most honousimplified in

The

bas-relief is

much

comparison with the version of the Jdtaka (488), which gives to the hero a sister, six brothers and two servants. At
Barhut

we

see at his side only a

thed in the ascetic costume

likewise clowoman who may very well in the

intention of the sculptor be the wife of his lay years,

and of

whom

the Pali prose, with

its

accustomed and
sister
:

perhaps excessive modesty, will have made his


it

has

not been bold enough Qdt. 461) to give us

Rama

as the

brother,

and not the husband, of Sita?

On

the other hand, a

monkey and an

elephant likewise take part in this scene,

46

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
is

unless the latter


cc

merely the mount of ^akra


looks

for the

Indra of the

Gods

upon

it

as a

duty to bring

back the bundle of lotus stalks (rather similar to our bundles of asparagus and just like those which I have seen
sold,

nowadays,
its

which gave
to

Kashmir, in the market of Srinagar), name to the story. That is all the food of
in

the ascetic, and

on three days

in succession ^akra, in order

prove him, has stolen

it,

but without succeeding in


repents, each

moving him. At the moment when he


of the characters, both

one

human and

animal, was about to

exonerate himself from this theft by a veracious oath, even


the

monkey

declaring himself incapable of it; for,


in the

it is

said

somewhere,
a saint .

company

of saints everyone becomes

VI
The
Bodhisattva

and women.

With

these

reserva-

tions, these
suffice to

two

series
I

of examples, preserved by chance,

prove what

was

just

now

saying concerning

the double attitude of the Jdtakas with regard to animals.


If

from the beasts we


it

now

pass

comparison, be
at

said

to the women, we observe that

without

any idea of

the very

first

Either

we

are in

same distinction seems necessary. the presence of one of those beautiful


the
safely

types of faithful wife which are an honour to Indian literature,


is

and then we may

wager that the Bodhisattva


it is

this

time incarnated in the feminine form; or else

a masculine role

which

is

assigned to him, and in this case

the texts, giving free scope to an instinct for satire

worthy

of our Gaul of the Middle Ages, becomes inexhaustible on


the subject of the malice and

perversity of the fair sex.

The

stories

which they

tell

of

it

(we

shall,

of course,

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

47
less,

adduce only those which are figured, more or


Barhut) lack neither raciness nor verve. In
stories
fact,

at

whilst the

which have come before us up till now were properly fables, we have now to do with the kind of jolly tales which in the Romance languages of mediaeval

Europe were called fabliaux or fableaux . XVI. On a medalhon which can hardly with propriety be reproduced (Cunningham, XXVI, we witness 7), the conception and birth of the rishi Rishya^rihga (Antelope-horn) or Ekagririga (Unicorn), as celebrated in the Brahmanic epic as in the Buddhist legend. Son of an anchorite and a roe, he knows nothing of a sex to

which he
meets.
stories.

is

not even indebted for his mother, and consefirst

quently he will be an easy prey to the

women

he

On

this

common
the

trunk are grafted two groups of


is

In the

first,

young hermit

scarcely adolescent

and

lives

with his

father.

neighbouring king, in order

to put an end to a famine, or simply because he has

no
:

son, forms the design of taking

him

for his son-in-law

and his

own

daughter, or, in the less ancient versions,

some courtesans charge themselves with the task of leading him astray and bringing him back to the court Qdt.
526; Mahdvastu,
III,

143; Mahdbhdrata,

III,

110-113 etc).

Without
desire

great difficulty they succeed, as soon as the father

has turned his back, being helped as

much

as they could

by the naive candour of the young man, who as yet has seen nothing of the world, for whom a rebounding ball seems a marvel, who takes cakes for delicious fruits without
pips,

and

who

calls carriages

moving huts
so

He
to

appre-

hends

still

other causes of amazement, not less ingenious,


at the aspect,

but already less innocent,


his feminine visitors:

new

him, of

and you can

easily conceive that this

theme of the spontaneous awakening of

the sexual instinct

48

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

in the

most ignorant of young men should have served as an example to Boccacio and for a story to La Fontaine {Conies, III, i, The Geese of Brother Philip , taken from
the preamble to the fourth day of the Decameron).

Of the second form of the legend the clearest summary that we at present possess has been preserved to us by the
Chinese pilgrim Hiuan-tsang with reference to a ruined convent of Gandhara, in the extreme north-west of
India. It lived the

was

in this place, he tells us, that formerly there

mk' Unicorn; thism^f, having allowed himself to

be led astray by a courtesan, lost his supernatural powers; the courtesan mounted on his shoulders and thus returned
to the there

town (cf. Jdt. 523 DagakumAracarita^ II, 2 etc.). Here is no longer any question of the father of the hermit,
;

and the age of the


hand, what
detailed in
tiaria

latter is left

undetermined.

On the

other

we

are told of

him reminds us of

the fables

our relations of animal

stories, the so-called Bes-

of the Middle Ages, concerning the Unicorn which


girl is

only a young

able to capture

And

she (says
it

their source, the Physiologus)

commands

the animal and

obeys her; and she leads

it

away

to the king's palace .

Why
on

there rather than elsewhere? This unexpected trait forms,

the contrary, an integral part of the adventure of the shy anchorite Unicorn,
rally leads to

her

whom the king's daughter very natufather, or whom the courtesan has wagered

that she will bring back to the court.

And, again, the piquant detail that this latter mounts astride on the shoulders of the wise rishi awakens invincibly the memory of the celebrated Lay of Aristotle
XVII.

A fragment

of another medallion, found only by


title

the greatest chance, bears as

the three

first

words of

the one stanza which constitutes the ancient nucleus of


Jataka 62
:

The music

that the Brahman... :and, in fact,

JATAKAS AT feARHUT
it

49

a caste man seated, with his eyes bandaged and playing the harp, whilst a couple dance before him (Cunning8).

shows US

ham, XXVI,

He

is

the chaplain of the king of Benares,

and had, we are told, a habit of gaming with his master. But the king, each time he threw the dice, used, in order to
bring himself good luck, to

hum

four verses, taken from

some popular song, which were not very respectful to the virtue of women, and by force of this truth he won every time. The Brahman, in a fair way to being ruined, gives

up playing and decides

to rear a

new-born

girl-

child without her ever seeing

any other man than himself.

She has
is

scarcely reached marriagable age

when

he, in his

turn, challenges the king,

whose word, having become false,


he loses game
after

no longer

efficacious, so that
is

game.

Thwarted, and guessing what


his

the snake under the rock,

he charges one of his agents to seduce the only real virtue in

kingdom This plan does readily succeed and it must be believed that intelligence comes to a girl still more quickly than to a boy. The young novice's mind is so readily and
.

so effectually enlightened, that she consents to organize the


little

scene of comedy represented by the bas-relief, and


is

it is

with her lover that she


of the story or

dancing to the sound of the harp


I

played by the Winded Brahman.

lay

no

stress

upon

the rest

how

she succeeds in exonerating herself

by making a false oath true, a device equally well known to the important thing is that in this Indian our folk-lore
:

heroine you have been allowed to salute in passing the


type of the eternal Agnes.

XVIII. Even the single story consecrated to the praise


of woman
fails

not to be well-known to our medisevahsts

under the name of

Constant du Hamel

Certainly,

we
:

must immediately deduct from this details which truly smack too much of

last
its

story

some
I

native soil

50

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
vengeance exercised by the
villain

refer to the

on the
.

wives of the provost, the forester and the priest

This

manner of applying the law of


interest

retaliation,

and even with

for the peasant does to another

what the other

him is a trait eminently GaUic and you will not be in any way astonished to observe that it was evidently the part which La Fonhas merely had the intention of doing to
;

taine desired to retain of the story,

when he

put

it

into

verse in his tale of the people of

Rheims

you

will un-

derstand no less clearly that the Indian versions contain

nothing of the kind. For the


truly too astonishing,
if it

rest,

the accord
a case of a
{Jdt.
it is

would be
borrowing

were not

by European
saritsdgara, I,

literature

from that of India


the whole,

')46;Kathd~
the Pali text

etc.).

Taken on

which most nearly approaches the


(pi.
:

bas-relief of

Barhut

there also Amara, the virtuous wife, whose V, 5) husband is absent, has four suitors to whom she assigns

an interview for each of the watches of the same night,

and

it is

also in great esparto baskets that siie causes her

tricked lovers to be packed by her servants.

At the moment

chosen by the sculptor


the king
ters,
is

we

are in the midst of the court

is

seated

on

his throne,

surrounded by his minis-

and

at his right side

one of the

women

of the harem

waving

a fly-flapper.

Amara

is

standing on the other


at

side, her left

hand on the shoulder of her attendant, and

her order the covers of three of the baskets have already

been raised and the heads of three of the dehnquents unco-

But the Singhacompilation dismisses this story jn ten lines, as an episode in a long narrative, and consents to see in Amara
lese

vered, whilst

two

coolies bring the fourth.

only the wife of the absent Bodhisattva

for

it

is

quite

resigned to represent the latter as an animal, a pariah or even a bandit, but never, no never, a woman, be she, as in
!

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
this case, a

51

paragon of all the

virtues.

If,

however,

we come
a

to realize that the jdtaka in question has the

honour of

complete medallion and that these representations have no


edifying interest except

on the condition
it

that the future

Buddha

there appears in person,

will

soon be granted

that there are great chances that the sculptor regarded as incarnated here in the feminine form.

him

Even

if

the author

had not

himself made this

identification,

everything

invited the spectator to do so.

The

inscription

on the basit
:

relief (jvflfflw^//'ct%aw jdtakam)

does not contradict


in

for

the Pali tradition also makes

Amara to be born

one of the

four suburbs Yavamajjhaka, situated at the four gates of


the capital ofMithila.

However

it

may

be as regards this particular point, the


situation could not escape
least as

tremendous buffoonery of the


the worshippers, and they

must have been at


it

much
all

amused

as edified. If

we

ourselves look at

more
that,

closely,

we
less

shall

not be able to avoid the impression

with

her virtue,

Amara was not exempt from


;

mischief.

Doubt-

she had recourse to the arsenal of her tricks only

for a

good motive

but

we

tremble

at

the thought of what


astute

would happen

to her husband,

if this

woman em-

ployed in deceiving him a quarter of the mahce that she


displays in keeping herself faithful.

In

one word, and

with

all

taken into account, whether the story be written


it is

in praise of the fair sex or not,

always the same crea-

ture of perfidy, if not of voluptuousness, with

whom we

have to deal

or, to

put

it

better,

we

observe that the quite

monastic mistrust and aversion which Buddhism professed towards

woman

are

(we may say) never disarmed. Of


is

all

the snares of Mara the Malignant,

she not the worst


all

And

was

it

not solely in the rupture of

family

ties,

com-

mencing with the conjugal tie, that the assured pledge of salvation was supposed to be found?

52

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

XIX.

Among

our

bas-reliefs

we

find

still

another

fairly

picturesque illustration of this moral conception. Itis taken

from the history of Mahajanaka


exile, of the

(Jat.

539).

son, born in

widow of

a king of Mithila, I will pass

over

the adventures

which finally

re-establish

which
for

his uncle has usurped,

and

at

him on the throne the same time win

him

the

hand of

his beautiful cousin Sivali.

What

is

of

importance tons here is the resolution, which he soon forms,


of taking to the religious
life

and the useless

eftorts to

which

his wife resorts in order to retain


last

him

in the world.

At

he departs; but his wife belongs to that variety of woman which our writers of vaudevilles call cHnging
;

and she obstinately adheres to his

steps.

Vainly does a
various

remnant of politeness
symbols
in order to

lead

him

to

make use of

mark his decided intention to deprive himself henceforth of a companionship which he looks upon as an obstacle to his deliverance she will listen to none of them, not even the plainest, such as the one represented, with the names of the persons to vouch for it, on the railing at Barhut (pi. VI, 5). The king, who has
[:

already cast aside his diadem,

is

standing,

still

followed by

the queen, in front of an armourer's bench and with the two first fingers raised is speaking in parables. The arti-

about to straighten an arrow which he has just put through the fire, and, closing one eye, is examining with
is

zan

the

other whether

it is

straight.

To

a premeditated question

from Mahajanaka he repHes


ness of things

that

much

better with a single

two

for,

except in solitude,

one can judge the straio-htone eye than with there is no salvation for man.
is,

however, susceptible of a quite touching revulsion, or rather of quite gracious oversight. Evidently
it

XX. This monkish moral

was impossible

for the compilers of this

great

collection of folk-lore to

bring

all

the narratives

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
within their narrow range of edification
a delightful story of love
:

53

and thus

it is

that

must have found grace


at

in their

eyes.

It

is

not preserved to us

Barhut, except by a
it

miserable sketch (Cunningham, XXVII, 12); but


in

is still

on the Boro-Budur of Java ('), where the human bust of the kinnara is no longer terminated by foliage, but by the body of a bird. The king of Benares,
existence

while out hunting, perceives a couple of these marvellous beings covering each other with caresses and tears.

He

woman always

questions them, and


the

learns

from the mouth of the


spend the night on

more

talkative

that they were once


soon be seven hunlife is

separated by the storm and had to


either side of the river.

Now

it

will

dred years since this mischance, and their

a thou-

sand years

however, they have not yet quite conso-

led each other for the separation of a few hours,

and

since then have been unable to help mingling tears with


their caresses.

What an

example for lovers, thinks the

king and
;

it

will not surprise

you

to learn that, with the

help of this simple legend,

Buddha forthwith

reconciled

the king and queen of Kosala, very

much

in love

with one

another,

who were sulking (/d^

504;

reject

481 and 485).

VI
The Bodhisattva and
a

the castes.
tale.

This

last story is less a


it

fableau than a fairy

As

for the preceding one,

should rather be classed in the category of those


ples
-B,

exam-

wherewith our preaching

friars

of the Middle

Ages were accustomed


still

to stud their sermons.


all

The

five that

remain to be reviewed are

edifying stories which

(i) See below, Essay VIII.

54

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

similarly served the needs of the Buddhist preaching.


will perhaps

They
:

seem

to

you only moderately amusing

but in India morality must always have its turn. In them the Bodhisattva is constantly reborn in the state of man,
that state so difficult to attain,

we
all

are told, which, while

the

one most favourable of


is

to

the

acquisition of
for

merits,

also the only


a

one

in

which the candidate

the Bodhi ever has

chance of attaining his object. Each

time this marvellous being, whatever


astonishes us with the proofs of his
disinterestedness
:

may
skill,

be his caste,

wisdom and

but

it

is

especially in his royal births

that he gives free course to his virtue. Let us not forget

that the Buddhists professed to place the class of the Ksha-

should say, the nobihty of the sword, to which their Master belonged, above that of the Brahmans
triya, or, as
:

we

have to follow the order established by them in the hierarchy of the castes.
naturally,
shall

we

XXI. The Bodhisattva knew


that

all

social positions,

even

which
in

consists in being

as is the case

under the ban of society, with the pariah. However, in the lowest posibas-reliefs

tion

which we recognise him on the

of

Barhut, he has already arrived at the third class, that of the Vai^yas, that is to say, of peasant proprietor or town shop-

son of a citizen of gravasti that by an ingenious stratagem he consoles his father, who was still
keeper.
It
is

as a

inconsolable tor the death of his grandfather Qdt. 352; Cunningham, XL VII, 3). He brings water and food to the dead

body of an ox, abandoned

when
trate

of the town ; and informed by friends, runs up to remonswith him, he answers him in the same tone and has
his father,

at the gates

not

much

trouble in proving to
is

him

that the

more

foolish
is

of the two
folly,

people think. For it according to Buddhist ideas, to weep for the dead.

not the one

whom

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

55

XXII. Elsewhere the Bodhisattva has become the Pandit


Vidhura, minister of the king of Indraprastha. The fame of his wisdom and eloquence is so great, that the wife of a

Naga conceives a fancy for hearing him make more sure of him being brought
pretends to have a
the husband
desire , that

speak. In order to
to her, the undine

of eating his heart. Behold


for the

much

disturbed

As well ask

moon

he remarks Qdt. 545). But what is there that women cannot do ? The four panels of one pillar are consecrated
to the description of how the daughter of the

long

in finding a young captain of the genii,


,

Naga was not who, for love of

her beaux yeux

charges himself with the commission;

how

the

young

gallant challenges the king of Indraprastha


cast of the dice

to play,

and with one


;

wins

his minister

how he vainly endeavours to kill the latter by throwing him down from the top of a mountain; and how,
from him
in the end, he decides to take

him

alive to the

house of the
mother-inlittle

Naga, to the great


law,

satisfaction of his future

who thus
as
is

obtains from the

mouth

of the sage the

private lecture

which she desired (Cunningham, XVIII).


tales, all is

And,

always the case with these Buddhist

well that ends well.

XXIII. But, as
Bodhisattva
is

have told you,

it is

especially

when

the

born again as

a Kshatriya that his acts foretell


is

the great renunciation of

which he

to offer a perfect

model

in the course of his last existence.


life

Once,

at a

time

when human
ance of his
to

was exceedingly long, he renounces the throne and the world from the moment of the appearfirst

white hair
as

(JAt. 9).

His barber
it
:

is

ordered
it is

show

it

to

him

soon
VI,

as he perceives
6,

and

for

that reason that,

on

pi.

he interrupts the combing of


still

his master's long hair.

King Makhad^va, although he

has 84.000 years to

live,

abdicates at once in favour of his

56

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

son

apparently

the third person in the scene

and

retires to lead in his


life.

own

park of mango-trees the ascetic

XXIV. Another time he does not wait so long to abandon his throne, and he is still in full youth when he yields place to his youngest brother (Jdt. i8i Mahdvastu, II, 73). The jealousy and suspicions of the latter soon force him to go
;

into exile, and, thanks to his talent as an archer, he earns


his living in the service of a neighbouring king.
relief

The

bas-

represents this Asadisa at the


skilfully shot,

moment when, by

means of an arrow
a

he gathers for his master

mango from the very top of a high tree (Cunningham, XXVII, 13). The continuation ofthe story makes him again
protect his

ungrateful brother against the seven hostile

princes

who were

besieging him, and finally he enters

or
he
of

rather, according to the Indian expression,

he

departs

into religion.

XXV. Once
gives evidence
this world,

even

it is

from his

earliest infancy that

of his resolution to

know nothing

and he feigns to be dumb, deaf and para538). In


;

lyzed (/flL
to prove

vain are

many experiments

tried

him

neither privations nor dehcacies, nor toys,


lights,

nor noises, nor

nor

fear,

nor suffering, nor (when

he is nearly sixteen years old) voluptuous temptations can

draw from him


so
stiff in

a gesture, a cry, or

sensibility or intelligence.

That

is

any sign whatever of why you see him lying

the lap of his father, the king of Benares (pi. V, 6).

The

latter

ends by becoming weary of such a son, and

orders his chariot-driver to take

him out of the town and

bury him, dead or

alive. Thus, at the bottom, we see Prince Semiya standing near an empty quadriga, whilst on the

right the driver is

hollowing out a grave. However, the prince suddenly decides to move and speak
a hoe,

busy with

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
but

57

when

his father, informed


it is

his suite, full of joy,

up with only to find him already transdriver, runs

by the

formed by the providential intervention of the king of the gods into an ascetic, and sitting in the shadow of the trees
of his hermitage: and this forms the subject of the third

and

last episode,

on the

right top border of the medallion.

The

texts specify elsewhere that in this last existence the

Bodhisattva had realised the perfection of determination in the hfe of Vidhura (XXII) that of wisdom , in that of

Mahajanaka (XIX) of

heroism

in that of the ascetic


,

with the lotus stems (XV) of

detachment

in that

of the king of the monkeys (X) of truth

, in that

of the

stag (VIII) and the elephant with six tusks (VI) of generosity
;

and we know from

a detached
in

fragment that

at

Barhut also was seen the birth


his children

which, under the name


gift

of Prmce Vi^vantara, he attained by the

of his goods,

acme of charity . Thus we recognize on our bas-reliefs some of the most


and even
his wife, the

celebrated jdtakas;

and

of

the

ten

cardinal

virtues
are

only

patience , benevolence

and equanimity

not represented by name. Further,


that the researches of

we must

not forget

Cunningham have
:

collected scarcely

more than a third of the railing the rest had been carried away and destroyed by neighbouring villagers, and this vandaUsm justifies the precaution, taken by the English archaeologist, of transporting all that
at Calcutta. Inversely,
it is

had survived to the

Museum

only right that I should warn you

that

we are far from having identified all the bas-rehefs which

have been exhumed.


as long, of those

We might draw up another list, almost


still

which

await (the greater number, but

not

all,

for

want of an

inscription) a satisfactory explana-

tion.

Some

motifs are evidently taken from jdtakas not to be

58

jAtakas at barhut
:

read in the Pali collection

and

this is a salutary

warning
be, is far

to us that the latter, considerable

though

it

may

from being complete. Besides, we might have drawn attention in passing to a

number of discordances
this collection

in detail, as

regards the treatment of subjects certainly identified, be-

tween the prose part of

and the

bas-reliefs,

whilst we have remarked the almost literal harmony between


a lapidary inscription
refrains

and the text of one of the versified


the popular
title

known under

of gdthd

(').

But

these are remarks which are of interest chiefly to specialists,


I

would mention only one

point, namely, that they autho-

rize

us to believe that the sculptors of Barhut worked not


those of Boroas
it

in accordance with a given text, as did

Budur, but according to a living tradition,


their

echoed in

memory

or was transmitted

among them.
:

I will

add that they worked also according to nature

you have been enabled


their

to judge for yourselves of their ho-

nest care for true detail. Each photographic reproduction of

works has shown you,

as

through a window opening

upon the past, the costumes, weapons, tools, furniture and vehicles employed in India two thousand years ago and thus in one hour they have given you through your eyes more concrete ideas about that civilization than you would have been able to acquire in a year's reading. But the greatest service that they have rendered us for from it flow all was when they carried their foresight to the the others
;

point of engraving by the side of the majority of their compositions the


to represent.
titles

of the subjects which they had intended


gratitude ought

What

them

for that just distrust


artists! It

of

we not their own

to feel towards
talent, so rare

among

has given us the key to ancient Indian

(i) See below

some remarks on

the Saddatiia-jdtaka (Essay VII).

JATAKAS AT BARHUT
art.

59

So much modesty,
far

sincerity

and conviction, do they

not go
skill? I

towards making up for the lack of technical


sure
:

am

you
if

will not be severe towards

this respect
lities,

and

these fables, these fabliaux


less

them in and moraears,

have interested your eyes no

than your

you

will thank not only the narrators of them, but also

the worthy old image-makers of India.

PLATES

V-VI

The Barhut sculptures here reproduced are borrowed, with the permission ofthe Secretary of State for India, from the beautiful publi
cation of General A.

Cunningham, The StUpa

of Bharhut

(London,

1879).
PI.

V.

(C, 2 (C,
I

pi.

XXVI,
XXVII,

s) 9)
:

described
:

pi. pi.

(C,

XXV,

i)

4
5

(C, (C, (C.

pi.
pi. pi.

XXXIII, 4)

XXV, XXV,

3)

4):

PL

VI.

>,

(C, pi. XLVI, 8) 2(C.,pl.XLV, 5): pi. XLVI, 2) 3 (C,


:

,,

4(C.,pl. XLVIII,7): 5(C.,pl. XLIV, 2):


6(C.,pI. XLVIII, 2):

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

PL. V

IN

MEDALLIONS

JATAKAS AT BARHUT

PL. VI

?-.'r:S|nwilET5Wrw(^riDr' CTrar-.'ri^' f*r>

ON THE RAIL COPING

The Eastern Gate of

the Sanchi Stupa

<*>

The

visitor to

the Indian

Musee Guimet
BerHn, cannot
exhibited a
there
is

in Paris, or the
fail

to notice

Museum in London, the Museum fur Volkerkunde in among the objects therein

monumental

gate covered with bas-reliefs; but

every chance in the world that he will confine


a quick, heedless glance

himself to casting
passing.

towards

it

in

reproduction of a remote Indian original, this

moulding

naturally cannot have any claim to speak to our


to

European eyes or
before

awaken

in

our minds the rememlet

brance of any traditional legend. But then


it

us bring

any native of India; he


is

will

remain

as puzzled

and,

if

he

candid, as silent as we.

Do

not, however,

hastily

conclude from this that these

sculptures have

never had any meaning for anyone, because to-day their


compatriots themselves no longer understand anything

about them. Only imagine a similar experiment to be


tried

with us, and that

we were

set

down,

for example,

before one of the porches of the cathedral of Chartres

how many would


before

be able to read without preparation

in the magnificent illustrated Bible so suddenly

opened

them

You know

that in the eighteenth century


:

no

one would have been found capable of this and in the nineteenth
it

required a whole phalanx of patient investigators

to rediscover the lost

meaning of

the scenes

and figures
vaults,

painted

on the windows, or carved under the


Musde Guimet,
1910.
in Bibliolheque

by
du

(i) Lecture at the

de Vulgarisation

Musee Guimet, vol.

XXXIV,

62

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

our image-makers of the Middle Ages. The conditions are


exactly the

same

for this.

Gate of Sanchi; with time the

subject of its bas-reliefs has ended by becoming, even for

the descendants of those


veritable
its

who
you

once built or carved

it,

enigma.

invite

to join

me

in investigating

meaning.
I

will

add

that,

disagreable or not, this research

is

kind of obligation, which


shirk.
It

we may no
missed

longer with decency


building,

was

in

fact

the original

and not
to
Paris.

the

reproduction, that just

coming
was

In

1867-8 the

Begum

of

Bhopal

instigated

to

oFer to the

Emperor of

the French
is

one of the four great


to say, a portion of

gates of the stupa of Sanchi, that

the

most

beautiful,

and even of the unique architectural

whole

that

we

have retained from Ancient India.

The
are as

Begum,
all

indifferent, desired

nothing better; but the English

resident intervened, and this act of vandalism

we

the

more ready

after this lapse


fell

of time to designate

it

such, since the project

through

was

fortunately

notperpetrated('). However, the Anglo-Indian

government

understood that there were there archaeological remains


capable of arousing the interest of artists and scholars.
1

From

869

it

caused to be executed

at great cost several

mouldings

of the eastern gate, one of the only two which had remained standing; and with great Kberality
it

divided

them

between London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Berlin,

Paris, etc.

The one which


vicissitudes,
ter
till

fell

to our share
it

had already

at last

found an asylum
the

known some
if

not a shel-

in the courtyard of

other hand, this

Mus^e Guimet. On the costly and somewhat embarrassing present


rinde
des Rajahs, pp.
is

(i) See RoDSSELET,

Buddhiit Tope at Sanchi, introd. (Tope


Sanskrit siupd)

522-25 and cf. H. Cole, Great the Anglo-Indian equivalent of the

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


has not yet been
study.
It is

63

France the object of any special this too prolonged neglect that we are about
in

made

to endeavour to repair.

The Great Sdnchi Stiipa. The numerous ruins which are scattered over the environs of the village of Sanchi-Kana-

keda (in Sanskrit Kakanada), near to Bhilsa, are situated


right in the heart of Central India,
cial

on the ancient commer-

highway between Pataliputra (lla/aioepa, Patna), the capital of the Maurya emperors, and Bharukaccha (Bapjvavz, Bharotch or Broach) by way of Ujjayini ( 'OCVij Ujjain).
Sanchi has

now become
But
it

a station of the Indian Midland

Railway, and the expresses stop there by request to set


a

down

few

tourists.

is

doubtless to the abandonment

of the ancient route and to the subsequent thinning of the

population that the ancient Buddhist sanctuaries with which


the rocky
hill is

crowned have owed

their exceptional escape as well as the

from the fanaticism of the Musalman invaders


cupidity of the

modern Hindus. Whilstat 300 kilometres

to

the North-East the contemporary and quite analogous stupa

of Barhut, with which

we

shall so often

have to compare

it,

had been three parts destroyed by the


neighbourhood,
principal

villagers of the

who made a business of exploiting it, the monument at Sanchi was still in an excellent state
when
it

of preservation

was

visited for the first time, in

1818, by General Taylor and described in 181 9 by Captain


Fell. In
later

compensation,

it

had much to
inflicted

suffer three years

from the brutal excavations


art

upon

it,

without

mercy for

and without

profit to science,

by some English

64

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


Q).

amateurs

From 1881

to

1883

the

Archaeological

Department exerted
breach,

itself to repair as

well as possible this

grievous devastation.

They closed up the enormous, gaping which had been made in one third of the central
it

dome, under pretext of ascertaining whether it weresolidor


hollow; they reerected (placing,
lintels so as to face
is

true, several of the

backwards and overlooking in the debris


the jambs) the southern and western

some fragments of
gates, the second of

which had

fallen

only under the weight


it; finally,

of the rubbish thoughtlessly thrown upon


a zeal almost excessive, they cleared the

with

whole

site,

without

sparing a single tree. Fig.

in pi. VII, a kind of horseback


,

view taken from the east in the rising sun will explain to you
better than long descriptions the state

and general aspect


essentially of a
a

of the building

Q.
it

Like every old stupa,

is

composed
raised

massive hemispherical dome,


likewise circular,

upon

pediment
of steps.

which was reached by a

flight

The whole was made


facing,

of bricks covered with a stone

which
still

in its turn

was overlaid with

a thick layer

of mortar,

existing in places.

The

terrace, in this case

4^,25 high and 1^,70 wide, served evidently as a promenade for the perambulations of the faithful.
a kind of giant
reliquary,

The dome

though

in the particular case

the deposit of rehcs has never been discovered


1

measures
The only
is

2, 80 in height, with a diameter of


this

3 2"^,

30.

element to-day lacking to


architectural motif

developed tumulus
as a

the

which served

crown but
:

in

thought

these points, see the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1834, p. 489, and IV, 1835, p. 712.
(i)
all

On
I

III,

(2)

owe

to the kindness of

the communication of this photograph and the following ones Mr. J. H. Marshall, the distinguished Director General

of Archeology in India.

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


it is

65

easy to complete the whole by the aid of the bas-reliefs (see pi. VII. 2). They frequently reproduce the characteristic

silhouette

of

this
it,

pinnacle,

with

the

honorific

parasol surmounting

which must have

raised the total

height to about 25 metres.

According
sanctuary
ted
It

to

the

invariable

custom
railing,

in

India this

is

surrounded by a stone

which protecmassive
fence. In

from profanation, and which,


is

in spite of its

weight,

evidently an imitation of a

wooden

form

slightly oblong,

43'", 60,

it measures across from east to west and from north to south i" 10 more, in order

to leave

for the flight of steps. In the uprights, high, were fixed with mortises and tenons three 3, 10

room

cross-bars

and one coping, the

latter

o, 68 high. Atthefour
in such a
as

cardinal points an opening

was arranged
to the eye,

way that
it

the breach

was not apparent


to add

masked

was

in

each case by a double elbow in the enclosure.


it

When

was thought
it

fronting doors to these slanting


to attach the right

entrances,

was necessary

jamb of each
:

of these
in this

latter to the raifing

by

a joint at right angles

way were formed

four rectangular vestibules, shut


faces corres-

in at the sides,

and with the front and back

ponding

alternately as regards rail

and opening. unvarying dimen-

These four

gates, or toranas, of almost

sions and arrangements, are likewise the


rather than of

work of carpenters

masons; and

it is

even surprising that they

should have had the boldness to execute them in stone.

They

rest

on two square

pillars,

o,68 broad, 4 metres in

height, with an interval of 2'^",i5.

These two jambs


i"S2 5
in height

are

surmounted by two
and
in

great capitals,

and

decorated in one case with dwarfs, in another with lions,

two with elephants. These latter in their turn support no less than three lintels slightly curved, projecting

66

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


sides, these lateral projections

on the two

becoming smaller
impresentire

and smaller, doubtless


sion of height in the

in order to accentuate the

whole

(cf. pi. VIII,

i).

The

construction attains a height of about lo metres, without

reckoning the mystic symbols


of a
fairly successful

at

the summit. Caryatides

outline connect the outer side of the


architrave;
riders,

capitals

with the
horses

first

other figures of men,


elephants

women,

with their

with their

drivers formerly

adorned the spaces of the blocks which


It

separate the lintels.

should be remarked

at

once that

these statues

are

almost the only pieces

of sculpture

finished in full relief that ancient India has bequeathed to

us;

most frequently the images even of divinities, such

as

those which here decorate the bases of the uprights, were

not entirely detached from the stone whence the


chisel

artists'

had

elicited
all

them. Then again,

lintels,

coins and

jambs have

their visible faces covered with bas-reliefs.


is

The
sent.

question

to discover

what these sculptures

repre-

II

Means of Identification.
to be susceptible of the

At

first

sight the

problem seems

most simple

solution. In fact

one

sees almost everywhere graffiti, deeply incised in the ancient

Indian alphabet, which, like ours, reads from


it

left

to right;

seems then that we have only


.

to

come

close

and decipher

them But,

in proportion as

of finding the kind of diminishes. All that


inscriptions

we advance in this task, our hope information which we are seeking


in
circa 375 the gates (') is

we

can learn from each of the

cut

in

the railing and

(i) These inscriptions have last

graphia Indica, vol

II,

pp. 87 sqq.

been studied by G. Buhler in 366 sqq.

Epi'-

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


that a certain individual or a certain guild

67

made

a gift of

such and such an upright or cross-bar, in short, of the piece on which, precisely in order that no one might be ignorant of the fact, they have taken care to have their names inscribed.

As

a type

we may
:

take the
left

one displayed

right in the
;

middle of the facade of the tells us simply

jamb of the eastern gate

it

Korarasa Ndgapiyasa Jcchdvadesethisa ddnam thabo


pillar (is
(c

(This)

the)

gift

of the banker of Acchavada, Nagapiya,

a native of Kurara .

Certainly these indications are far from being entirely

devoid of interest. First of

all,

they

tell

us that,

if

not the

monument

itself, at least its

enclosure was built by public

subscription,

whh

special approprintion of the contribu-

modern religious foundations. Moreover these votive and somewhat ostentatious epigraphs enlighten us indirectly on many points for example, as
tions, as in certain

regards the social condition of the individual subscribers,

who

nearly

all

belong to
class

the middle

class,

merchants
laity

and bankers, the

from which the Buddhist

were

most freely recruited; or


artistic

again, concerning the details of the

execution, as

when one

of the jambs of the southern

gate

is

given us as an offering in kind, the chef-d'oeuvre,

same time the ex-voto, of the carvers in ivory of the neighbouring town of Vidi^a; or lastly, concerning
and
at the

the date of the sculptures, which the incidental mention

on
to

this

same

gate of the reigning king Satakani allows us

connect with the

second,

or

first,

century before

the Christian era. But, as regards the subject of the scenes


represented, the inscriptions and their engravers are aggra-

vatingly silent. Evidently the sculptors of Sanchi, as a

means ofensuring at all periods the comprehension of their work, counted on their artistic talent as illustrators; wherein

68

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

they showed themselves


dest than their confreres
trade of Barhut, and

much

less far-seeing

and

less

mo-

who had just decorated who had| not considered


titles

the balusit

futile to

engrave on the stone the


It is as

of their bas-reliefs.

well to state at once that an analogy with a later


a characteristic detail

and well-known motif,


the

awakening
of objects

remembrance of

a text, a determinate
all

number

forming a traditional group,


besides would,

these helps and others

no doubt, in the end have opened a way to the interpretation of some of the Sanchi panels but it is doubtful if these isolated discoveries would ever have gone
;

beyond the
matter

stage of ingenious hypotheses, or have deserved

to be looked
this
tific

upon

as

anything but jeux

d'esprit.

If in

we
It
is

are able to arrive at certainties of a scien-

character,

we owe

it

to the

worthy image-makers

of Barhut.
indications

they who, thanks to the perfectly explicit

which they themselves have transmitted to


art ('). In the case

us on the subject of their compositions, have furnished

us

with a key to ancient Buddhist

of Sanchi, where

we have

to explain a

monument

closely
it

connected in

spirit, as

in space

and time, with Barhut,

may
thy

easily be conceived that these precious

and trustwor-

necessarily be our first and constant forming a fund of interpretation acquired resource. While

data

will

in

advance, they will at the same time

furnish a firm

starting point for fresh research; for

we may
it

expect that

one
will

identification will lead to another,

and that the panels


only by reason
despair of
to
life

mutually explain each other, were

of their proximity.

On

the whole,

we must not

seeing the majority of these pictures in stone

come

by degrees under an

attentive gaze; and, thanks to their

(i) See above, Essay

II,

p. 29.

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

69

expressive mimicry, they will end by making, us understand the message which it was their mission to transmit to posterity

Ill

Decorations, images and symbols.

If

we approach
it

in a prac-

tical

manner

the task thus defined,

will immediately

appear to us that

we

could not have entirely dispensed


of Barhut,

with the information, or the confirmations, furnished by


the

written

evidence

except

so

far

as

concerns the purely decorative bas-reliefs. It is a matter of course that the natural intelligence is always and every-

where

sufficient to

understand the sense and appreciate the


for the pleasure

aesthetic value of motifs designed solely

of the eyes. Nothing

is

more simple than


categories,

to classify these
as they

ornaments into
are

different

according
or

borrowed

from

the

fauna,

flora,

the architec-

ture, either local or foreign.

Our

archaeological

knowledge
of them,

will not need to be very extensive in order to enable us

to recognize the Iranian origin of a certain


lions or

number

winged

griffins, bell-shaped capitals

surmounted

by two animals
the contrary, a

set

back to back, honey-suckle palmettes,


etc.

merlons, serrated ornamentation,

We

shall find,

on

smack of

the Indian soil in the balustrade

ornaments, in the horse-shoe arches, in the garlands of


lotuses, or even in the elephants so ingeniously sketched

according to nature. But neither these identifications, which


are within the reach of children, nor those

more learned

distinctions tell

us

anything

whatever concerning the


the idols to which after

scenes any
all

more than concerning


first

these decorations only serve as a framework.

From

the

moment

that

we

find ourselves in the

presence of our fellow-creatures the problem of iden-

70
tification

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

becomes

infinitely

more complicated. Even

as re-

gards isolated persons

we cannot

content ourselves, as in the

case of animals, with a simple designation of species.

We

must
in

at least discern their real nature,

whether human or

divine; next, try to determine their social rank

on

earth or

heaven

then

finally, if possible, assign a

proper

name
very

to each.
little

It is

a great deal to ask. Certainly in

we have

difficulty

recognizing in
a

frequent

feminine

figure,

seated

on

lotus

and copiously doused by two

elephants, the prototype of the

modern representations of
(').

Qn, the Hindu Goddess of Fortune

On the other hand,


to say concerning

we

should scarce] v have

known what

the beautiful ladies


lintel, if it

were not

who connect the jamb with the first that we find them again on the Barhut
retained, here as there, in addition to their

pillars.

They have

their opulent

charms and somewhat scanty costume,


is

eminently plastic pose, and they continue, as

written,
to lean,
their

to

bend

their

willow-forms Hke
full

bow

and

holding a mango- bough in

flower, displaying
II,

bosoms

like

golden

jars

QBuddhacarita,

52 and IV,

35, trans.

Cowell). But

there,
little

in addition to
label

what we
an

have here, they bear also a

which teaches us to

see in them, instead of simple bayaderes, divinities, of


inferior order,
it

is

true,

belonging to those

whom we
persons
prove that

should

call fairies .

At the same time,


4
(?.

in the lay

(i) See below, Catalogue,

This resemblance does not

at all

we have

already to do with the goddess ^ri.

The frequency of

this figure at

Sanchi, where it recurs as many as 9 times (see above, p. 18, n. i), the manner of its juxtaposition to the Bodhi-tree, the Wheel of the Law, and the Stupa of the Parinirvdna suggest, on the contrary, that we are dealing with a symbolical representation of the Nativity, when the two Ndgas (here elephants; see below, p. 109), simultaneously bathed the mother and
the unseen child. Accordingly, this scene should have been cited and dis-

cussed above, p. 20, had

we

not preferred to neglect for the

moment

hypothesis

still

awaiting verification.

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

71

who, upright
part the
ries

at

the foot of the jambs, reveal to us fortheir


India in the centu-

mascuhne fashions of Central

immediately preceding our era

(pi. VIII, 2),

we learn to

recognize demi-godsand genii, guardians of the four entrances to the sanctuary, as also of the four cardinal points (*).

Elsewhere, as

we

have said, numerical considerations

may sometimes
facade
is

point out the

way of

interpretation. Let
Its

us take the right (or north) jamb of the eastern gate.


divided into panels, in each of which a god,
is
if

we

may

judge by his attributes,

seen seated, like an Indian

king, in the midst of his court. Each of these compositions

taken by

itself tells

us absolutely nothing

but,

if

we

set

aside for a while the last terrace,

we

ascertain that there

are six of these compartments... This


flash of hght;

number alone

is

and Prof. A. Griinwedel needed nothing

further to lead
that here

him

to conjecture with infinite probability

we

see,

arranged one above another

on

this pillar,

the

first six

stories

dhism, the only ones,


with

of the 27-storied paradise

of

Bud-

moreover, which belong to the

domain of sensual
our senses.
also,
It is

pleasures and consequently to that of


difficulty that

we

are able to discern

on the balcony of the highest terrace, half-length figures of the Gods in the heaven of Brahma, who belong
to already another sphere
;

one step higher, the superior

divinities, like Dante's souls in paradise

who

have become
plastic

pure lights, escape by definition the scope of the


arts.

The
it is

identification

justifies

itself,

then, admirably,

and

confirmed even by the uniformity and banahty of


:

the scenes

for

we know

very well

that, if the
is,

torments

of hell are usually very varied, there

according to the

(i) See below, Catalogue,


pi.

fc

and 9

fl,

and

ct.

Cdnn(Ngham, Barhut.

XXI-XXIII.

72

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

more monotonous than the happiness of the heavens. However, the hypothesis becomes quite convincing only after a comrepresentations which have been attempted, nothing

parison with inscribed pictures of the paradise of the Thirtythree

Gods

at

Barhut

(').
is

One

other example

from

this point ot

view

still

more
gate
trees,

characteristic.
(pi. VII,

On

the posterior frontal of this

same

2)

is

figured a

row of vacant thrones under


them

between human and divine worshippers. They were counted.

There

are seven of

and thereupon an expert

student of Buddhism, the Rev. S. Beal, had not been long in


rediscovering in the legend of the Master seven miraculous
trees
:

unfortunately

it

would be easy

to

enumerate

still

more of them. The analogy of certain series in Gandhara or at Ajanta would to-day furnish a much more satisfactory explanation by suggesting that it was a symbolical manner of representing the seven traditional Buddhas of our aeon, the last being ^akya-Muni. But you perceive that this conjecture would remain suspended
literally in

the
it

air...

Well, the inscribed bas-reliefs of

Barhut have made


succession
species,
all

a certainty. In fact, they

show

us in

these

same

trees,

of easily recognizable

above these same seats of stone, between these


;

same worshippers on
a label the
;

but in this case each of them bears as


of the

name

Buddha whose memory


to

it

evokes

and thus we can no longer doubt that the intention

of the old image-makers

was indeed

represent

the

seven Enhghtened Ones of the past by the seven trees under

which they

sat in

order to attain to enlightenment


Cunningham, Barhut,
pi.

(^).

(i) See below, Catalogue, 6, and

cf.

pi.

XVI,
i.

i,

and XVII,

i,

and Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship,

XXX,

(2) See below, Catalogue,

10

XXXand Fergusson,

ibid., pi.

b, and cf. Cunningham, ibid., pi. XXIXIX and Xa (medial lintel of the north gate).

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

73

You

perceive already, and

we may resume

in a single

sentence, the immediate consequences of this important

observation.

Following always the same

trail,

we

shall

learn to recognize after the

symbolism of the tree, which betokens Buddha's attainment of Sambodhi, that of the
wheel, which signifies his preaching, and finally that of the
stnpa or tumulus,

which

is

the

emblem

of his Parinirvdm.

comparison with the


in

stelae

on which the old school of

Amaravati

Southern India was pleased to group the


these points ('). At the

representations of the four great miracles will finally


settle

our ideas on

all

same time

we shall
liarized

not only have identified roughly a good half of the


;

Sanchi bas-reliefs

we

shall

moreover be

sufficiently fami-

with the secrets of the studio to be able to approach

with some chance of success the interpretation of the


remainder of the works.

IV

The Legendary

Scenes.

are,

Kindly bethink yourselves that

in fact the Acquisition of

Omniscience, the

First

Sermon

and the Final Decease


tion,

with the Nativity or the Vocaof the

the four
it

chief episodes

Buddhist legend.
all

Now

is

scarcely necessary to say that


to

the scenes at

Sanchi

are dedicated solely

the illustration

of this

legend. In their chronological order they will be divided


naturally into three
ject is
life,

categories, according
lives,

as

their

sublast

borrowed from the previous

from the

or from times subsequent to the definitive death of

the Blessed One.

(i) See above, pi.

II.

74

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

To

begin with the past rebirths,

it is

sufficiently well

known
and

that these jdtakas, as the Indians call them, are the


:

favourite subjects of the ancient sculptors of Barhut (')


this

time also

we
in

could not

put

ourselves to

better school to learn to read these riddles in stone.

For we
only,

must constantly bear


what our

mind

that

all

these bas-reliefs are


:

illustrators call a stories

without words

insteadof depicting the successive episodes in a series of distinct pictures, the

oldlndian masters, like those of our Middle

Ages, did not shrink from placing the incidents in juxtaposition or repeating the characters within one and the

same
it

panel.
a

Once we

are

aware
explain

of
their

this

procedure,

is

mere pastime

to

works and to

follow the edifiying thread of the story through the apparent disorder of the actors and under the accumulation of

genre details wherewith they like to crowd the subject.


Let us add that the pastime
as, in spite
is all

the

more
skill,

attractive

of certain failings in technical


gifts

we

cannot

but admire the natural

of our sculptors

(").

In the scenes of the last hfe of the Master


course, find

we

shall,

of

employed the same method of composition. But


it

there will be added to

another convention, a most unex-

pected one, and one capable of completely baffling our


researches,

were

it

not that

we have

already been

made
it is

aware of

it;

or rather, to

employ

a better expression,

(i) See above, Essay (2)

II.

We have not
it

noticed on the eastern gate any specimen oijdtaka

but,

in order that

may
let

tory of Sinchi,

not be thought that they were excluded from the reperus point out those of the elephant Saddanta on the poslintel

terior face of the

middle

of the southern gate (Fergdsson, pi.

VIII),

of the rishi Eka?:ringa, recognizable at

once by his one frontal horn, and of prince Vi^vantara on the lower lintel of the northern gate (Fergusson, pi. Xl-Xa and XXIV, 5), of the Mahakapi and vyama on the southern
pi.

jamb of the western gate (Fergusson,

XVIII-XIX and XXXIV).

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


not that some element comes into increase the
plication of the scene;
it

75

pictorial com-

is,

on the contrary, something


is

which

is

wanting in

it,

and that something


all

nothing

less

than the j&gure of the principal hero. In


tions of the biography of
that

these illustra-

Buddha we

shall find everything

the author desires, except

Buddha

himself.

It

is

already a
reliefs

good number of years

since the inscribed bas-

of Barhut, by informing us that a certain worshipper,

on by

his knees before a vacant throne merely


a parasol or

surmounted

marked by

symbol,

is

in the act of ador-

ing the Blessed

One

have placed beyond doubt this

invariable and surprising abstenance.

The Sanchi sculptures, which on the whole are better preserved, tell us more on this point than do the ruins of Barhut, From these latter we already knew that the ancient school of Central India had not at its disposal a type of the perfect Buddha the facade
:

of the middle hntel of our eastern gate, which represents the


Great

Departure of the Bodhisattva


its

(pi.

X,

i),

proves

to us, in

turn, that

it

refrained

no

less rigorously

from
it

figuring the Predestined even before the Sambudhi,

when

would have been so simple and


the usual features of Vigvantara or

so easy to lend

some

other

him crown

prince .

We

have here a

new

fact

and one of prime im-

portance in the limitedsphere of Buddhist archaeology.


the
list

To

of conventional representations of the Buddha by

a throne of stone, the imprint of

two

feet,

awheel or some
less

other emblem,

we must now
(').

add the no

strange

representation of the Bodhisattva by a horse without a rider

under an honorific parasol


(i) See below, Catalogue,
pi.
3,

a;

cf.

likewise,

Cunningham, Barhut,

XX, I, and Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship, Amaravati, pi. XCVI, in our first etc. These are precisely the facts of which we have sought

essay to explain the origin and significance.

76
It is,

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


however, episodes borrowed from the second part
existence of the Master that form|the bulk of

of the

last

the legendary scenes of Sanchi.

The

native artists did not,

in fact, resign themselves to reproducing solely

and always

the

same

great miracles, symbolized


:

by the

tree, the

wheel
illus-

or the stupa

they have

fulfilled their

undertaking to

trate in detail the career of Buddha


if this

without figuring him- As

were not enough, they imposed upon themselves a further one, which has not up to now been we mean the law to which they sufficiently emphasized
prime
difficulty
;

submitted of not bringing on to the scene any


disciples but

laymen or any among the


conversion.

among the monks but heredeliberately pro-

tics prior to their

Thus they

posed to make us spectators of the Master's work, which


consists essentially in the foundation of a monastic order,

not only without our seeing the founder, but even without

our catching a glimpse of a single Buddhist monk.

When we

observe the ingenuity which they have displayed in the

accomplishment of
not too

this

unpromising programme, we cannarrow limits within which they

much

regret the

have restricted themselves.


of this one, does not Umit

The

eastern gate, to speak only

itself to

showing us

typical speci-

mens of this art,


els

at

once so natural and so distorted. The panin which, as

of the southern jamb supply us in addition with a charac-

teristic

example of the manner

we have

indica-

ted,

they explain by their propinquity each another.

On

the interior face (pi. IX, i) Beal had already recognized,

and verified more or less

satisfactorily in detail, three distinct

phases of the conversion of the thousand Brahmanic anchorites, disciples

of the three brothers Ka^yapa. Prof. Griinwe-

del has included in the

same

series of

wonders the picture of


face.

the inundation,

which occupies the centre of the front


believe
it

Henceforth

we

impossible not to conclude this

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


series, in

77

accordance with a fixed tradition, by recognizing

in the king just below,


visit to the Blessed

who

is

leaving his capital to pay a

One, Bimbisara. the famous sovereign of the neighbouring town ofRaiagriha(Rajgir) and thefahhful
friend of the Master.

There remains now

at

the top of this


:

same

face a representation of the Sambodhi

if

we

reflect

that the site of this miracle,

namely Bodh-Gaya, is likewise very near to Uruvilva (Urel), where all the episodes of the conversion of the Kacyapas take place, we shall be at
last successful in

penetrating the really very simple plan of


his

the artist

whether on

quence of the
intention

own initiative, or in conseexpress command of the banker Nagapiya, his


evidently to group on the same jamb legendistrict

was

dary events localized in the same

of the country of

Magadha ('). However well


served in
its

the Indian school proper

may

have been

ungrateful entreprise by the

monotonous

character of this perpetual course of visits and preaching,

of conversions and offerings, which forms the career of

Buddha,

it is

self-evident that

its

system of composition
subsequent

accommodated

itself infinitely better to subjects

to the Parinirvdna, the only ones in

which the absence of


its

the Master's figure

became

quite plausible. If

regular

development had not been very soon interrupted by the adoption of the Indo-Greek type of Buddha, which came

from the north-west of India,


led

would probably have been by the natural course of things to assign a growing
it

importance to

this

sort

of historical

pictures,

side

by

side with the pictures of piety. Therefore,

we do

not hesi-

thern pillar of the same gate


Qrivasti (Fergusson, pi.

(i) See below, Catalogue, 8 et 9; also the interior face of the norKapilavastu (Cat. 7), is consecrated to

the front face of the eastern pillar of the northern gate to the Jetavana of

Xand

XI), etc.
6

78
tate to

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


recognize
at

once a few attempts of


the bas-reliefs

this

kind at

Sanchi, notably

among

which

are freely dis-

played over the whole width of the

lintels. It is scarcely

necessary to state that these scenes are not less legendary in


fact,

or less edifying in intention, than the others.

We shall

recall, first of all,

on the southern gate that vivid representation of the famous war of the relics, which by an ironical return of the things of this world came near to being precipitated

by the death of the Apostle of Benevolence.


it

We

know
town

that fortunately
at last

was

averted ('): the Seven before

Ku^inagara

obtained from the inhabitants of the

a portion of the ashes of the Blessed

One; and each of


it

these eight co-sharers, keeping his portion or carrying

in
It

triumph to his native land, built a stupa in

its

was these eight original deposits or rather seven of them that towards the middle of the third century B. C. the famous Acoka, piously sacrilegious, violated, with

honour.

the sole aim of distributing their contents


erable Buddhist sanctuaries

among

the innum-

which were then beginning to


to the eighth, that of

be scattered

all

over India.
to have

As

Rama;

grama,

it

seems

been already

lost in the jungle

and a well-known tradition (although not


so ancient) will have
it

known

to be

that in regard thereto the royal

pilgrim was confronted by the courteous, but definite refusal


of the Nagas,

who were

its

guardians.

Now

such, surely,

is

the spectacle offered to us, a century after the event, by the

(i) See Fergusson, pi. VII et


pi.

XXXVIII (and comp. western


was
originally carved
it

gate, iMd..

XVIII

et

XXXVIII,

2)
is

this scene

the lower lintel, and such


of

indeed the position assigned to


;

on the face of by the drawino-

Cole, reproduced by Frrgusson


of the western gate

but in the restoration this lintel a nd the

higher one were replaced back to front.


lintels
:

inverted the order of the

first

It was the same with the three on the other hand Cole had in his drawing and the third.

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

79

central lintel of this very southern gate ('). hundred years are amply sufficient, especially in India, to create a

complete cycle of legends. Reflect, on the other hand, that at a few paces from the future site of the gate A?oka had
already caused his famous edicts to be engraved upon a

column. According to all probability the erection of this column was contemporary with the building of the stupa, which may very well be one of the 84.000 religious foundations ascribed to the devout emperor. Finally,

we have

reasons for thinking that the

latter
:

had remainit

ed a kind of local hero in the

district

at least

is

in

the immediate neighbourhood of Sanchi that the

Mahdhelp

vamsa places the romance of


daughter of

his

youth with the beautiful

a rich citizen of Besnagar. All this

may

us to understand that two other pseudo-historic scenes

on our eastern gate may in the same way be borrowed from his cycle. The one on the reverse side of the lower lintel (pi. VII, 2) must have some connection with the

Ramagrama
the legend

stupa,

if it

is

not simply another version of


just cited.

which we have

As

for the other

on
the

the front of the

same block, we cannot help

believing that

the solemn procession to the Bodhi tree


figured echo,
if it is

(pi.

X, 2)

is

not the direct illustration, of a passage

in the Agokavaddna Q^.

If at

the point at which

we

have
is

now

arrived

we

cast a

general glance over the gate which

the particular object of

(i) F:6rgusson, pi. VII; for the tradition compare Divyavadana, p. 380;

Fa-hian, ch. xxin, and Hiuan-tsang, xi, (2) See below, Catalogue, % 12 a and

3''

Kingdom.
and
cf.

h,

Divyavadana,

p.

397

and sqq.

8o

EASTERN GATE OF SANChI

our studies,
that

we

shall be as surprised as

any one to observe


its

we
is

are beginning to understand

mute language.
inten-

There

now

scarcely apart of

it

whose meaning or

tion escapes us,

from the genii which mount guard at the foot to the Buddhist symbols which decorate the summit.
may,
therefore,

We

consider that
I

we

have accomplished

the bulk of our task, and

shall confine

myself in conclu:

sion to endeavouring to unite your impressions

this will

way of summing up the various kinds of interest which these sculptures may present. at least for those The keenest is to be found, perhaps in the very among us who have a taste for antiquity
be the best

expressive and complete picture that they give us of the

ancient civilization of India. Architecture both urban and


rural, furniture,

tools,

weapons, instruments of music,

standards, chariots, harness for horses and for elephants,

costumes and ornaments for

men and women

etc., all

these

concrete and precise details merely await to be detached by


a draughtsman, in order to serve as authentic illustrations
to a future Dictionary of Indian antiquities.
side with this information,
itself

And

side

by

which

is

purely material, but in


gather concerif

so precious,

how much more may we

ning even the

life

of the courts, towns and hermitages,

we

glance successively at these anchorites, so busy around

their sacrificial fires (cf. further on, page

who

98) these women attend to their domestic occupations (page 95) these
;

kings seated in their palaces or proceeding with great

pomp
to be

through the

streets

of

their capitals, before the curious

eyes of their subjects (pp. 91


said then of the

and 93),

etc.

What is

no

less

important information which these

sculptures furnish concerning the external forms of worship

and even of the

beliefs, the features


fairies, as

worn

in popular imagi-

nation by genii and

also concerning the

manner

EASTERN GATE OF S^.NCHi


in

which the reHgious conscience of the time conceived the written tradition of Buddhism! But these are questions reserved for speciahsts, and,
doubtless,
tic

many

of you are more concerned for the aesthe-

value, than for the documentary interest, of these old


this point

monuments. From
worked
at

of view you cannot have


of the
artists

failed to appreciate the perfect naturalness

who

them, and

do not

hesitate to praise above all

the justness of their observation


ially in their

animals and trees

and the freedom of


You

so remarkable espectheir

execution, in spite of a certain clumsiness and a very par-

donable ignorance oiour perspective.


a delicate

divine also what

problem

is

raised as to the determination of the


art. I

exact place of their

works in the general history of


and of Sanchi
all

do

not think that anyone can reasonably contest the statement


that this school ofBarhut
is

a direct expres-

sion of Indian genius, with

the spontaneousness and

conventionality to be found in either.

And

in

making

this

statement

am

not thinking only of fundamentals, of the

thoroughly indigenous character of the subjects which the


art

proposed to

treat

even as regards

its

specially technical

proceedings, that extremely deeply incised rehef, that constant search tor

swarming

effects,

that

systematic over-

crowding of the whole


sory details,
it is

available space in the panel

by accesgold-

in the hereditary habits of the

wood and
its
if

ivory carvers of ancient India, not forgetting


smiths, that
I

should seek their origin. But,


thus attached by
all its

ancient
native

Buddhist
soil,

art is

roots to

its

should have to be wilfully blind not to see the foreign shoots which have already ingrafted themselves on this wild stock. A quantity of decorative motives have

we

appeared to us so directly borrowed from Persia that their importation can scarcely be explained otherwise than by

82

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHi


is

an immigration of Iranian artisans. But this

not

all

here and there, in bold foreshortenings, in the skilful plac-

ing of three-quarter length


balancing of groups
in a

figures,

in the
detail

harmonious
of the work-

word, in the

ing process, as also in the general arrangement of the composition


subtle

we

detect

growing

traces of an influence

more
poli-

and more
artistic,

difficult to disentangle,

but incomparably-

more
tical

which

in fact

had by the vicissitudes of

history been brought

Hellenistic models.

much nearer, the influence of Moreover, we now know from a reliable


artists

source that this influence had already penetrated as far


as there
;

and the native

of Vidiga could see quite


raised

close to their

town

the

column which had been

on

behalf of a local

rajah in

the reign of the Indo-Greek

king Antialkidas (about 175 B. C.) by the envoy Heliodoros, son of Dion, a native of Taxila (').

But,

if

these bas-rehefs have deserved to hold your attenit is

tion for an instant,

not solely for what they teach us

or inspire us with a desire to


art

know

of the civilization and

of India

it is

also

and especially for the curious comreligious art to

parisons with our

own

which they lend

themselves.

You have
first

surely observed
in every

among them an
to that
at a

employment of symbols,
exhibited by the

way analogous

Christian artists of the

Catacombs

time

when

they also had not at their disposal an universally

accepted image of the Saviour.

The
still

parallelism of the
further
:

two
on,

developments might be pursued

and

later

when

in both cases the type of the


it

Master had been defini-

tely fixed,

would be no

less

easy to find in Buddhist tra-

dition written evidence of the tendency, so well

known

to

(i)

The

quite recent discovery ot this inscribed pillar


J. R.

is

due to Mr.

J.

H. Marshall,

A. S. 1909, p. 1053.

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


US, to authenticcite the resemblance, as if
it

83

were

a question

made from a living model. Another feature which you must also have noticed in passing is the narraof a portrait
tive character of the bas-reliefs,

forthwith

employed

to

relate edifying stories;

and

it

will not have escaped


altar screens

you

either that

we

find again

on the

of the Middle

Ages, and even on certain panels of the

first

Renaissance

for

example on those with which Ghiberti decorated the


at

doors of the Baptistery

Florence

the same procedures


Sanchi.

of juxtaposition ot episodes and repetition of persons which

were already

in use at Bjirhut

and

at

Thus

these old

monuments, in exchange for the trouble which we have taken to become familiar with them, offer us ample material for comparisons of an interest more general and more
closely connected with us than

we

could have expected.

It is

of this that

wished

in conclusion to

remind you

as a

com-

pensation for the perhaps rather too technical subject

which circumstances,
posed upon us.

as told in

our preamble, have im-

SECOND PART

SUMMARY CATALOGUE OF THE SCULPTURES


[We have not deemed
it

necessary to encumber this

the more or less sucshort notice with a detailed account of been made whh a view cessful attempts which have already

of Sanchi. The princito the interpretation of the sculptures after the first essay of pal publication treating of them, Bhilsa Topes (London, 1854), is that of

Cunningham, The

Fergusson,

Tree and Serpent- Worship (2^ ed.,

London, 1873

of

by Beal, Journ. reproducing the identifications proposed V, 1871, pp. 164 and sqq.) the Roy. As. Soc.new series.

84

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


annotated by numerous
scale has

but the photographs, ahhough

drawings, are almost unusable, because their

been too

much

reduced, and the text, ruined by strange


all

theories, has lost nearly

value.

The same remarks apply


Famous Monuments
Preservation of National

to the photographs of Sir Lepel Griffin,


of Central

India,

and of H. Cole,
:

Monuments, India
to the text of F-

Great Buddhist Tope atSdnchi (1885), and

Maisey, Sdnchi and

its

remains

(Lon-

don, 1892). Fortunately the moulding of the eastern gate,


given to the

Museum
in

fiir

Volkerkunde

in Berlin,

attracted in a very special

manner

the attention of Profes-

sor Griinwedel

Chapter

of his celebrated Handhuch

{Euddhistische Kunst inlndien, 2^ ed., Berlin,

1900; revised

and enlarged by Dr.

J.

Burgess, Buddhist Art in India, Lon-

don, 1902, particularly pp. 72-74).

We

are

in

perfect

agreement with the eminent archaeologists of Edinburgh and Berlin


as regards the

method

to be followed

at the

same time, we must warn the reader once


several points
different

for all that

on

we have
theirs.

arrived at conclusions

somewhat
it

from

If this treatise

marks any progress


Sanchi bas-reliefs,

whatever
is

in the interpretation of the

entirely
J.

due to the excellent


at

direct

photographs which

Mr.

H. Marshall has put

our disposal.]

The

sculptures which cover from top to bottom the eas-

tern gate of the stiipa of Sanchi

may

be divided into two

great categories, the decorative elements

and the Buddhist


difficult to trace.

scenes. In reality the line of demarcation between these

two orders of

subjects

is

at

times very

Many
lical

of the so-called ornaments have a traditional symbo-

value, and,

on the other hand,


tend to

a great

number of the

edifying representations
distinction
is

pure
in

decoration.

The
shall

justified,

however,
if

practice.

We

avoid

many

useless repetitions,

we

decide to classify

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


in the first

85

category
all

all

those motifs
is

whose

character,

being before

ornamental,

sufficiently

emphasized by

the fact that they are symmetrically repeated on the

beams

or the uprights of the stone scaffolding which constitutes


the torana
(cf.

above, pp. 65-6).

THE DECORATIVE ELEMENTS

Thus itisthatthe two jambs of the of the north and of the south, or bear on more simply, of the and you

I.

Decoration of the jambs.


gate, that

that

right

left as

enter,

two of
tary.

their faces motifs

which

are evidently

complemen-

a) Their o/er face

is

simply decorated with those pink

lotus flowers {padma or nelumbum speciosuni), which, as

we

know, play
is

a considerable part in Indian

ornamentation

and symbolism.
ers,

To

the right a series of full-blown roses

enclosed within two waved garlands of these same flowgraced with buds and leaves.

To the

left

the principal

subject consists of a similar garland,

whose decoration
and
a tortoise

changes likewise between each

undulation of the chief


(hanisa')

branch

in addition Indian

swans

are intermingled
b) In the

whh

the flowers.
figures placed opposite each other at

two male

the foot of the inner face oi the

two jambs we must, from


spirits

analogy with Barhut, recognize the protecting


the eastern region, that
is,

of

the Gandharvas or celestial


is

musicians, the chief of


p. 71).

whom

Dhritarashtra

(cf.

above,

Nevertheless, they are presented simply under the

appearance of great Indian lords, wearing

turbans and

adorned with heavy jewels, earrings, necklaces and bracelets of precious stones. The ends of their long loin-cloths hang
in close little pleats in front; as for the second part of their

costume, the

scarf,

whose

usual function

is

to drape the

86

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


it

body, they wear

negligently tied
the ends of
it

round
with his

their loins.
left

The one
pi.

holds up

hand,

whilst the other has placed his awkwardly on his hip (see
VIII, 2).

The

latter

holds in his right hand a Bignonia

flower, while the former has a lotus.

Both

are looking in

the direction of the sanctuary, and are leaning against a

background formed of a Bignonia in blossom and a mangotree bearing fruit.

2. Capitals.

The great

capitals

which surmount the

two jambs of the


phants

eastern gate are decorated with

tame

ele-

(pi. VIII, i).

Four of these animals


pillar in

are placed very

ingeniously about each

such a

way that

their heads

form

round embossement
front

to the four edges of the corners.


a rich head-stall

Their harness consists of

(from which
pearls,

hang
in

in

of the ears
a

two pendants of
tasselled

and
kept

behind two bells) and


its

saddle-cloth,
their bodies

place

by cords which pass under


their backs.

and

form knots on
necks

The person

of distinction

was

seated astride in the


:

holding in his

most comfortable place on their hand the special crook (ahku^a^, he


fact,

was

his

own

driver

and, in

we know

that in ancient

India the art

of driving elephants
education.

formed an integral

part of a complete

Right on the elephant's

hind quarters crouches a standard-bearer,


in

who

doubtless,

the case of a rapid

motion, held on to the knot of


the

the

belly-band.

As

for

elephants themselves with

their trunks

and one of their fore-feet slightly bent back,


admirably rendered. Formal leaves and

they

are, as usual,

flowers decorate the upper part of the capitals.


tion

An

inscrip-

on the inner face of that


shall

to the left invokes imprecations

on whosoever
the railing.

remove a single stone of the gate or As regards the two caryatids, see below, 5 fl.

EASTERN GATE OF sAnCHI

3
.

87

Decoration of the

lintels.

The three

lintels likewise

repeat

on both

their faces several

symmetrical forms of

decoration.
rt)

On

kmds

we shall note first three of false capitals, of a character quite Iranian, which,
the

the fagade (pi. VIII, i)

contmuing

two uprights, break through each lintel. two lower ones the decorative designs consist of winged lions, two of which are seated back to back,

On

the

while

its head and two front-paws through the space between them. On the topmost one

a third protrudes

they consist of two great fully harnessed draught oxen, likewise seated back to back, but furthermore ridden by

two men. a) On

the reverse side (pi. VII,


:

2) the corresponding sub-

same order two pairs of goats, with or without horns; two pairs of two-humped camels, likewise seated; two pairs of horned lions, standing and passant. All
jects are in the

these animals serve as steeds for riders of both sexes and of


different types, nativeand foreign.

One

of those

at the

sum-

mit has short

hair, tied

with a

fillet,

and

carries in his left

hand
^)

a piece of a vine-stock.

The

extremities of the lintels are uniformly decora-

ted both
tendril,

on the observe and on the reverse by a kind of long rolled seven times round itself and attached to
:

the whole by an ornament of honeysuckle


total of

this

makes

twelve

snails,

and produces
this

somewhat unfortunate
an attempt to imitate

effect. If it

were claimed that


it

is

the Ionic volute,


is

would have

to be

acknowledged

that

it

inverted and executed in a most rudimentary fashion.


c)

The whole
is,

surface of the lintels unoccupied

by these

decorations

as a general rule, consecrated to legendary

scenes. There

is, it

seems, no exception to be made, except

upon the

facade and only

on the projecting portions of the

88

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


lintels.

lower and middle

two
latter

pairs of peacocks
is

The former
a

are garnished with

triumph of graceful design,

which

to be found also

on the northern gate

and the

by wild elephants.

4. The supports.

We

agree to designate by this term

the four cubical blocks placed in the prolongations of the


uprights and the six uprights set in between the three lintels to separate

them from one another.

a)
right

On

the fagade (pJ. VIII, i) the lower support to the

and the upper one to the left both represent a feminine figure seated, with one leg hanging down, upon a lotus
issuing from a lottery vase (bhadra-ghatd)
:

she holds in
at

her hand this same flower, and on


either side of her
in the attitude of

two other lotuses

two standing elephants douse


dousing
her,

her, or are
at the

with two pitchers held


that this motif
is

ends of their trunks.

We know

preserved

even to our days in the representations of the Indian Fortune


:

but

we have

reasons for believing that this was not


(').

the original denotation

The

subjects of the

two other

corresponding panels belong, in any case, to the category


of Buddhist miracles.
(c

The one on

the

left

represents the

preaching of Buddha

by means of the Wheel of the


a parasol

Law
wor-

placed

on
as is
tree,

a throne

under

among

the usual
the right

shippers,

human and

divine.

The one on

us

shows

proved by the characteristically twisted floweret

of his
lised

the Messiah of Buddhism, Maitreya, symbocampaka or ndga-pushpa {Michelia champaka or

by

this

Mesua Roxhurghii).
a')

On the reverse side of the gate (pi. VII, 2) the lower supfrom
a bha-

ports are decorated only with lotuses issuing

(i) See above, p. 70, n.

i.

EASTERN GATE OF sInCHI


dra-gbata; but the

89

upper ones return to the legendary scenes with two stupas emblematic of the Parinirvdm of the Master, and quite similar to those on the front, of which,
as

we shall see below ( h) One may connect


and merlons
:

lo a), they complete the number.

with these the symbols on the

front of the six uprights,

symbols usually enclosed between


namely, formal Bodhi-trees and
the

a raihng

columns surmounted by
lion simply.
b'}

Wheel of

the

Law

or by

Behind they are

all

covered with the same ornamentais

tion, in

which the lotus

united with the honeysuckle.

SS-The detached figures.


rical

To exhaust the
in full

list

of symmet-

subjects,

nothmg

further remains for us

than

to

enumerate the detached figures page 66, and pi. VIII, i).
a)
p.

relief (cf.

above,

The most

interesting are the fees (^yakshini,

cf.

above,

who, with the curve of the mango-tree from which they hang by the two arms, form so ingeniously deco70),
rative a bracket.

Only

the figure

on the
dhoti;

right

is

preserved.

Like the men, she wears a long


a

only

it is

made of
is

more transparent

material.

Her

hair, curiously erected

in the

form of a brush on the top of the head,

spread
the

over the back (instead of being gathered in a


case, for instance,

plait, as is

with the female dancers of 6

a). In

addition to earrings, necklace and bracelets for the wrists,

she wears ankle-rings, which

come

nearly up to her knees,

and the

characteristic feature of an Indian

woman's

toilet,

the rich belt of jewelry which covers the loins. In confor-

mity with the custom of the ancient school, the sex


indicated.
b)

is

The few smaller figures to be found on this gate which we may complete in our thoughts by analogy

90

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

with the northern gate

comprise also another

fairy in a

different pose, three elephants, in each case

mounted by two

persons, and a miserable vestige of a lion.

As for the symbols at the summit, they were three in number. At the top of each upright two, of which one is
c)
still

in its place, represented the top of a flag-staff. In the

on a pedestal probably formed of four lions, stood flanked by two worshippers bearing fly-flappers finally the ancient solar symbol of the wheel, placed at the
middle

service of the

Good Law.

The Legendary

Scenes.

After this rapid sketch of the decorative elements


enter

we

upon

a necessarily

much more
it is

detailed

examination
it is

of the religious scenes.

For

self-evident that

emin-

ently these that need explanation.

We
faces,

will begin with those

which
jambs.

are figured

on the two which hold


motif

namely the

front and the interior ones,


in the

the place of

honour

We

have already seen

that their exterior faces bear only

one decorative
left

a).

As

regards their rear faces, they

no space on

above the balustrade, except for two


analogous to those which
the

little

bas-reliefs,

we have
:

already noticed

taken all together, ^ 4 a and fl') they represent in the same stereotyped manner, by the
supports
(cf.

pretended adoration of the

tree, the

wheel and the

stupa,

the three great traditional miracles of the Illumination, the Preaching, and the Death of Buddha.
6. Front face of the right jamb.

This facade
:

is

decorated

with four superposed buildings

the lower one has only

one story; the middle ones have two, both covered with a rounded roof, in which are open bays in the shape of a

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

91

horse-shoe; the top one has one story, surmounted by an

uncovered
a

terrace, which is surrounded on three sides by group of buildings. It is difficult in the present state of

the stone to judge of the distribution of the persons on the lower panel; but the five following ones, divided
likewise

into

compartments by columns with or without Persepohtan capitals, are all composed in the same manner. The centre is occupied by a divine personage, as is proved by the thunderbolt which he holds in his right hand and
the vase of ambrosia in his
left. God though he be, he is for the rest conceived in the image of an Indian king. Behind

three

the bearers of his parasol and fly-flapper, insignia of his royalty; on his right, in the same surroundings, but

him stand
on
left

a slightly lower seat,

is

his viceroy (upardjd).

At

his
It is

are seen the musicians

and dancers of his court.


is

well

known

that this concert-ballet

according to Indian
a

ideas the indispensable

accompaniment of

happy mun-

dane

life. Indications of trees form the background. On the upper terrace, as on a balcony, lean two other gods,

hkewise fanned by women.


have enumerated above (p. /[) the reasons which miHtate in favour of the identification of this series of stories

We

with those of the Buddhist paradise. They would there-

fore serve respectively as dwelHng-places,(i)for athe

Four

Great Kings

guardians of the four cardinal points (the


all

necessity of housing

absence of bayaderes in

them would explain the the compartment to the right of the


four of
that their subordinate cha-

lower panel,
racter

at

the

same time

would

justify the line of

demarcation traced by the

(2)

roof of the palace between them and the following ones);


for the Thirty-three
for those ruled

and (3)

Gods over whom Indra reigns, by Yama; (4) for the Satisfied

Gods (Tushitd), among whom the Bodhisattva resided before

92

EASTERN GATE OF SANCh!

his last re-descent

upon

earth; (5) for the

Gods who dispose

of their

own

creations;

(6) and
As

finally, for those

who

even dispose of the creations of others, and whose king

Mara,

God

of Desire and Death, extends his empire over


for the

the five lower heavens.


terrace, they

two persons on the


still

would represent
eyes, those of

the last divinities

visible

to our

human

Brahma's world.

7.

Inner face of the right jamb.

This
to us
.

face,

according to

Fergusson, presents an exceptional interest,

being the

only subject

at

Sanchi that
it is

bute to Buddhism, as

we known

can, with certainty, attri-

To-day

it is

better

known; but

the representation, on the upper extremity of

the middle bas-relief, of the dream ot

Maya
,

wise, the conception of the Bodhisattva


into his mother's

bosom

in the

form of a

little

otherwho descends elephant


,

remains certainly in

this case the pivot of all identification.

We know that
it is

this scene, so strange to

our eyes, in which

pachyderm which plays the

part of the

dove in our

Annunciations
:

, is itself certainly identified

by the Bar-

hut inscription

The Descent

of the Blessed

One

Consequently,

we might

be tempted to see in the upper

bas-rehef a picture of the Bodhisattva in the heaven of


the Tushita gods at the

moment when he

prepares to be

born again in the royal family of Kapilavastu. But the sculptor prevents us from going astray in that direction by
the care which he has taken to represent before and behind

the empty throne obviously the same king and the


tree

same

which we

find again at the

bottom of the lower panel.


he
is

He could not more

clearly indicate that

referring us to

the latter to find the solution of the enigma.

a) If we turn then to that (pi. IX, 2),


all,

we

shall find, first

of

in the centre of the

composition

this

same

king, about

HAST6RN GATE OF SANChI


to set out with great

^5

town of

pomp from one of the gates of his good Kapilavastu. He is in his chariot, accompanied by
As
is

the three usual servants, the driver, holding the reins and

the whip, the parasol and fly-flapper bearers.

cus-

tomary, the horses, whose head-adornment is very high, have their long tails carefully tied up to the harness,
doubtless in order that they

may

not inconvenience the


left

occupants of the chariot. At their

the archers of the


city,

guard stand out along the ramparts of the


front

and

in

march the herald and the seven musicians of the royal orchestra, blowing oblique flutes and shells or beating drums. Behind we perceive, emerging from the streets
of the town, a brilliant suite

mounted on horses and

ele-

Through the balconies of the verandas spectators, mostly women, protrude their heads, curious to see the procession of the feudal cortege of king ^uddhodana and
phants.
his peers, the noble lords of the race of ^akya.

Where
idea
is

are they going?


all

Not

far,

it

seems, into a park


first

near the town, where

have dismounted; and the

that they are going to the

theatre of the

Nativity

famous park of Lumbini, which may be presaged by the

scene (at the top of the panel) of the


there
is

Conception

But

nothing to corroborate

this hypothesis.

The king

and the ^akyas appear indeed all occupied in contemplating with clasped hands some miraculous event: but their eyes are raised into the air, and the object towards which they are
turned
is

a small rectangular slab, stretched exactly


It

above

their heads.

cannot take us long to recognize


in the air ,

in this slab

the a

promenade of precious stone


first

(Skt. ratna-cahkramd)

which Buddha created by magic


sion of his
(i)

on the occa(').

return to his native


III,

town of Kapilavastu

Mahdvastu,

p.

113;

Commentary on
st.

the Dhammapada, ed.

Fausb0ll, p. 334;

Mahdvama, XXX,

81, etc.
7

94

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


is

The legend
between the

known on the occasion of this meeting father, who had remained a king, and the son,
well
:

who had become Buddha,


etiquette

most dehcate question of


salute the

had arisen

which of the two should

other

first?

The

Blessed

One

escaped the difficulty by the

miracle which the sculptor has endeavoured to represent as

well as he could
representation of
b)

with his limited means and without


himself.
still

Buddha

Apparently he was

somewhat

distrustful of the

intelligence of his spectators; for, in order to give


cision,

more preleft

he has been careful to put in the first row at the

nyagrodha tree surrounded by a balustrade. This Ficus indica


(clearly distinguished
it is

from the

agvattha or Ficus religiosa, as

represented, for instance,

on the

face of the left

jamb)

is

evidently intended to symbolise by itself the nyagrodhaat the gates

ardma

of Kapilavastu, which on the same occa-

Quddhodana assigned to his son for a residence. Henceforth the meaning of the upper bas-relief
sion king

becomes, reciprocally, clear enough.

It

represents in the

same
under
tage;

eUiptical
this

manner

the

Buddha

seated

upon

a throne,

same nyagrodha,

in the

before-mentioned hermi-

and the

said king, his father

always to be recogniits

zed by the spindle-shaped object kept in


buckle of

place

by a

renders gems on the top of his turban homage to him for the third time , whilst the ^akyas, whose pride has been broken by the miracle, imitate his example. As always, the tree is adorned with garlands and

surmounted by

a parasol of

honour, whilst in the heavens


griffons,

two

divinities,

mounted on

and two others, half

man and half bird, bring still more


to rain

garlands or cause flowers

down.

But what

now

is

the point of the motif of the

Con-

ception , thus intercalated between

two episodes which

EASTERN GATE OF SANChI


took place more than forty years after ? The answer simple it is there solely to say the action takes place
;
:

95
is

at

Kapilavastu ; and

it

is

just this

which explains why,

in

spite of its traditional importance,

it is

treated in so secon-

dary a manner.

What

else could

our sculptor do, unless


?

he attached a

label, as at

Barhut

He

has taken care to

supplement by the addition of the nyagrodha the somewhat

summary
is

indication of the ratna-cahkrama. For the

rest, that

for the royal procession, he has given free play to his

spirit

of observation and his taste for the picturesque,

trusting in the

means which otherwise he has put


point

at

our

disposal for localizing the event and identifying the prota-

gonists

and,

if on this

we

have, as

we believe, arrived
to the docility

at a definite interpretation,

it is

solely

owing

with which

we

have followed his indications.

For the person standing at the foot of the

jamb and the

one opposite to him we must

refer to

^ above.

8. Inner face of

the left

jamb.

For the general sense


said above

of

the bas-reliefs of this jamb and the link which connects

them we must
a)

refer to

what was

on pages 76-7.

We

will begin this time with the upper panel of the

inner

face.

Apparently

it

represents the rural country

town

of Uruvilva, whose immediate approaches had been a few

months previously
after

the scene of the Sambodhi, and later

Buddha's

first

journey to Benares
left,

of the conversion
are

of the Kagyapas. Above, at the

women
a

doing

their

household work on the thresholds of


ing
rice in a
it

their huts;

one is husk;

wooden mortar with

huge

pestle
;

another

with a fan in the form of a shovel two neighbours are one of them rolling out pastry-cakes and the other

winnows

grinding curry-powder.

The

attention of the latter seems

to be distracted by the (perhaps amorous) conversation of

96

EAStERN GATE OF SANCHl

the

man

seated beside her. Further


pitchers

down

to the right
their hips

two
are

more women with round


Lilanj),

upon

going in the direction of the river Nairanjana (now the

where
are

a third is already

stooping to

fill

her ghati.

coming and going, the bamboo-pole on their shoulders laden or empty. It is the village hfe of two thou-

Some men

sand years ago


is

it is

also the village

life

of to-day, and there

not one of the utensils represented there that


in use.

we

have

not somewhere seen


sheep add
life

Troops of oxen,
the invisible

buffalos, goats,
its

to the picture. In
this, that

what does

edification
is felt

consist? Simply in

Buddha

to be seated under a parasol

and on

a throne,

behind

which two devotees


clasped
ting
ed,

are standing. Before the gate of the

village a third person is likewise to


;

be seen, with his hands

and the

attitude of this villager is the

only connec-

Unk between

the genre scenes, so complacently treatis

and the religious subject, which

decidedly a

little

sacrificed.

As for the two worshippers, we

beUeve, after carein

fully

weighing everything, that we must recognize


in his residence,

them

the gods Indra and Brahma, paying a visit to the Bles-

sed

One

which was near

to,

but distinct

from, that of the

oldest of the Kagyapas, the

Ka^yapa

of Uruvilva. This interpretation not only has the advantage of connecting the subject with the series of ders

wonfor

which

in the

end determined the conversion of the


:

Brahmanical ascetics

it

also provides a place

moreover

the third and fourth of those prdtihdryas, besides containing

an implicit allusion to the second, in the order in which the

Mahdvagga
the night,
ally

(i,

16-18) counts them.

If it is

objected that

these miracles are given in the text as taking place during

we shall reply that our


detail, for
(cf.

sculptors have systematicit

ignored this

the very good reason that

was

not within their competence

below, 11 a).

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


b)

97

However

the case

may

be,

the panel immediately

below represents patently the miracle of the victory over the wicked serpent , the first in the version of the Mahdvagga, the last in that of the Mahdvastu.

Buddha has been allowed by the oldest of the Ka^yapas to pass the night, at
his

own

risk

and

peril, in

a fire-temple, in spite of the


it

redoubtable ndga which inhabits


at

(pi. IX, i).

The

latter

once attacks him, and the two struggle together for a long time, smoke against smoke, flame against flame,
until the final defeat of the dragon.

This

is

why we
.

here

see flames escaping by the horse-shoe bays in the rounded

roof of the temple, as


pillars

if it

were

prey to

fire

Through the
(or rather

supporting the roof, between the

fire altar

vessel of fire) and the five-headed

hood of the serpent you see the throne of the invisible Buddha. On either side Brahmanic anchorites, characterised by their high conical-shaped head-dresses and their bark-garments, are contemplating

with surprise or respect the victory of the Blessed One,


whilst below, to the
to
left,

three

young novices
Gandhara
b,

are hastening
if

go and

fill

pitchers at the Nairaajana. Their intention,


(cf
.

we

are to believe the analogy of


fig.

Art

greco-

bouddhique du Gandhdra,

224, 225

etc.), is

to use

them

in extinguishing the

fire.

On

the right an ascetic

made his report to the old Ka^yapa, seated on a rolled-up mat (brisM) on the threshold of his round hut, with
has just
its

roof of leaves (parmgdW); a band


is

is

passed round his

knees and loins, and his head


cushion. In front
river.
is

leaning upon an esparto

row of
which

trees

along the bank of the

The instruments
two

of the Vedic sacrifice, an elephant,


lift

antelopes,

buffalos,

their

heads with an

air

of alarm, trees swarming with monkeys, complete or close the picture of the hermitage. On the whole, the miracle
is

related as minutely as

was possible

to the sculptor.

The

98

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


is

whole question

to find out whether he has not sought, in

accordance with his habit, to combine two subjects. At the

middle bottom, in the


lines, lotuses
is

river

indicated

as usual

and aquatic birds

an

by waved

adult anchorite,

who

about to bathe, seems to be watching a fire-cauldron,

placed in unstable equilibrium


If

on the edge of the


fires,

water.
by-

we remember

that

one of the wonders accomplished

Buddha
bath,

consisted precisely in creating

in order to

allow the Brahmans to

warm
this

themselves on leaving the

we cannot
I,

help asking ourselves whether

we have not

here

at least

one allusion to

hnher prdtihdrya (cf. Mahd-

vagga,
c) In

20, 15).
case,

any

two, or even three, miracles are grouped


again,
it is

on the next small panel. Here


treated in a picturesque
it is

understood, the

intention of edifying does not prevent the scene

from being

manner

After the

life

of the village

the

life

of the hermitage that

we

have before our eyes.

On

the right

two anchorites

are splhting

wood by means

of

axes which,

if

we may

judge from their massive appearance

and the form of their handles, must be made of stone; two


others are occupied in lighting fires, and a fifth holds in

spoon, whilst two novices are carrying on their shoulders the one a fagot of logs and the
his
a sacrificial

hand

other a double basket of provisions.

Among the trees

at the

back a sacred tumulus, as

is

proved by the balustrade surtouch of local colour

rounding

it,

must enclose the rehcs of some superior of the


last
(').

community, and thus gives the

(i)

We

may

notice that the form of this stiipa

is

the most ancient of


its

which Indian

art

has preserved the image. In

the objects decorating

circumference (along shell, a double basket (?), and a large conch) we should be disposed to see like the oar planted by the companions of Ulysses on

the tumulus of Elpenor


lifetime.

the

implements used by the deceased during hi?

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

99

But for the


at the

initiated all the details of the decoration

have

The texts tell us, in fact, that according to the will of the Blessed One these
signiHcation.

same time an edifying

logs and these fires alternately refused and consented, the former to allow themselves to be split and the latter to
let

themselves burn. That


rites

is

why, on the right, one of the ancho-

continues to hold his axe in the air, without being able to lower it ('); whilst his neighbour has just succeeded

by a lucky stroke
for the

in splitting his piece of


that,

wood.

It

is

also
are

same reason

of the two Brahmans

who

lighting their fires by fanning

them with

esparto screens,

row cannot succeed in obtaining any flame whatever, whilst the one in the first row sees his fire
blaze up brightly. These

the one in the second

the Mahdvagga

(i,

20,

two miracles are related to us by 12-13) in the same breath. But what
left?

then would be the role of the anchorite on the

We
426,

imagine that we must turn to the Mahdvastu


1.

(III, p.

15-18) for the answer. His attitude

suffices

by

itself to

indicate the twofold marvel,

which

is

perfectly analogous

to the preceding ones, of the oflFering

which
at last

at first will

not be detached from the spoon, then


fall

consents to
sacri-

in the shape of a snail doubled

up

into the

ficial pile (pi.

IX,

i)-

9.

Front face of the

left

jamb.

a) Nevertheless, in order to overcome the arrogance of

the old Brahman, there was need of another miracle, whose

decided importance was of sufficient value to cause

it

to be

(i)
1.

We

borrow

this interpretation

from the Mahdvastu,


fact that it

III,

p.

428,

4-8, but -without concealing from ourselves the

may

just as

well have been conceived afterwards in view of a bas-relief analogous to

the one at S^nchi.

100

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

placed

upon the

front of the pillar, as


in the

it

forms the denou20, 15


;

ment of the episode


in the Mahdvastu)
:

Mahdvagga
time there
.

(i.

wanting

At

this

fell

out of season a

heavy

rain,

and

a great flood

followed

You will understand


trees, to the greatest

henceforward

why

the Nairafijana has risen to the point

of washing the lower branches of the


terror of the

monkeys who have taken

refuge there, and also

to the evident satisfaction of the water birds

and even of a

crocodile.

On

the swollen waters of the river old Kacyapa

hastens
ascetics

in a curiously jointed canoe,

attended by

two
at

with paddles, to the assistance ot the Blessed One.


latter

But the
a

has

left

his seat (relegated to the

bottom

the right of the composition), and has formed for himself


cc

promenade
feet

which allows him to walk about with


This time the

dry

in the midst of the wild waters.

anchorite cannot but recognize the transcendent superiority

of his host
the

when we
make

see

him again below, standing on


back towards

bank with

his disciples, he is turning his

us, in order to

in the direction of the master's ccfn^mmfl


oil

the gesture of submission


h)

anjaliQ).

There remains then

to be explained the panel


it

imme-

diately below.
capital
:

Once more

represents a king leaving his

chariot,

music, guards, suite, spectators, everyis

thing, even the architecture,

similar to 7

t.

Only we
right to

notice the

way

in

which the rampart of bricks goes

the top of the panel, in order to separate the city from the

himself must be put aside

appears to us that the ingenious suggestion that he has prostrated : for in that case we could not understand how his disciples could remain standing ; besides, the ilowers placed near him are
(i)
It

scattered almost everywhere in the picture and are found likewise on one of the preceding bas-reliefs ( 8 h). Also, the analogy of 7 is in opposition to the identification of the cankrama ot the Blessed One with the
great washing-stone brought to

him on another

occasion by the god Indra.

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


scene which takes place on
its
:

loi
first

outskirts.

The

thing

is

to

know the name ofthe town but this time it is to the neighbouring scenes that we must address our questions. We have
already seen above (p. 77) that they reply unanimously it is the capital of Magadha. The texts for their part agree in
:

telling us that

immediately

after the

conversion ofthe Ka^ya-

pas and their thousand disciples the Blessed One, at the

head of his
griha,

new community
the gates of the

of saints, repaired to Rajareceived the

and

at

town

solemn

visit

of King Bimbisara Q). In accordance with the usual custom the king advanced in his good chariot as far as the
road would allow a carriage to pass; then he descended and

went on foot towards Buddha. This is what he is doing at the top on the left, followed by one sole companion, whose duty is to represent in his own person the king's innumerable cortege. Before the

empty throne ofthe Blessed One

conventional indications of water and rocks succeed, in


default of a

wood
As

of bamboos, in particularizing the location


hill

ofthe scene on the


of Rajgir

Antagiri near the famous hot springs


it

Q.

for the rest of the story,


:

must

naturally

be supplemented by the help of the texts


people of Magadha wonder at
old Ka^yapa, which
the public
is

the king and the

first

concerning Buddha and

the master and which the disciple;

homage ofthe

old anchorite will soon decide the


all this,
it

question. If

we

see nothing of

is

because the

Sanchi bas-reliefs systematically omit

all

representation

(i) Mahavagga,
etc.

I,

22; Mahdvastu,

III, p.

441-449
140

Dlvydvaddna, p. 393.
the position of

(2) Cf.

CoNNiNGHAM, Arch.

Reports, III. p.

I fixed

the

Bamboo

Forest to the south-west of Rajgir, on the

hill

lying

between
Gate

. It is the hot-springs of Tapoban and old Mjagriha makes Hot Springs (tapoda-dvdra) that the Lalita-Visiara, xvi, of the

precisely

by the

Buddha

for the

first

time enter Rajagriha.

102

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

not only of Buddha, but also of his


p, 75). It is

monks

(cf.

above,

easy to observe hovv^ infinitely clearer the sole

representation of the latter

makes the same

series of epi-

sodes on one of the pillars of the balustrades of Amaravati

(Fergusson,
fig.

pi.

LXX,

or Art greco-bouddh. du

Gandh.,

228).

c) Finally,

every one must recognize

at

the top of this

same
tree

face, in the religious fig-tree (ctfvattha)

surmounted,
genii, the

as usual,

by

a parasol

and inhabited by winged

and the symbol of the perfect


(^akya-Muni
bas-relief at

Bodhi of the Blessed

One
gous

of this the inscription on an analo-

Barhut convinces us. In both cases v^e

find at the foot of the

same

tree the
is

same throne, surmoundouble


at

ted by the

same symbol (which

Barhut), and,

about the offshoot of the branches, the same temple open


to the

sky.
is,

We may

safely aver that this strange sanc-

tuary
built

at the

earliest,

that

which A^oka had piously


centuries after
is

around the sacred

tree,
:

more than two

the death of the Master

but this flagrant anachronism


are perfectly
all

one of those to which we


rehgious
art

accustomed in the

of

all

times and

countries, and does not in


relating to the very
it

any wise prevent the picture from


been observed with

miracle of the Illumination of Buddha. Perhaps


sufficient attention that the

has not

analogy of

Barhut forces us to establish a close connection between


this scene

and the double row of people contiguous to


while
in the

it

the

whole
it,

difference consists in the fact that here they are

above

former case they are below; but the

inscriptions prove that they are different categories of Gods,

and must be regarded as grouped in adoration


cardinal points of the tree, as

at

the four

happened

at the

moment
and

of

the

SambodhiQy Henceforward we must here


Cunningham, Barhut,
pi.

also recogi,

(i) For the bas-reliefs see

XIV,

for the

EASTERN GATE OF sAnCHI

103

nize in the four worshippers at the bottom the four great kings , whohve in our atmosphere, to the right those

of the east and the south, to the


west.

left

those of the north and

The

ten persons of the

first

row, counting two for

each heaven, would then indicate the kings and viceroys

of the five other paradises of the Kamavacaras, just as on


the face of the other pillar ( 6) they happen to be represented in their heavenly palaces; then the eight gods in the

row above, of whose


form
half
their counterpart
is

bodies (as in the case of the two

who

on the upper terrace on the right) only


in

seen,

would represent

twos the inhabitants of the


last that

four stages of Brahma's heaven, the


sculptor to

show

us (cf above,

p.

71).

we may ask the Thus a close exami-

nation reveals, under the evident striving after variety in the


outer forms, a striking carefulness in balancing the

intrinsic

importance and the religious value of the subjects


faces of the

on the symmetrical
10.

two jambs.
same

Upper

lintel.

We

shall find traces of the

carefulness
side

on the two

faces of the Hntels,


(cf.

where, side by

above, 3), great will begin Buddhist compositions also are to be found.

with symmetrical decorations


the top, a

We

our study of them

at

method which

will appa-

rently allow us to follow a certain chronological order in

reviewing the scenes.


a)

Thus

it is

that the jrontal of the gate


a

is

occupied from

one end to the other by

symbohcal representation of the

inscriptions HoLTZiCH, lud. Antiquary,

XXI,

p. 235. Let us

notice also on

the front face of the lower lintel of the western gate (the back face of the same lintel in the restoration of to-day, and the front face of the upper lintel

Cole ap. Fergussom, pi. XVIII) Buddha is represented beside a Bodbi army by
in the plan of

that
tree,

the defeat of Mira's

which

is

already sur-

rounded by his temple.

104

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


last

seven

Buddhas of the

past, typified alternately

by the

tumulus of

their Parinirvdm

and the

tree of their Sambodhi

two trees at his disposal, considered it his duty to give the honour of being placed on the fronton to the first and the last Buddha of
(pi. VIII, i).

The

sculptor, having only

the series

in fact,

by comparison with the reverse

side,

one can

distinctly recognize

on the
called

right of the central


left

stupa, the Bignonia of

Vipa^yin, and on the

the sacred

fig-tree of

Gautama, otherwise

^akya-muni.

On

the

other hand, the two missing tumuli are restored on the

upper supports

(cf.

4 a') of the reverse side, so as to

two com-

plete the traditional

number. This observation allows us to


aesthetic scruple

suppose that some


artist

alone prevented the

from placing the seven

stupas in a

row on

the facade,

as

on the other
b)

face he did not hesitate to


p. 72).

do with the

seven corresponding trees (cf. above,

For the

rear facade (pi. VII, i)

it

will be sufficient to
bas-reliefs at

give, according to the text

and the inscribed

Barhut, a

list

of the seven Buddhas and their respective

Bodkidrunias.

Here they

are, in the
left

order in which they are

presented, going from right to

of the spectator

Vipacyin

(Pfl/z

Vipassin).

Patali (Bignonia suaveolens).

Qkhin

(P. Sikhin).

Pundarika (Mangifera
[and not nymphaa]).

Vifvabhu (P. Vessabhu).

(^a.h (Shorearobusta^.

Krakucchanda (P,
sandha).

KakuKona-

Qirisha (Acacia

sirissa).

Kanakamuni
gamana).

(P.

Udumbara
rata}.

{Ficus

glome-

Kacyapa (P. Kassapa).

Nyagrodha

(^Ficus indicd).

Gautama
It

(P. Gotama).

A^vattha (Ficus

religiosa).

will be well likewise to connect with this series the

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl


representation,

105

of the tree

on one of the upper supports of the facade, of the eighth and future Buddha of our age,

Maitreya

(cf.

4 a).

II. Middle lintel

The middle

lintel,

which

is

closer

to the
pictures

eye of the spectator, replaces these symbolical

by two episodes, borrowed, the one from the youth, the other from the career of ^akya-muni.
a) Front
face.

We

have already stated (above

p.

75)

what from the point of view of Buddhist iconography


constitutes the chief interest of the central panel (pi. X, i).

On
a

the

left

we

perceive the stereotyped representation of


in its
is

town, proved by the context to be Kapilavastu,

streets

and

at its

windows
F)
:

the customary animation


il is

to be

seen

(cf.

7 a

and S

clear that the sculptor has

not troubled himself in the


course he

least

about the

fact

knew

as well as

we do

which of
on
his

that the escape of the

Bodhisattva took place during the night.

The

latter,

good horse Karithaka,

is

passing through the city gate for

the great departure

(Mahdhhinishkramand)
less

.,

and we
but on

can follow, to the right, in no

than four successive


:

editions, the progress of his miraculous course

each occasion the embroidered rug which serves as a saddle


to his steed
is

presented to us without a rider. Each time


is

also the cortege

the

same

Chandaka, the

faithful atten-

dant, holds, as usual, the parasol; four

Gods

are lifting the

horse's feet, in order,

it

was thought,
;

that the

sound of

his

shoes might not give the alarm another has taken possession of the fly-flapper
:

two

others,

who

at first are

dwarfs,

but for the sake of variety, strangely enough, grow bigger

by degrees

as they advance towards the right, are carrying


;

the ewer and the sandals

next, others are throwing flowers,

waving their scarves, or beating the heavenly drums.

When

io6

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

the right
series
it is

jamb of the gate forces the sculptor to end the of his repetitions, the attendant and the horse are, as
But the
latter is

written, taking leave of their Master.

figured only

by the gigantic imprint of

his feet^

marked by

the wheel and


Finally, at

surmounted by the fly-flapper and the parasol. the bottom on the right, Chandaka is returning

to the house, leading with


his right

him Kanthaka and bringing


young

(in

hand and

in

kind of wallet slung over his


prince has just taken
life.

shoulder) the jewels which the


off for ever, in order to

embrace the religious

The three
are,

persons, at once both edified and contrite,


doubtless, the emissaries

who follow,

whom

king ^uddhodana vainly

charged to bring back his son.

Such
still

is

the manifest

meaning of

this

long scene

have to account for the sacred tree


it,

the parasol surit,

but

we

mounting

and the railing which surrounds

are a proof

of this sacredness
panel. Assuredly
this position of

which occupies the centre of the


there for reasons of

it is

symmetry
it

but

honour demands
this

also that

shall

have a

meaning

and

meaning

will
it

come

to us the very

moment
ningham,
jambu
art,

that

we

recognize in

(thanks always to the

comparison with the inscribed bas-relief of Barhut, Cunpi.

XLVIII,

r) a

jambu tree (^Eugenia jambu).

tree so close to Kapilavastu

cannot be, in Buddhist

anything but the one whose shadow ceased one day

to turn to the sun, in order to continue to shelter the first

meditation of the
notice

still

young Bodhisattva.

We

shall

how

three persons,

without ceasing to associate

themselves with the principal action, form around the tree


of the miracle the necessary group of worshippers.
the artist has been able to

Thus
in

combine most ingeniously


a

one and the same picture

summary

indication

of the

commencement, and

a detailed representation of the

ddnoue-

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

107

ment, of the religious vocation of the Predestined. And who can say even whether the quadruple repetition of the horse and the procession leaving the town were not connected in his mind with the intervening episode of the famous
, which by the successive encounter with an old man, a sick person, a dead man and a monk,

four

outgoings

revealed to the future

Buddha

the miseries of Hfe and the

only way of salvation ?

good sculptor had still further intentions, may we be pardoned by his ashes, if we cannot perceive them! May he pardon us above all, if we
cannot grasp exactly with what episode of the legend we must connect the scene that covers the whole reverse side
of the middle
lintel. It is,

h)

Rear

face.

In case the

muni who

is

supposed to

no doubt, the Buddha Cakyabe seated on this empty throne,

since the tree

which

similar to the one

shelters it is a Holy Fig-tree, exactly which decorates the left projection of the

upper lintel.

On the other hand, the Blessed One is evidently


companionship of the beasts

far in the jungle, in the sole

assembled to do him homage and belonging as


the

much

to

kingdom of phantasy
and two

as to the

kmgdom
buffalos

of nature. First

of

all,

there are four lions guarding his throne,


in profile; then

two seen

in

full face

and antelopes,
;

observed and rendered in a marvellous manner and further-

more

birds,

some
see

with, and

some without
on the

crests,

bearing

flowers and fruits in their beaks. Side by side with these real

animals

we
faces

contemplation of the Blessed One


serpent by the side of an

human

and forgetting

dream-monsters

right, bulls

with

their natural

enmity

in the

a great polycephalous

enormous vulture Garuda, whose ears are adorned with earrings on the left Tibetan dogs, with manes and claws. To sum up, nearly the whole of the
;

sculptor's decorative menagerie was mobilized in this scene.

lo8

EASTERN GATE OF sIncHI


indeed a celebrated occasion on which, after

Now there was

the great internal quarrel of Kaugambi,

Buddha
:

left his

com-

munity, in order to

retire

into

solitude

and he was

among the

beasts and the beasts even served

him (Mahdtraditional

vagga, X, 4, 6-7). But here

we

find

none of the

details of the episode, at least as


text.

it is

related in the Pali

12. Lower linid.

Then

the last lintel seems to us to

bear on

its

two

faces scenes

subsequent to the death of

Buddha.
a) Front face.

In the centre stands the tree

now

so

well

known

to us as that of his Illumination (cf. 9 c)


a royal visit. It
is

but here this tree receives


tain that the Blessed

quite cerat

One was

not visited by any king

Bodh-Gaya

for the texts give us a detailed account of the

manner
It

in

which he employed the days, and even weeks,


his attainment of omniscience.

which preceded and followed


remains, therefore, that
it

can only have been in

commeis

moration of Buddha that the ceremony here represented


took place. Let us remind ourselves, however, of what
told us of Afoka,

how
it,

the great

emperor evinced

a special

devotion to the tree of the Bodhi, and continually showered presents

upon

so

many and so

often that his favorite


it

queen, Tishyarakshita, looking upon


jealous

as a rival,

became
spell

and caused a pariah sorceress to cast a

upon

it.

The

tree

began to wither, and Acoka declared

would not survive it; fortunately the queen, being undeceived, was able in time to arrest the effect of the witchcraft; whereupon the emperor decided to do what
that he

none of the sovereigns of the


the others, had done , that
is,

past, neither

Bimbisara nor

to

come

in procession and,

with a view to giving back to the

tree all its first splen-

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHi


dour, to water
it

109

with pitchers of scented water QDivydvaddna, p. 397-398). Now what is it exactly that we see here (pi. X, 2)? On the right a king, accompanied, as

and his guards, dismounts languishingly from his elephant, encouraged, it seems, by
his

usual,

by

his wives, his orchestra,

queen and helped by

young dwarf. The


those

latter is

pro-

bably a Yaksha, exactly


of the sanctuary; for

like

who

frequent the interior

we

are told that, like

Solomon, Agoka
the right of the

commanded the genii. Immediately on sacred tree we see again the same king,
homage
to the
faithful

preceded by his

queen, and both with their hands devoutly clasped render


to
it.

On

the other side there advances Hkewise,


orchestra, a

sound of another
and

solemn procession of
(in

laymen, bearing banners, flowers, and further

their midst

in the front rank) pitchers, evidently intentree.

ded for the watering of the

This

last detail

has

won

our conviction
fication
it

(cf.

above, p. 79). Finally, from this identi-

would result that this time the indication of the temple round the tree open to the sky would not be
an anachronism
b)
is

Rear face.

Besides,

(cf. p.

102).
as

we have

already said, this

not the only legend belonging to the cycle of A^oka

seems to us to have inspired the image-makers of Sanchi, Concerning the tumulus of Ramagrama two other
that
stories

were

still

current

among them

or rather two ver-

sions of the same story. According to one this stupa was

honoured by mythical serpents (ndgd);


wild elephants (n&ga')
are not far

in the other

it
:

was

who

paid their devotions to

it

we

from beheving

that this simple

pun gave

rise to

two forms of the tradition. However that may be, the the other, we believe, first is figured on the southern gate is here. Besides, whatever may be the name by which the
the
:

stupa is called, there

is

no doubt

as to the

meaning of the

no

EASTERN GATE OF SANCHl

Story written in stone. Tliose are, in fact, wild elephants,

which

are

marching

in procession

towards the sanctuary


;

from the two extremities of the


votive offerings that they
lift

lintel

and

it is

indeed as
still

in their trunks, or are

dragging with their tusks, flowers torn from the lotuses in


the nearest lake.

We

shall here

end these notes, already, perhaps, too


If

long and nevertheless most summary.


describe in detail and one
characters,

we wished

to

by one the five hundred and more


figure

who, without counting the animals,


just as well

on

this

one gate alone, we should never have finished


undertake to write an ency-

and we might

clopaedia of Indian Antiquities.

The

Httle that

we have

said

will, at least, be sufficient to justify the

double allegation

which we believed might be put forward regarding this gate it seems in fact upon investigation that these (p. 80)
:

sculptures are for the

most

part deciphered

and no one will

think of disputing the

fact that

they offer a certain amount

of interest for the history of civilization in general, and

more

especially for that of art applied to religion.

PLATES
All the photographs of

VII-X

which
all

plates

VII-X

are

composed have been


in

kindly lent to us by the Director- General of Archaeology

India,

Mr.

J.

H. Marshall, and

the stereotypes by

M.

E. Leroux.

Pi. VII,

THE GREAT STUPA AT SANGHI

'L.

VII

1.

GENERAL

VIEW, TAKEN FROM THE EAST

2. BAGK VIEW OF LINTELS OF EASTERN GATE

THE GREAT STUPA AT SANGHI

PL. VIII

W u
<;

Q
<

a w
> Q

W <
>
H z
Cm

cr;

W H
<;

THE EASTERN GATE OF SANGHl

PL. IX

P H <
< J
0.

s
<
^'

^^
O H
cc;

o
<

u
cc

w K

C]

THE EASTERN GATE OF SANGHI

PL. X

1.

THE VOCATION, OR GREAT DEPARTURE


(FHONr VIEW OF MIDDLE LINTEL)

2.

A PROCESSION TO THE EODHI-TREE


(FRONT VIEW OF LOWER LINTEL)

The Greek Origin of the Image

of

Buddha 0.

One

of the

advantages of the Mus(^e Guimet most


its

appreciated by

orientalist lecturers is that they are free

to dispense with the oratorical precautions

which they

must

take everywhere else. Generally, wherever they ven-

ture to

open

their

mouths, they believe themselves obliged


their auditors for the great
in speaking

to begin
liberty

by asking pardon of
their usual

which they take

on

subjects so far
for

removed from

occupations and

drawing
in

them

into surroundings so different

from those

which

they are accustomed to move. Such a formahty would


in this case be entirely superfluous.

You

could not but

be aware of the
this

fact that

on crossing the threshold of

Museum you would

immediately find yourself trans-

ported from Europe to Asia, and you would hardly expect

me

to apologize for speaking of


if

Buddha

in the

home

of

Buddha. For,
table house,

he

is

not the sole inhabitant of this hospiall

haven of

exotic

manifestations of reliis its

gious

art, I

dare at least to say that he


gallery

principal tenant.
it

To whatever

your steps may lead you, be


will

conse-

crated to India or to China, to Indo -China or to Tibet, to

Japan or to Java, him you


again, in

never fail to meet again and


the

room after room, with

dreamy look of his

half-

closed eyes and his perpetual smile, at once sympathizing

and

disillusionized. If the distraction of yourgaze,

wandering
du Musee

(i) Lecture at the

Mus^e Guimet

[Bihliotheque de Vulgarisation

Guimet, vol. XXXVIII).


9

112

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE

from image to image, does not too much dissipate your attention,

and

if your

minds succeed by degrees in disregarding the


dimensions and the variety of the materials,

diversity of the

you

will not be long in noticing that always


gigantic, carved in

and everywhere,
modelled

minute or

wood, cut

in stone,

in clay, cast or beaten in metal,

he continues to be astonish-

ingly like himself. Soon, by dint of verifying the justness

of this

first

observation,

you

will arrive at the reflexion that


all

so great an uniformity supposes, at the origin of


idols, the existence of a

these

common

prototype, from

which

they

will have been

And

thus in the
I

more or less remotely descended. end you are inevitably confronted by the
have to-day
set

question which
ing. If
it

myself the task of answer-

shall

appear that the reply brings us back straighta

way and

in

rather unexpected

manner towards the

familiar horizons of our classic antiquity, well! that will

simply be one more element of interest.

But before interrogating the images of Buddha concern-

more distant origins, it is well to define exactly what we mean by the name. Europeans commonly make
ing their
the strangest abuse of
it.

heard

and

How many

times

have

not

usually on the most charming lips

the

very elementary principles of Buddhist iconography out-

no matter what statuette, Chinese, Tibetan, or Japanese, however monstrous it might be, thoughtlessly designated by the name which ought to be reserved
raged, and
for

^akyamuni and

his peers!

What would you


bloc,

think of an

Asiatic

who

should designate en

by the one name of


the Father, the
all

Christ , not only

Our
all

Lord,

God

Holy
all

Ghost, and the Blessed Virgin, but also


the saints, and even

the angels,

the devils of Christianity? After

having
lege
:

first

laughed, you
is

would soon

cry out at the sacri-

and yet that

what we calmly do every day by lump-

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE

113

ing together under the name of the one Buddha all the inhabitants of the Buddhist heavens and even hells. Therefore, let me implore you, once for all especially the
ladies

no more thus
applying
it

to profane the

name

of the Blessed

One by
bristling

indifferently at
at

one time to savage or


another to

even obscene demons,


simple monks.
In strictness, the

another to extravagant divinities,


at

with manifold heads and arms, and


of Illuminated

title

very nearly the equivalent of Buddha


served for a personage

ought

for such is to be re-

whom,

for

my

part, I

should not

hesitate to regard as historic, for that scion of the noble

family of the ^akyas,


at the foot

who was

born in the north of India,

of the central Himalaya, towards the middle of


;

the VI"' century before our era

who

about his thirtieth

year gave up his possessions, his parents, his wife, his


child, in order to
;

embrace the wandering

life

of a mendi-

cant monk who, after six years of vain study and austerities,
finally at the foot of the ever-green fig-tree of

Bodh-Gaya

discovered the secret of liberating


the evils of existence
;

human

beings from

who

during more than forty years

preached in the middle portion of the basin of the Ganges

by the suppression of desire, the root of all suffering who died and was cremated whose ashes, regarded
salvation
;
;

as

holy reUcs, were distributed to the four quarters of

India and deposited under vast tumuli, where

we

still

find

them to-day

whose image,

finally,

is

still

enthroned

above the flower-adorned

altars,

mid clouds of incense and


the Far East.
as a

murmurs of prayers, in all the pagodas of And, doubtless, this effigy served in its turn

model for

those of the mythical predecessors, or of the transcendent


hypostases, which Indian imagination was not long in creat-

ing for

him

in

unlimited

numbers,

through

infinite

ii4

GREEK ORlGlN OF THE BUDDHA tYPE


terrestrial past
all

time and space, in the depths of our


well as in the abysses where at this
other universes.

as

moment move

the

But such

is

the servile fidelity of these

copies that from the iconographic point of view one

may
and

say
tial

There

is

no Buddha but Buddha


is

Now the

essen-

character of this figure


all

precisely that always

everywhere, through
it

the differences of gesture and pose,

assumes only one form, simply and purely human. This


the

most important fact to be borne in mind. As for the particular signs which prevent our ever faiUng to recognize the type, the first statue or photograph to your hand will
is

familiarize

you with them.

Here then we are agreed

together

we

seek the origin of

the image of the Indian mendicant who, by the prestige of


his intelligence, his goodness and, perhaps, also of his per-

sonal

beauty,

exercized

over

his

contemporaries

an

influence capable of forming a basis for one of the three


great religions of the world, that

we

call

Buddhism. At the

first

which from his epithet view the problem does not

seem so very complicated. Granted that all these representations seem to descend from a common prototype, the
question resolves
itself into
first

discovering the place, time,

and occasion of the


words,
it

appearance of this type. In other


to determine

will be necessary, but sufficient,

most ancient known images of Buddha. Theoretically, nothing is more simple; in practice we
which
are the

quickly perceive that the thing


It is in

is

sooner said than done.

Ceylon, the

first

Buddhist stage on the maritime

high road of Asia, that the European usually finds himself

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE

115

for the first time in the presence of veritable idols of the

Blessed One. Most often he restricts himself to an excursion along red roads losing themselves in
larly

, the distance under a slowly diminishing arch of green palmeries, to the singu-

modernized temple of Kelani, a little to the north of Colombo. But, even if he pushed on as far as the ancient ruined towns of the interior, he would be no more successful in finding in their old statues the original type

which we

are seeking. With

still

greater reason
it

would he renounce the

idea of encountering

in the other terrestrial paradise,


;

that of the austral hemisphere island

for the not less luxuriant

of Java was also


it

only an

Indian colony,

and,

became so later than did Ceylon. The hundreds of Buddhas who have given a name to Boro-Budur
doubtless,
are attributed only to the IX"' century of our era.

The even

more
are

recent character of the majority of the idols which

Siam and Burmah shows only too clearly through their tinsel and their gilding. The most ancient Lamaic images could hardly be
still

venerated in

Cambodia,

anterior to the official proclamation of

Buddhism
tell

in Tibet

towards the year 632. In Japan everyone will


VI"' century,

you

that

the figure of the Master was not introduced there until the

came from China through the intermediacy of Corea. Nor do the most ancient Chinese images known to us, those of the grottoes of Long-Men or of Taand that
it

t'ong-fu,

which M. Chavannes has


go back beyond

just

made known by
century
(*).

reproductions,

the

IV"'

Finally, the last archaeological missions in Central Asia

have succeeded in proving, as had already been supposed,


that their

model came from India by the two routes which

(i)

E.

Chavannes, Mission

archdologique dans

la

Chine septentrionak,

Paris, 1909.

n6

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


skirt the

on the north and the south


tan C).

desert of Turkes-

were we directed in advance to seek the plastic origins of Buddha in the very places which saw the beginning of his doctrine. And, were it not of inte-

Thus

clearly

rest to

prove the diffusion and permanence of the type

through the whole of eastern Asia,


ourselves this vast circuit.

we might have
is

spared

The

point clearly marked for


the country of
lat-

the serious

commencement

of our quest

Magadha, otherwise
est imperial

that province of

Behar which the

proclamation of Delhi has just officially detach-

ed from Bengal. But the numerous statues in black basalt,

which we there find


set

to begin with that

which has
at

been

up over the go back

altar

of the temple of Bodh-Gaya,

the very spot where the Illuminated received his Illumination

site

for the

most

part only to the dynasty of

the Palas, which was overthrown by the


XII"" century of

Musalmans

in the

our

era.

The

excavations

of Sarnath,

the

of the First Preaching, in the northern suburb of

Benares, have furnished us with

carved in a
at the

more ancient examples, grey sandstone of an uniform tint, which mark

time of the Gupta Kings (IV"" and V"' centuries a. d.)

a kind of renaissance of Indian art.

More

to the north-west

the ruins of Mathura, far to the south-west those of


ravati

Ama-

have suppUed us with

still

older ones, which the

mention on the former of the Indo-Scyths, on the second of the Andhras carry as far back as the 11** century of our era.

But whether carved

in the yellow-spotted red sandstone of

in Idikutschari

example, in Grunwedel, Bericht uher archdologische Arbeiten und Umgebung im Winter 1902-1903 (Munich, 1906), pi. IV, fig. I, a specimen from Turfan, and in M. A. Stein, Ancient Khotan, pi. LXXXII, 2, another example from the environs of Khotan.
(i) See, for

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


Mathura or
in the

117

white marble of Amaravati, they are as

like as brothers,

and everyone will agree that they are desancestor of blue slate and native

cended from a

common

to the north-western corner of India.

Thus, following our thread, we have already remounted


in the scale of years nearly twenty out of the twenty five

centuries which separate us from the time of Buddha.


result is appreciable,

The

and can only encourage us to conti-

nue. But just at this


step

moment

the thread

which guided us
art

by

step

through the chaos of Buddhist


century

breaks

off sharp in

our hands. While statues of the Master, dated


first

with certainty from the

after,

if

not before,

Christ, are to be found abundantly in the


is

Upper Panjab

as

proved by the collections of the provincial capital

i)

we vainly seek
One
it

(pi.

XI,

their archetype in the still older

mo-

numents of central
era.

India, prior to the second century of our


all

significant fact robs us even of

hope of ever
either better

finding

by means of some excavation

carried out or

more

successful.

While on

all

the bas-reliefs

of the Panjab the Blessed

One is represented

standing in the

middle of the panel, on the balustrades or the gates of Barhut orof Sanchi he is totally absent even from the scenes of his

own

biography. This fact

is

too well

known
wish to

to be again
experi-

dwelt upon, especially as

we have

already
I

made an
are those

mental verification of
to-day
is

it (').

All that

insist

upon
the

that the oldest

known Buddhas

which

we have

encountered in the

House of Marvels

, as

natives call the

museum

of Lahore.
it

To

complete the geo-

graphical part of our quest,


exactly

remains only to find out

whom

whence these Buddhas come. The former keeper many of us know from the fine portrait drawn by

(i) See above, pp. 4-5 and 74-5.

Ii8

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


filial

the

Kim

piety of
is

Rudyard Kipling
there to

at
;

the beginning of

no longer

tell lis

we

regret to have

heard
ago.

last

year of his death, and moreover he retired long

But

his successor will

answer you that


district of

all

these car-

vings came originally from the


right

Peshawar, on the

bank of the Indus,

at its

confluence with the Kabulfirst

Rud... And,
that, after

doubtless, your

astonishment will be

having vainly sought not only throughout the


still

whole of

Buddhist Asia, but in the very places which

saw the
founder,
try

birth of Buddhism, the cradle of the

images of the

we have finally

discovered it in a

Musalman coun-

and on the western confines of India.


this district is at present I
I

What

would only too wiUingly


it

stop to describe to you; for


tion during

have trodden

in every direc-

happy months of archaeological campaigning.


for

Gandhara
after all

such was

its

Sanskrit

name

shows us
a belt

only a

vast, gently

undulating plain, bristling in

places with rugged hills,

and three parts encircled by But the opening


is

of fawn-coloured or bluish mountains, which nearly every-

where

limit the horizon.

left

by them on
;

the south-east over the Indus


to the west the

the great gate of India

and

winding Khyber pass remains the principal

route of communication between the peninsula and the


Asiatic continent; and the

towns which formerly guarded


and merchant
cara-

this ancient route of invading armies

vans were Purushapura

(now Peshawar);
;

Pushkaravati,

the Peukelaotis of the Greeks

town of Panini, the great legislator of Sanskrit grammar Udabhanda (now Und), where the great river was passed, in winter by a ford, in summer by a ferry, and whence in
^alatura, the natal
;

three days one reached Takshagila, the Taxila of the historians of Alexander...

And

immediately you

feel

how

in this

country, which one might call doubly classic, memories

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


associated with the
arise

119

two antiquities, Hellenic and Indian, from the ground at each step. Even if history had

not preserved for us any remembrance of the memorable encounter between the two civilizations, the mute witnesses in stone, which
ate,

we have come
you

purposely to interrogit.

would be
(*),

sufficient to estabHsh

To

cut as short as

possible

let

me

lead

straight to the centre of the


:

country, into the

little

garrison

there, at the hospitable


I

town of Hoti-Mardan and mess of the regiment of the Guides,

will

show

you, leaning against the wall of the dining-

room and no
most
ed to

longer inhaHng any incense but the smoke

of the cigars, the most beautiful, and probably also the


ancient, of the

Buddhas which
(pi.

it

has ever been grant-

me to
at

encounter
at leisure.

XI, 2).

Without doubt you will appreciate its dreamy, and even somewhat effeminate, beauty but at the same time you cannot fail to be struck by its Hellenic character. That this is a statue of Buddha there is not the
it
;

Look

least

doubt

all

the special signs of which


its

was speaking
it

short time ago bear witness to


sary to

identity j/Is

neces-

upon that ample monastic robe, that pretended bump of wisdom on the crown of the head, that mole between the eyebrows, that lobe of the ear distended by the wearing of heavy earrings, and left bare
lay your fingers

make you

because of the total renunciation of worldly adornments?

These

are all traits

which we might have anticipated from the


if it is

perusal of the sacred texts. But,

indeed a Buddha,

it

(i) Here, of course, are anxious for details

we

can only note the principal points. Those -who


its

concerning the country,


if

archaeological sites,
refer

and

the results of the excarations, will pardon us

Sur

la frontiere indo-afghane (Paris,


I,

them to our works La Geographic ancienne du Gan1901),

we

dhdra (B. E. F. E-0,

1901), L'Art greco-bouddhique du Gandhdra (Paris,

1905-1914).

120
is

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


less evidently

no

not an Indian work.

Your European

eyes have in this case no need of the help of any Indianist,


in order to appreciate

with

full

knowledge) the orb of the


of the pro-

nimbus, the waves of the


file,

hair, the straightness

the classical shape of the eyes, the sinuous

bow

of

the mouth, the supple and hollow folds of the draperies.

All

these

technical details,

and

still

more perhaps

the

harmony of the whole, indicate in a material, palpable and striking manner the hand of an artist from some Greek
studio. If the material proofs of the attribution constitute

what

should be prepared to

call

the native contribution,

neither will

you hesitate to ascribe to an occidental influence

the formal beauty of the work.

Thus

the statue of Mardan,

with

all its

congeners, appears to us as a kind of compro-

mise, a hybrid work, which

have a name,

had not the

would not in any language no less heterocHte term of


ity

Greco-Buddhist

been forthwith invented for

II

Such

is

the

must confess unexpected


It is

result of

our researches on the spot.

only in the country which


call

from our point of view we might quite correctly


vestibule of India, that

the

we
is

finally discover the archetype

of Buddha; and
ledge that
as Indian.
call for
its

when

at last

we

find

it, it is

to

acknow-

appearance

at the least as

much Greek

The fact is, doubtless, sufficiently surprising to some commentary. What historical circumstances
Buddha?

can have rendered possible, and even spontaneously engendered, this creation of the Indo-Greek type of

What attracts

us most in the question

is, I

will warrant,

how

the Hellenic influence could thus have reached as far as the

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


banks of the Indus. Allow
fact that

121

me

to call

your attention to the

crow flies, from the mouth of the Hellenized Euphrates than from that of
further, as the
like the

Gandharais scarcely

the Buddhist Ganges. In reality the problem has two faces,

images which we have to explain.


it is

To

account for

the birth of such a statue,


tration not only of

necessary to justify the penealso of the Buddhist reli-

Greek Art, but

gion, into the country which


prolific

was

to be the theatre of their


latter that it will

union.

And it is

indeed with the

be

best to undertake the historical part of our quest.

At the present time not only is this unfortunate Gandhara, which had always so much to suffer from its situation

on

the high road of the conquerors of Asia,


it

no longer

Buddhist;
Iranian in
fact that,

more than half Afghan in race, language, and withal Musalman. It is a curious
according to Strabo,
at the

has become

time of the rude and

passing conquest of Alexander, the

Gandaritis

did not

form
at the

a part of India,

which

at that

time commenced only

Indus. Seleukos, after his fruitless attempt at invais

sion in 305 before our era,


treaty,

said to

have ceded

it

by

together with the hand of his daughter, in exfirst

change for 500 elephants, to the


of India, that Candragupta

historical

emperor
call

whom

the Greek historians


still

Sandrakottos. Fifty years later this district

formed part

of the domains of the

latter's

grandson, the famous A50-

ka; and he caused to be engraved

on

huge rock, half-way


(pi.

up
i),

a hill near the present village of Shahbaz-Garhi

XII,

the pious edicts in which he


all

recommended
it

to his peo-

ple the practice of

the virtues, beginning with kindness


quite clearly

to animals.

From

the fifth of these edicts

appears that for

him Gandhara was a frontier country, still to be evangelized. "We know, on the other hand, the zeal of this Constantine of Buddhism for the propagation of the

122

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


again, according to the Singhalese chroit

Good Law. Then


nicle, the

Mahdvamsa,

was

precisely during his reign that

the apostle Madhyantika converted Gandhara as well as

Kashmir. Thus the religion of Buddha would have taken

more than two hundred years to spread from Magadha as far as the frontiers of northern India, We see no reason for contesting the authenticity of a tradition in itself so probable.

Besides, whatever
tion of

may

be the exact date of the introduc-

Buddhism

into Gandhara,

specially

successful.

We

shall

must there have been end by finding there, duly


it

acclimatized and deeply rooted, a quantity of legends

which

the missionaries had brought with

country.

Some

did not hesitate to

them from the low bring Buddha himself

on the scene. It was, they said, the Master in person, who had overcome the terrible Naga of the Swat river, and had limited the disastrous inundations, whence this aquatic
genius derives
years. In the
at
all

his subsistence, to
it

one

in every twelve
at Rajagriha,

same way

was no longer

but

one stage

to the north-west of Pushkaravati, that the

Blessed

One

is

now

supposed to have converted the

insati-

able ogress of Smallpox.

Thanks

to the

want of orthominds

doxy on the
dren
is

part of mothers,

when

the health of their chil-

in question, this last superstition has in the

of the present inhabitants of the country almost alone


survived the total wreck of Buddhism.
earth

A small quantity of
is

from

a certain tamulus, placed in the tow\, or amulet-

case, usually
still

suspended round the neck of the new-born,

considered an infallible preservative against the terrible

infantile

epidemic

and

it is

owing to this curious property,


site

joined to the topographical information of Hiuan-tsang,


that
I

was

able

to

recognize the traditional

of this

miracle.

However,

it

was

to be feared that these narratives of a

Greek origin of the buddha type

125

personal intervention of the historic Buddha in Gandhara

might
in

justly

meet with the same incredulity


:

as those

which,

my native province, begin with the words

At that time,

our Lord Jesus Christ was travelling in Brittany... For the purpose of localization in the country they preferred, it
seems, to
fall

back upon the numerous previous lives in the

course of which the future Buddha attained the summit


or, as

we should say to-day, estabUshed a record perfections. The monks of several convents in the
for

in all

neighdivided

bourhood of Shahbaz-Garhi had,

instance,

among themselves, by

very clever adaptation to the pictur-

esque accidents of the landscape, the various episodes of


the romance of Vigvantara, that

monomaniac of

charity.

Others had, so to speak, specialized


story of the

either in the touching

young anchorite Qyama,

sole support of his

old blind parents, or in the galant adventure of the wise Ekagringa,

whom

the seductions of a courtesan reduced to


etc...

the role of beast of burden,


there
in
;

But they did not stop


stupas, situated

an exceptionally holy tetrad of great

Gandhara proper, or
one existence

in the bordering territories,

soon

marked the place where the Sublime Being had formerly,


in
after another,

eyes, his head, and his

body

made
the

a gift of his flesh, his

first

to

buy back
tigress,

dove

from a hawk, the

last to satisfy a

famished

and the
not

two
its

others with an intention

whose

practical utility, if

edifying character, escapes us.

And
its

thus northern India


four great pilgri-

came

to possess, like central India,

mages . It is not in any way an exaggeration to say that Gandhara thus became (after Magadha) as it were a second

Holy Land of Buddhism and we


;

see that certain Chinese


visit

pilgrims

were quite content with a

there,

without

feeling the necessity of pushing as far as the basin of the

Ganges.

124

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE

Only this local prosperity of Buddhism can explain to us the number and the richness of the ancient religious foundations

of the country.
plains

Some

repose under the tumuli


side,

which dot the

on every

and

are used

by the

present inhabitants as stone-quarries. Others are hidden in


the folds of the mountains, or with their crumbling walls

cover the sharp crest of


will

some

spur.

Among

the former

which underly the though enormous mound of Sahri-Bahlol (pi. XIII)

name

to

you

in particular those

excavated long ago, they


the
as

still

with their

artistic spoils

enrich

museum which has lately been established in Peshawar, capital of the new North- West Frontier Province .
second
I

Among the

will

show you

as a

specimen the cele-

brated ruins of Takht-i-Bahai with their equally inexhaustible reserves (pi. XII, 2)

retaining walls rise

on the platform above the imposing the dismantled chapels where once were
;

enthroned the statues which have since taken the road to

our museums, those mortuaries of dead Gods.


to restore

You are

free

them

in thought with the splendour

borrowed

from the colours, and even from the gold, with which in
former days care was taken to increase in the dazzled eyes
of the faithful their appearance of
life.

But, above

all,

you
walk

must on ruins, and


relief

grasp the fact that in this


there
is

country you

literally

scarcely a corner

where a few strokes

with the pick-axe will not bring to light some Buddhist basor statue. Evidently Hiuan-tsang was scarcely exag-

gerating,

when he
at a

estimated approximately, and in round

numbers,
Gandhara.

thousand the number of monasteries which


will
all

once constituted the ornament, as also the sanctity, of


If

you

now

reflect that this

anti-chamber

of India has from

times been the region most open to

western influences, moral as well as


derstand the double role which
it

you will unwas naturally called upon


artistic,

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


to play in the evolution of the religion which
it

125

had embra-

ced with so

much

zeal.

The numerous

doctors

whom

it

has produced have taken a preponderating part in the trans-

formation of the Buddhist egoistical

salvation into the

theory of a charity more widely active, but also of a cha-

more metaphysical and pietistic, which its adherents adorned with the name of Mahayana. But the important
racter

thing for us here

is

not so

much

the abstruse depth of


its

its

theologians as the pious generosity of

donors.

It

was

they who, according to

all

probability,

took the

initiative

in utilizing for the satisfaction of their religious zeal the


talent
torical

and resource of the Hellenistic


circumstances had led as
far as

artists,

whom
And

his-

Ariana.

thus

they

made their country the creative home whence Buddhist


of India and the Far East.
elements, the Greek and the Buddhist, which

iconography was by degrees propagated throughout the


rest

Of the two

concurred in the production of our Gandhara statues,

we

comprehend then already the second. It remains to explain the intervention of the first. But this is a story already familiar

to you,

and

it

will be sufficient if

I recall it

in a

few

words; or rather
and, as
it

should

like to give

you an

illustration

were, a direct apprehension ofit, by putting before


artistic

your eyes the most


prefer, the

of the documents

or, if

you

most documentary of the works of art

mean

the coins.

In the

first place, I shall

mention only by way of remin-

der Alexander's forced entrance into India in the spring

of the year 326 before our


it

era.

We

too

much

forget that

was on

his part a

notable

folly

to

venture during

the hottest

of the

months of the year on the burning plains Pan jab; that he was soon forced to retire, and that

126

GREEK ORIGtN OF THE BUDDHA tYPE

his retreat across the deserts of Gedrosia (the present Be-

luchistan) ended disastrously


into India,
if

so

that this expedition

only

we

replace

the cold by the heat,


it

the

snow by
results
tria,

the sands, was, as

were, the Russian cam-

paign of the Macedonian conqueror.

Much more

fruitful of

was

the constitution of the Greek

kingdom of Bac-

on the confines of the north-west of India, about 250 B. C, in open revolt against the Seleucides. The beautiful coin of Alexander, son of PhiUp, which you see in pi. XIV, 2, was struck not by Alexander himself, but in imitation of his by king Agathokles, whose name and titles you read on
the reverse, encircling the image of Zeus. Everything in
this

medal

is still

purely Greek.

Fifty years later Demetrios,

son of Euthydemos, profit-

ing by the break-up of the empire of the Mauryas, con-

quers and

annexes the whole of northern India; and


in
it

immediately you see

that helmet,

made from
latter

the

head of an elephant, as

were a

trace of the Indian orien-

tation of his policy (pi.


sides,

XIV,

2).

This

must, be-

have ended by costing him his original kingdom.

An-

other valiant condottiere, Eukratides, rebelled in his turn,

and made himself master of Bactria; so that, as Strabo tells us, there remained to Demetrios nothing more than his
Indian conquests, and he was henceforward
the

known under

name
I

of

King of the Indians

This

is

a capital fact, to

which

could not
a century

too strongly draw

your attention.

During

and more the Panjab was thus a Greek

colony, in the same

way

as

it

afterwards became Scythian,


is

then Mogul, and finally EngUsh. That

to say, a handful

of foreigners, supported by mercenary troops, in great part


recruited in the country
'

itself,

became mastery

there,

and

levied the taxes.

You may

easily perceive that/this

kingdom

was

a centre of attraction for

Greek adventurers of all kinds,

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE

127

beginning with soldiers of fortune and mountebanks, and passing by way of merchants to the artists who took

upon themselves, among other tasks, that of making the superb coins to which we are indebted for the survival of the classically sounding names and the energetic features
of those so-called

Basileis ,

changed into very authentic


will

rajahs.^^^

Of all
der (pi.

these Indo-Greek kings


2), since

name only Menanfrom

XIV,

he

is

known

to us not merely

the narrative of Plutarch, but also from Indian texts.

A
of

curious apologetic

treatise, entitled

The Questions

Milinda and composed as a dialogue in the Platonic manner, brings before us in the town of Sagala on the

one

hand

Hellenism,

represented

by Menander,

the

king of the Yavanas (lonians), and. on the other hand

Buddhism,

in the person of Nagasena,

one of the pa-

triarchs of the church.

According to native tradition the


to brandish the

monk even

converted the king. However, on the reverse of

his coins, Pallas

Athene continues

still

paternal lightning of Zeus. She does not

seem

in

any way

to care

how

little

her image squares with the exotic sur-

roundings of the language and the writing in which

Menander, generalizing a usage inaugurated by


decessors,
is

his pre-

always careful to have the Greek legend of the

face translated for the use of his Indian subjects. Never, in


truth,

were the circumstances more favourable than during

(between 150 and 100 B. C.) for planting the germ of the whole subsequent development of Greco-Budhis reign

by the creation of the Indo-Greek type of BuddhayWhat, iVfact, is that beautiful statue which I showed
dhist art
yoii just

now
?

(pi.

XI, 2), but an Asiatic coin struck in

Eu-

ropean style
into
all

And what more

simple for
art, as

artists initiated

the secrets of Hellenic

were the authors of


10

128

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE

those magnificent medals, than to adopt for the representation of the Indian Saviour the

most

intellectual type of their

beardless

Olympians? Thus we

arrive quite naturally at

the strange and quaint mixture which


a short time ago, at this statue,

we were
is

analysing

which
it

a Hellenized

Buddha, unless you prefer to describe


figure of

as

an Indianized

Apolloj/^

Thus must nave been created under the industrious fingers of some Graeculus of more or less mixed descent
and perhaps,
also,

of

who knows?

at

the

command

or an Eurasian convert to

Buddhism

of a Greek
earliest

the

the images of Buddha. Yet, since

we

are forced to

touch

upon
at last

the question of chronology,

it is

only,

must con-

fess, in the first

century of our era, that the type of Buddha

makes

its

appearance on the reverse of the coins.

And

certainly his
cc

name

is still

written there in Greek char-

acters

Boddo

But on the observe, instead of an elegant

Greek,

we

perceive the figure of another invader, of a beard-

ed Scythian, grotesquely accoutred in his high boots and


the rigid basques of his tunic (pi.

XIV,

2).

His

name

is

given in the inscription

he

is

the Shah of the Shahs


great

Kanishka, he

who was

after

Afoka the second

emperor

of the Buddhist legend, and

whom M.

S.

L^vi has in his


:

turn so well surnamed the Clovis of northern India


for he also

either

from conviction or from calculation


religion of the country vanquished

became converted to the


by his arms. But,
the development of

just as the

Frank Clovis had no part in Gallo-Roman art, you may easily ima-

gine that the Turk Kanishka had no direct influence on that of Indo-Greek art; and, besides, we hold now the certain

proof that during his reign this


if

art

was already stereotyped,

not decadent.
All the Chinese Buddhist pilgrims

who

from the

IV"' to

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


the
X*''

129

centuries of our era visited the holy places of India

agree, in fact, in testifying, that Kanishka had built by the


side of his winter capital

Purushapura

the highest

pagoda

of the country

Now in the

course of

my journey

on the

Indo-Afghan
the

frontier,

numerous tumuli simple refuse of brick kilns or vestiges of ancient monuments which are scattered over

on the 21" of January 1897, among

the
(pi.
its

flat

outskirts of Peshawar,
i),

thought

recognized in one
its

XIV,

by reason of its

site, its

form,

composition,

surroundings, finally of a number of concordant indica-

tions

not

to count that secret voice of things,

which soon
the remains

whispers to the heart of the archaeologist

of the great religious foundation of Kanishka. That dusty

mound, which, if in circumference it measured three hun-. dred metres, was not more than 4 or 3 metres above the
present ground surface, did not look very promising.
ever, when the Anglo-Indian

How-

government did at

last

reorgan-

ize its archaeological service, Messrs. Marshall

and Spooner

were pleased to consider

that the proposed identification

was

at least

worth the trouble of verification by digging.


cold sea-

The
son

results of the first campaign, during the


1

907-1 908, were most disappointing. Fortunately the English archaeologists were not discouraged in March 1909 they at last determined the dimensions of the base of
;

the sanctuary

the vastest, indeed, that has ever been dis-

covered in India and soon they

were fortunate enough

to unearth in the centre the famous relics of Buddha, which

Chinese evidence assures

us were deposited
is

there

by

Kanishka himself, and which to-day Burmah

so proud of

possessing. They were enclosed in a golden reliquary, about

18 centimetres high, of which you have before your eyes


(pi.

XV,

i) a view. All that

wish to take note of here

is

first,

that this

box does

in fact bear in dotted letters the

130

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


in repoussd the image, of

name, and

our Kaiiishka, the one


in

perfectly legible

and the other

good resemblance. Now,

point of execution the reliquary already betrays signs of


artistic

decadence

and this

stylization is especially notable

in the

Buddha whom you see divinities on the top of the


sufficient, then, to carry

seated between

Hd.

two standing This votive document is


hundred
years,

back

at least a
before

and

consequently, to the i" century

our

era, at the latest,

the creation of the plastic type of the Blessed

One.

Ill

Thus, then, we
sions, that of

are

on the whole well informed as to the

where and when, from the rencontre of the two inverse expanHellenism towards the east consequent upon
the political conquests of Alexander, and that of

Buddhism

towards the west by favour of the religious missions of

Agoka, was born once for

all

the Indo-Greek type of

Buddha. Our geographical and historical quest may, therefore, be considered as

ended. But

we have

as yet

accom-

plished only two-thirds of our task, and the iconographic

question awaits almost in

its

entirety an elucidation.

We
La-

have indeed from the

first

glance at the

Museum

at

hore seen that, in opposition to the old native school, the

image of Buddha
Gandhara.
tured.
It

is like a

trade-mark of the workshops of


it

remains to learn ho:w

was
its

itself

manufac-

We are agreed that at

the time of

composition the
:

Indian material was poured into a western mould


all

among
defini-

the possible results of this operation,

which one

tely

emerged from the foundry? This we have still to analyse, at the risk of passing from one surprise to another.

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE

131

What

in fact did

I tell

you? Here

is

a creation

which the

experience of centuries and the exploration of Asia have taught us to regard as one of the most widespread and the

most durable successes


chronicled.
It is

that the history of art has ever

proved to have been adopted with enthu;

siasm by the entire Buddhist world


ed, for the
faithful the sole

it

was, and has remain-

manner of conceiving and


cannot hide the
fact that,

figuring the Master...


if

And yet we

from the beginning the people must have felt the attractive charm of its ideal and serene beauty, it must at its first
appearance have been the object of just and
bitter criticisms

on the
even,
if

part of the old

champions of orthodoxy. To-day


free

we, Buddhists or students of Buddhism, could


should be the
to be shocked

ourselves from long custom and create for ourselves


eyes,

new
in

we
what

first

by the ambi-

guous character of the Gandhara type of Buddha. For


fact,
is it
It

that Buddhist scriptures are never tired of

repeating?

is

not we,

it is

tradition

which poses
:

for

the new-born Bodhisatwa the famous

dilemma

Either

thou wilt remain

in the

world and reign over the uniand become


see here

verse; or else thou wilt enter into religion

a Saviour of the world


native
(pi.

We all know that the second alterNow


what do we
not a prince, for he wears neither

was

the one realized.


is

XI,2)?/This person

the costume nor the jewels of one; but

how

could one

monk, since his head is not shaven? If he were a bhikshu, he would not have retainif he were a cakravartin, he would not have ed his hair donned the monastic gown. A monk without tonsure or
maintain that he
is

a real Buddhist

'

from a king without jewels, decidedly these strange images, whichever side one approaches them, are frankly neither
flesh

nor fish/From the

artistic

point of view

we

have

already

seen that, properly speaking, they were neither

132

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


;

Greek nor Indian from the iconographic point of view we must admit that they are neither cleric nor layman, but
still

and always a hybrid combination of two heteroclite

elements.

we lean over the crucible in which the formula of this new compromise was elaborated, and try to reconstitute from the monuments themselves how things happenShall

ed? Let us take the princely heir of the ^akyas


at

(pi.

XV,

2)

the critical

moment when
crisis

he

is

realizing his religious


just cast

vocation.

The moral

which has

him out of
by night

the world, and, as a beginning, has

made him

flee

from
by
a

his native

town, must, in

fact,

be translated occularly

complete transformation of his exterior aspect.

Now

we

read,

and we

see, that

on the dawn of his escape, judging


latter to carry

himself beyond capture, he stops and sends back horse and


squire.

At the same time he charges the

back to his
rich turban
a

home
which

all

his

princely jewels,

including the

encircled his long hair, gathered

up

in
us,

chignon on the top of the crown. Thus he appears to

his

head bare and already in the act of changing his silken

clothes,

which

are

no longer

suitable to his
all

new

state, for

the coarse garment of a hunter. In

these details the figur-

ed tradition conforms with a good grace to the written.

There

is

only one point on which the Indo-Greek


have

artists
all

have shown themselves intractable. At that instant


texts will
it

the

that the Bodhisattva himself


:

with his

sword cut

off his hair

but to this

last

exigency of Indian
its

custom the school of Gandhara has never given

consent.

Whether

it

represents the Master at

the

height of his
in
all

ascetic macerations, or

whether

it

shows him

his

splendour, at the

moment when

he has just attained to


it

Illumination, his chignon continues to remain such as

was before

his

entrance into religion.

When

at last

he

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


begins to convert his
first disciples,

133

there

is

only the more

striking contrast between his wavy hair and the shorn

crowns
life,

of his bhikshus for these


:

latter,

evidently sketched from

wear the

full tonsure, exactly like the

bonzes of the preto complete the

sent day. Accordingly,

we may

say that by systematically

refusing in the case of the Blessed

One

expected transmutation of layman into monk, the Gandhara


sculptors have not only put themselves in intended contradiction to the sacred writings
:

they have also obstinately

closed their eyes to the data supphed by the direct observation of a

number of their own

clients.

Visit afresh the collections, or turn over at

your

leisure

the reproductions, of Greco-Buddhist bas-reliefs.

The

sole

distinction between the Bodhisattva, or any other great lay

person, and

Buddha

consists in this, that the latter appears

without jewels and draped to the neck in the monastic

gown. On the other hand, the only characteristic difference between the Master and the monks of his order lies in the privilege, which he alone enjoys, of retaining his hair.

At
(pi

this point the recipe for fabricating a

Buddha

after the

mode
.

of Gamihara presents
I

itself

spontaneously to you

body of a monk, and surmount it with the head of a king (or what in India comes to the same
XVI,
thing, a god), after having
earrings.
first

VYou take the

stripped

it

of turban and

These

dients of this

two necessary and sufficing ingrecurious synthesis; and you divine immediately
are the

the advantages of this procedure.

Were

it

not for the head,

confusion with any other

and

this simple

monk would be almost inevitable consideration may help to explain why the
abstained

ancient native school

from representing the

disciples as well as the Master (').

On the other

hand, were

(i) See above, p. 76.

'

134
it

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


little

not for the monastic cloak, you might be a

puzzled

to distinguish the Perfect

whenever the second


even
little

is

Buddha from the future Buddha, shown without a headdress, or


to

when

the lips of the former continue


still

wear that

on the remote Japanese images. But join together the two elements, however incongruous, a layman's head on the body of a cleric and
moustache which you
find
:

this

combination will

at

once give you an individuality sufall

ficiently

marked to answer

the practical needs of iconoit

graphv/*rhe result has shown

well.

But, however complex the Indo-Greek type of

Buddha

you doubtless consider that we have examined and dissected it more than sufficiently for to-day; and you

may

be,

tremble to perceive the endless

conclusions which

we

might
even

at

once draw from


First of

this analysis,

however

superficial

and summary.
if

all, it

would be
chic,

sufficient to prove,

history did not so state, that this type

was

created

as an afterthought and, let us say, de


artists

by strangers more

than

theologians,
I

than for orthodoxy.

more soHcitous for esthetics would go further Not only at the


:

moment of its

conception had the face of the Master long


past,

been blurred in the mists of the


graphic data concerning

and

all

precise icono-

him been

lost; but

among

the

vapours of incense which the worship of posterity caused


to

mount towards

his

memory, while waiting

for the latter

to be materialized in his image, he


a

had already assumed


scarcely otherwise

superhuman and,
character.

as is written, a supernatural)) Qokotleast,

tara)

At

we

could

explain the success of that stroke of audacity

whereby the

school of Gandhara assigned to


special

him from the beginning a physionomy, derived from, and at the same time
at

remaining

an equal distance from, that of a

monk

and

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


that of a god. It results, further, that this type issues

135

from
with

the fusion of a double ideal, that of the Greek

Olympian
,

and that of the Mahdpurusha, or Indian

Great

Man

we except the detail of the distended lobe of the ears. And this would to some extent excuse the defect that many of these images are not exempt from some academic frigidity. Finally, we
no borrowing from
living reality,
if

comprehend the reason


ations thought
the hair.
it

for the retouches

which

later

gener-

necessary to apply, notably as concerns

We

can even see in

how

mechanical a manner

through uniformly covering bandeau and chignon with the


short traditional curls, their want of
skill

has suddenly

caused to stand out on the top of the crown the boss called
ushnisha, a

word which formerly meant only headdress


not yet
all
:

what should I not have to tell you concerning the diffusion in India and the Far East of the idolatrous worship of Buddha, parallel to that of the images But reassure yourselves sufficient for each hour
this is
!

And

its

subject,

and

will

not further abuse your patience.

Moreover, as
easier than to
prefer, less

we remarked at the beginning, nothing is or, if you see how much better preserved

deformed

at all

times and in

all

places
I

was
shall

the face of the Blessed

One

than his doctrine.


the conquest

not, therefore, insist to-day

on

of upper

and lower Asia by this irresistible propagator of the IndoGreek school of Gandhara. But you would not forgive me,
if I

did not

show
two

in conclusion

how

this

Buddhist school
art.

finds itself

by its origins

in contact with

our Christian

XVI, 2); the one represents /Christ, and the other Buddha. The one was taken from a sarcophagus from Asia Minor, and is to-day to be found in
A.ook
at these

statues (pi.

Berlin; the other

comes from

a ruined temple in Gandhara,

and

is at

present in Lahore. Bo^h, with the pose of the right

136

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


similarly draped in their mantles, are direct descen-

arm

dants of a

common

ancestor, the beautiful


called the Orator, in

Greek statue of

the Lateran

Museum,

which we have
that,
is

long recognized

a Sophocles. It is

not to be doubted

plastically speaking, they are

cousins-german.
is

The one

Greco-Christian Christ; the other

Greco-Buddhist

Buddha. Both

are,

by the same

right, a legacy left in extre-

mis to the old world by the expiring Greek arty^


After this last experience
it

will, doubtless,

seem

to

you
us

proved that

this figure of

Buddha, which, smiHng

at

from the depths of the Far East, represents


mination of what
is

for us the cul-

exotic, nevertheless

came

originally

from

a Hellenistic studio. Such, at least, is the truth to-day

mean the conclusion arising from the documents at present known and such, at the point at which archaeoI

logical researches

have arrived, will probably be the truth

to-morrow. Must
facts,

we
the

be glad or sorry for this


is

Facts are

and the wisest thing


still

to take

them

as they

come.

It

was

recently

custom to triumph

noisily over the

artistic

inferiority of the Indians, reduced to

accepting

ready

made from

the hands of others the concrete realiza-

tion of their
tic bias

own religious ideal. At present, owing to aestheit is

or to nationalist rancour,

the fashion to

make
for

the school of Gandhara pay for


a systematic

its

manifest superiority by

blackening of

its

noblest production.

We

our part refuse in this connection to share either the unjustifiable

contempt of the old criticism for native inspiration,

or the ill-disguised spite of the

new

against the foreign

make.

It
;

is

not the father or the mother


the father and the mother.

who

has formed

the child

it is

The

Indian

mind
a case

has taken a part no less essential than has Greek genius in


the elaboration of the

model of the Monk-God.

It is

where the East and the West could have done nothing

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE


without each other.
It

137

would be

childish to associate our-

selves, in a partizan spirit

and turnabout, with the exaltation

or the contempt, whether of Europe or of Asia,


fine

when

so

an opportunity offers for saluting in the Eurasian pro-

totype of Buddha one of the most sublime creations where-

with their collaboration has enriched humanity.

'

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GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE

PL. XI

ID

w
CO ID

o
<

w X

<:

p Q
ID

-'V

PLATE

XII
124.

Cf. pp. 121, 123,

I.

An

engraving botro'wei from


et C'=,

Sur

la frontiire indo-afghane (Paris,


;

Tour du monde, Nov. 1899, p. 543) executed from the author's photographs. On the left, beyond the ploughed land, is seen the village of Shihbiz-Garhi. In the background rises the hill of Mekha-Sandha, once sanctified by the legend of prince Vi^vantara (cf. ibid., p. 55 ; Notes sur la giogrdphie ancienne du GanHachette
1901,
fig.

11

cf.

dhdra, in 5. . F. E.-O.,

I,

Q.aite to the right stands the

1901, pp. 347-59; and above, p. 123). rugged hill-side, on which is still to be
(cf. p.

found the inscription of A^oka


II.

121).
at

photograph taken by the Archaeological Survey and placed


J.

our disposal by Dr.


see the central spur,

Ph. Vogel

(cf. p.

124). In the foreground


principal
hills

we
the

on which stands the

monastery
little

view extends towards the north-east above the


Takht-i-Bahai as
far as

of the

range of

the Sw4t mountains. For other views of the


14, or Tour
i

same
ibid
,

site

cf.

Sur

la frontiere indo-afghane, fig.

du monde,

p.

545, and Art g.-b. du

Gandh

figg.

and 63-4 (with plan

and description of the buildings, pp. 160-163).

GREEK ORIGIN OE THE 13UDDHA TYPE

PL, XII

1.

THE VILLAGE OF SHAHBAZ-GARHI

THE RUINS OF TAKHTT-BAHAI

PLATE
Cf. p.

XIII

124.

I.

AnengTzvinghorro-wedfvomSur
;

lafrontiireindo-afghane,

fig.

15

(or Tour du monde, Nov. 1899, p. 544) after a photograph taken by the author. The eminence, increased in height by the slow accumulation of the dust of the past, is still surrounded by a magnificent wall, now buried in the earth. The people of the country continue to maintain a

connection between the village and the


at a

hill

of Takht-i-Bahai, situated

distance of less than a league to the north,

which would represent


one and the same rijah

respectively the capital and the throne of


(cf. p.

124).

II.

An Archasological Survey photograh, communicated by Dr.

J.

Ph. VoGEL, representing a corner of the recent excavations of Dr. D. B.

Spooner
ical

in one of the neighbouring tumuli of Sahri-Bahlol(cf. p. 124). These excavations have been described by their author in the Archxolog-

explorations of the
the Euxuf^^ai

Survey of India, Annual Report, i^o6'j, pp. 102 -118. For previous Bellew, General Report on same district see H.

W.

(Lahore, 1864) and Punjab


;

G.tielteer,

Peshawar District

(1897-1898), pp. 46 sqq.


Sir

for the

more modern

researches (1912) of

Aurel Stein see, on the other iund, Annual Report of the Archseolog ical Survey of India, Frontier Circle, 1911-12 (Peshawar, 1912, with

map).

GREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE

PL. XIII

THE VILLAGE OF SAHRI-BAHLOL

2.

EXCAVATIONS NEAR SAHRI-BAHLOL

PLATE XIV
Cf. pp. 126-129.

An e ngraving borrowed from Sur


with the

la frontUre indo-afghane, fig. 40,

(or
lus

Tour du Monde, nov. 1899, p. 556). The identification of this tumu Pagoda of Kanishka (cf. above, p. 129) was first devella geographie ancienne

oped in our Notes sur

du Gandhdra

{B. . F.

.-0., I, 1901, pp. 329-333, with maps). Of the excavations by which it was verified an account has been given by Dr. D. B. Spooner in Archxological Survey of India,

Annual

Report, 1908-9, pp- 38-59.

II.

The four coins reproduced are borrowed from the Catalogue of


the British

Indian Coins in

Museum, The Coins

of the Greek and Scythic

Kings of Bactria and India, by Percy Gardner (London, 1886), pll. IV, I II, 9 XI, 7 XXVI, 8 a. Head of Alexander, son of Phihp ,
;
;

wearing a

lion's skin, like Heracles;

reigning king, Agathokles the just


a throne his

on the reverse, mention of the , inscribed round a Zeus seated

on

with a back, holding in

his raised left


(cf. p.

hand the long sceptre

and on

extended right hand the eagle

126).

b.

Head of

king, wearing a

diadem and

helmet in the form of an elephant's

King Demetrios , inscribed on left hand the club and the lion's skin and with the right hand crowning himself with an ivyDiademed head of the Saviour King wreath (cf. p. 126). c. Menander on the reverse, Pallas Athene, bearing the aegis and hurling the thunderbolt round her the same inscription, but this time in the Indian alphabet and language of the north-west (cf. p. 127). d. Full-length portrait of the Shah of Shahs, Kanishka the Kushan ;
head; on the reverse, mention of

both sides of a standing Heracles, bearing in his

spear in the
a standing

left

hand, the right extended above a pyre


a

on the

reverse,

Buddha, having an aureole and

nimbus

(cf. p.

128).

CREEK ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE

PL^

XIV

1.

SHAH-Ji-Ki-DHERI (KANISHKA STUPA)

INDO-GREEK AND INDO-SCYTHIC GOINS

PLATE XV
Cf. pp. 129-132.

1)

-O
Si

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rt

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^o

GREEK ORTGIN OF THE BUDDHA TYPE

PL XV

PLATE XVI
Cf. pp.

133-136.

I.

The

type of Bodhisattva and that of

Buddha

are

borrowed from
;

a frieze in the

ih.tofthe

museum of the Louvre (cf Art g.-b.du Gandh., fig. 134) monk from a bas-relief in the British Museum. For the
cf.

reason of their being placed together

pp. 133-134.

II.

The image

of Christ

is
;

reproduced from a plate in Professor


let

SxRzrGowsKi's Orient oder Rom


been
art fi:ially isolated

us not omit to confess that

it

has

to its slender figure

from the rest of the sarcophagus. In contrast the image of Buddha (no. 527 of the Lahore
0,60)
is

left

Museum; height m. arm we shall find


in ihe sixth
I
.

noticeably squat.

The

gesture of the

and

Buddha of this same plate XVI, i, of the seven which are ranged on the base of plate
again in the

XXVI,

For comparison the Sophocles of the Lateran

museum may

be found reproduced in most manuals of classical archaeology. (Cf.


pp. 135-136).

GREEK ORIGIN OE THE

P.IIDDHA

TYPE

PL XVI

^^M
1.

TYPES OE BODHISATTVA, BUDDHA AND MONK

*^#*?)'"5 l^ifWWWfB

2.

GR^CO-GHRISTIAN GHRIST AND GR/EGO-BUDDHIST BUDDHA

The Tutelary
in

Pair
(')

Gaul and

in India

When

turning over the leaves of the monumental and


bas-reliefs, statues
et

valuable Recueil des

busies

de la Gaule

romaine of
figure

M. Esp^randieu, we see again and again a usually entitled Abundance or Goddess Mois

ther

Rare in Provence, where apparently it

better con-

cealed under the purely classical features of Demeter and

Fortune,

it

shows

itself

from time

to time in Aquitaine
;

with an appearance already more indigenous


plying
itself, it
it

then multi-

passes into Lyonnaise

where we have
:

counted

no

less

than forty times (vols. III-IV)


tell

the se-

quel of the publication will

us whether

it

enjoyed the
type, very
left

same favour
a horn

in Belgian Gaul. Its

most usual

close to that of the pullulant Matres, holds in the

hand

of abundance, and in the right a patera. In no.

3225 (Langres) we see moreover on either side of the goddess two little genii, one of whom dips into a purse placed between her
sisters,

feet . If it is
is

not she, then

it is

one of her

who

elsewhere

represented with a child in her

arms, like aMadonna(nos. 1326-1334, Saintes), orwith a sack on her knees, from which drop coins (no. 1367,
Ruffec). At times fruits are also placed actually

on the

lap

of the goddess (nos. 2350,

Mont Auxois

3237, Langres).

Lastly,the patera is occasionally replaced by acake (nos. 1528,

(i) Revue archdokgique, 1912,

II,

pp. 341-9'

140

THE TUTELARY PAIR


or, in

IN

GAUL AND

IN INDIA

by a goblet of the special form called an o//a (nos. 1161, Puy-de-D6me; 21 12, Beaune). These last attributes seem to be only borrowings from another Gallic divinity, or rather two
Bourges),
the

more debased

pieces,

and likewise of frequent occurence. Their usual attributes are the olla and the purse, often difficuh to distinguish from one another but local and barbarous variants represent them as holding Hkewise
others

who

are masculine

the cake and the sack of

Cher), or even a child

La Guerche, (no. 2882, Auxerre), when they do

money

(no. 1555,

not in their turn borrow the patera

full

of fruits (no. 2263,


;

Entrains) or the horn of abundance (nos. 2 1 62, Macon 2 1 66,

Chalon-sur-Saone).

One of the
it

types

is

bearded

like Jupiter,

whose long
of a mallet.
sonality

sceptre

replaces, as

we know, by

the handle
his perrela-

The

other, beardless,

most often hides

under the figure of Mercury. The intimate


of both

tionship

with the goddess, or goddesses, of


:

Abundance is certain for a proof we require only the numerous groups in which they appear in company, standing on the same stele or seated side by side on the same seat. Some represent the god without a beard, and indicate clearly from the wings on his feet up to the peta-

sus, taking the caduceus en route

his assimilation to
;

Mercury (nos. 1800, Fleurieu-sur-Saone 1836, Autun), or give him the appearance of a local Mars (no. 1832,
Autun). The majority resort to the model of the bearded

god with

a mallet (nos. 2066, Nuits; 3441,


as

Dijon

etc.).

Often they assign to the husband,

mark of

office,

the

same horn of abundance


or

as to his

companion, unless they


the

lend to the latter the purse (no. 3382, Chatillon-sur-Seine),

make both place their hands on

same

olla

(no. 21 18,

Beaune). In one case a child

is

playing at their feet

(no. 1830, Autun). For the necessities of our case

we will

THE TUTELARY PAIR


restrict

IN

GAUL AND

IN INDIA

141

ourselves to borrowing from M. Esp^randieu's col-

lection an almost complete specimen of each of the

two

principal variants of the subject (pi. XVII,

No
take

and 2) ('). one expects from an Indianist that he shall underi

more closely to identify Gallo-Roman divinities or even to distinguish very carefully between them but perhaps he may be allowed to point out the existence, on the oppo;

site

confines of the world

known

to the ancients, of per(pi.

fectly

analogous figures and even groups


far as

XVIII,

and

2).

As
in

one can judge of the popularity of gods by


less in

the always fortuitous result of excavations, this divine pair

was
it.

Gandhara no

vogue than

in

Lyonnaise but
;

there

we possess more precise information concerning The Buddhist community showed itself more receppopular superstitions than the Christian clergy.
its

tive to

It

assigned a place in
its

convents, and dedicated passages of

scriptures, to this conjugal association of the fairy with


:

the children and the genius with the purse

for, after all,

they are only demi-gods of


for the use of the

fairly

low

extraction, created

middle

classes,

and on a level with them. In


but the texts merely desi-

the

man

it

has long been proposed to recognise Kuvera,


(*)
,
;

the King of the Spirits

gnate
is

him

as their general

by

in virtue of this title that he is

name Pancika, and it nearly always leaning upon


his

a lance.

These Yakshas of

India, like the dwarfs of

our

mythologies, are essentially guardians of treasures; and


doubtless this
is

how

Pancika must have commenced

(i) In addition to the specimens represented or quoted in the texts, see


also nos. 1564, 1573, 1828, 1837, 1849, 2129, 2249,2252-2253, 2255-2256,

2271, 2313, 2334, 2353, 2878-2881, 2911,

etc. It

seems that the same two

gods are again found in the company of the same goddess on the triades of nos. 21 31 (Autnn) and 2357 (Asile-Sainte-Reine). (2) Cf. Dr. J. Ph. VoGEL, Note sur une statue du Gandhara, in B. E. F.
E.-O.,
Ill,

1903.

142

THE TUTELARY PAIR

IN

GAUL AND

IN INDIA in

his career; but the purse of gold ,


his right hand,

which he holds
even
if

would

sufficiently prove,

we were

not expressly told, that he had already transformed himself

from

jealous gaoler into a generous dispenser of

riches.

Whilst the miserly demon was thus changing into a

was undergoing a parallel evolution, and from an ogress was becoming a matron. Originally she personified some terrible infantile epidemic; and, although herself a mother of five hundred little
liberal geniu"^, his wife Hariti

elves, she

found her food


is

in

the children of
art,

men; but
is

when

she

depicted for us by religious

she

suppos-

ed to have been already converted by Buddha, and her sole


function
is

to accord to the

vows of the

faithful a

numerous

progeny.

If

we

care to translate the

myth

into Greco-

Roman
Most
called

terms. Lamia
is

was metamorphosed into Lucina.

often she

represented as holding

on her knees, or

even suckHng, her last-born, which has caused her to be


the

Buddhist Madonna

Q,

whilst

numbers of

her sons frolic around her or,

chmbing about her person,


allegory of Charity.

make her look Hke an


authors of
pi.

Italian

The

XVIII,

and 2 have expressed the

traditional

conception of the fruitful and fructifying Hariti in a

man-

ner more sober than usual, being content with putting a


cornucopia into her left hand.

They

forget only

one point,

that according to Indian ideas a horn or any other remnant of a dead animal (except the black antilope) is an unclean thing, and that only people of the currier caste,

namely

the least fastidious and the

most despised of men, can touch

such an object. For us Europeans,

who

are not disturbed

by such refinements of

delicacy, this attribute, far

from

shocking, only awakens in the delighted

mind

ideas of fer-

(i) Cf. infra, the last essay.

THE TUTELARY
tile

PAIR IN

GAUL AND

IN INDIA

143

is, indeed, how the Indo-Greek sculptors understood it, and the mere choice of this symbol would be sufficient to prove that

maturity and maternal prosperity. This

they were more Greek than Indian but the meaning of these abridged versions remains evidently the same as that of the more ornate repHcas, which encumber with urchins
:

the pedestal, the knees, and even the shoulders of these

same persons (cf. pi. XLVIII, i). The mere sight of the god leaning lovingly on the arm or the shoulder of his companion, and the latter not fearing to caress his knee in
public, leaves us in

no doubt

that popular imagination

and
dis-

cult have in fact united in

matrimony the genius who

penses riches and the fairy

who grants
must

posterity.

We
same ney
itself

should be willing to believe that the Gallic groups,


practically

like their Indian prototypes,

answer to the

although our modern

eternal desires of

humanity

for offspring and for

mo-

civilization

seems to detach

from the one to the advantage of the other. As far as the god is concerned, whether it be a question of the Gallic Mercury, who, we are told by Caesar, controlled the
gains of commercial transactions, or of that Dis Pater,

who

seems

to be the native double of Plutus, as well as of Pluto,


is

the purse which he holds in his hand


expressive

in all

languages an

emblem

and

as for the goddess,

by whatever

name she may


svelta,

be called, Rosmerta, Maia, Tutela, Nanto-

or simply BonaDea, her horn of abundance signifies


all

fecundity. According to

appearance, whilst her husband

was more particularly destined to fulfil the aspirations of the men, her task was to satisfy those of the women and thus in Gaul, as in India, both sexes must have found satis;

faction in the
ficient or four

worship of

this divine pair. Besides,

it is

suf-

purpose that their tutelary character should

be incontestable.

What

chiefly interests us

is

the analogy

144

THE TUTELARY PAIR

IN

GAUL AND

IN INDIA
artists

between the procedures followed by the

of

such

distant countries, in order to picture before

our eyes ideas

on the whole analogous.


Between the two groups reproduced
only contrast
at all striking

in

our plates the

consists in the respectively


as
it is,

inverse positions of the


it

two spouses. But, inverted


for the

retains the

the place

same intention of reserving of honour in relation to the man


(').

goddess
ac-

that being

cording to the old Indian custom on the


right as with us

left,

and not on the

The

stool placed beneath the left foot


i is

of the persons in

pi.

XVII,

lacking in

pi.

XVIII, landa;

but
pi.

it

exists

on other
pi.

replicas, and, besides, the


it

group of

XVII, 2 dispenses with

likewise.
i,

The

scaly decoration

of the pedestal of each other,


purse.
is

XVIII,

made of

coins half covering

only a paraphase of the signification of the


seats

The double

on

pi.

XVIII allow a sight of


:

their

four

feet,

turned on the lathe in the Indian manner but, on

the other hand, the


character of the pair
eyes.

nimbus which emphasizes the divine


is

perfectly familiar to

our western

Then, beside these small


!

local diflFerences,
If

what

re-

semblances are to be observed

we

leave aside the leg-

gings and the large earrings of the Indian genius, his cos-

tume

even, consisting of a tunic and a cloak,

is

not so very

different

from that usually worn by his Gallo-Roman equi-

dhara, figg. 160-162.

Art greco-houddhique du Ganis that two Gallo-Roman groups, to be classed among those which have best retained the accent of their birthplace, also place the goddess on the left of the god; they are nos. 1 3 19 (Saintes) in which the god with the purse is crouched down a I'indienne near the goddess with the horn of abundance, who is seated
(i) For other conjugal pairs thus placed
cf.

curious fact to be noticed

in the

European manner, and 2334 (Auxois). We may ask ourselves if the custom of the Gauls was not the same as that of the Indians on this point, exactly as we know that it was the common custom of the two nations to
count past time by nights and not by days,
etc,

THE TUTELARY PAIR


valents.

IN

GAUL AND

IN INDIA

145

To
a

the mallet of the one corresponds well


its

enough
god of

the long sceptre of the other, with

end rounded in the

form of
pi.

mace

(pi.

XVIII,

i).

As

for the beardless

2, he, we are told, holds in his left hand a lance, and in the other an object scarcely recognizable, perhaps

XVII,

a purse

these are precisely the insignia of the correspondpi.

ing person in

XVIII,

2.

Last but not

least,

the

women

have the same pose, the same attributes, the same draperies, even the same headdress in the form of a (c bushell ,
or

basket

between them a quasi-identity

asserts itself,

and there would be no exaggeration in saying that, from the banks of the Indus to those of the Seine, it would have
cheated even the eyes of the donors.

Such

is

the testimony of the


say,

monuments. What does


:

it

prove ? Let us hasten to

nothing very new

for certainly

no one

will venture to imagine direct influences

between

Gaul and

India. Moreover, the connection, as far at least as


is

the goddess

concerned,

is

already established in the

memory of instructed
figures
:

readers

by a number of intermediary

at

need

it

would soon be discovered among those

tiny mercantile and travelling folk, the Mediterranean terracottas.

We shall

be excused for holding in this case also to

prudent generalities and confining ourselves to the introduction of our Indian repHcas into the discussion.
If it

were

not sufficient to indicate this

new
It

fact,

and

ther to essay an interpretation of it, that

we ought furwhich we should


if

propose

is

a very simple one.

has long been ascertained


its

that the art of Gandhara borrowed


lenistic art
:

technique from Helit

it is

impossible then that

should not have

features in

common

with Greco-Roman, and consequently


art.

with the Gallo-Roman

This kind of relationship, howbe, is justified principally, in

ever distant the degree

may

archaeology as well as in linguistics, by the same construe-

146

THE TUTELARY PAIR

IN

GAUL AND

IN INDIA

tion of the forms and the

employment of the same grammar, verbal or decorative: and in this particular case no speciaHst could turn over the leaves of M. Esp^randieu's
collection without noticing, in support of the cousinship

of these distant schools, a

and the constant return

number of details of composition of the same ornamental subjects,


striking

amorini, griffons or tritons, garlands, acanthuses orflowers.


But, after
for
all,

nothing

is

more

and more persuasive

the

public than

comparison bearing on vocabuquestion of a

lary, especially if it is a

common

significant

word. This
believed

is

just

the kind

of contribution

that

we

we

could supply here by noting the suggestive

correspondence of the oriental


sions of the

and occidental expres-

same

ideas, or, better, of the

same

religious

needs. In truth, these works,


be,

however complex they may

only transcribe quite rudimentary notions; but notions

only the more deeply grounded in


as they are, these groups

which,

human

nature.

Such

besides, are nearly

contemporaneous

seem to us to furnishfor the moment


verifications of the factthatin the
at

one of the most palpable


first

centuries of our era the sculptors of the Gauls and

those of Ariana had each learned

the school of the Greeks,

and spoke from one end of the ancient world to the other the same common language, the same artistic koin^ .

PLATE XVII
Cf. pp. 141-145.

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THE TUTELARY PAIR

PL. XVII

PLATE

XVIII

Cf. pp. 141-145.

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O S

THE TUTELARY PAIR

PL. XVIII

<
<;

X Q

<

>"^'4)

/i

--^

..A

The Great Miracle

at

Qravasti (0.

The

narratives of the death of

his cremation eight kings or

Buddha assert ruUng clans shared

that after
his ashes,

and that they deposited their several portions under as many stupas. We see no reason for disbelieving tradition on this
point
first
:

the important thing

is

not
the

at

times to confuse these

eight sanctuaries with

historical eight

grand

caityas (").

We

know, indeed,

for certain that eight

towns

of Madhyadeca had finally divided

among

themselves, not

the relics, but the legend, of Buddha. In their immediate

neighbourhood were eight


to

specially holy places,

supposed

preserve the vestiges of the eight principal miracles

of the Master. This implies that

they formed as

many

centres of attraction for pilgrims, the organized exploitation

of

whom
It

one of the few industries which


easily be

still

survive

in India

must have constituted an


may

appreciable source of
definite choice

income.

imagined that the

of scenes and sites was not accomplished without rivalries

{i) Journal asialique, Jan. -Feb. 1909.


(2) That there
is

proved
1894,

at

once

in

Une

no lack of opportunity for these confusions we find poesie hconnue du roi Harsa QilMUya, restored from
S,

Chinese transcription by M.
I,

Levi {Ades du X" Congres

int. des Orient.,

p. 188,

Leiden, 1895) and entitled


still

Hymn
,

to

the Eight Great

Caityas

which enumerates

more. The

eight reliquaries

of stanza 5,
-\-

followed by the stupas of the

urn

and the

ashes

are evidently the 8


to

2 stupas of the Mahdparinibbdna- sutta,


eight great caityas of the title.

VL

62,

and have nothing

do with the

12

148

THE GREAT MIRACLE


least four cities, indeed, received

and hesitations. At
first

from the

an undisputed recognition.

A relatively ancient text, the

Mahdparinibbdnasutta, already

recommends the pilgrimages

to the four sacred places of the Birth, the Illumination, the

and the Death, of Buddha (') On the square bases of the little stupas of Gandhara and the stelae of
First Preaching,

Amaravati these four scenes are invariably associated (pU. II-

IV)

only

we must draw
Kapilavastu
is

attention to the fact that in the

latter case

usually represented not by the


called

nativity of the child

Buddha, but by what might be


life,

abandonment of home Q) However, neither the cities of Gaya and Benares, nor certainly the obscure frontier market towns of Kapilavastu and Kucinagara could pretend to monopolize
his birth into the spiritual
.

we mean his

between them the Buddhist legend and the advantages


accruing therefrom.

Through

the disconnected accounts of

(i)V, 16-22; iht


and Neil,
(2)
p.

Jati,

the Abhisambodhi, the Dharmacakrapravartana, and

the Parinirvana are similarly associated in the Divydvaddna, ed.

Cowell

244 and p 397,


little

1.

18.

For the
fig.

stupas of the

north-west,

cf.

Art greco-bouddhique du
J.

Gandhara,

208. For the stels of Amaravati see

Burgess, The Buddhist


5
;

Stupas of Amaravati and Jaggayyapeta, pll. XVI, 4; XLI, 6 (with the departure on horseback; cf.
Serpent-Worship, pi.
to

XXXII, 4; XXXVIII,
J.

Fergdsson, Tree and


3

LXXV

on the

right),

and

pi.

XVI,

(with the farewell

Chandaka;

cf.

Fergdsson,

ibid., pi.

LXXV,
is

to the left).

On

all

those

stelse

which

are complete the Parinirvdria

constantly symbolized by a

simple stupa.'With these one


or a wheel (Bdrgess, ibid.,
;

may connect

others, in which the Abhisarnbodhi

and the Dharmacakrapravartana are figured by an empty throne under a tree

XLV, 2 and 4; XLVI, XCIII; XCIV, i, 4). The 1-3 3 most curious of this kind are those which shrink from representing not only the Buddha, but even the Bodhisattva, and wherein the Mahdbhinishkramana is no longer represented, except by a horse without a rider (Fergdsson,
pll.

XXXVIII,

and 6

XLVII,

XLVIII,

Fergdsson,

ibid., pll.

ibid., pll.

XCIII, to the

left

XCVI,
is

and XCVIII,

2). It will

be observed
67, 2 and

.besides that

on several

stein;

of Benares (^Anc. Mon. Ind.,

pi.

68, i) the Mahdbhinishkramana

associated with the Jdti in the

same

framework.

THElGREAT MIRACLE
the documents

149

we seem to

catch the play of the

two domi-

nant forces which brought the number of the great pilgrimages up to the sacred figure of eight. Sometimes the pre-

ponderant element seems to be the prestige which a certain miracle had very early acquired in the popular imagination.

Thus we

see the descent

from heaven

separate itself
;

very early from the crowd of traditional marvels


localization continues fluctuating, at least
if

but

its

we

keep to

the letter of the texts


capital

(*).

On

the other hand, the ancient

ofMagadha, Rajagriha, and the wealthy free town of Vaifali easily, by reason of their preeminent role in the Buddhist scriptures eclipsed the
,

there

is,

titles of Kaucambi or Mathura however, no consensus of testimony as to which


:

among
pass
it

all

the edifying scenes which had there


right

was

more

particularly to
interest
is at

come to commemorate. At
once concentrated

Cravasti even,

where the

unanimdoes not fall, as might have been expected, on a great miracle , the triumph whereby its immediate the environs had been rendered famous Q. In the face of the
the Master's favourite sojourn,
ity of choice
(i)
at at
It is

upon the Jetavana,

known

that the Divydvaddna

and Fa-hien

localize the Devdvatdra

Sankagya, Hiuan-tsang at Kapitha and Fa-t'ien

(cf. S.

Levi^

loc. cit.,

p.

190)

Kanyikubja; the Mahdvyutpatti ( 193) and Wou-k'ong (trans. S. Levi and Ed. Chavannes, Journal A siatique, sept-oct. 1895, p. 358) do not give
definitely the place of this

Descent

of Buddha.
in the Jetavana of ^ravasti (the

(2)

The Mahdprdtihdrya
somewhat

is

indeed mentioned by the text of Harsha and

placed,

incorrectly,

by Fa-t'ien

Divydvaddna [pp. 151 and 155, 11. 12-14 and 17-18] specifies, in fact, that the theatre of the scene was situated between the town and the park) but
;

Wou-k'ong

associates with the Jetavana the preaching of the

Mahdpmjmpd-

same way, at Rijagriha, in direct antithesis to the vague he places the preaching of the Saddharmapundarika on the neighbouring hill of the Gridhrakuta. At Vai^ili both agree to call by different names the touching episode of the rejection of life {dyur or dyuhsamskdra-utsarjana), which supervened three months before the Parinirvdna. But we shall see that, guided by considerations of a pictorial and technical
ramitd-sutra. In the
teachings of Fa-t'ien,

ijo

THE GREAT MIRACLE

capricious divergencies of the texts the concordant precis-

ion of the figured

monuments

has fortunately permitted

us to make out the list, and to sketch the traditional scheme, of the four supplementary great scenes, the miracle of Qrathe descent from heaven at Sankacya, the monkey's oifering at Vai^ali, the subjugation of the savage elephant
vasti,

at

RajagrihaQ.

It is true that, in

order definitely to fix this

scheme,

we have

availed ourselves chiefly of miniatures

in Nepalese

and Bengali manuscripts of rather late date (Xl"'-XIir'' centuries). At the most we had been able to compare with them only a few carved slabs, which came

from the scene of the


mately to the
slabs

first preaching)), at Sarnath,in the

northern suburb of Benares, and which date back approxiV*''

century of our era. Unfortunately^ these


:

were quite incomplete

we may

be permitted, thereat

fore, to

emphasize the interest of the recent discovery


place of a stele in fairly

the

same

good condition, divided

into eight panels and consecrated precisely to the eight great

scenes (pi. XIX, i). Let us say at once that seven of these
bas-reUefs only confirm what
jects

we

already

knew

of the sub-

which they represent and the conventional manner of treating them. Besides, Mr. J. H. Marshall has completely
identified

them.

He

has no hesitation, except as regards

one single scene,


is

which the identification )), he says, doubtful, but which appears to have taken place at ^ra of
))

vasti

Q. And

it is,

in

fact,

concerning the traditional

order, the artists


different choice

made from the mass of


letters.

the traditional

accoums a quite

from the men of

(i) See Et. sur Vlconogr. bouddh. de I'Inde,

(1900, pp. 162-170), sum-

marized, corrected and completed,

ibid., II

(1905), pp. 113-114.

(2) See Mr. Marshall's (article in


pi. IV, i).

We

/. R. A. S. 1907, pp. 999-1000, and take pleasure in here thanking the very distinguished Direc-

tor-General of Archxiology, India, for his extreme kindness in putting at

THE GREAT MIRACLE

151

manner of representing the Great miracle of gravasti that this new document will furnish us with useful evidence.

II

The
as

canonical importance of the mahd-prdtihdrya of ^ra-

vasti is incontestable.

The Divydvaddna
which every

gives

it

expressly

one of the ten

acts of

perfect
(').

Buddha must
It is

necessarily acquit himself before dying


in this text

likewise

that

is

to say, as

MM.

S.

Levi and Ed. Huber

have shown, in the Vinaya of the Mula-Sarvastivadins


that

to

we

of the

most ancient and most detailed account miracles whereby on this occasion Qakyamuni
find the
his rivals, the six chiefs of sects.
is

triumphed over

Thanks

the translation of Burnouf, this account


to need citation here
(*).

too well

known

We

shall restrict

ourselves to

bringing out the essential points. After having wrought a

few minor miracles, which were mere preliminary and refusing to allow anyone,

trifles,

monk
in

or layman,

man

or

our disposal a photograph of the


reproduction.

stele

question and authorizing

its

(i) Divydvaddna, pp, 150 151 no Buddha of the past has failed in it ibid., p. 147, 11. 24-27); according to the Tibetan testimonies the Buddha of our
;

age accomplished
the

it

in the sixteenth year of his ministry

(Rockhill, Life of

79). (2) Divydddna, XII and Bdrnouf, Introduction a I'hist. du Bouddh. indien, pp. 162 sqq. The XIII" story of the Avaddnakalpalatd, deplorably edited

Buddha,

p.

indeed in the Bibl. Indica, V, 1895 (see, below, p. 174, n. 5), adds, in accordance "with the usual custom of Kshemendra, nothing but poetic graces

RoCKmL(^Life of the Buddha, pp. 79-80, following the Dulva) and Schiefner
Qdkyamuni's, p. 293) restrict themselves to a reference to BuRNOUF. For the connections of these various authors with the
(^Eine tihet. Lebensbeschr
.

tradition of the Mfila-Sarvistivyins see also the very clear conclusions of

Prof. S. Levi, Journal Asiatique, July-August 1908, pp. 102 and 104.

152

THE GREAT MIRACLE


to be substituted for him, so as to confuse the

woman,
Tirthyas

by the exhibition of

a supernatural

power, the

Blessed

One
At

accomplishes successively, on the direct and

twice repeated invitation of king Prasenajit,


miracles.
first

two kinds of
is

he displays what in technical terms

called the yamaka-prdtihdrya,


air in

which consists

in

walking the

various attitudes, while emitting alternately flames


;

and waves from the upper and lower parts of his body
the second place, multiplying images

in

of himself up to

heaven and

in all directions,

he preaches his law.

A violent
convert-

storm, raised by a chief of the genii, completes the over-

throw of the heterodox.


ed to the good law.

An immense multitude

is

now after the Sanskrit version we consult the Pali tradition, we find that the mahd-prddhdrya of ^ravasti is there
If

usually designated the miracle at the foot of the


tree .

The Mahdvamsa and


it

for

example, give

mangocommentary of the Jdtaka, no other name. According to the


the
did, in fact, begin

latter, as also

according to the Singhalese and the Bur-

mese

(') accounts,

Buddha

by accoma

pUshing the magical operation which the jugglers of India


are always

endeavouring to imitate
is

from the stone of


at once

mango
and

planted in the ground he


tree,

supposed to have forthwith flowers

with grown an enormous


fruits.

covered

But then

this is

merely a simple extra, scarcely


the great day has come, the

even a curtain-raiser.
divinities assemble,

When

and the introduction to Jdtaka no. 483

(i) Cf. Mahavamsa, ed. Turnodr, pp. 107, 181, 191 ; ed. Geiger, pp. 137, 241, 2S4; Jdtaka, ed. Fausb0ll, I, p. 77, 1. 23 88, 1. 20, etc.; ambamule, or gandamba-mtile, is written ; Ganda has become in the commentary of the
;

Jdtaka, no. 483, and

pp. 295-296), the

Gandamba in Sp. Hardy (Manual of Buddhism, i^' ed. name of the gardener who suppHed the mango see also
:

BiGANDET, Life of Gaudama, Rangoon, 1866, p. 205.

THE GREAT MIRACLE


tells

153

The Master, having accomplished the yamaka-pdtibdnya, and having recognized the believing dispositions of a great number of people, redes-

US in a single sentence that

cended, and, seated on his Buddha


If

taught the law ('). analyse this brief r^sum^ of the scene, it is not difficult to recognize in it, exactly as in the overelaborate version
seat,

we

of the Divydvaddna, the distinct and successive enunciation of the same two moments, that of the pair of miracles

and that of the preaching.

Of these two
diately as the

manifestations the
original
that

first strikes

one imme:

more

and the more picturesque


it

one would have wagered


the choice of the artists

must have

thrust itself

on

whose duty it was to decorate the Buddhist monuments with edifying scenes, or to compose pious ex-votos for the use of the laity. As a matter of fact,

we have found

in the ancient school of

Gandhara

at least
;

one indubitable representation of the twin miracles and even at the present moment the special attribution of
this bas-relief to the mahd-prdtihdrya of ^ravasti

seems to

us not in the

least untenable,

on the

sole condition that


It

we

mark well

its

exceptional character Q).

was, besides, the

accidental circumstance of this find that prevented our car-

rying still further our researches on this point. Nevertheless


as we

had already observed,

it

was the scene of the manifold

(i) See JAtaka, IV, p. 265,


1.

11,

13-14

the English translation (IV, p. 168,

3) of

oruyha=avaruyha by then arose

seems to us to be a

lapsus calami,

going directly against the meaning. It will be noticed that the Pali, like the Mah&vastu, makes use of the technical term oi yamaka-p; Bigandet, be. cH., p. 207, gives us a very clear description of it (perhaps even two descriptions,
cf.

below,

p.

157);

it

is

also easily recognized


cit.,

through the

tejo

and

apokasina-samdpatti o( Sp.

Hardy, he.

p.

297.

India, pi. 115, 5),

(2) See Art g.-b. du Gandh., pp. 516 and 535, and fig. 26^(=:Anc.Mon. where we give the reasons which led us us to prefer this

identification to the equally possible

one of

the arrival at Kapilavastu

154

THE GREAT MIRACLE


later, if

preaching of the Master that

we may

judge from

the miniatures of the manuscripts, inspired the traditional

image of the
regularly

great miracle

at least,

they represent

it

by three Buddhas teaching, seated side by

side

upon as many lotuses ('). Now the stele recently exhumed from the ground of the ancient Mrigadava testifies, five or six centuries earlier, to this same manner of conceiving
the subject
:

the compartment which

we know beforehand
shows
us,

to have been reserved for the miracle of Cravasti


in fact, like the miniatures, three

Buddhas seated on lotuses


is

in the attitude of teaching.

This

the

new

fact supplied

by

this discovery,

and

it

will not be long before its conse-

quences unfold themselves before our eyes.


But,
restrict
first

of all, a question arises as to whether

we must
can sucartists. If
it

ourselves to merely stating, or whether

we
i),

ceed in explaining, the unexpected choice of the

we

consider only the stele in question (pi.

XIX,

seems

that

we may immediately

see a reason, although an external


its

one, for the course taken by


fact,

author. Let us observe, in

that of the four great supplementary scenes of the

legend of Buddha there are two which absolutely necessitate a

standing posture

they are the subjugation of the

wild elephant and the descent from heaven.

legitimate

symmetry have demanded a


care for

in the alternation
sitting

of the poses would

posture in the corresponding


in the

scenes, not only in the

monkey's offering, but also


is

great miracle of Qravasti. Such, at least,

the idea impe-

riously suggested by an examination of the apportion-

ment

of the subjects on the

new

stele

the only one,

(i) See Icon, houddh. de VInde, I, pi. X, i (cf. Bendall, Catalogue of the Buddhist Sanskrit Manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge, 1883, pi. II, i), and cf. ibid. p. 205, no. 82, and II, pp. 114, no. 4.

THE GREAT MIRACLE


let

155

us remember, that
(cf.

we

possess with the eight scenes

complete

the table below).

First Preaching

Parinirvdna

Buddha seated

Buddha lying down

Descent

from Heaven

Miracle of Qrdvasti

Buddha standing

Buddha seated

Offering of the monhey

r J

Stihjugation of the elephant

Buddha seated

Buddha standing

Nativity

Perfect enlightenment

Maya standing

Buddha seated

It

is

scarcely necessary to
is

remark that

this reason,

valid

for the whole,

inapphcable to an isolated panel.

The

reading of the texts will furnish an argument of wider


It

bearing.

does not, in

fact,

take us long to perceive that they

use and abuse the yamaka-prdtihdrya.


tion of the Jdtaka

The

general introducas

makes

it

to be

wrought by Buddha

early as the eighth day after the Bodhi, and specifies that

he repeated
time of his
his father

it

under three other circumstances, (i)


his relatives, the ^akyas, (2) at the

at the

visit to

Kapilavastu and of his meeting with

and

time of

his

encounter with the heterodox


last,

monk

Patikaputta,

and

The

(3) at ^ravasti, at the foot of the mango-tree ('). Divydvaddna attributes it further to a simple monk

the Mahdvastu to Yacoda or Ya^ as, the converted son of the banker of Benares; the Sutrdlahkdra to the five hun-

dred bhikshunis, companions ot Mahaprajapati

the Jdtaka-

Davids, Buddhist Birth Stories, pp. 77 and 88; trans. Rhys of the three other occasions cf. MaMws/w, III, pp. 105 and 123; on the first second the Manual of Sp. Hardy, p. 33Ip, 115, and on the
(i) Jdtaka,
I,

156

THE GREAT MIRACLE


to a Pratyeka-Buddha
it
;

mdU
One,

finally, the

Mahavamsa twice
yamaka-

places

to the account of simple reUcs of the Blessed

etc. (').

We

receive the impression that the


in

prdtihdrya has
classic.

become hackneyed
after

consequence of being
it,

Moreover when,
seats

having accomplished

Bud-

dha returns and


Prasenajit in a

himself in his place, he informs king

moment
is

of proud modesty that this

kind of magical power

Tathagata

common to all the disciples of the Q. Hence it may be conceived that artists and
to

worshippers were of one mind in no longer finding in


this banal

wonder anything

characterize with suffi-

cient clearness the great scene of (^ravasti,

and preferred
:

the multiplication of the teaching images of the Master


for
it is

written that this last miracle

is

realizable

only by

the special
Finally,

power of the Buddha and the gods Q. must conceal nothing, we seem if we
to

to

detect in the texts themselves a tendency to confuse the

two kinds of wonders, and even


in favour of the latter. First of

ehminate the former


there seems to have

all,

been

at

times a misapprehension as to the real meaning

of the expression yamaka-prdtihdrya. This technical term


twin miracles does in fact lend itself to confusion.

We

know now from

the very explicit descriptions of the


it

Divydvaddna and the Mahdvastu that

must be understood

(i) Divydvaddna, p. 378 ; Mahdvastu, III, p. 410; Sutrdlankdra, trans, Ed. Hdber, p. 399; Jdtakamdld, IV, 20 ; Mahdvamsa, pp. 107 and 191 (Tdrno0r), 137 and 254 (Geiger).

(2) Divydvaddna, p. 161,

1.

13

sarvafrdvaka-sddhdrana.

The

text of the

conamentary of Jdtaka, n 483, IV, p. 265, 11. 12-13 Asddhdranam sdvakehiyamaka-p", which seems to mean the contrary, becomes in consequence

most suspicious,

at least if the two texts are speaking of the same miracle. Divydvaddna, p. 162, ad fin. The power of holding a dialogue with a (3) magic double is likewise stated a little further (on p. 166, 1. 11) as a privi-

lege of perfect Buddhas only and inaccessible to simple fravakas.

THE GREAT MIRACLE


as the

157

combined
fire

alternation of the
:

two opposite wonders


that in

of water and

but

it

was not without reason

1880 Prof. Rhys Davids understood it to mean making another appearance like unto himself In the Burmese
.

narrative translated by Bigandet (')

Buddha

does, indeed,

begin by making flames or streams gush forth alternately from the upper and lower parts of his body but very soon
:

he hastens to create a companion for his conversation and his walks, and sometimes it is his turn, and sometimes that of his double, to walk or to sit down, to question or to reply.
It

is

curious to notice that the Divyd-

vaddna also makes the magically multiplied images of the Blessed One assume varied attitudes, and whilst some
repeat afresh the marvels of water and
fire,

others either

ask questions or give answers to


far as to

them

. It

even goes so

introduce most unexpectedly, as an ending to the

Buddha and another self, created expressly for this purpose Q. Thus it manifests at least a certain propensity to amalgamate the two successive moments which it at first endeavoured to distinguish, and
chapter, a dialogue between

to confuse the reduplication of the miracles with that of

the images Q). Butthis

is

not

all.

In another passage of the

same

collection the reverend Piridola Bharadvaja relates to

king Afoka this same miracle of Qravasti, of which he


(i) See Rhys Davids, Buddh. Birth Stories, p. 105, n. 4; and Bigandet,
loc. cit.,

p. 207.
11.

(2) Divydvaddna, p. 162,

17-20, and 166,

11.

3-1

cf.

the description

of plate XXI, 2.
(3) The same confusion seems to be reproduced with regard to the miracles attributed to the monk Panthaka as regards these last I am indebted to the
;

obliging friendship and incomparably extensive information of Prof. S. Levi


for the following references
(p. 24)
;
:

Divydvaddna,

p.

494; Anguttara-Nikdya,
p.

I,

14

Fisuddhi-magga, analysed in/. Pdli Text Society, 1891-1893,


(c. 11), of the

114
7),

Vinaya (^Chinese) of the Sarvistivddins


of the Dharmaguptas (c. 12), etc.

Mahi^^sakas

(c,

158

THE GREAT MIRACLE

represents himself as an eye witness.

Now
:

he no longer
o!

even mentions the yamaka-prdtiharya

And when,

Great King, in order to triumph over the Tirthyas, the

was accomplished One, and there was created an


great miracle

at Qravasti

by the Blessed

array of

Buddhas which

mounted up to the heaven of the Akanishtha gods, at that time I was there, and I saw these sports of Buddha (') . Here it is no longer a question of anything but the second
miracle. Finally,

we

again find this

latter,

reduced to

its

most simple expression,

in the Buddhacarita of

Agvaghosha,

whose descriptions
translation

are always so close to the figured


far as

monu-

ments. According to him (so

we

can trust the English

made by

the Rev. S. Beal from the Chinese

translation of the original Sanskrit)

Buddha

restricts

himself

to rising into the air and

there remaining seated, and

diffusing his glory like the

hght of the sun, he shed


.

abroad the brightness of his presence

In this version

it

by

a strange coincidence, but

one which in our opinion

would be vain to seek

to press further

the mahd-prdtihdrya
:

quite assumes the characteristics of a Transfiguration


face did shine as the sun,

His

and

his

raiment became white as

the light

Ill

These waverings of tradition, as they are thus indicated in


the texts,

may

help us to understand the at

first

somewhat

surprising choice of the Indian image-makers. Regarding


(i) Divydvaddna,p. 401

that these are exactly the


in

Burnodf, Introd., p. 398) it will be noticed same terms as are employed on two occasions the previously quoted suira (Divyavaddm, p. 162, 11. 16 and 26).
(cf.
:

P. 401,

1.

15, read probably

(2) Sacred Books of the

aham instead of mahat. East, XIX, p. 240; Gospel accordim

to St.

Matthew

XVII,

2.

tHE GREAT MtRACLE


the fact of the choice itself there
is,

159

as

we

said above,

no

room

for doubt. Let us


5

resume the examination of the new


i
:

panel, no.

of plate XIX,

On

a lotus,

issues from a ripple of


is

waves

rolled

whose peduncle into volutes, Buddha

seated with crossed legs in the hallowed posture, and his

hands are joined in the gesture of instruction; on his right and left, again, there rises padjna with long stalk,
a.

a.

bearing another smaller Buddha, similar in all respects to the first... Now it is written in the Divydvaddm that at
that

moment namely, at a second invitation from Prasenajit and when the first series of miracles was already accomplished Buddha conceived a mundane thought

Immediately the Gods rush forward to execute


takes a place at his right and Qakra at his

it

Brahma

left,

while the

two Naga

kings,

wonderful lotus,
seats himself.

Nanda and Upananda, create entire a on the corolla of which the Blessed One
the
force

Then by

of his magic power,

above

this lotus

he created another, and on this one also


:

Buddha was

seated with his legs crossed

and thus in
hold-

front, behind, at the sides...

The crowd of Buddhas,


rise to the

ing themselves in the four consecrated attitudes (erect,


walking, seated, or recumbent), soon
highest

heavens (*).

The
:

bas-relief,

unable to juggle,

like the text,


all

with numbers and forms, shows us just three of them,


alike seated

but by

now there

is

for us

no question

that

we must

see in this restricted space an attempt,

however

timid, to realize the legendary phantasmagoria.

is

know that the heaven of the Akanishthas (1) Cf. Divyavaddna, p. 162. the highest heaven of the Riipadhdtu, at the 2y^ story of the Buddhist

We

paradises.

We

remember
,

also that the

two kings of the serpents,


in the life of

Nanda

and his junior

play a part in a

number of episodes

Buddha,

beginning with the bath which followed the nativity. We shall find information concerning them extracted by M. Ed. Huber from the Vinaya of the
Mula-Sarvistividins in the B. . F. E.-O., VI, 1906, pp. 8 sqq.

i6o

THE GREAT MIRACLE


this

With
as that

abridged version

we may

connect

immefrom

diately other

more developed
totally covers

pictures, such, for

example,

which
('),

another

stele originating

Sarnath

and in which are staged no

less 2),

than four

rows of Buddhas, seated or standing pi. (XIX,


the upward-branching lotus stems
figures,

On seeing

which bear these small


are invincibly led

we might

believe ourselves in the presence of a

genealogical tree of Buddhas.


to recall those which, either

Thus we

carved or painted, entirely

cover great stretches of the walls of several of the subter-

ranean temples of Ajanta.


a copy has

One

of these frescoes, of which

been

pubhshed, very gracefully

combines

wreaths of flowers and foliage with the dreamy figures of


the seated or standing

on the

right, in

Buddhas Q) it decorates the wall the antechamber of the sanctuary of Cave I


:

(i) Again let us cite no. (Sdrndth)


Catalogue,
II, p.

of the Calcutta

Museum (Anderson,

4; Anc. Mon. India, pi. 68, i), the left upper division of which unfortunately broken) represents similarly the great miracle of
Qlravasti
It

opposite 10 the

will be observed that

India, pll. (>j,'i

descent from heaven (cf. below, p. 164, n. i). on two other stelae of the same origin {Anc. Mon. and 68, 2 Art g.-b. du Gandh., fig. 209, and Iconog. bouddh.
:

de rinde,

I,

fig.

29, to the right) analogous representations of the

same

miracle decorate the borders of the stone and enclose the scene.
(2) See Griffiths, The Paintings oj Ajanta, pi.

XV

(cf.

on the plan of the

grotto the letter

and X,

ibid., pi.

IV and

pl.

VIII) and Burgess, Notes

on the Bauddha Rock Temples of Ajantd, p. 17 ; the paintings of this cave are usually attributed to the W'^ century. in Cave II the walls of the ante-

chamber of the sanctuary


of a very inferior

are likewise adorned with figures of

Buddha,
coun-

make
:

to those of the preceding ones.

M.

Griffiths

ted 1055 of them, measuring about

22 square metres and Burgess, loc.


of the grotto no.

m. 20 high and covering a surface of he has reproduced some of them, pl. XXIV (cf. p. 28,
p. 35,

cit.,

XVIII ad

fin.).

One may immediately

connect with these frescoes the


i

painted on the vault of Murtuk, a specimen of which Prof. Grijnwedel has


iiber Archseologische

thousand Buddhas

reproduced in his interesting Bericht


schari

Arbeiten in Idikut-

und Umgebung im Winter 1902-1903,


lotus.

pl.

XXX

notice the strangely

stereotyped character of the support of this Buddha, affecting both a cloud

and a

THE GREAT MIRACLE


and no one
will be surprised to learn that there

i6i

it forms a pendant to another of the eight great scenes, the Perfect Illumination , symbolized on the left wall by the Mdradharsham. The high rehefs of plate XX merely

reproduce

it

stone

in imitation of the painting the sculptor has not

failed to

fill

the space between his characters with leaves

and buds of pink lotuses, of the same kind even as those which bear his superposed rows of Buddhas ('). Only
will be observed that the
figure, at the

it

stem of the

seat of the central

bottom,

is

kneeHng
their

ndgardjas, both

supported with both hands by two wearing head-dresses of five serjust

pent heads. As

we have

been reading the Divydvaddna,


:

names immediately occur to our minds they are Nandaand Upananda. Thus we find ourselves in possession
of an explanation satisfactory
positions.

down to the details


to
:

of the com-

We have not,

as

was thought,

do with simple

we must here recognize representations on a vast scale, by reason of the space which the artist had at his disposal, of the great
indeed, if one reflects only orthodox method of explaining the simultaneous presence of several Buddhas in the same picis

debauches of piously decorative imagery

miracle of ^ravasti (-). This


it,

upon

the

ture,

when an

absolute law says that there shall never be

(i) All the necessary particulars concerning this sculpture are given opposite to plate

XX.

In the Arch. Survey of Western India, vol. IV, pi.

XXXVII,

found a drawing of the opposite wall of the same vestibule of the sanctuary, with its eight rows of Buddhas, seven of
2
(cf.

ibid., p.

52), will be

which are rows of seven


(2) Is
it

the nagarajas are not missing.

worth while

to observe that

nowhere, either

in these represen-

tations or in those considered above, have


at

we found any
see rays

trace of an attempt

an

artistic realization
?

of the fancies imagined by the editor of the Hien-yu-

yin-yuen king

Never, in particular, do

we

bearers of illusory Buddhas burst from the pores of the skin

which open out into lotus , or from

the navel

of the principal character, as


(JDir Weise

is

written in Schmidt's translation

from the Tibetan D%ang-lun

und der Thor, pp. 82 and 84).

i62

The great miracle


a single

more than
It

one

at

one time in each world-system.


at the outset suspect the exist-

follows that

we must

ence of this subject every time that

we

find ourselves in
:

the presence of multiple images of Buddha

not, certainly,

where they

are

isolated in

separate sections or merely

juxtaposed, but where they are evidently associated in the

same action
discover a

(*). If

from

this point of

view we examine
shall

the reliefs and the frescoes of Ajanta,

we

not

fail

to

whole

series of replicas,

somewhat
most

less prolix,

but

not

less

surely identifiable, than the preceding.

Here we

will restrict ourselves to citing the

typical of these

variants. It

seems that we

shall

have to look for them in


:

the immediate neighbourhood of the inner sanctuaries

On

the back wall, between the

left

chapel and antecham-

ber [of the

adytum
a

ot cave

II],

a large

Buddha has

seated

himself under an dmba (mango) tree with an Indra on his


right

and

Bodhisattva on his

left

(). His feet rest on a

(i) This restriction

is

necessary for three reasons. First,

we must

reckon

with the progressive crowding together of images of Buddha on the facade


or inner walls of the same sanctuary at
tlie

expense of various donors.


ancient
juxtaposition

Secondly,
pi.

we must
i) of the

not forget

the relatively
:

(cf.

XXVI,
,

seven Buddhas of our age

but

we

are prepared to believe

that there

may be
rows

a close connection

between

this

motifs and the

grand

miracle

either because in the


(ct. p.

latter the
i

Buddhas prefer to

affect the

number

7 in

161, n.

and

p. 163), or

because the representa-

tions of the a

seven Buddhas
is

are

strongly influenced by those of the


pi.

mahd-prdtihdrya (as
in contrast to pi.
late

notably the case at Ajanta for the

XCI of Griffiths,
fairly

LXI). Finally,

we do

not pretend do deny that at a

period there

may have been

sought, in a mechanical repetition of images


:

of the Master, an automatic accumulation of merit


that the origin of this inept procedure

but

it

is

our opinion

must be sought

in the single motif

where

its

(2) Dr. Burgess, he.


a choice

employment was canonical ly justified. cit., p. 34, XVII we think


:

it

necessary to

make

and say;
:

between Brahmtl and Indra

or between two Bodhi-

sattvas
a

but that can be decided only on the spot. Let us remark also that mango-tree cannot be a Bodhi-druma. The letters E-F mark the place of

this panel

on the plan of Cave

II,

given by Mr. Griffiths,

pi.

XX.

Wmust

THE GREAT MIRACLE


white lotus a worshipper
:

163

is

below a

little

to the left. Across

the top are seven Buddhas in various mudrds, each on a


lotus, the stalks being

brought up from below.

On

each

side of the Bodhi-druma, or sacred tree, are

Below
borrow
it

these,

on each

side,

were two

pairs

two Buddhas... more , etc. We


:

this description

from the notes of Dr. Burgess

would not be

possible to find a better one for the great

miracle

of ^ravasti, including the mango-tree of the Pali

tradition. It is again the

same

subject

which

in

Cave XVII,
the descent

on the

right wall of the vestibule of the sanctuary, forms

a pendant to the

no
;

less

famous miracle of

<c

from heaven
tional detail

(')

and

this replica, unfortunately

very

much damaged,
:

contains also a topical and rather excep-

The

right

end of the antechamber

, says

Dr. Burgess

(^),

is

painted with standing and sitting


is

Buddhas
right side

the lower portion, however,

destroyed, except
at the

a fragment at each end.


is

The

portion remaining

very curious, representing a number of Digamhhikshus

bara

Jaina

helping

forward
pichi,

an
a

old

fat

one,

and carrying the rajoharana or

besom

to

sweep
and

away

insects, etc.

Most of them

are shaven-headed

stark naked.

One

or two,

who wear their

hair, are clothed.

On the
By now

extreme

left are

an elephant and a horse with two


.

men. The intermediate painting is completely destroyed


it is

not

difficult for

us to recognize

exactly

as

add that the fresco


(i)

is

approximately dated
.

by an inscription painted

in the

alphabet of the VI" century

there represented in three stages, as on the pillar ot Barhut (Cunningh/m. Stupa of Barhut, pi. XVII) : at the top is seen the Descent from Preaching to the Trayastrira^a Gods , in the middle the

The DevAvtt&ra

is

Heaven , at the bottom the' Questions to ^anputra two episodes are represented on Ghiffiths' plate LIV Cave XVII cf. his plate LIII. (2) Loc. cit., p. 69, XXXIII,

.
;

Only these
the

last

for

plan of

13

64

THE GREAT MIRACLE


plate

on

LXVIII of the Anc. Mon.

of India (')

at

the

an indication ofthe royal presence of Prasenajit, to the right the demoralized troop of Tirthyas and doubtleft at least
;

less the

obese and naked old man,


is

whose

steps these have

to support,

the Purana Ka^yapa

whom

the

Buddhist
is

legend denotes as their leader and whose defeat


to have for penalty an

about
again

ignominious suicide

(^). It is
left

he
the

whom we

believe

we

can identify on the


i,

side of

new panel of plate XIX,

by

his

shaven head, his nakedBuddhist


side. But,

ness and, especially, by his strange backward posture, in


striking contrast to the devout attitude of the

monk who

forms a pendant to him on the other

on the whole, representations of monks belonging to other sects are rather rare in Buddhist art, even where their
presence would be most expected
:

and the pictures ofthe


the not very

Master's triumphs willingly dispense with


edifying spectacle ofthe vanquished.
It

would be only the

more desirable that we should possess a good reproduction of what is still to be found of this Ajanta fresco. Lacking this, we must content ourselves with giving a sketch of one of those which adorn the principal archway of Cave IX (pi. XXI, i). We know the curious aspect of that
little

subterranean chapel, with


its

its

three naves,

its

portal
:

gallery and

stupa

marking the position ofthe

altar

the

warm, ruddy tones of its

frescoes give the finishing touches

(i) At the bottom of the upper compartment on the


indeed, in addition to the

left

we

perceive,
of
is

two
left

nagarajas

who

are holding

up the stem

the central lotus,

i^t, at

the

of the spectator. King Prasenajit,


2""^,

who

recognizable by his parasol-bearer and his elephant, and


also seated

facing him,

upon

a stool, Purana Ki^yapa, in the

form of a

fat,

naked man,

with shaven head,

companions.
g.-b.

We

who is supported from behind under the arms by one of his may connect with this type that of the same person in Art

(fig. 261 and 225 c), and read, ibid., pp. 529 and 537, remarks on the rarety of these representations of sectarians . (2) Divydvaddna, p. 165

du Gandh.

THE GREAT MIRACLE


to the illusion of an ancient basilica.

1^5

Above the

pillars,

where the triforium should


plete,

be,

ranges a series of pain(').

tings representing hieratic groups

One, almost com-

represented by our plate, has the advantage of uniting only the essential elements of the subject,
is

which

namely, the three Buddhas with their feet placed on lotuses, and at each side of the one in the centre of the picture, who is teaching, and of whom the two others are, and can only be, illusory emanations the two traditional divi-

nities,

voluntarily reduced to the


it

humble

role of flyflapis

holders. Is

necessary to observe that this

exactly the

same

distribution of persons
?

that

we

find again

on the

lower row of plate XIX, 2


All the specimens of

which we have just been speaking, both from Benares and from Ajanta, can in bulk be dated,
in accordance with the alphabet of the inscriptions

on some

of them, as of the not hesitate,


in

V"

or 1"" century of our era.

We

shall

spite of

time and distance, to connect

with them the numerous groups which decorate the principal wall of the highest sculptured gallery of

(IX"* century).

with variations

Boro-Budur Almost the whole of this wall is covered on the theme of the Great miracle of

(i) Cf. Griffiths, Paintings of Ajanta,


(2)

pll.

The only

differences to be
(cf. p.

observed consist,

XXXVIII and XXXIX. i^' in the somewhat

capricious detail

167) of the orientation of the acolyte Buddhas, turned


;

or not towards the central Buddha


position in the European
style,

2""!

in the fact that the latter has a lotus this sitting

not for a seat, but only for a footstool. This kind of throne and although they are not

mode unknown

are current peculiarities of the local


to the school of Benares

and although

we may

have found them even so


in Java.

far as in the great

Buddha of the Chandi


the less an obstacle to
little

Mendut near Boro-Budur


bench,
is

They

constitute

all

the proposed attribution since the central lotus, while treated as a simple
nevertheless usually supported by the

two

classical ndgardjas (cf.


2, the

for example, in Arch. Survey West. India, IV, pi.

XXXVI,

Buddha

craAed on the stupa of cave

XXVI

of Ajinta, and below, p. 168).

i66

THE GREAT MIRACLE


;

Qravasti
fied

and

this profusion

of replicas

is sufficiently justi-

by the enormous surface which the sculptors of the


received instructions to
decorate.

monuments had
at the left

We

content ourselves here with reproducing the group placed


of the eastern staircase, which

we know was
it is still

that of the facade (pi.

XXII).

On

the other side an analo-

gous group forms

pendant thereto, except that

more complex and contains no less than seventeen images of the Blessed One. The general arrangement of these doubtless imposed by compositions is a compromise the dimensions of the rectangular panels, which were

much wider
by
plates

than they were high


2 and

between the
plate

line taken
i
:

XIX,

XX

and that by

XXI,

but on

one

side or the other all the topical features are to be found.

This symmetrical reduplication of Buddhas, supported by


lotuses and surrounded

by

divinities, suffices to establish

not only the undeniable relationship of the schools, but


also the fundamental identity of the subjects.

Inevitable, again,

is

the connection with

many

of the

great rock-sculptures of northern China, less

remote in time,

but not

less distant in space,

from

their Indian prototypes.

We shall note

especially,

among the

gigantic images which

decorate the grottos of Ta-t ong-fu


recently published by
us,

(V" century), those


as

M. Chavannes, which,

he informs

owe

the possibility of their being so clearly photograph-

ed to the fact that the

them open to the second Buddha standing at the left of the great seated one, the acolyte on the right has disappeared in the fallen debris
and the innumerables figures of the Blessed One, superposed upon a kind of band, which form nimbuses and aureoles on the
is
:

crumbhng of the rocky facade has left sky (pi. XXI, 2). The presence of a

sufficient to recall the mahd-prdtihdrya

flamboyant background of the

tejas,

finally

convince us

THE GREAT MIRACLE


that

167

we have

to deal with a representation of this miracle

in the traditional

form of the multiplication of Buddhas


art,

(*).

All these works of

painted or carved, whether Chi-

more or less, in fact, to make use of the expression employed in Hterature, the vaipulya method of sculptured tradition. Let us return to our starting point, I mean to the quite summary lesson
nese, Japanese, or Indian, represent

presented to us by the stele of the Archaeological Survey


(pi.

XIX, i) we shall see connected with it also a series of replicas no less sober than itself. A carving, which we
:

believe to be unpublished, will furnish us with a type of

them,
tus

at least as far as

Magadha

is

concerned

(pi.

XXIII,

i).

A great Buddha, seated,

in the attitude for teaching,

on

a lo-

whose stem is flanked by two Nagarajas, is inserted between two other images of himself, with feet also resting on lotuses. The only novelty introduced is that the two acolyte

Buddhas, instead of confronting the spectator, as in plate XIX, I, or being turned towards the central person, as in
plate

XXI,

or slightly turned from him, as in plate XIX,


slab, of

2, are

looking in exactly opposite directions. This

C), will serve as a perfectly natural transition to the miniatures of the Nepalese or Bengal manuscripts of the XP-XIII" centuries.
rather rude
late date

workmanship and

(i)

We should
later,

like to

connect with these groups from Ta-t'ong-fu others

taken in the

which decorate the grottos of the pass of Long-Men brought back photographs (Ho-nan), of which also M. Chavannes has in China (see, already, Toung Pao, course of his last mission

somewhat

Journal asiatique, July-August 1912, figg. 1-4; Bull. but here the two acolyte Buddhas Ecole jr. Extr.-Or., V, 1905, fig. 36) monks The transformation might in into two simple

Oct 1908,

fig.

4;

cf.

have been changed

strictness be explained

by scrupulous orthodoxy

(cf.

above, pp. 161-162).

of an analogous group, of the same provenanee (2) For a reproduction of Calcutta, see Et. sur I'Iconogr. and likewise preserved in the Museum these three Buddhas are placed just below bouddh. de I'Inde, I, fig. 28, where a representation of the Nativity.

68

THE GREAT MIRACLE


great miracle

where the representation of the

of Qravasti

by three Buddhas back to back has become the constant rule Q). The identification of our plate XXIII, i, which
already flowed naturally

from the analogy of the new

stele

of Sarnath, receives, on the other hand, an interesting confirmation in extremis from these latest indigenous manifestations of Buddhist art.

Whilst definitely taking this turn in eastern India, our subject became in the West by degrees stereotyped under
a

form equally abridged, but sensibly

different.

The

place

occupied by EUas and Moses in the Christian pictures of


the Transfiguration
is

now,

in the representations of the

Buddhist

great miracle ,

no longer held by the two

acolyte Buddhas, but

by two divine attendants. The imaentirely


here,

gery of the valley of the Ganges had reduced their part to

almost nothing, or even omitted

it

on the

contrary, they end by figuring alone at the side of the

Master, standing on lateral lotuses and retaining in their

hands their

fly-flappers.

As
sit

to the central
in the

Buddha,

at

one

time he continues to

Indian manner upon a


at

padma

like that of plates


is

XIX-XX;
on
i,

other times, and more

frequently, he

installed

a throne after the

manner of

Europeans, as in plate XXI,


lotus as a footstool
:

and only uses the necessary


stem.

but nevertheless the two traditional


its

Nagarajas continue to hold up

We borrow from a
first

mural sculpture of Kuda the most reduced type of the


variant (pi. XXIII, 2)
:

ano

less

summary specimen

of the

second would be furnished by one of the caves of Kondivt6 O- But, above all, we must recognize that all the cave(i) Cf. above, p. 154, n. (2) See Bdrgess, A. S.
Cf. the fuller replicas of

i.

W.
pi.

I., IV, pi.

XLIII,

I, left

part

(cf.

iUd., p. 71).
fig.

Kanheri,

ihid., fig,

22; Budih. Art in India,


358), etc.

60,

3nd Cave Temples of India,

LVI

(cf. ibid., p.

THE GREAT MIRACLE

169

temples of western India are covered with representations of


this kind.

On this

point

it is

sufficient to refer to the testi-

mony, which no one

will think of challenging, of Fer-

gusson and Burgess. Along with them we might gather an ample harvest of rephcas of the great miracle . If

we do no
tions or

undertake to draw up a hst from their descripbecause on these sculptures of

from the too cursory notes which we formerly


take,
is
it is

found occasion to
of subjects

a late period there


(').

always reason to fear contamination

IV

We
its

have followed up the evolution of the subject and

variants

from the

V""

century of our era to the final

extinction of Buddhist art in India. Could

we

not now,

after

having brought the course of


possible,

its

history as far
its

down

as

endeavour to remount towards

origin and seek

in the preceding schools, beginning with that of Gandhara,

the prototypes of the


tified?

monuments which we have


upon
us,

just iden-

The

enterprise imposes itself


escape.

and there
is,

seems to be no way of

Such fortunately

so far as

(i) In fact these contaminations have not failed to take place.

The Buddha

of the mahdprdiiharya of Qravasti makes the gesture of instruction, exactly as does the Buddha of the Dharmacakra-pravartana of Benares nothingfurther was required to provoque confusions and exchanges between the two motifs
:

originally characterized, the

by the wheel -with the gazelles


treated as

one by the lotus with the Nagarajas, the other On plate 164 oi Anc. Mm. India, by the

side of the subject of our plate XXIII, 2,

we

find

some

First Preachings

Great Miracles

except that the gazelles have replaced the


;

Nigarijas on each side of the lotus


Karli (ibid., pi.
rijas
!

on the facade of the great temple of

From

168) the gazelles have even been intercalated above Nagathis it may be conceived with what precautions we must

surround ourselves before risking a firm identification from descriptions


jilone.

lyo

THE GREAT MIRACLE


is

Buddhist iconography

concerned, the routine force of

tradition, that, in order to succeed in this

second part of

our

task,

it

will suffice to determine with exactitude the

distinctive feature

common
will

to

all

the verified represenif

tations of the mahdprdtihdrya.


plates

Now,
is

you turn over the

afresh,

you

very
all

soon observe that what


the special form of this
('), as

characterizes

them above
a

lotus

with

thousand petals
the

broad as a chariot
,

wheel,

of solid gold, with a diamond stem

stand-

ing out entirely from

pHnth.

Whether supported
it

or not by the two Nagarajas,


constantly serves as a throne

whose masterpiece

is,

it

or

at least as a footstool

to

Buddha eated in the attitude of teaching. By this sign we must henceforth retrospectively identify a whole series of Greco-Buddhist stelae, the greater number of
a

which have already been published, but not explained,


and which for the convenience of the reader we have here
collected together before his eyes (pll.

XXIV-XXVIII,

i).

The most

sober type (and the one which most closely

resembles that of plate XXIII, 2) presents to us a Buddha,


flanked simply, in addition to the usual worshippers, by

two

standing divinities

(*),
11.

who,
9-1
:

like

him, are sheltered under


Buddha
in

(i) Divydvaddna, p. 162,


dra's Dagdvatdracarita,

1.

Cf.the epithet of

Kshemen-

IX,

54

Bhunirgata-pratata-kdncana-padma-prstha-

padmdsanastha...
(2)

We

may connect with

this

duced by Dr. Burgess

(</oMr. of Indian

group that of the British Museum, reproArt and Jnd., no. 62, 1898, pi. 8, 2
:

=zAnc. Mon.

divinities are seated, or standing,

the teaching Buddha and the two on the enlarged pericarp of a lotus flower. In the acolyte at the right we recognise Brahma by his head-dress and his water vessel, in the one on the left Qakra by his diadem. The two worshippers are withdrawn to the bottom of the stele and separated by what is
India, pi. 92, in the

middle)

usually the stalk of the central lotus, but

is

here treated as a pyre.

We

pay no regard to another image (that of the Calcutta Museum), likewise published by Dr. Bdrgess(/. 7.^,/., no. 69, Jan. 1900, Hg. 24= Buddh. Art

THE GREAT MIRACLE


parasols,

lyi

adorned with garlands

(pi.

XXIV,

i).

On

plate

XXIV, 2 we
which
lytes
:

scarcely divine the suggestion of the lotuses

on

rest the seat of the

Master and the

feet of his

two aco-

on the other hand, two other busts of the Blessed


except for the exchange of place be-

One

are interposed in the hollows delimited by the Unes


:

of their shoulders

tween the two gods and the two magical Buddhas, it is evidently the same group as on plates XIX, 2 (first row) and XXI, I At other times the ingenious art of the sculptor
.

erects graceful architectures (pi.


cipal characters
:

XXV)

above the three prinhere recognize the

doubtless

we must

pratihdrya-mandapa, built expressly for the occasion of the


miracle; but

we remain

free to

admire in

it,

together with

the Mula-Sarvastivadins, the royal munificence of Prasenajit, or,

with the Theravadins, the divine

skill

of Vigvakar-

man

(').

At one time

(*) it is a

simple portico that presides

above the three seated figures (pi.

XXV,

2^.

At another time
(pll.

bolder constructions lodge beneath their domes or arches

images of Buddha or even accessory episodes

XXV,

and XXVI,
land,

i).

On

this last plate the

two

divinities,

again

standing, have each provided themselves with a long gar-

which we

shall find in their

hands on
(pll.

all

the reproduc-

tions that
i).

we

still

have to examine
those

XXVI, 2-XXVIII,
at the

The

latter, like

first cited,

place the scene


:

rather, the vision

or

in the

open sky

most, they

in India,

fig.

112)

on

the characteristic lotus, but

here Buddha is indeed seated between the two worshippers by an exception which, for the rest, is

since the last excavations of Takht-i-Bahai (cf. below, p. 172, note i) not unique he is making the gesture of meditation, instead of that of instruction. (i) Divydvaddna, p. 155,
1.

18

Jdtaka, IV, p. 265,

1.

10.

arrangement of the attendants we (2) From the point of view of the fragment published by Dr J Ph. Vogel in may connect with this plate the Archxol. Survey Report, 1^0^-1904, pi. LXVIII b (with the Nigarajas) and c.

172

THE GREAT MIRACLE

some small figures under aerial sediculse. However, the number of divine spectators increases in a striking manner. Now they are placed one above the other on their lotus
shelter

supports, profiting

by

all

the liberty which a picture of

apparitions allows to be taken with the laws of perspective.

At the same time the central Buddha becomes bigger, and his figure still more disproportionate to his surroundings. The garlands which used to hang above his head no longer suffice; there is now added a crown, borne by two little
with or without wings; once even other marvellous beings, with their busts terminating in foUage, hold still
genii,

higher a parasol of honour. Lastly,

among

the images
if

which

have emanated from the Blessed One, some, as

better to

emphasize their supernatural and magical character, are surrounded by an irradiation in the form of an aureole

composed of other Buddhas ('). These specimens are more than


that

are required to prove

we

have not to deal with the fancy of some isolated

artist,

but, in reality, with a traditional subject, constantly

(i) See the

two upper corners of

plate

XXVIII,

and compare

fig.

78 of

Art. g.-b du Gandh., and especially the panel recently discovered by Dr. D.
B. Spooner at

R. A. S., Oct. 1908, pi. VI,

Takht i-Bahai and published by Mr. J. H. Marshall in the/. 3. Here again we recognize the mdha-prdtihdrya.
slab

The

lotuses

which once decorated the bottom of the


it is

have almost

disappeared through the defacement of the stone; but

not so with those


seated

which support the characters above,


(three of
bearers.
tation.

that

is,

five

little

Buddhas

whom

are at the top

among
is

foliage),

and the two divine garland-

Byway of an

exception the principal Buddha affects the pose of medicuriously adorned with a crescent

The

front of his parasol

moon,

doubtless in order to emphasize the aerostatic character of the miracle. But


is the indication on each between the knee and the shoulder, of four little BudJhas, standing on lotuses and arranged obliquely like the outspread feathers of a

the point which specially holds our attention


side of his body,

peacock's

tail.

It is

known

that Sir

Adhel Stein found

use also on the sculptures of


I, figg.

Rawak

in

this procedure in Chinese Turkestan (Ancient Khotan,

62-65

cf.

Sand-buried Ruins of Khotan, frontispiece).

THE GREAT MIRACLE


reproduced for the edification, and
faithful.
at the request,

173

of the

The

series of these

examples adjusts

effort in all its characteristic features

ture,

surroundings of Buddha,

etc,

itself

without

seat, attitude, ges-

to that in

which we

have already with certainty recognized versions of the


miracle

great

of Qravasti.

By

virtue of the close relationship

which we have often had an opportunity of noting between the Greco-Buddhist sculpture and the tradition of the
Mula-Sarvastivadins

we must more
two

than ever appeal to the

Divydvaddna for information concerning the identity of the


various personages. In the
kings of the serpents ,

who at times
2
;
;

support the stem of the great lotus (pll.XXV,


i),

XXVII XXVIII,
cc

we

naturally continue to greet our

old acquaintances

Nanda and his panied or not by their wives. From


pass to the

junior

, either

accom-

these fallen beings

we

human

bystanders.

It

has been asked whe-

two lay devotees without nimbuses and of different sexes, who on plate XXVIII, i surround the seat of Buddha, are not merely donors of the stele Q. But it will be notither the

ced that their point of support

is,

like that of the rest of the


:

figures, the enlarged pericarp of a lotus


fore;,

they appear, there-

to form an integral part of the scene. For the same

reason

we must
:

refuse to see in

them anonymous woras in their


i

shippers

rather should

we

seek here

kneeling counterparts on plate

exactly XXIV,

that

Luhasu-

(i) This identification was proposed incidentally by Dr. J. Ph. Vogel, A. S. I. Rep., 1903-1904, p. 257 but, in a general way, we believe it safer
:

to look for donors only on the bases of stelae (cf. pll. XXV, i XXVI, i, and On the other hand, the hypothesis of XXVU) or the pedestals of statues.
;

which suggests the identity of the four nimbused figures seated on the lower row of the same stele (pi. XXVIII, i) with the four Lokapilas, seems to us most probable and confirmed by analogy with plates XXVI 2, and XXVII.
Dr. Vogel {ibid
,

n. 3)

174

THE GREAT MIRACLE


and
his wife, the

datta

mother of Riddhila

('),

who

in

turn and in vain proposed to the Blessed


the miracle in his stead. Likewise,

One
plate

to

accompUsh

on

text expressly invites us to recognize in the

XXV, 2, the monk and nun


who
also

kneeling at each side of the Master the agra^rdvikd Utpala-

varna

and the agragr&vaka Maudgalyayana,

asked, and

saw themselves successively


It
is,

refused, the

same

authorization.
rather than
prefer to

then, these

same four personages,

ready to

commonplace worshippers, whom we should recognize on plate XXIV, 2. We should be equally find King Prasenajit, the impartial (') president
:

of this public manifestation


ber of spectators
is

but, even

where the numequipage never


In front of the

increased, his royal

appears, as later, to betray his incognito

(*).

four
2, it

men

of good caste seated at the bottom of plate


that

XXVI,

seems
I,

we

are rather, as

on
the

plates

XXVII and
divinities

XXVIII,

in the

presence of the four guardian gods

of our terrestrial horizon.

Among

crowd of

we

shall recognize

immediately on plate XXVII, above


of Buddha, his faithful companion
also

the right shoulder


Vajrapani, to
in the story,

whom

by

certain texts a part

is

given

he being made to intervene in order to has-

ten the

denouement

Q. The

feminine figure facing him

(i) On this updsaka and updsiM information taken from the Vinaya of the Mula-Sarvastivadins will be found in the already quoted article of M. Ed. HuBER (B. . F. E.-O., VI, 1906, pp. 9 sqq.).

(2) For this title given to Utpalavarna, cf. on the Dhammapada, ed. Faosb0ll, p. 213.
(3) For this impartiality
cf.

for example, the

commentary

Divyavadana, p. 146,
i.

1.

23.

(4) Cf. above, p. 164, note

(5) According to the Divydvaddna (pp. 163-164) the yaksha-sendpati who, understanding the impossibility of otherwise overcoming the obstinacy of

the Tirthyas, raises a violent storm to disperse them,

is

called Pancika; but

the Bodhisattvdvad&m-Mpalatd calls

him Vajrapini

(XIII, 57).

Only we must

THE GREAT MIRACLE


would perplex us
vasti,

175

greatly, did

not her crown of towers

signalize her at once as the incarnate nagara-devatd of Qra-

an edified witness of the miracle which will henceforth assure her fame it is in no other form that, for example,
;

the native

town of Buddha
is that, if

is

seen on other Greco-Budinteresting feature to be

dhist bas-reliefs ('). But the

most

observed

we

are to credit the Divydvaddna, the

two
fact,

chief divine acolytes can be

the right of

no other than Brahma on Buddha and Qakra on his left. As a matter of


by the
aid of the usual procedures of the

on

several replicas the sculptors obviously emphasize

this identification

school to the
:

much bejewelled turban

of Indra they oppose,

as is the custom, the

chignon of Brahma, or they even


latter expressly

endeavour to designate the

by the indica-

tion of a water-vessel or of a

book

(*).

warn the reader


Indica,
I,

that this stanza vasantatilakd, as

it

is

given in the Bibl.


S.

v, p. 427, has

no kind of plausible meaning. Prof.

Levi has kind-

ly restored the text for us,

opposite page.

It

by the help of the Tibetan translation on the should read (the corrections are indicated by the italics)
:

Atrintare Bhagavatah satatam vipaksiw

Sarvatmani ksapanakaw avadharya Yaksah


|

/Titpto^ravii/avrtavarsavarai^ cakara

Vidrivya randhracaranan bhuvi Vajrapinih

|1

We

should translate

In the meanwhile, perceiving that the Sectarians

persisted in remaining obstinate adversaries of the Blessed One, the Yaksha

Vajrapini, raising a violent storm accompanied by rain, dispersed them,

and forced them to seek a shelter in the hollows in the earth . (i) See Art g.-h. du Gandh., figg. 183-184 a, and p. 360. (2) Cf. the procedure of distinction employed ibid., figg. 152, 1J4-156, 164 fl (cycle of the nativity), 197 (march to Vajrasana), 212 (invitation to
heaven), where
the preaching), 243 (preaching to the Trayastrimgas), 264 (descent from we know that we have to deal at the same time with ^akra,
(cf.
fig.

the Indra of the Gods


particular case with

246), and with Brahmd, the Qihhin. In the


are concerned their positions are at times

which we

exchanged from one


p. 170,

stele to another (cf. plate

XXIV

with plate

XXV and

note 2), either because on this point the tradition was uncertain or

176
It

THE GREAT MIRACLE


would
take too long to enter further into the details

of each variant; and besides on this point


the notices

which accompany the


bears

plates

we may refer to only, we should

wish to be allowed to make three remarks of a general


character.

The

first

on the importance which already


attribute to

in the school of

Gandhara we have been led to


:

the laksham, or sign of recognition

it

seems indeed that


and wide extenit

here

we

find a fresh proof of the antiquity


(').

sion of this proceeding

In this very case

is

a lotus

with a stem rising from the ground or from the waters, that
serves as a distinctive

mark

for a

whole

series of series

ments ands has allowed us to follow the


peninsula.
quite exceptional that, as

monufor more

than a thousand years, through the four corners of the


It is

on

plate

XXV,
its

2,

the peduncle of the flower should be hidden and


carp covered

peri-

by

cushion

and,

if

the artists of western


his teaching to be

India prefer that

Buddha should cause

heard from the height of a throne (simhdsana), the typical

padma

is

retained at least as a stool for his feet. Henceforth,

therefore,

we may

rank this

lotus emergent and usually


,

attended by
side

two Nagarajas

to

use

heraldic

terms,

by

side with, for example, the

wheel flanked by two


,

back to back or face to face specific symbols of the great events of Buddha's
gazelles, either

among
life.

the

In the

second place, this identification seems to us to confirm another rule which we had thought ourselves in a position
to lay

down, and

in

accordance with which there

is

scarcely

any Gandharian bas-rehef, however passive and motionless the characters therein may be, wich does not, even under

because there had been a confusion, which

is

always easy, between the right

and the

of the statue and those of the spectator. (1) Artgr.-b. du Gandh., p. 607.
left

THE GREAT MIRACLE

177

the most strictly iconographic appearances, conceal the


story of

be the

some episode in the legend of Buddha. We more readily excused for recalling the fact,

shall

inas-

much as we are the most to blame for having once ranged among the simply decorative motives, in default of finding a better place, several of the stelae which now assume
for us a definite

meaning and one of legendary

value,

as being versions of the great miracle at Qravasti(').

But
the

at the

same time

and

this third

observation

is

most important of all it is to be feared that we must relinquish the idea of indubitably distinguishing, in the whole repertory of the Greco-Buddhist school, an iconolatric group of Buddha between two Bodhisattvas .
far as

As

concerns the great scene of the descent from

heaven

at Sarika^ya, the texts

had already forced us to recog-

nize in the

two divine

acolytes of the Master the gods

Brahma and

Qakra. Here again ought not the same evidence

to constrain us to accept the


will disappear

same

identification?

Then
side of

our

last

hope of discovering by the

the Blessed

One

an Indo-Greek Avalokitecvara or a Mafii

ju?ri, as plates

XXIV,

and XXVI, i seem specially to invite

us to do. In

fact, all that

we

can say

is

that

we beUewe we

discern already

on these

stelae in

the type, head-dress, attri-

butes, meditative or pensive pose of the attendants the sug-

gestion of the procedure which later served to represent,

and to

differentiate
:

from one another, the great Mahaya-

nic divinities

but methodically

we may

not go further and

light-heartedly oppose to the peremptory assertions of the


texts

any quasi-gratuitous conjectures. Even the sign of the

urnd, so distinctly

marked on the forehead of the acolytes


i

in plates

XXIV,

and

XXV,

fails

to induce us to lay

(i) Cf. ibid., figg. 76-79 and p. 479.

178

tHE GREAT MIRACLE


So long as the sculptures do not

aside this prudent reserve.

furnish us with an image bearing a written inscription, the


verbal statements of the Scriptures will always take prece-

dence over their mute

velleities

of expression. Likewise, the

more we advance

in famiharity with the old artists of the

north-west of India, the nearer are

we

to believing that the


as strange to

names of Avalokitecvara and Mafijuf ri were


their

thought as to that of the compilers of the Divyavaddna

and the Mahdvastu.

V
It

will be felt

how

far this

question passes beyond the

hmits of the present


it

article,

and we will not here insist upon

further. All that

remains to ask ourselves, in order to

complete the study of the representations of the mahd-prdtihdrya, is

whether

it

was represented or not on the most


of central India.

ancient

monuments

Now

it

seems indeed

that the old native school


it

had already essayed in regard to

one of those conventional and summary pictures of which it possessed the secret. The pillar of the southern
entrance in the railing of the stupa of Barhut has three
of its faces decorated.
first

Of

the three upper bas-reliefs ('),the

represents,

we

beUeve, by the symbol of the Bodhi;

tree,

the perfect illumination


stupa, the

the second, by the symbol

of the

parinirvdm; the third, by the symbol of


is

the garlanded wheel, the great miracle . This, at least,

suggested by two inscriptions on the

last

named, from

which we
a

are not certain that

all pi.

the admissible inferences

have hitherto been drawn (see king issues from his


capital,

XXVIII,

2).

At the bottom
:

mounted

in his quadriga

the

(i)

Cunningham, Stupa of Barhut,

pi. XIII.

THE GREAT MIRACLE

179

epigraph, by informing us that he is called king Prasenajit of Kogala , gives us at the same time the name of the

town and

localizes the scene at ^ravasti.

Now this king and


impos-

his suite are

going

in the direction of a building of

ing appearance, which shelters a wheel surmounted by a parasol, and bearing a heavy garland suspended from its
nave. For
is clear
:

all

students of ancient Buddhist art the allegory

but, for fear the spectator should conceive the

slightest hesitation, a second helpful inscription informs

him

that

it is

indeed
is

the wheel of the

Law

of the Blessed
therefore, if
is

One

which

represented.

The symbol,

translated into the style of the later schools,

the exact

equivalent of an image of an instructing, and consequently

converting, Buddha.
attitude with joined

On

each side, standing in a devout


is

hands,

a personage in splendid

lay costume, such as India has

always indifferently conit is

ceived

its

kings or

its

gods

(').

Accordingly

impossible

for us in the presence of this

group not to think of Buddha

attended by Indra and Brahma, in the presence of this edifice

not to think of the mandapa constructed for the purpose of


the great miracle .
instinct, has

Cunningham, with

his

accustomed

already connected with this bas-relief the

passage in the Divydvaddna translated by Burnouf, which

does precisely on this occasion make the king of Ko^ala


betake himself
:

in his

good

chariot

to the presence of

the Master but he did not follow out the identification to the

end

Q.

In truth,

we

see

no reason

for stopping half

way.

(i) For

some

quite similar images


loc. cit.,

of gods on this same balustrade of


pi.

Barhut see also Cunningham,

XVII.

It will be noticed that the visit of Ajita^atru to (2) Ibid., pp. 90-91. Buddha, which on the pillar of the western entrance forms a pendant to this

one,

is

likewise of importance from a legendary point of view

(ibid,

pi.

XVI

and p. 89).
14

i8o

THE GREAT MIRACLE


it

Evidently
a

was not

a question of an ordinary visit, but of

meeting having a solemn character. We

know from

a sure

source,

namely the
is

inscriptions, the exact locality of the

scene, that

^ravasti, the capital of Ko^ala,

and the names


Blessed

of the two principal actors,

Prasenajit and the

One

the bas-relief

shows us the devout ardour of the one,


;

and suggests the converting gesture of the other


the accessory details of the
the invisible

finally,

two attendants standing beside Buddha and the great hall which shelters him
relative to the

harmonize equally well with the traditions


great miracle
.

We shall

not escape the conclusion that

such indeed was the subject which the sculptor had proposed to himself.

The

counter-proof

is

easy
;

let

us imagine
the cus-

that precisely this task

had been

set

him granted
(').

tomary procedure of the old school, we do not


could have accomplished
it

see

how he

otherwise

Thus we should end by


mahd-prdtihdrya the sphere

restoring to this subject of the

which legitimately belongs

to

it

and which
sured out.

until

now had been too parsimoniously meaWe are now in a position to sketch its history

from the

earliest to the last

ed allegorically
native school,

and
Buddha

surviving monuments. Treat-

with good reason

its

by the old

it is

not long in utiHzing for


created

own

advan-

tage the type of

by Indo-Greek

art.

From

(i) Agaia an interesting replica of our plate XXVIII, 2 will be found on


plate XXXI, I, of
it

Cunningham. should be quite willing to connect with the representations of wheels on pillars, like that of plate XXXIV, 4 (cf.

We

atSanchi, Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship,

pi. XLll, i). Perhaps it would even be necessary to see a reference to the mdha-prdtihdrya in the wheel which, according to the evidence of Fa-hien and Hiuan-tsang, surmounted one of the two columns raised at the entrance to the Jetavana.

THE GREAT MIRACLE


the outset
it

i8i

adopts that mudrd of instruction (') and espeof the lotus with a stem, both

cially that particular lakshana

of which

it

will retain as characteristic signs


its

from end

to

end of its evolution. Under


Barhut,
it

most

restricted aspect, as at
:

counts only two attendant divinities

but on

other replicas these latter multiply themselves and mingle

with apparitions of Buddhas.


that are retained

It

is

chiefly

these latter

by the
later

stelae

of Benares, and, after their

example, by the

productions from the basin of the

Ganges, whilst western India to the very end reserves the


best place for the divine acolytes. At the same time, the

composition, which had finally on the vast walls of Ajanta


attained
a disproportionate

development, returns, with


its

the ultimate decadence, to the soberness of

commencegoing

ments. All

being taken

into

account, without

outside the Indian publications,

and leaving aside the

already identified miniatures of the manuscripts,

we
:

pro-

pose henceforward to inscribe the rubric of the


racle of ^ravasti
1.

great

mi-

under the following reproductions


;

Barhut,

pi.

XXVIII, 2
4, etc.

Stupa of Bar hut,

pi.

XXXI,

i,

perhaps
B.

XXXIV,
:

(Ancient Indian

style,

2''

century

C);
2.

Gandhara

pll.

XXIV-XXVIII,
pi.

/.

Ind. Art. and Ind.,

no. 62, 1898,

pi. 8,

2Anc. Mon. India,

pi.

92 (in the middle);


h

Arch. Survey Report, 1903-1904,


;

LXVIII,

andc; Artg.-h.

du Gandhdra, fig. 78 (with an exceptional mudrd) J. I. A. I., no. 69, 1900, fig. 24= Buddh. Art in India, fig. 112, and /.
R.A.S.,Oct. i9o8,pl.VI,3(Indo-Greekstyle,
turies
3.
i^'

and 2"'* cen-

A. D.);
:

Benares

pi.

XIX;

Anc. Mon. India,

pi.

68,

(in the

(i) For the only


n. I.

two exceptions known

to us

cf.

p. 170, n. 2,

and 172,

82

THE GREAT MIRACLE


upper compartment); (on the
lateral
;

left

borders) 67,

3,

and

68, 2
4.

(Gupta Style;
Ajanta
;
:

4*''-6'''

centuries)

pU.

XX-XXI,

i; Paintings of Ajantd, 'pW. 15,


pi.

24, 39

Arch. Survey. West. India, IV,

XXXVII,

2 (Calu-

kya
5.

style, 6'^-f^ centuries);

Magadha
I,

pi.

XXIII,

Et. sur I'Iconogr.


;

bouddh. de

rinde,
6.
pi.

fig.

28 (Pala
:

style, 8"'-io"^ centuries)

Konkan
I,

pi.

XXIII, 2; Arch. Surv. West. India, IV,


22

XLIII,

and

fig.

Buddh. Art in India,

fig.

60;
cen-

Cave Temples of India,pl LVI (Rashtrakuta


turies).

style, S'^-io"*

Henceforward the picture of the mahd-prdtihdrya would we await only that not be missing from any school
:

of Mathura. This

is

just

what might be expected from


the legend,

the importance assumed by the episode in


as

compulsory prodigy of every


his

Blessed

One

worthy of

name.

It

would have been too astonfigured, of the tradition,


if

ishing, considering the constant parallelism between the

two forms, written and


texts.

no

ancient illustration had corresponded on this point to the

Our

hypothesis

fills

a real gap;

and

it is

only just

that the great miracle

of ^ravasti

should advanta-

geously, as far as the


ed, bear

number of known

repHcasis concern-

comparison with the three other great scenes from

the teaching career of Buddha.

Why
it

then

and

this is the last point

on which we

are

conscious of owing the reader some explanation

why has
its

been so

tardily

and so laboriously recognized, whilst

three pendants were identified long ago and at first sight?

To this question we may reply, first of all,


tihdrya, especially in

that the mahd-prd-

the preaching form


itself, as

which had

pre-

vailed,

does not lend

we have abundantly
;

experi-

enced, to anything

more than a picture almost void of moveto effect


its

ment,

if

not of picturesqueness

instant recogni-

THE GREAT MIRACLE


tion
,

183

it

has neither the exceptional role of the

monkey or the
of the triple

elephant, nor the characteristic decoration

and here we have, doubtless, an excellent reasdn. There is room, in our opinion, for adding another. We are
ladder
;

so accustomed to utiHze the archaeological information of


the Chinese pilgrims in India, that

we no

longer think of

being grateful to them for


of their help,

it;

in order to

measure the value

we have
:

to be once without it.

That

is

the case

on

this occasion

Fa-hien and Hiuan-tsang, so

explicit as

regards the three other episodes, scarcely mention the one

which
ed too

interests us here.

The places where

^ravasti and the

Jetavana had been, the favourite sojourn of the Master, evok-

Miracle

many remembrances pell-mell for the Great not to be swamped in the crowd of those which
through the mouths of the guides,
interest. solicited

on

all sides,

their

devout

We must likewise reckon with the fact


spot inevitably entangled with the

that the

story of the rivalry between the Master and the

Tirthyas was on the

calumny of the novice Cinca, or with the assassination of the


courtesan Sundari
to encroach
all
:

and these dramatic

stories could not fail


after

upon the miracle of Buddha, which was

so neutral and quasi-passive. Thus,

when

the pilgrims

finally arrive at the

temple which marked the locahty of the

purely doctrinal and magical conflict, they both specify

indeed that a statue of the Blessed

One was

seated (') there

(i)

We

believe,

in

fact, after careful

reading, that the tnahd-caitya

of

Qravasti, marking the locality of Buddha's victory over the other chiefs of Fa-hien and sects, was the temple (vihdra), 60 or 70 feet high, which

Hiuan-tsang both saw and mentioned at the west (that is to say, at the towards the Jetavana, right) of the road leading to the south of the town in front of the eastern about 60 or 70 (Chinese, therefore double) paces
gate of the park, opening from the same side

upon the same road

(trans.

I, I, p. XLVii, and II, p. 10 ; Watters, of the texts (cf. situation corresponds fairly well with the indications this

Beal,

p. 393). It will be noticed that

84

THE GREAT MIRACLE


tell

but they both forget to

us on what kind of seat and

accompanied by what attendants. Accordingly, do not ask

why the
ized.

connection between the narratives and the repre

sentations of the

Great Miracle

has been so tardily real-

Cease hkewise to be astonished that

we

are

still

even

at the present

time posed by the question whether the two

divine acolytes retained to the very last (as

we

are certain

they did in the representation of the

Descent from Hea-

ven ) their names of Brahma and Qakra, or whether they ended by transforming themselves, in the eyes of the
faithful, into Bodhisattvas,

and, in that case,

at

what moHiuan-

ment
tsang
their

the transformation took place. Fa-hien and


tell

us nothing concerning

this.

Onefeels howvaluable
its

testimony would have been to us, by reason of

mean

date as also of the central situation of the country


its

from which they would have borrowed


west and the
India. If
it,

elements, form-

ing a bridge between the ancient works of the northlater,

but identified, productions of eastern

we

have been able ultimately to dispense with

this is

because the stele recently discovered atSarnathand

immediately published by Mr. Marshall put into our hands


precisely the missing middle of the conducting wire,

and

thenceforward
its

all

that

we have had to do has been


to the disappearance,
art.

to follow

direction,

downwards

upwards to

the

sources of Buddhist

For

this let

us thank the

Archaeological Survey

above, p. 149, n. 2)
the

it

seems that

it is

expedient to set aside in

its

favour

preaching hall

built

by Prasenajit, which was to be found in the

centre of the town, and the stupa next to that of Qariputra,

which

is

men-

tioned by Hiuan-tsang only. As regards the latter, Walters states that he did

not

know where

to place the tope

of the

great
all
is

miracle
stupas;

he forgets
for

that the

eight great caityas are

not necessarily
at

we know,

example, that that of the Sambodhi


is

Bodh-Gaya

a temple, and the

same

explicity told us

by Fa-hien and Hiuan-tsang concerning the Devdvatdra.

^
e*

CT"

"a-

S^ S"
c; Sb

s i: o s
-

r^
sa
ts

o"
bo

ai

I
?!.

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a'

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tr'
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&
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p
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THE GREAT MIRACLE OF CRAVASTI

PL.

XIX

oi

AT BENARES

PLATE XX
^

Cf. pp. loO-I.

Pl:ue

XX was
at

made from
in

photograph taken
in

as well as

we could
It

manage

Ajand,

September 1897,
left

the

gloom of Cave VII.

represents a portion of the

wall of the vestibule of the sanctuary.

We

may compare with

it

drawing published by Fergusson and Bur-

gess, Cave Temples of India , pi.

XXXI.
a description

We

limit ourselves to

borrowing

from Dr. Burgess,


:

Notes on the Bauddha Rock Temples of Ajanid (Bombay, 1879), p. 45 The sides of the antechamber are entirely covered with small Buddhas, sculptured in rows of five to seven each, sitting or standing

on

lotuses,

with lotus leaves between them.


is

The

stalk of the lowest central lotus

the

upheld by two kneeling figures wi'h royal head-dresses canopied by many-headed ndga behind each; on the left are a kneeling figure
a

and two standing Buddhas, and on the right


ndga, and behind

Buddha

is

behind the

it

him

are three worshippers with presents...

The
is

diversity

and alternation oft he mudrds


are

will be noticed; true,

on

this wall that the attitudes

the most varied,

which

is

not

saying much. For the identification of the two Ndga-rdjas with

Nanda

and Upananda

cf.

above, p. 161.

THE GREAT MIRACLE OF CRAVASTf

PL,

XX

AT AJANTA

PLATE XXI
Cf. pp.

164-5, 166-7.

CT
-I

<t

B"

>Cfq

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3

cu
li;

n>

n>

a
J?

o
I/,

O >co
5 OB"
cr
ft

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la

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Er

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3-

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p,

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5-

p-

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w M
3-

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-a "^

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Cu 3-

Gfl

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R O-

THE GREAT MIRACLE OF CRAVASTI

PL.

XXI

iVA-^-^M

^^v'--^i-1^A. V.-m.A>"i;^^4|

<
K

3
u.

c\]

a;

-< <:

<

PLATE XXII
Cf. pp. 165-6, 255.

o s

O
ft

"S'

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p
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^ > 12 H 1^
S"
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-'

So

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2.

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a. Bft

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21.

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cr*

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THE GREAT MIRACLE OF QRAVASTI

PL. XXII

< > <


p

Q
ID

m o
cc

o m p

PLATE XXIU
Cf. pp. 167-8.

j=:

THE GREAT MIRACLE OF QRAVASTI

PL. XXIII

2.

IN

THE KONKAN

1.

IN

MAGADHA

PLATE XXIV
Cf
pp. 170.
r.

173.4, 177.

'

3 s*

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311

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THE GREAT MIRACLE OF QRAVASTI

PL.

XXIV

<
<;

X a
< a

PLATE XXV
Cf. pp. 171,

173-4, 177-

The
is
it

stele

of plate

XXV,

and

preserved in the Calcutta

museum, measures

which comes from Loriyan-Tangai in height one


[J.
fig.

metre;

has been reproduced already by Dr. Burgess


fig.

Ind. Art

andlnd., no. 69, 1900,


in tArtg.-b.

25 =: Buddh. ^Art in India,


76.

152) and

du Gandhdm,
form

fig.

Here we
stele in the

restrict ourselves to

noting the general disposition of the

of a vihdra (cf. ibid., pp.


at the

129 and 138), the


{ibid.,

fitting
little

of the tenon into the mortise

base

p.

191), the

columns

in the PersepoUtan or Corinthian style {ibid., pp.

227 and 234),

the dog-tooth ornaments,


different

the balconies with figures of


(fiza!.,

women

in

the pp. 223 -224^ the Cupid garland{ibid., pp. 239-240), the lion-headed bearers of the lower framework
brackets similar to those of plate

compartments

XXV,
:

2, etc.
is

teaching Buddha, seated on a raised lotus,

outlined against an

above his head, a twisted garoblong aureole and a round nimbus a double streamer; under his right foot, which is land hangs under sole upwards, a knot of stuff forms a round protuberance, which is also
to be seen

on

plate

XXV,
lotuses

2,

but which on the following plates


in the top corners, seated in
little

is

only

a pufi'ed out tation

plait.

The two Buddhas

medi-

on inverted

and under

vihdras,

seem

to

form an

integral part of the composition; perhaps the case is the same with the three others lodged under the two-storied arch of the gable in any the other great case, the group at the top recalls by its arrangement
;

aerial miracle, that of the

Descent from Heaven.


rattan seats.

This time the two divine attendants are seated on one on


broken

The
hand

the (Buddha's) right has, unfortunately, his face


;

and

left

his feet are crossed in an attitude often reproduced later in

China and Japan. The turbaned attendant on the left, leaving his sandal and c), on the ground (cf. ^rch. Surv. Rep., 1903-1904, pi. LXVIII, b XXV, 2, have rested his plate has bent up his right leg and must, as on his hand, while at the same time he holds in his left the forehead on on plate XXIV, 2, same looped object as does the right-hand attendant newly discovered statues we should from the analogy of some guess a bending purse.

In the bottom corners

female devotee

strangers,

two kneeling worshippers,


it

monk and

a lay

seems, to the scene and only inserted

for a purely decorative purpose

are, perhaps, the

donors, perhaps
i,

two

of the usual attendants. (Cf.

above, pp. 173, note

and 173-4).

II.

The

original of plate

XXV,

2,

measuring in height m. 0,45,


is

comes likewise from Loriyan-Tangai and

preserved in the Calcutta

museum. It has already been published by Dr. Burgess ij. Ind. Buddh. ^rt in India, fig. 147). and Ind., no. 69, 1900, fig. 22

^rt

Here the lotus which serves as a seat for the teaching Buddha is supported by the two Ndga-rdjas, Nandaand Upananda, who are visible only as far as the waist. The one on the right (in relation to Buddha) and volumiis of a curious type of Brahmanic ascetic, with his beard an object which reminds nous chignon; he holds in his right hand
us very
ers
(cf.

much of the dolphin similarly carried by certain ^rl g.-b. du Gandhdra, fig. 126), but which, in
coming out of
left
left,

of his congenfact,

seems to

be nothing but the head of a serpent


the one on the
hair,
a

his neck.

As

for

no less strange with his moustache and his striped

we cannot

say whether he holds in his


(cf.

hand
pi.

a bent paddle

or

hooded serpent

.Arch. Surv. Rep


a

1^0^-1904,
a

LXVIII,

b).

On

either side of the

Nigas kneel
(cf.

monk and
p.

nun, perhaps Maudgal

yayana and Utpalavarna

above,

174).

The two
rest their

divine attendants are again seated

on

rattan

seats

both

elbows symmetrically on their raised knees, while their

fortheads,

know

upon the tip of one finger we by Sino-Japanese art to Avalokite^vara. The attendant on the right, who, like Brahnii, has no head-dress other than his hair, holds in his right hand the book (in the form of a palm-leaf manuscript) which will be one of the attributes ot Manju^ri the turbaned one on the left holds in his left hand an object which, from its granular appearance and the fold which it makes at
marked with the Arnd,
recline
:

that this pensive pose has been ascribed

the bottom,
in the

we
a

believe to be again a purse, fastened by a kind of clasp

form of

medallion and analogous to those in the hands of the


left

attendants

on the
plate

of

pi.
c,

XXIV,

2 and right of pi.

XXV,

but
'^

which on

LXVIII,

of the KArch. Surv. Rep., i^0}-i<)0 4

plainly a lotus.

To

conclude,

let

us note the curious

porch which

shelters the
at

three persons, and which, trapezoidal in the centre and arched


sides, rests

the

on brackets decorsited whh lions' heads. As usual, birds are represented on the roofs. (Cf. above, p. 171.)

THE GREAT MIRACLE OF CRAVASTI

PL,

XXV

IN

GANDHARA

_;M-

fK'-'B'y'zg;

in-

3^

;l-

H-t

;^

-1

EJ

05 3,

a.

i'

W^ ^ w 5^i I
'^^

. s: g r- 55-3
.. i:

-r
,

><j r -

CfJ
,
.

=>:
w,

Oo-g
- a-

>s

p o

;5.

fu

^^

g-^ a

THE GREAT MIRACLE OF QRAVASTI

PL.

XXVI

PLATE XXVII
Cf. pp.

171-4.

The
it; it

original of this plate, the exact origin of

which

is

unknown,

is

preserved in the

museum

at

measures m. 0,85

in

Lahore (no. 572), where we photographed height. As yet it has been published only by
Ind
,

Dr. Burgess (/. Ind.

^rt and

no. 62, 1898,

pi. 8,

i).

Only the middle Under the large lotus two persons, whose bodies are only half seen, but who are not otherwise characterized, and who are leaning back to look at the Mister, must be the two traditional Ndga-rdjas. Above the
part of the stele is

devoted to the Mahd-prdtihdrya.

head of the great central Buddha, which

is

of disproportionate

size,

two

little

genii, flying without wings, hold up a crown of jewellery

under ornamental foliage.


beneath

On

each side appear two other small figures

of Buddha, analogous to those on plate


tively
a

XXV,

i,

and placed respec(cf. pi.

Bodhisattva in the costume of a

Buddha

XXVI,

2) surrounded by a radiating halo, and beneath a group consisting of Buddha in conversation with a monk. The two usual attendants, standing
pll.

on

lotuses

with bent
i).

stems,

hold

up

their

garlands

(cf.

XXVI

and XXVIII,

Above them, on

the right of Buddha,

is

Vajrapani, bearing his thunderbolt, and having on his head a tiara

often
to

worn by Indra

(cf.

^rt g.-b. du Gandh.,

fig.

246) and opposite


;

him, wearing
resting

a turreted

crown, the nagara-devatd of ^rivasti

(cf.

above, pp. 174 5). About ten other gods are seated in various attitudes,
all

row
are

on lotuses, except those (who also have haloes) on the first bottom (the four LokapA'as, two of which on the right damaged cf. pi. XXVI, 2)
at the
;

In the top panel a sort of apotheosis of the Bodhisattva corresponds


to the

transfiguration of the
is

Buddha
a

the former, accompanied by

ten persons with hiloes,


his

seated, with feet crossed and a water-flask in

hand, under a parasol, on


analogies,

low

rattan seat covered

with a cushion.
bas-relief in the

From numerous
{y4rtg.-b. du

and notably that

of a

Louvre, where this scene immediately follows that of the Nativity

Gandh fig. 164), we seem to recognize the samcodana of the BjdhisattvaSiddhartha(Ln///fl vistara, chap. XIII), a pendant to \ht adhyeshana of Buddha [ibid., chap. XXV). The point to be noted
,

here

is

the close connection between the types and

attitudes of the

gods
thj

in thi

upper and low.r scenes.

On each

side of the Bodhisattva are

the attendants in the

same garland-bearers on lotuses; at the twj bottom corners are same attitude as on plate XXV, 2; the first attendant on the left at the same level is turning round to express to his neighbour his admiration,

as on plate XXVI, 2, etc. At the bottom is depicted the adoration of the pdtra, or alms-vase of Buddha, placed on a throne (cf. Art g.-b. du Gandh., p. .^19) and surrounded probably by donors.

THE GREAT MIRACLE OF QRAVASTI

PL. XXVII

IN

GANDHARA


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THE GREAT MIRACLE OF CRAVASTI

PL. XXVIII

ID

X
cd <;

<

<
X Q <

The Six-Tusked Elephant

An attempt

at

a chronological

classification

of the

various versions of the Shaddanta-Jdtaka C).

The

close relation

which

exists

between the written and

the figured forms of the Buddhist tradition has no longer


to be proved. It
is

known by
;

experience. Rare indeed are

those narratives of Buddha's miracles whereof no illustration has yet been discovered still more rare are the images

which do not

at

once find

their

commentary

in the texts

already published.

And thus we have naturally come to speak

of the help which, on numerous details of exegesis, the


texts
it

is

and monuments reciprocally lend Q). All the same, to be observed that until now we have principally

made use of the first to explain the second. In fact the two sorts of documents seem to be unequally matched
and the muteness of the stones

will never, in the estima-

tion of philologists, be able to equal (as regards the extent

and variety of the information which can be derived from

them) the verbosity of the

writings.

However, there

is

one

point in which the sculptures have an advantage over the

manuscripts, namely the permanent fixity of their testi-

mony. Such

as they

were when they

left

the hands of the

(i) Extract from Melanges Sylvain Levi, Paris, 191 1. in the Annuaire de Vcole prd' (2) Cf. Une lisle indienne des Actes du Buddha Hautes Etudes, Section des Sciences religieuses, 1908, a paper of too tique des
technical a character to be translated here.
15

i86

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT


are they
still

workman, such

to-day

or at

least, if

they are
strictly

likewise subject to

mutilations and susceptible,

speaking, of being counterfeited,

no attempt

at rifacimento

or interpolation, that scourge of Indian hteratures, could


in

their

case pass

unperceived. Guaranteed against the

insidious address of the diasceuasts, they are equally so


against the individual fancy of their
are forcibly restrained

own

authors,

who
their

by the material conditions of


this that they can be

technique.

It

results

from

arranged

with perfect assurance in chronological order and dated


with a sufficient approximation.
It is

in this sense

that

we

are able to say

with Fergusson, that

in such a

coun-

try as India, the chisels of her sculptors are

...immeasu-

rably

more

to be trusted than the pens of her authors(*) .

It is in

virtue of this advantage that the figured versions

seem

to us able in their turn to render

some

service to
short, after

the written accounts of the

same legend. In
on
this

having so often apphed the texts to the interpretation of the

monuments, we should
application of the
texts.

like

occasion to essay the

monuments

to the chronology of the

For

this

purpose

we

will direct
it

our attention to a

cele-

brated legend, which, however,

may

not be useless brief-

ly to recall to the reader, that of the elephant

with six tusks

(Skt.

Shaddanta, Pali Chaddanta, Chinese Lieu ya siang).

was none other than one of the innumerable past incarnations of our Buddha; and
course, this marvellous animal
(i) Fergusson, History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, Preface to the edition, 1876, p. viii {z^ edit., 1910, p. x).

Of

first

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT

187

he lived, happy and wise, in the company of his two wives and of his troop of subjects in a hidden valley of the
Himalayas. However, the second wife, wrongly beHeving
herself slighted for love of the
first,

gives herself up to

death in an access of jealous fury, making a


to avenge herself

vow one day

upon her husband

for his

supposed want

of affection. In the course of her succeeding existence she

becomes, thanks to some remnant of merit, queen of Benares, and possesses the gift of remembering her previous birth. She astutely obtains from the king permission
to despatch against her former

husband the most


kill

skilful

hunter in the country, with orders to


back his tusks as a proof of the success

him and bring of his mission. The


life

man

does, in

fact,

succeed

at

great risk of his

in strik-

ing the noble elephant with a deadly arrow. But the soul
of the Bodhisattva
is

inaccessible to any evil passion

not

content with sparing his murderer, he voluntarily makes a


present of the tusks whereof the

man had come


at

to rob him.

When the hunter finally brings back to the queen this mournful trophy, she feels

her heart break

the sight of it.

Such

is

this touching story, reduced to its essential


:

and

most generally reported features for it multiple forms. We know, in particular,


the
Pali

is

known under
it

that

appears in

collection

of the Jdtaka (n 514). Since 1895


this text, point for point,

M.

L. Peer has

compared with

the Sanskrit account in the Kalpadrumdvaddna and

two Chi-

nese editions, taken, the one from the Lieu tu tsi king (Nanjio, n 143) and the other from the Tsapao tsang king
(Nanjio, n 1329); but, with perhaps excessive prudence, he was careful not to draw any conclusions from this
detailed

comparison

(')

More

recently the translation of

(i) Journal Asiatique, Jan.-Feb. 1895. For the version of the Kalpadrumd-

88

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT

the Sutrdlahkdra of Acvaghosha, so excellently rendered by

M. Ed, Huber from the Chinese of Kumarajiva, has made accessible to us a new and most important version (').
Finally, a publication

by M. Ed. Chavannes has placed

at the

disposal of Indianists generally both a complete translation of the

two

texts

quoted by M. L. Peer, and also a

translation of the corresponding passage of the

Ta

che tu

hen (Nanjio, n

ii 69), ascribed

to

Nagarjuna
('). If

Q.

So

much

for the literary sources of


art,

our study

we now
a a

turn to the works of


less fortunate in

we
(*),

observe that

we

have been no

having preserved to us

at the

same time

medaUion from Barhut


lintel

another from Amaravati

Q,

from Sanchi C), a fragment of a frieze from GandharaQ, and finally two frescoes from Ajanta, the one

vaddna,

cf.

the Sanskrit Ms.

27, fol.

232 v-240 v of the Biblioth^que

Nationale and Raj. Mitra, The Sanskrit Buddhist Literature of Nepal, pp. 301We refuse to take into account the commentary of vv. 26-27 of the 303.

Dhammapada, which,

as

Mr. Peer also remarks, has scarcely any feature in

common
(i) Ed.
(2) Ed.

with the Shaddanta legend,

HuBEa, Sutrdlahkdra, Paris, 1908, ch. XIV, n 69, pp. 403 sqq. Chavannks, Cinq cents contes et apologues extraits du Tripitaka chinois, three volumes (1911). The story n 28 (I, p. loi) represents the passage in question from the Lieu tu tsi king; the two other extracts will appear
one might connect with it the story n 344, which also presents the characteristic trait of the gift of the tusks, but in quite different surroundings. are happy to take this opportunity of thanking
in vol. IV. Strictly

We

M. Chavannes, whose great kindness permitted us to make use of the relevant pages of his work prior to publication. (3) As to no 49 (not yet published in the Bibl. Indicd) of the Bodhisattvd-

we cite it merely for record for this narrative is missing from the only ms. (Sanscrit 8) of the Biblioth^que Nationale (see below,
vaddnakalpalatd,
:

p. 204, n.

i).

(4) A. Cunningham, Stupa of Barhut, 1879, pl(5) J.


pi.

XXVI,

6.

Burgess, Buddhist Stupas of Amaravati and Jaggayyapeta,


I

1887,

XIX,

(6) Rear face of the middle lintel of the southern gate;


Tree and Serpent Worship, 2^ ed., 1873, pl- VIII.
(7)

cf. J.

Fergusson,

Art greco-bouddhique du Gandhdra.

fig.

138 (fragment of the counter-

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT


in

189

Cave X, and the other

in

Cave XVII
for

(*).

The

identifiis

cation of these bas-reliefs and of these paintings nately

fortuexcept,

no longer matter

reconsideration,

perhaps, in detailQ.

From

the very fact that the meaning


all

of these images has once for

been recognized, they have

taken their place side by side with the texts in the capacity

of independent and trustworthy witnesses to the divers

forms which the legend has successively assumed. Altogether

we

find

ourselves in possession of no less


art

than
six

twelve versions, of which six are provided by


literature.

and

by

These twelve versions

are, if

we may
:

say so, so

many

successive stages of the tradition


is

the precise

problem

to classify these various stages in their chrono-

logical order.

We must admitthat,if we were reduced solely


torical data relative to the texts, the enterprise

to the his-

would be
from the
it

almost desperate.

It is

easy to contest the orthodox belief,


all fell

according to which the stanzas of the Jdtaka


lips

of Buddha himself;

it is

much

less

easy to replace

by

more

satisfactory assertions concerning the exact time of

the composition of these gdthds, which are certainly very


ancient,

more ancient

at

times than Buddhism. Their com-

mentary
the

(atthakathd), according to the confession even of

monks

of Ceylon, has existed under

its

present form

march of a
n
1 1

staircase,

derived from the

hill

of

Karam^r; Lahore Museum,

56).

(i) Ajanti,

Cave

J,

Griffiths, The Paintings in the Buddhist Cave-

temples of AjantA, 1896,

I,

pi.

41 and

fig.

21

cf. J.

Bdrgess, Notes on

the

Buddha Rock-temples of AjantS,, 1879, pi. VII, 2, and Arch. Survey of Western Cave XVII, Griffiths, ihid. fig. 73 and pi. 63. India, IV. pi. XVI.

majority of the (2) Cf. for example, infra, p. 194, n. i and p. 195. The published descriptions are in error in speaking of more than one hunter
:

it is,

of course, question of the same individual, represented in various atti-

tudes and at different moments.

190

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT


;

only since the V"' century A. D.

but in their view this

could only be the translation into PaU of a prose which

was quasi-contemporaneous with the verses


Kalpadrumdvaddna
dence
is

(').

Of

the

all

that

we

can say without

impru-

that this versified amplification does not bear the


at

marks of high antiquity. As to the dates


nese translations were

which the Chi-

made and which, according to the information kindly communicated by M. Chavannes, extend
from the end of the
era,
IIP''

century to that of the

V*

of our

they naturally can furnish us only with a terminus ad

quern.

Thus,

as far

as the texts are concerned, practically


is

every extrinsic element of chronological classification


lacking. Happily

we

are a little better served, as regards the

images. Each of these forms part of a whole to which


either votive inscriptions or technical considerations permit

us to assign a determinate epoch.


bas-reliefs of

It is

established that the


II""*

Barhut and of Sanchi go back to the

or?'
are

century B. C.

Q.

Those of Gandhara and of Amaravati


the T' or
IP'*

by
era

common

accord attributed to
to the

of our

Q.

It

is

same epoch

at

the latest that,

on the

strength of the inscriptions and the style, Messrs. Burgess

and

Griffiths ascribe the archaic paintings


:

of Cave

at

Ajanta

on the other hand, the same

authorities bring the

decoration of Cave

XVII down

to the beginning of the

Vl* century
dates
:

(*).

Certainly these are

only approximate

good thing to have even so much, and we must consider ourselves fortunate, if we succeed, by using
but
it is

Rhys Davids, Buddhist Birth-Stories, 1880, Introduction, pp. i-ii, See above, pp. 4, 34, 67. (2) (3) Cf. Art greco-houddhique du Gandhara, p. 42. (4) For the Cave X see Griffiths, loc. cit., pp. 5 and 32; Borgess, A/o/, p. 50; for the Cave XVII Griffiths, ihid., p. Burgess, ibid., 5
(i) Cf.
;

p. 61 (cf. p. 57).

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT


these figured

191

monuments

as so

many

land-marks, in dating

some

of our texts with a similar degree of approximation.


able to call to
it

Nay, were we not

our aid these hitherto


to surrender in

unutilized auxiliaries,

would be wiser

advance every attempt

at historical classification.

II

Certainly

we

should not for that reason remain com-

pletely disarmed before the confused

mass of these often


part to introduce

divergent versions; and

it

would be our

by recourse, for want of anything


nal principle of coordination
It is

better, to

some

inter-

an order
if

at least theoretical.

indeed the favourite occupation of folklorists thus to


trees of
.

draw up genealogical
call families

what they have decided


the enterprise
is

to

of tales

But,

possible,

and the pastime permissible, it goes without saying that the result can be of value only upon a double condition,

namely

that

we

shall

have

known how

to

choose

the

which must act as main-spring for the estabUshment of the series, and that we shall have well observed
topical detail

and followed out, in the arrangement of


natural course of

this

series,

the

Shaddanta-jdtaka

human affairs. Now, in the we are in no wise puzzled to


trait

case of the

discover at
it.

once the characteristic


It is a

and the way in which to use

well recognized law that successive versions of narratives of this kind have a tendency continually to outdo each other in the direction of increasing edification. The
usual effect of this pious inclination
to destroy
is, let

us say in passing,

with

its

by degrees the whole salt of the story together probability and its ingenuousness, while substituit

ting for

compositions whose insipidity

is

sweetened to

152

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT


is

the point of nausea. Nevertheless there


ature,

no rehgious

liter-

and the Buddhist less than any other, which, its original raciness once evaporated, escapes this deplorable and fatal invasion of convention and artificiality. Now what, in
the theme with which
essential

we

are at present concerned, is the


its

point,

wherein exactly

edification

Ues? In

order that

we may

not be accused of choosing arbitrarily


us appeal to the
in a verse (')
:

and to

suit the necessities of the case, let

Lalitavistara,

which happens

to

sum

it

up

at
(it

the time of his previous birth as the elephant Shaddanta


is

Gods themselves who subsequently remind the Bodhisattva, in order to encourage him to follow his vocation)
the

thou didst

sacrifice

thyteethof dazzling beauty, but moralis

ity

was saved.

This
it

indeed the point of the story,

which has caused

to be ranged under the category of the


,

perfection of morality

or better,

of goodness

(^)

it is

the surrender by the elephant of his beautiful ivory


as sanction

tusks,
ter

to

the pardon granted to the

hunis

who

has just

mortally

wounded him. But

there

more than one way of returning good for evil, and it can be done with more or less good grace. In this particular
case the virtuous elephant

might have Hmited himself to


his will
;

allowing his

enemy

to

work

or, better,
;

he might

have

facilitated the

quite attains to the

finally, which subhme, he might have done the deed


It is

operation for

him or

himself for the advantage of his murderer.

evidently

(i) Lalitavistara, ch. XIII, 40

rafubhadantd na ca

tyaji (ilam.

ed. Lefmann, p. i68,

1.

Parityaji

te

rudis

Naturally

it

is

this

same point

that

emphasized in the rdsumd of Hiuan-tsang to which reference will be made


below, p. 199. (2) Qila-paramita
]diaka (ed. Fausb0ll,
tu
tsi

this is
I,

the classification of the introduction to the


;

p. 45

trans.

Rhys Davids,
I,

p. 55)

and of the Lieu

king (Chavannes, Cinq cents contes,

pp. 97 sqq.).

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT


in

i93

the order of this increasing generosity that, in theory,

the various versions will have to be classified. In


fact, if

we

recur to the written accounts which have

been preserved to us,


in turns

we remark that the protagonist


:

adopts

one or other of these


of the narrative

attitudes at the culminating

moment
I

Rise, hunter, take thy knife

(khura, Skt. kshurd),

and cut from

me

these teeth before

die,is the extent of what the elephant says in stanza 31


;

of the Jdtaka

and his interlocutor does not

let
it

him

repeat

the invitation.
to add a
little

The

Lieu tu

tsi

king considers

only right

moral homily. But with the prose commen-

tary of the Jdtaka things

become more comphcated. The


monstrous, that
it

animal has attained a with great

size so

is

only

difficulty that the


its

man succeeds

in raising himself

up

to the root of

tusks,

and even there, though instead


fact,

of the hatchet of a savage (the use of which would, in

have

been

disastrous

to

the

ivory) he

now

uses

more
self

perfect instrument, the

saw

(kakaca, Skt. krakaca^, he


:

vainly exhausts himself with cruel efforts

his victim

him-

must come

to his aid. In order to

make

things

more

pathetic, the

monastic editor does not

recoil
is

before the

most

flagrant contradictions.

The

elephant

already so

weak that he cannot raise his silver trunk to take hold of the saw and he has to call all his senses together, in order to beg the hunter to give him the handle of it; after which
;

very nature endowed with supernatural strength he


stantly saws

as

it is

generally agreed that the Bodhisattva

is

by

his
in-

through his two tusks (for here

(')

they are

no more

in

number than two),

like the

tender stems of a

(i)

M.

L.

Peer

(loc. cit. p.

50 and p. 77, note


but
it is

i) has

observed the same


title

thing in the KalpadrumAvaddna, in spite of the persistence in the


traditional

of the

name

of

six-toothed

to be noticed that the

word

154

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT

plantain! In the Kalpadrumdvaddna, the

Ta

che

tu

lum

(which besides

is

simply a very

summary resumd) and

trouble himthe Tsa pao tsang king, the hero does not even
self to

borrow from

his

murderer any instrument whatever:


first

he himself breaks off his tusks, according to the

two

accounts against a rock, according to the third against a big tree. But to the Sutrdlankdrahdongs the palm for spontaneity in the action of the martyr
:

it is

simply

by

slip-

ping his trunk round his teeth


pulls

that this time the elephant

them

out, not without pain or grief, while the hunter

respectfully waits for

him
it is

to present

them expressly
our

to

him. Further than this

impossible to go.
texts.

Thus, then, we obtain


Theoretically
it

a first classification of all

is

unassailable; practically
its

we must

not

form any illusions


ing

as to

historical value. If notwithstand-

we

proceed to arrange the figured

monuments

accord-

ing to the same criterion, the chances of arriving by their


intervention at a less conjectural resuh
a better aspect. In fact

assume immediately
that already

we

are not long in perceiving that the

order thus obtained coincides exactly with


forced

upon us by the purely archaeological data. At the head of them there always comes, in its simplicity, the medallion of Barhut
his
:

on the

left

the hunter, having put

down

bow and

arrows, sets about cutting off the elephant's

tusks with a rude

saw

Q. The

latter

has kindly crouched

danta occurs in the text very frequently in the plural and not in the dual.

On

the other hand,

it is

unfortunately impossible to
texts of

this particular point

by

know what was said on which we no longer possess more than the
it

Chinese translation.
(i) See above, p. 39. Perhaps
is

worth while
is
first

to

remark

that, in the

Barhut version, the cause of the drama


tu
tsi

evidently the same as in the Lieu


wife,
if at least,

kin^, that

is,

the

gift

of a lotus to the

as

is

said in

the Kalpadrumdvaddna, she did not receive two, one to decorate each of

her temples. This reason

is

cited

by the prose commentary

of thejataka

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT

195

enemy and to render his task less difficult (pi. XXIX, i). The case is the same in Gandhara and at Amaravati, where in addition we see represented the episode of the hunter hiding in a ditch, in order to

down

to further the wishes of his

wound the (pll. XXIX,


cit., p.

elephant in
2

the
i).

stomach with an

arrow

and

XXX,

The

fresco of

Cave

of

Ajanta shows us likewise, in the words of Mr. Griffiths


the

(Joe.

huge six-tusked elephant lying down 32), and a hunter engaged in cutting off the six tusks It is,
.

as a

rated,
all

matter of tusks more or sepabut always carefully noted that the elephant has
fact, six

less distinctly

in

these representations, except that from Gandhara. But,


pass
:

when we
is

on

to the painting of

Cave XVII, the

picture

changed

the huge white Elephant King

says Mr. Grif-

fiths (ibid., p. 37), is standing,

with only one tusk, upon

which he

rests his trunk,

while a
.

man

kneels and makes


pi.

profound obeissance before him


2), the elephant, to

In reality (cf

XXX,
is

whom

the artist

no longer lends more

than his two normal teeth, has already torn out one, and
about, as
it is

written in the Sutrdlankdra, to twist his trunk


in order to pull that out in
its

round the second,

turn.

And

during this time the hunter, in adoration before him,


awaits the accomplishment of the

magnanimous
and
it is

sacrifice.

There

is,

as

we

see, a striking parallelism of


;

development
continued

between our two kinds of documents

from one end


If

to the other of the

two

series.

now we bring

the

two

lists

together,

we

obtain, always

and
ants,

only as a subsidiary one :of

tiie first,

a very ingenious one, that he advances,

according to which the great elephant one day, unintentionally, by shaking a fdla tree in full blossom, caused to fall on his second wife,

who was

standing to windward, only twigs of wood, dry leaves, and red


first,

while the

who was
is

to the leeward, received flowers, pollen


at

and

green shoots

there

no more question

Barhut than

in the texts,

except

this particular

commentary.

96

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT

by virtue of the same principle and by the simple intercalation of the various versions (') in the position respectively

belonging to them, the following combination


I.

stanzas

of the Pali

Jataka
off

The hunter cuts


II.

the teeth

with a

knife.

Medallion of Barhut
7he hunter

(11^

century B.
\

C.)

cuts off the elephant's teeth

with a saw.

III.

Medallion of AmarSvatl IV. Fresco of Ajanta, CaveX ( V. Counter-step of GandhSra j

ist.ijnd

century A. D.

The same version as at Barhut.

VI. Lieu tu tsi king (trans,

by Seng-houei,
is

d. 280):

The same version (the instrument

not specified).

VII. Prose

Commentary of the Jataka (rendered intoPSli


in the V"' Century)
The elephant himself saws
:

off his teeth.

VIII. IX.

KalpadrumSvadana
(trans,

The elephant himself Ireaks

off his teeth

against a rock.

Ta che tu luen

by KumSrajIva bet'ween 402


:

and 405)
The same version as
in the

Kalpadrumavadana.

Tsa pao tsang king

(trans,

by Ki-kia-ye and T'an yao


:

in 472)
The elephant himself hreah

off his teeth

against a tree.

XI. StltrdlankSra (trans, into Chinese towards 410)


:

by KumSrajiva
his

The elephant himself pulls out

his

teeth

with

trunk.
:

XII. Fresco of

Cave XVII

of

Ajantd

(VIt

century)

The same version as in

the Sutralahkara.

(i)

It -will

be noticed that the

final list

differs

slightly

from that which

we drew up

at the

beginning of this study.

On

the one hand,

we have had we
are

to

leave aside the lintel at Sanchi, which, treated too decoratively, did not

supply us with any information upon the precise point which


considering; on the other hand, the tenor of the

now
to

commentary

of the Jataka

has

shown

itself so

divergent from that of the text that

we have had

divide this source into two.

On

the whole, then,

we

always reckon twelve

versions, five artistic and seven literary.

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT


III

197

Such
least

as

it is,

the chronological table thus obtained


;

is at

worthy, of being taken into consideration


that

and the

hope occurs to us

we may have

restored, in accordance
differ-

with the natural play of the religious conscience, the


ent phases of the evolution of the story. In
that

fact, it is

not

we

have thus arbitrarily arranged


:

all

the accessible

documents

it is

they, which,

when

interrogated

on

a defi-

nite, capital point,

have spontaneously and without any

violence or solicitation on our part, arranged themselves


in the order indicated above.

As

far

as the

images are

concerned, this series


historic succession

is

not only in conformity with their


:

on the whole

it

takes into account,

in a surprising manner, their proximity as well as their

aloofness in time, grouping together at the beginning the

four which resemble each other, and reserving the sole


variant to quite at the end. Then, as regards the texts, the

impression of confidence and security, which arises from


this

spontaneous
if

classification,

would be

still

further

increased,

we made

our inquiry apply equally to such or


It is
it

such other accessory episodes of the legend.


deed, the

not, in-

manner of giving
details,

the tusks only,

is

whole

group of concomitant
theoretically, for

which concur

in

determining

one

who knows how


head of the
list,

to read them, the

order of priority of the various narratives. Take the one

which comes

at the

that

is,

the

rhymed

account of the Jdtaka; you will observe that there everything takes place in accordance with the customary rules
of elephant-hunting.
cry of the

The hunter
all

hides in a ditch
;

at the

wounded animal
:

his

companions flee remain-

ing alone in the presence of the man, the elephant advances to kill him the fact that it stops on recognizing on

198

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHA-NT


the colour of the monastic coat
is

him

the sole sign of the

Buddhist adaptation of the ballad. Beginning with the


Lieu tu
tsi

king (n

6),

it is

no longer

sufficient that the

clothes of the hunter should be naturally of a reddish-

brown,
the

like

those of that hunter


first

Q from whom Buddha


:

formerly borrowed his

monk's coat

henceforward

man

will dehberately disguise himself as a

monk,

in

order to inspire confidence in his prey. But, since he

now
:

employs
and in

this infallible
is

means of approaching within easy


for

reach, there
fact,

no longer need

him

to hide in

ambush

beginning with the Kalpadrumavaddna (n

8),

he ceases to have recourse to this obsolete proceeding. At


the

same time,

as

he has approached openly,

it

will be

necessary that by a refinement of pity his victim should

defend

him

against the vengeance of his

first

wife, if not

from the
fails

rest

of the herd

this is
1
).

what the Bodhisattva

not henceforth to do (n 9-1

Soon

with n 10
it

scruples are aroused in the


tected
:

mind of
,

the hunter, thus pro-

he no longer dares to lay his sacrilegious hand on


for fear that

the tusks of the Great Being

may

fall

from

his

body. Finally, in the SMrdlankdra (n


is

1 1),

to these

interested fears
tance.

added a

real

and too legitimate repen-

Thus

is

seen

how

a striving after increased edifi-

cation has by degrees modified a

whole concordant assem-

blage of details
for
if

and so

it is

not, as might be imagined,

an isolated reason, but by a whole sheaf of proofs, we had time to consider them more closely, that the

order of the preceding table


(i)

would be
:

justified.
for the

And

doubtless, of

all

people of low caste

costume of his order

of mendicant brothers
sest material

Buddha would
it

quite naturally have chosen the coar-

of the cheapest colour. At least

relative to the kdsh&ya, if

anything

else.

For

its

we do not see that the tradition had any meaning, can at the bottom signify variations in form cf. also Art greco-bouddhique du Gan-

dhara, p. 369.

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT


Does
this

199

mean

that
all

we must
features,

blandly accept for the

known documents
hand, in order to

its

and

that,

on the other
it

fix the date


it

of every

new

version,

will
this

be sufficient to refer

to the corresponding degree

on

chronological scale? In the case of a figured

monument we
it is

should be rather inclined to believe

so,

provided that

upon inquiry verified whether by chance it were not a case of some more or less archaizing imitation. As soon as it is a text that is concerned, the question becomes much more
delicate,

and from the very beginning we For the most part the

fall

again into

our need

difficulties.

table furnishes us

with nothing more than simple presumptions, and these


still

to be correctly interpreted.

It

affirms, for

exam-

ple, that the Sutrdlankdra represents the state

of the legend
this fact

current from the V"" century of our era

and of

we

two indisputable proofs. The one, of an artistic order, is the fresco of Cave XVII of Ajanta (VI*" century). The other, literary, but by a happy chance dated
have, in truth,
exactly as belonging to the second quarter of the
tury, is nothing less than a passage

VIP

cen:

from Hiuan-tsang

the story of the Shaddanta, gathered by the great pilgrim at

Benares,

is,

as

M.

S.

L^vi has already pointed out in his

on the Sutrdlankdra et ses sources, an exact and faithful resume of the story of Agvaghosha OWhat are we to deduce from these statements ? As the name of the author scarcely allows us to bring the work
admirable
article

lower

down
M;

than the

IP''

century of our era, must

We

has-

(i) Cf.

S. Levi, Afvaghosha,

le

SutralanUra

et ses

Sources, in the Journal

Asiatique, July-August 1908, p. 175


in fact
:

Stanislas Jolien

(L

p-

360) translates
p.

The

elephant tore out his tusks ,

and Waiters

(II,

53) says

his tusks . exactly the same. According to Beal (II, p. 49) he broke off second translation might literally be posM. Chavannes admits that this
sible
:

but, not to

mention that the sense of breaking

is

given in the die-

200

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT

ten to conclude, as

we might

be tempted to do, that the


is

account of the white elephant with six tusks


late addition
?

only a

This story forms a part of the XIV"" chapter.

Now M.
pao
ki,

Ed. Huber warns us in his preface that one of


tai

the first catalogues of the Chinese Tripitaka, the Li

san
to

drawn up

in A.

D. 597, gives only ten chapters

the Sutrdlahkdra. Besides,

we

feel to

what

degree this col-

lection of tales (which, like that of the Jdtakamdld,

must

at a

very early date have been used by Buddhist sermon-writers


for the needs

of their daily preachings) was ill-defended

against interpolations...

This

is all
:

very well and good

and after

all

the thing

is

possible

but surely the place assiglist

ned to the Sutrdlankdra in our


anything of the kind. What, in

by

its

conception of

the Shaddanta-jdtaka does not authorise us to conclude


it

from

fact,

does

it

prove

That

this text already contains the

form which the legend had

assumed
VI"",

in the imagination of the artist painters of the


in the

and
in

memory
it

of the guides of the VII"', century.

And

what way does

prevent the poetic talent of A^va-

ghosliafrom having been the first to put into circulation the


elaborate version which, as
in
all its

we have

just seen,

was coherent
defi-

parts

and destined to have great success and

nitely to supplant the far too primitive

account of the stan-

zas

ohhe Jdtaka} Two or three centuries may not have been too much for this literary production to become popular in
turn
;

its

and here
its

we

find positively

no peremptory reason

invalidating

authenticity.

The

to the solution of this question


far the

best course, with a view


as of the question

how

Chinese translation

is

adequate to the Sanskrit origi-

tionary of Couvreur as a secondary meaning, it is that of tearing out which corresponds to the description of the attitude in the Sutrdlankdra, and its representation in the fresco of cave XVII of Ajanta.

PLATE XXIX
Cf. pp. 39, 194-6.

I.

From Cunningham,
cf.

Stiipa of

Bharhut,

pi.

XXVI,

for the

description

above, pp. 39 and I94-5a

II.

From
it,

photograph taken by the author

at

the Madras

museum
as

in

December 1896. The number and

variety of the episodes collected


trees

together on this single medallion,

among

and rocks used

frames, give
cially

in contrast to the simplicity of that at Baihut,

an espeto the

entangled and confused appearance.

On the lower part,

right,

we

see the miraculous elephant with six tusks, standing

between

two queens, of whom the first, on his left, holds over his head a 2. He on the right the second flourishes a fly-flapper. moves in the direction of the lotus pond, which occupies the bottom of
his

parasol, whilst

the picture, and

the apparently female the

where we see him sporting with a numerous company pachyderm who is coming precipitately out of
;

pond on the left and who then seems to crouch in order to throw down some precipice, would perhaps be intended to awake the remembrance of the jealous wife and her suicide? 3. Whatever
herself

may

be the fact concerning this

detail, the story is

the right, in the upper portion of the medallion.

now continued on The great elephant is

moment when he crosses the fatal ditch in which lurks the hunter, whose bust only is to be seen between the animal's legs. 4. A Uttle more to the left the elephant, whose fore. part only is shown, is kneeling, in order that the hunter may cut off his tusks by the aid of a saw furnished with a curved spring, much more

depicted standing at the

elaborate than the tool used at Barhut.


latter carries

5.

Finally, right at the top, the

a pole balanced on his right shoulder, the spolia ofnma of the Bodhisattva. It is curious to observe that the tusks are twelve in number, six (2X3) at each end of the pole Here and there indications of antelopes and deer, while lending anima-

away, on the two ends of

tion to the scene, only

add to the crowding.

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHAN'

PL.

XXIX

AT BARHUT

*^i

i^-<

%-

-J

2.

AT AMARAVATI

PLATE XXX
Cf, pp. 195-6.

I.

frieze

from the Lahore

museum (no.

1156, height m. o,i6)^

which formerly decorated one of the counter-steps of a staircase on Karamar Hill from a photograph taken by the author (cf. ^rtg.-b. du i. On Gandh., I, fig. 158). The elephant has only one pair of tusks. the left he is wounded in the stomach by the arrow of the hunter hidden in a ditch. 2. He then kneels down, to allow his teeth to be sawn off. 3. Finally, on the right, the hunter, twice represented, brings back on his shoulder his bundle of ivory, and then offers it to the royal pair of Benares. We shall note the striking contrast between the
;

distributive

order

of the episodes according to the

ancient Indian

school and according to the Indo-Greek school

of Gandh^ra, there

crowded together inside the same pannel, here deployed one by one
along
II.

a frieze.

From Griffiths,
first

The Paintings in

the

Buddhist Cave Temples of

63 (fragment). For the description and interpretation of the attitude of the great white elephant cf. p. 195. The hunter is repret
.yifantd, pi.

sented twice,

prostrate at the
still

elephant's feet, \/ith his head

on

the ground, then

squatting, but already balancing

on

his shoulder

the double burden of tusks,


delivered to him.

which the magnanimous animal has jus-

THE SIX TUSKED ELEPHAN'

PL XXX

1.

IN

GANDHARA

2.

AT AJANTA

THE SIX-TUSKD ELEPHANT


nal

201

is

to leave

it

to the future, especially

now

that

we

may hope

for everything

from the discoveries of manuis

scripts in Central Asia ('),

On the other
we may

hand, there

a point

on which we
:

believe

already risk a categorical affirmation


is

we mean

the

manifest divergence which

seen between the version of

the verse text oi the Jdiaka (n i) and that of the prose

com-

mentary (n
for the first

7).

This divergence

is

not to-day remarked


here
is

timeQ: what we have


list the text

only one more

striking experimental demonstration of

it.

Read

afresh

with reference to our

of Fausboll's edition

(V, pp. 37 sqq.), and you will quickly perceive that the editor of the

commentary in
analogous

its

present form
that
reflected

knew
in

a state of

the legend

to

the

works

numbered 8

to 11; that, if he did not follow these latter


it

was because he was hindered at each moment by his text, whose ancient particulars held him back, nolens voJens, on the incline down which he
right to the end,

asked nothing

better

than

to

glide;

and

that

finally

he applied himself as well as he could to inserting be-

tween the

lines of the ancient story

ornaments borrowed
of the
as

from the

later legend.

Henceforth you will hold the secret


letter

of the strange liberties which he takes with the


stanzas; and

you

will have only to note point

by point,

they occur, the most flagrant of his offences.

You

will
first

smile at the palpable cunning with which, from the


line(p. 37,
1.

i),

he transfers the name of the elephant,

Chaddanta, to the lake near which the latter dwells, and a

(i)

It is

known
(still

that Prof.

Luders has already announced the discovery

of fragments
(2)
It is

unedited) of the Sanskrit text of the Sutrdhnkdra. sufficient to refer here to Prof. Luders in GoUingische Gelehrte

Nachrichten, 1897, p. 119, and

M.

E. Sekart's article

on Les Abhisambud-

dhag&thds in the Journal Asiatique, May-June 1901, pp. 385 sqq.


16

302
little

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT


further (p. 41,
1.

23) glosses his


;

six

tusks by

two

tusks of six colours

for

you know
pair.

that the latest

mode

was

to ascribe to

him only one


to

will perhaps

seem

go
1.

rather
9),

Where the good monk far, is when he translates

khura by kakaca (p. 52,

and unblushingly essays to make you believe that knives are saws, in other words, that chalk is cheese. But soon you will content yourself with
shrugging your shoulders before this strange and systematic perversion of the text which he was supposed to
interpret
;

the fact

is

that

you read

his

hand

in

advance and

why, before allowing the hunter to descend into the ditch specified by stanza 23, he believes it necessary to clothe him in the kdshdya of a monk (p. 49, 1. 8) why,
see
;

when

according to stanza 24 the whole troop


,

is

scattered

to the eight cardinal points

he considers it more suitable


at least his faith-

to detain

by the side of the wounded one


1.

ful wife (p. 50,

9)

why,

few

lines further

down, he

has her brutally driven away, for fear she should punish the
assassin (p. 50,
1.

which

19), etc.

And when

finally to stanza 32

states

merely that the hunter took his knife, cut

off the elephant's tusks,


(p.

and departed

he openly opposes
we
have

52) the absurd

and pathetic account which


is

already analysed ('), the measure

heaped up and the cause

decisively heard. If the gdthds have all the characteristics of

an ancient popular plaint, which the barbarity of the proceeding employed by the hunter to get possession of the
ivory forces us to declare anterior to the Barhut medallion,
(i)See above, p. 193.
it is

It

on

all

these points we have not referred to vol.V

of the English translation carried out under the direction of Professor

Cowell,
rhyme)

because the metric version of Mr.

W.

Francis (either through blind connecessities of the


all

fidence in the

commentary or on account of the


it

seems to regard
page 29

as a

duty to palliate

the divergencies between the


stanza je

prose and the verse.


:

Thus it is that the beginning of The hunter then the tusks did saw etc.

becomes on

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT


that
is

203

to say, to the

11""*

century B.

C,

it is

no

less evident

that their atthakathd


also

was not merely


era. It is a

translated into Pili, but

accommodated

to the taste of the times

by

a cleric

of the V"* century of our

chasm of at

least

seven

centuries that opens before our eyes between texts which


at times

some persons have

desired to believe

contempo-

raneous.

Thus, whether

we

arrive at simple points of interrogait is

tion or at real certainties, according to the case,

worth

while to take note of these


to be satisfied with very

first

results. It is well
is

known

that in matters of chronology the Indianist


little.

accustomed

He

can no longer neglect

the data afforded by a comparison of the texts and the

mohave

numents, wherever they lend themselves


attempt

to

it.

We

certainly chosen a relatively favourable specimen for our


:

but as regards more than one jdtaka, and even


it

more than one miracle of Buddha,


possible to

would already be

draw up

a table

analogous to that whose sponjust encouraged.

taneous generation

we have

We

may

au-

gure that these studies in


tions and
will

detail, in

proportion as excava-

new

editions supply their constituent elements,

come

to each other's aid, and that

by

a series of tests

chronological data will in the end become more and more


precise. From that time it would

no longer be of such or such


whole Buddhist legend
to

a particular episode, but of the

that

we should
it

succeed in distinguishing the successive


permissible even
still

states. If

is

print prognostica-

tions

which
if

are

so vague,

we should
list

be very

much

surprised

we

did not see reproduced, in a general way,

the fact dominating the present


Shaddanta-jdtaka.In

of the versions of the


that these latter di-

fact, it is self-evident

vide nearly equally into two large groups, profoundly diver-

gent from one another, between which the Singhalese com-

204

THE SIX-TUSKED ELEPHANT

mentator of the Jdtaka vainly endeavoured to construct a bridge. The six first are closely connected with the old native tradition
:

the five last proceed

no

less

unanimously

from a new spirit, which probably filtered into India through


its

north-west frontier, as a result of foreign invasions.


this table
crisis

Thus,

of the

would be before all an excellent illustration which a succession of great political


short time after the beginning of our era,

upheavals at

last, a

provoked

in the Indian conscience, in a

and which has already

been described

masterly fashion, by
(').

M.

Sylvain L6vi,

writing of A^vaghosha

Since the above article was written Prof. (i)Xoc. cit., pp. 73-74. Rapson has been so good as to have copied by one of his pupils. Mr. W. H. B. Thompson, under his direction and for our use, the version of the
the Paris ms.

Shaddantdvaddna from the Bodhisattvdvaddna-kalpalatd, which is lacking in (cf. above, p. 188, n. 3), according to the mss. Add. i)o6

and 91} in the University Library at Cambridge. The kind communication with the of this copy has enabled us to prove the identity of this version with that of the Kalpadrumdvaddna. It exception of three interpolations

appears that the author of the latter collection restricted himself to reprodacing, without
the

however

(in

work
This

of Kshemendra, except that on

any way) informing the reader of the fact, two points he has lengthened the
in his
it

narrative of his predecessor,


ted.
fact,

which

opinion was too

much

abbrevia-

however unexpected

may

be, naturally does not change

anything in our conclusions, as

far as
:

concerns the general chronology of

only causes us to think that the Kalpadrumdvaddna and Bodhisattvdvaddna-kalpalatd agree in preserving for us the version of the canon of the Mula-Sarvastivadins, which, as we know (cf.
the successive forms of the legend
it

above, p. 151, n. 2), usually serves as a basis for the poetic lucubrations of

Kshemendra.

On

the other hand,

it

supplies us with an excellent illustration

justifying the reservations expressed

above concerning the chronology of

the texts here, in fact,


:

at the

beginning of

we are dealing with a well-known author, who wrote the XI* century, and who yet makes use of a version
Thus
it

older than that of the Sutrdlahkdra.

was wise on our

part to consi-

der as an acquired result only the demonstration of the difference of time


to be able

between the stanzas of the Pali Jdtaka and their commentary. We are happy on this last point to connect with the already cited evidence of M. Senart and Professor Luders that of Prof. Oldenberg (NachricUm der
k.

Gesellschaft der

Wissenschajtm lu

Gottingen, Phil.-hist.

Klasse,

191

1,

pp. 441 sqq.).

Buddhist Art

in

Java

C).

The Stupaof Boro-Budur.


The
ruins of

Boro-Budur
that

(') constitute

indisputably the
island of Java.

most important Buddhist monument of the

We know
bas-reliefs

also

they alone

can

compete, in the

amplitude of their dimensions and the profusion of the


with which their walls are covered, with the
of Far-Eastern archaeology,
site
I

other

gem

In beauty of

they even

far surpass

mean Angkor- Vat. the rival wonder of


advance of

Cambodia. Occupying

a detached position in

which forms a screen on the south, the eminence on which stands Boro-Budur domia small chain of mountains,

nates the vast valley of Progo,

all

covered with
sides

shim-

mering palm-groves and framed on both

by the

majestic summits of great volcanoes. To the west stretch the

deep recesses of the Menoreh, flanked by the imposing


sugar-loaf of the

Sumbing,

in height exceeding

10,000

feet;

to the east extend the wonderfully pure curves of the twin

peaks of the Mer-Babu, the

Mount

of Ashes, and of the


;

Mer-Api, the
in

Mount

of Fire, the

latter still active

and

the northern

distance,

half-way to the
descried,

sea,

whose
hill

vapours

may

be faintly

the
nail

rounded

of

Magelang represents the head of the

which, according

(i) Extract from the Bulletin del'Ecolefranfaised' Extreme-Orient, vol. IX, a result of a too brief stay which the 1509, pp. I sqq. These notes are author was able to make in Java during the month of May 1907.
17

2o6

BUDDHIST ART

IN

JAVA

to the native tradition, fixed Java to the

bottom of the ocean.

The
have
yet

flat

and marshy borders of the Cambodian Great-Lake nothing to compare with this subhme scenery and
;

it is

a fact of

common

experience that Boro-Budur pro-

duces

at first sight a

general impression

much

less

profound

than does Angkor- Vat.

No

doubt,

we must

in the first place

take account of

the difference in dimensions.

The

rectangular base of the

Khmer monument
215

has an exterior measurement of 187 by metres; the lower terrace of the Javanese building
1 1 1

forms a square of
attains

metres on each

side.

The former
summit
first steps.

an elevation of

7 metres, whilst the present


3 5

of the second does not reach


It is

metres above the


latter,

well likewise to note that the

older by three

centuries or so and exposed to the


torrential rains

same destructive agents


But,

Tropics
after all,

and the luxuriant vegetation of the


worse
state of preservation
(').

is

in a

we must acknowledge

that the

two monuments,

even

at the

time f their unimpaired splendour, had from

an architectural point of view nothing in

common. Angits

kor-Vat deploys on

tiers rising

above the plain

three

enclosing galleries, intersected by portals, flanked by eight

towers and crowned by a ninth


passes the

Boro-Budur encomits

summit of

a hill
at

with the sacred number of

nine terraces, connected


cases

the four cardinal points

by

stair-

and surmounted by a dome. At Angkor- Vat the eye ranges through the colonnades or follows in the distance
(i) Boro-Budur
is

commonly

ascribed to the IX"' Century, and Angkor-

Vat to the XII"'. The leaning walls of the Javanese Stupa threaten ruin to
such a degree that the Government-General of the Dutch East Indies has

been moved thereby. The friends of archseology will learn with pleasure that
a first grant of 60,000 florins (about 5,000) is at present being devoted to works of preservation under the expert direction of Major Van Erp, of the

Engineers.

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA
;

207
at

the ever narrowing flight of the porticoes

Boro-Budur

the lower galleries, interrupted

by twenty right angles


a

and confined on the exterior by


ly enclose

high parapet, narrow-

the

visitor in their successive recesses ('). In

Cambodia, whether from the end of the paved approaches


he contemplates the clearly defined silhouette of the towers,
or whether from the top of the central group he dominates
the widely spaced plan of the enclosures, the spectator al-

ways embraces in his view the grandiose scheme of the design. In Java, from the foot as from the top, nothing is ever
perceived but a compact mass confusedly bristling with

432 niches and 72


nacles.

little

cupolas forming so

many

pin-

The

fact is that

Angkor- Vat

led the devotee

by the

perspective of long avenues straight to the dwelling of a

god
its

Boro-Budur, on the contrary, opened no access


sides,

in

massive

which were destined solely


first is a

as a shrine

for relics. In

one word, the

Brahmanic temple; the

second

is

a stupa, or Buddhist tumulus.


architectural

That the

form of the temple

is

infinitely

more favourable to the effect of the whole than that of the mausoleum, no one will deny. Still this reason is not entirely satisfying; nor does it suffice to explain what at first sight is wrong with the aspect of Boro-Budur
(pi.

XXXI,
at

i). It is

not

dome with
which

simple

fines, like the

most ancient Indian


example

stupas
at

are preserved to us, for


is it

Sanchi and

Manikyala. Neither

a super-

position of quadrangular diminishing terraces, a kind of

pyramid in

steps,

such as the Chinese pilgrims describe

the pagodas of north-western India.

Nor has

it

the

lengthy slenderness of

its

Burmese or Siamese congeners,


air as
it

which point very high into the


XXXI,
2 and

were the handle of

(i) Cf.

pll,

XXXII,

2.

208

BUDDHIST ART
bell.

IN JAVA
it

an enormous

To

speak candidly,

seems to have been

unable to decide clearly whether to be conical, pyramidal, or hemispherical. The vertical indented walls of the
first

six
is

galleries

give

the impression that the


straight
circular

monu:

ment
is

about to
the

mount up

towards the sky


galleries

but with

three upper

this

start

suddenly frustrated, and the whole structure assumes a crushed and heavy appearance. Doubtless we must make allowance for the disappearance of the crown and
the depression of the
rains.

summit under

the influence of the

Neither must

we

forget

that

the wide

band of

masonry which now forms the


ed round the edifice
in
all

first

terrace

was constructand contributes


of
the

as an afterthought

no

slight degree to the appearance of heaviness ('). But,

taken

into

account,

the

disappointment

none the less. That a great tumulus can never be anything but a kind of huge pudding, he is quite ready to admit but there are puddings which are more or less succesfuUy constructed. Without irreverimpartial observer exists
:

ence

we may

say that the stupa of Boro-Budur, with the


its

endless zig-zags of

passages and the profuse ornamenta-

tion of its pinnacles, gives at first the impression of a pasty,


as badly raised

on the whole

as

it is

minutely carved

in detail

Q-

(i)

We know
J.

Heer

W.

buried in

that the discovery of this peculiarity is due to an engineer, Yzerman. The primitive plinth must have very early been the new masonry along with the bas'-reliefs wherewith there had
it

been a commencement of decoration. Doubtless


of the upper stories
addition
at the

was found necessary

to

strengthen the foundations, which threatened to give


:

way under

the thrust

same time perhaps orthodox

tradition found the

of a terrace advantageous, thus completing in the most patent manner the sacred number of nine. This addition is indicated on pi. XXXII, i
(2) In case the reader should be tempted to think that these criticisms
are

by the divergent hatchings.

made by

a prejudiced and particularly surly visitor, he

is

begged to

refer

BUDDHIST ART
It is
it.

IN JAVA
fact;

209

not enough to state the

we must
skill

also explain

Certainly

we

cannot question the

of the architect

who who
ral

conceived the compHcated plan of these nine stories,


designed the mouldings and provided for the sculptu-

decoration,

who,

finally,

by an ingenious arrangement

of gargoyles carrying away the rain-water,

made

sure of

an indefinite preservation
If,

at a slight cost

of maintenance.

therefore,

he pitched so low the summit of his con-

struction, he

must have had some reason for

it.

We confess

that this reason revealed itself to us only in the evening,

when

seeing from the verandah of the neighbouring pasan(*) the

grahan

obscure silhouette of the

monument

stand

out against the starry sky.


in

The contours of this


XXXIII,
i)
:

dark mass,

which

all details

were obscured, presented themselves

to us as distinctly curved (pi.

where we were

seeking a pyramid, the builder had intended only a dome.

Thus we learned our


superposed terraces western India (^). In
a

error. It had, in fact,

archaeologists to regard

Boro-Budur

as

become usual with a stupa erected on

after the
reality,

manner of those of northonly a stupa in the form of

it is

dome, according to the old Indian mode, but much more elaborate, being cut horizontally by a series of promenades
and
itself
it

crowned with

a second cupola.
its

The
it

influence

which

has undergone, both in

general conception as

in the detail of its

mural decoration, comes to


is

not from

Gandhara, but, as

natural,

from southern

India,

where

to the opinion

of

Brumdnd
name

in Leemans,

Boro-Boudour dans

Vile de

Java,

Leiden, 1874, p. 679. (i) This is the Malay

for

the traveller's house, corresponding to


sdld.

the Indian bungalow and the Cambodian


(2) Such, for example, is greco-houddhique du Gandhdra,
serve as erratum.

the idea expressed in the passage of our j4rt


I,

p.

80, to which the present note

may

210
its

BUDDHIST ART
direct ancestor is called

IN

JAVA
this theory,

AmaravatiC)- And

the imposed on the most uninitiated by observation of monument, is confirmed beyond all hesitation by an examhave been ination of the plans and elevations which

drawn up by
lower

speciahsts.

The

ruling lines of Boro-Budur,


its

notwithstanding the right angles and vertical walls of


galleries, are all curves.

Have
designs

the

goodness
in
at

to

cast

a glance

either

at

the

contained

the

grand album

accompanying

Leemans' book, or
ed under the care

our plate XXXII. The elements of

the latter were borrowed

from drawings recently executof Major Van Erp, who was kind
to us.

enough

to

communicate them

We

have restricted

ourselves to adding to the second, for the purpose of our

demonstration, the dotted lines. Thanks to this simple


artifice,

the principles

which presided over the construction


quite clear.

of Boro-Budur will
strates to us in the

become

The

plan

demon-

most evident manner


is itself, at its

that each of the


be, is inscribed

lower

galleries,
circle,

however angular they may


and

within a

principal points, tangent

to an inner circle.
initial project

On

the elevation

we

perceive that the

of the architect involved the construction of

an edifice assuming the general form of a segment of a


sphere.

Henceforth nothing remains but to offer

him our
his

humble apology and

to try to

enter into
still

views.
;

Naturally our observations of fact


(i) Cf. Art. g.-b. du Gandh.,
fig.

hold good

but

58, a

model of

a stupa

from Amaravati,
the aid

where the procedure


to the

in decorating the walls of the

monument with

of bas-reliefs and the recourse to a

promenade intended

to facilitate access

upper row of these

latter are

already clearly indicated. Let us add that

the excavations judiciously conducted by Major


fruit in the

Van Erp have

already borne

discovery of fragments of the balustrade, furnished with doors,

which formerly surrounded the base of Boro-Budur.

BUDDHIST ART what we took


It

IN

JAVA

211

for defects

no longer appear

to us anything
initial decision.

but necessities logically imposed by the

was

in order to

keep more closely to the horizontal


that he gave

sections of his

segment of a sphere
first

twenty

angles to the parapets of the


to that of the fifth
:

four galleries and twelve

if,

in his desire to furnish his

band of

sculptors with plane surfaces, he had

made

these galleries
far

simply quadrangular, they would have extended too

beyond the primordial inner


cular profile does not

circle. It is

because a semi-cir-

mount

like a

pyramid, that the upper

promenades, themselves

circular, are necessarily lowered.

This explains at once the contrast between the steepness of the first steps and the gentle slopeof the last(cf pi. XXXIII,
2)
:

not otherwise does one mount the outline of the upper

section of a globe

Q. Neither

is it
if,

the fault of anyone, but

rather in the nature of things,

having once reached the

top of the rounded sides, one can no longer see the foot,
just as

from the base

it is

impossible to perceive the

sum-

mit.

If

we

likewise reflect that the architect

of Boro-

Budur was deprived of our

favourite resource of colonnades, to the use of

we

shall

understand

why

mouldings he has
shall

added that of antefixes, of niches and cupolas; and we

no longer be astonished
The
difference

at the

symmetrical multiplication

between the steps at the bottom and those at the top from the first to the second gallery, for example, thirteen steps only go back m. 3,56 in rising m. 3,84, whilst the seven steps which lead to the first circular gallery, the sixth of the whole, have a depth of m. 3,40 in rising m. 1,80; Wilsen (ap. Leemans, p. 576) asks whether we must not, in the steepness of the first steps, see a symbol, suggested to the minds of the faithful by the intermediary of their legs, of the difficulty
(i)
is

so great that

of attaining to Nirvana

We

conjecture, at least, that the impossibility of

imposing upon them still steeper ones is one of the reasons which decided the architect not to conform in all things to the ancient Indian formula of
the air bubble on water
to his
,

and made him recoil before the idea of assigning

monument

the form of a complete hemisphere.

212

BUDDHIST ART IN JAVA

of these decorative elements.

On the whole,
him,

in

every point

where we were ready to

criticize

we must now, on
which he has
tradition

the contrary, recognize the ingenuity with

turned to advantage the ready-made formula which he

had inherited from


India,
as

the

ancient religious

of

and

to

which from the very beginning he was bound

far as

possible to conform.

We

cannot render him

responsible for the mediocre architectural effect which his

monument must always have

had, even at a time before the

uneven ruin of the decorations, the subsidence of the


summit, and the crumbUng of the corners had broken and
distorted the hues. Let us add that his first plan,
raising the level of the first gallery

by

at

once

almost

six

metres above

the pavement, indicated bly

much

better

and

in

an incompara-

more elegant manner,

the form of the edifice. But for

which he very soon had to bury the original foundation of Boro-Budur, and which still to-day
gives the structure an
that

the heavy terrace in

awkward look, we flatter ourselves we should have made fewer mistakes and felt less hesi-

tation concerning the real intentions of its author.

II

The Bas-Reliefs of Boro-Budur


(principal

wall of the

first gallery)

Whatever from an architectural point of view has been lost to Boro-Budur through the tyranny of religious tradition
is

abundantly compensated in the decorative aspectbas-rehefs,


walls,

The 2,000
ed
its

more or less, which formerly coverand of which about 1,600 still exist to-day,
;

are all

of Indian Buddhism

borrowed from the legend, or from the Pantheon' audit was the testimony of these that

BUDDHIST ART
from the
first

IN JAVA

213

established

the

sectarian character of the

abundance and variety of subjects the and epopee of India have provided for the labour of the sculptors of Angkor- Vat nothing comIn

monument.

Brahmanic

art

parable hereto. Neither can these latter vie in skill of execution with their confreres of Boro-Budur. While their chisels

could only moderately carve the fine Cambodian sandstone into rather shallow pictures, the artists of Java, not
disheartened by the coarse grain of the volcanic stone furnished by their island, have drawn from it veritable
high-reliefs of an astounding depth. Their figures, in spite

of the eflFeminate softness of their

lines, are rightly celebra-

ted for the justness of their proportions, the naturalness of


their
all,

movements and

the diversity of their postures.

Above
skill,

they exhibit a knowledge of foreshortening, which


lacking in the
later, but,

is totally

owing

to

want of
artists.

apparently

more

archaic

works of the Khmer

Even

few chefs-d'oeuvre that we still possess of the schools of Gandhara, Amaravati and Benares,

in India, if we except the

we

find nothing to surpass this final Far-Eastern floresart.


first

cence of Buddhist

Among
interest

the hundreds of bas-reliefs the


calls

to arouse

were those which Leemans

of the

second
proves
is

gallery , but

which Heer

J. W. Yzerman's discovery

to have originally belonged to the


corridor,

first.

This gallery

having an

interior

width of m. 1,85, which, with


(cf.

twenty zig-zags, encompasses the whole monument


pi.

XXXI, 2).

It is

enclosed between two stone walls,

built,

like the rest of the construction,

without any apparent

mortar and interrupted only by the passage ofthe four staircases,

both walls being ornamented by two superposed series

of bas-reliefs.

Among those

which decorate the parapet (the

anterior wall

of Leemans), formerly 568 in number,

214

BUDDHIST ART
S.

IN JAVA

whereof about 400 remain, Dr.


identified a

d'Oldenburg has already


of

number of
wall

jdtakas,

or previous lives of Bud

dha (0-

On the

itself

of the stupa (the back wall

Leemans) Wilsen had early recognized in the upper row and scenes from the last life of the same ^akya-m.uni
;

Dr. C.
tion,

M.
it

Pleyte has recently published a detailed explana-

according to the Lalita-vistara, of the


contains Q).

120 panels

which

As regards those of the bottom row,


await an interpretation.

the greater
at

number

still

We remark

once, by the light of the identifications already made,

that these pictures

conform in the order of their succession

to the general rule of the pradakshind

Q}

that

is

to say,
cir-

they follow the direction taken by the worshipper

who

cumambulated the

stupa,

keeping

it

on

his right hand. It

results quite naturally

from

this that,

on the walls of the

(i) S. d'Oldenburg, Notes on Buddhist Art, St. Petersburg, 1895 (in Russian, translated into

English in the Journal of the American Oriental

Society,

January 1897, pp. 196-201). (2) C. M. Pleyte, Die Buddha-Legende in den Skulpturen des Tempels von In general we are in agreement Boro-Budur, Amsterdam, 1901, in-4. XVIII,
I,

with Dr. Pleyte as to the identification of the 120 figured scenes, which in
fact

follow religiously the text which they have undertaken to illustrate.

All the

same, his figure 14 seems to us to represent not


,

Qakra and the


particu-

Guardians of the Cardinal Points

which would convey nothing


supposed to be seated

larly edifying, but the Bodhisattva,

in his mother's

womb

beneath the
to

pavilion of precious stone , at the


in a

moment when

Brahma brings which he has


scene
side

him

cup the drop of honey, quintessence of worlds,


in the

just collected

magic lotus figured

in the preceding

by side with

the

Conception

(^Lalita-vistara,

ed.

Lefmann,

pp. 63-4).

As to figures 47 and 48, not identified by Dr. Pleyte, we believe,


may seem,
first

paradoxical as the assertion

sode of the Bodhisattva's wrestling,

that they represent twice the epiwith a single competitor, and then

all his rivals together (Lalita-vistara, pp. 152-3). This is why on 47 we see a single individual, and on fig. 48 all the young ^akyas, standing motionless and facing the Bodhisattva, who also is motionless and stand-

with
fig.

ing

violent

was the horror of the sculptors of Boro-Budur for movements. See below the additional note on p. 269. p. 268. (3) Cf, Art greco-bouddhique du Gandhdra,
:

so inveterate

all

BUDDHIST ART

IN

JAVA

215
left

parapet, the scenes follow one another

from

to right,

while,

On

on the building, the succession is from right to left. both sides they accompany the visitor who makes the
in the

round

only direction compatible with the religious

and auspicious character of the monument.


It is all

the

more expedient not

to ignore this law, inas-

much
gallery

as the identification of the bas-reliefs of this first


is,

as

we

have

said, very far

from complete. Our

was immediately and forcibly drawn to the 120 magnificent panels on the right wall, below the scenes from
attention

the last

life

of Buddha. Measuring, Hke these

last,

from
partly

m. 0,70 to m. 0,80 in height by circa m. 2,40 about three quarters of them have until now
through the
fault of the artists

in length,

and much more through the


attempts
at at explanation.

imperfections of the only reproductions which have been

pubHshed

(')

resisted all

At

the time of our visit

we had

our disposal nothing but


J.

the text of the Divydvaddna and the excellent Guide of Dr.

Groneman
:

(^).

The

latter indicates in the series in S.


;

question

only two identifications, both again due to Dr.

d'Olden-

burg one is that of the legend of Sudhanakumara the other,

which

is

connected with the history of Maitrakanyaka, has

quite recently been corroborated and developed by Prof.

Speyer and Dr. Groneman

at the

cost of an extensive

speak of the enormous folio album of 393 lithographed which is annexed to the already mentioned work of Leemans and which was so uselessly and so expensively designed at Java by Wilsen and Schonberg Mulder from 1849 to 1853, then pubHshed in Holland from 1855 to 1871 under the care of the Government-General of the Dutch Indies. (3) Boeddhistische Tempelbouwvallen in die Prdgd-Vallei, de Tjandis Bdra(i)
plates,
boedoer,

We would

Mendoet en Pawon, by Dr.

The venerable

archaeologist of Jogyakarta

himself into the galleries thank him too warmly for his trouble.

Gronemann, Semarang-Soerabaia, 1907. was so kind as to accompany us and even to the summit of Boro-Budur; we cannot
J.

2i6

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

The reading of the correction of one of Wilsen's drawings. DivyAvaddna gave us at once the key to the illustrations of
two other stories, those of Rudrayana and of Mandhatar. Then two or three of these rebuses in stone themselves thirds of the bear their own solutions. On the whole, two 120 panels in the row are thus clearly elucidated by direct
comparison
of the texts and the originals.

At

time

when the government of the Dutch Indies is preparing to endow the world of letters with photographic reproductions
of
all

the sculptures of Boro-Budur,

it

is,

perhaps, worth

while to pubHsh,

whhout

further delay, these first results,

which cannot but open the way to the complete explanation


of the whole
I.

Q.

South-Eastern Corner.

We

shall begin

our prada-

kshind,

according to rule, at the gate facing the east, which

The proof, if any is needed, is given by the fact that here begins on the upper series of bas-reliefs, the legend of the Buddha Qakya-muni. The 30 pictures of this series which are comprised between
formerly constituted the principal entrance.
the eastern and southern staircases exhibit the very early

events of his last

life,

from the preparations for


until,

his descent his last re-

from the heaven Tushita


birth

and including,

upoa

earth.

Of

the 30 corresponding panels of the

(i) In order to save the reader

all

confusion and to

facilitate

the refer-

ences to the already published documents,

we

should explain that

we

here

treat in detail only the 120 bas-reliefs called

back wall of the second gallery


to

by Lbemans lower row of the which, occupying the base of plates XVI

of his album, are described (but not identified) from page 194 to page 217 of his book. will retain provisionally between .parentheses

CXXXV

We

the numbers 2-240 assigned to them,

the odd

reserved for the 120 bas-reliefs of the upper


the

numbers i to 239 being row on this same wall,


of

row which, reproduced


is

at the

top of the same plates and described on


life

pp. 121-193,

entirely devoted to the last

Buddha and has been

studied by Dr. C.

M. Pleyte.

BUDDHIST ART
lower row the
first

IN JAVA

2I7

twenty

are, as Dr. S.

d'Oldenburg has

briefly recognized, dedicated to the legend of Prince

Sudhana. We propose, with the aid of the text of the Divydvaddna ('), to enter into the details of this identification,

which may be regarded


time, detect the

as definitive

we shall,
XVI, 2).

at the

same

methods of the
i.

sculptors.

Sudhanakumdrdvaddna-

(L., pi.

Once upon

a time, says the text, there were in the country of Paficala

two

kings, the
..

king of the north and the king of the


virtuous, and his

south.

The former was

perous

with the second

it

was
not

quite
:

kingdom prosotherwise. Leemans

describes the bas-reHef in these terms


wife, seated in a

A prince

and his

pendopo

(*)

far

from

their palace, are

receiving the

homage of

a great

number

of persons of
is

rank
us in

. Is it
all

the

monarch of the north who

presented to
it

his glory in the midst of his court? Is

the

sovereign of the south

whom we perceive in
it

the act of dehb-

erating with his ministers concerning the

means of restoris

ing prosperity to his kingdom? This

not in the

power of our image-makers to specify. 2. (L., 4). What lends more probability
any case recognize
prince
as the

to the first suppo-

sition is the fact that in the following picture

we must

in

king of southern Pancala the

who,

sheltered
is

by

his parasol

and followed by

a nu-

on horseback through a conventional rocky landscape. Under a pretext of hunting, as the text tells us, he is making a tour of inspection through his kingdom, which he finds completely ruined and deserted.
merous cortege,
riding

Perhaps he

is

even

now

plotting to rob his flourishing

(i) S. d'Oldenburg, he. cit., p. 200; Divy&vaddm, XXX, ed. Cowell and Neil, pp. 435-461. (2) Probably a corruption of the Sanscrit word mandapa, which signifies a kind of hall or open pavilion.

2i8

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

neighbour of the young ndga Janmacitraka, who resides in and who by a pond near the capital of northern Pancala,
dispensing at

an opportune

moment the

exact

amount of

rain

which

is

necessary
rely

assures abundance to the country.

But we can hardly

upon the resemblance between the


and the snake-charmer
than

Brahman
hand

ascetic

who

goes before him, bearing in his right

a kind of bent pruning-bill,

whose

witchcraft

3. (L., 6).

we are soon to witness. The following panel represents no


India,

less

three episodes.
as

On the right the young ndga recognizable,


by
his coiflFure of serpents'

on the sculptures of

heads

asks upon his knees,

and obtains, the protection of


(cf.

the hunter Halaka. In the middle

pi

XXXIV,

i) the

same Janmacitraka, grieving and under compulsion, is driven from the midst of the waters and lotuses of his pond by
the influence of incantations pronounced (at his right side)

by

Brahmanic

ascetic before a sacrificial altar; fortunately

the hunter, standing (on the other side) with his


in his hands, is

weapons
text,
first

watching over him. According to the

he

is

about to put the charmer to death, not without

having made him. annul the effect of his charm. In the third group (on the left) we must therefore, it seems, recognize the same Brahman, not reporting to the king,

whose agent he
but
at the

is,

moment

mischance which he has not survived, when he receives from this king his

secret mission. It follows, therefore, that,

by an exceptional,
episode on the
in time the

but
left,

not impossible,

arrangement, the

hke that on the

right,

must have preceded

one which they both enclose.


4. (L., 8).
at the

Next, in the text, comes a brilliant reception house of the father and mother of the young ndga in
their son.

honour of the saviour of

This

is

indeed what

the bas-relief represents; but then

we

are forced to

admit

BUDDHIST ART

IN

JAVA

219 a princely cos-

that for this occasion the hunter has

donned

tume, much superior to his


supply the
fact that in the

caste. It is also

necessary to

meantime he has

received

from

his hosts a lasso


5.

which never misses.


picture transports us to the

(L., 10).

The following

Himalaya mountains.

On

the right

we

perceive the lean

whose thoughtless chatter has guided the arm of the hunter Halaka. The latter, who is in a squatting posture, holds the Kinnari Manohara impriascetic figure of the old anchorite

soned at the end of his


of the
latter,

infallible lasso,

while the companions

likewise represented in

human

form, rush
lotuses.

towards the

left

in their aerial flight over a


this

pond of

6. (L., 12).

At

moment, we

are told,

Sudhana, the

Royal Prince of northern


party
:

Pailcala, is passing

with a hunting

Halaka perceives him, and, in order that his captive

may

not be forcibly taken away, presents her to him.


believe

We

we must

twice recognize the hunter in the two

persons respectfully stooping


the fairy,

down between
in the first

the prince and


is

who

are standing

row he

offering
it.

his captive; in the second he receives the reward for

Leemans was wrong in speaking of a few women of Manohara is the only person of her sex. It goes rank
:

without saying

that, as in

our

stories,

love springs up

immediately between the young people.


7. (L.,

14).

king, seated in his palace, in the midst of

his court, is in conversation

with a Brahman. Without the


is

text

we

should never be able to guess that this king

the

father of Sudhana,

and that the interlocutor

is

his purohita,

or chaplain, the traitor of the melodrama. The latter is in the act of perfidiously counselling his master to confide
forthwith to the royal prince the perilous task of subduing a rebellious vassal, against whom seven expeditions have
already failed.

220
8. (L., 1 6).

BUDDHIST ART IN JAVA

The unhappy

prince, in despair at having to

leave his beloved


farevi^ell

Manohara, obtains permission to say

to his

mother before beginning the campaign, and

begs her to watch over his

young

wife.

That the bas-reUef

does, in fact, represent an interview between a


a son
is

mother and

clearly

proved by the higher seat of the queen and

the respectful attitude of the prince.


9. (L., 18).

Sudhana, as

it is

written, stopped at the

foot of a tree near to the rebellious town. Fortunately,

Vai^ravana, one of the four gods

who

reign in the

air,

foreseeing his defeat, sends to his aid his general Pancika

with a troup of Yakshas, or genii. These are the


or evil spirits , mentioned by Leemans.
tinues
:

five giants,

The

latter

con-

10. (L., 20).

prince, seated in his house with his


is

wife and

two

servants,

giving audience to six men, per-

haps wise Brahmans, with

whom

he

is

engaged
it is

in a very

animated conversation...
text that

Here, again,

only from the


is

we

learn that the locality of the scene

transfer-

red back to Hastinapura, the capital of northern Pancala,

and that the father of Sudhana


lain takes

is

asking his Brahman astro-

logers for an explanation of a bad dream.

advantage of this to

The wicked chapprescribe, among other


and

remedies forestalhng such bad omens, the sacrifice of a


Kinnari.
his wife

The king seems


But

to

make

a gesture of protest,

shows manifest signs of sorrow.


in the heart of the

11. (L., 22).

king the instinct of

Thus, on the following picture we see the fairy Manohara, with the assent, and even the compHcity, of the Queen Mother, flee away
self-preservation at last gains the victory.

gracefully through the air (pi.


12. (L., 24).
genii,

XXXIV,

2).

Meanwhile Sudhana, by the aid of the has triumphed, without any shedding of blood. His

BUDDHIST ART
mission
fulfilled,

IN

JAVA

221

he re-enters the capital, and begins by pre-

senting to his father the taxes which he has recovered and


the tribute of submission from the rebels.
fail

We

shall not

to observe

on

pi.

XXXV,

the grace and suitability of

the attitudes of the various persons.


13.

(L., 26).

The

prince has

no sooner remarked the

disappearance of Manohara and learned the unworthiness

and ingratitude
his

of the

king than he again has recourse to

mother

it is

interesting to

compare

this intervievv', in

respect of variety of attitude, with that at

which we were

present above (no. 8).


14. (L., 28).

Once again

a royal personage is presented to

us, seated in his palace in the

midst of his court; but

this

time he has a halo. By


as well as in nos. 17

this sign
18,

we

shall recognize here,

Druma, king of the Kinnaras. It is, therefore, his daughter, Manohara, who, crouched at his left, is relating to him the story of her romantic adventures on earth. It results, further, from this that the scene is sudand
denly transported beyond the
first

chains of the Himalayas

to the distant and inaccessible country of the genii and


fairies.

The

sculptor does
if

all

that

he

can to vary in

imagination,

in execution he hardly succeeds, the places

and persons.
15. (L., 30).

However Sudhana
It

has

set

himself to

search for his beloved.


anchorite,

occurs to

him
it

to enquire of the
led to the cap-

whose incautious words formerly


by the hunter.

ture of the fairy


faithful
rishi

Now

happens that the


left
is

Manohari, bearing no maHce, has

with

this

same

a ring and an itinerary, which he

respectively to

deliver

and to communicate to the prince.

16. (L., 32).

Without allowing himself to be discouraged


terrible difficulties

by the length and


hero of the story

of the journey, the

at last

succeeds in reaching the city of king


18

222

BUDDHIST ART IN JAVA


this

Druma. At

very

moment a crowd

o{ Kinnaris is engag-

ed in drawing water in great quantities for the bath of


the princess

because, they say, of that

human odour
earth,

which she has brought back with her from the

and

which
to

will not disappear.

Sudhana takes advantage of this


pitchers,

throw the ring of recognition into one of the


to

which he recommends
the trick

the servant as the

first

to be

emptied over the head of Manohara. According to the text


is

played without the knowledge of the Kinnari;


pi.

but according to
it

XXXV, 2, so elegant
is

in its

morbidezza,

cannot be that she

deceived concerning the intention

of the gesture and the motive for the recommendation ot


the

young man. 17. (L., 34). The stratagem succeeds Druma, warned by
:

his daughter of the arrival of the prince, after threatening

make mincemeat of him , is appeased, and consents to prove him. The bas-relief represents Sudhana standing at

to

the

left,

his

bow
;

bent, ready to pierce seven


right

single arrow

on the

palms with one Druma, seated and with a halo,


written and as

witnesses his prowess.


18. (L., 36). Finally

he resolves, as

is

we

can

see, to grant the prince his daughter's

hand.
lead
a life of

19. (L., 38).

The newly-wedded couple

pleasure in the midst of the gynasceum. According to the

customary Indian and Javanese formula these delights are provided by a dancing girl, accompanied by an orchestra of
musicians of both sexes. As Leemans has shrewdly remarked, the royal

couple do not seem to pay great attention to


:

these

amusements

they do not, in

fact, suffice

to cure

the prince of homesickness.


20. (L., 40).
picture,

And

this is

why, on the following and

last

we

see

him and

his wife signalizing

by a distribu-

tion of

bounty

their return to Hastinapura.

BUDDHIST ART
Here,

IN JAVA

223

we believe,

ends, both on the

text, the story

of Sudhana-kumara and the Kinnari


translate
it,

monument and in the Mano-

hara, or, as

we may

of Prince Fortunate and

the fairy Charming.

The

ten panels which continue the

line as far as the southern staircase

seem to be devoted to another story, in which the exchange by sea and land of
portraits, or

models, of the hero or heroine

(') plays a role

sufficiently picturesque to suggest


tification.

sooner or

later

an iden-

For the present we prefer to abstain from all hypothesis. The example of the first twenty of these basreliefs

proves clearly that


text,

it

would be
Even

idle to attempt,

without the aid of a


sufficient

an explanation founded solely on


a text is not always

the intimations of the sculptors.


:

it

must

also be well chosen.

We

have just

remarked that our image-makers have, except


vaddna.

for a

few in-

significant divergences, followed the letter of the Divyd-

We

should arrive
their

at a quite different result,

if

we

compared with

legend, preserved in

work another version of the same the no less ancient and authentic col-

lection of the Mahdvastu

Q.

There we have no more ques-

(i) A story, likewise Indian and Buddhist, translated from the Chinese by M. Chavannes (Fables et Contes de VInde, extraits du Tripitaka chinois, in Ades du XIV<^ Congres international des Orientalistes, I, p. 94) begins with this double and reciprocal exchange of ideal models but the continuation of the story does not seem to accord with the scenes of our bas-reliefs. We
:

may

also recall, in the legend of

Mahakagyapa, the

detail

of the fabrica-

tion of a type of girl in gold (Beal, Romantic Legend, p. 317; Schiefner,


Textes traduits

du Kandjour
tales,
II,

in Milanges Asiat. de St. Peterb., VIII, pp.

296

sqq., or Tibetan

p. 191).

(2) Ed. Senart,

pp. 94-115.

On the other hand,


tales,

the version of the Tibet-

an ^aw/wr, translated by Schiefnzr (Tibetan


the text of the Divydvaddna, that
is,

pp. 44-74), follows exactly

as has lately

been shown by

MM.

S.

Levi

and Ed. Hdber, the canon of the Mfhla-Sarvastividins; we shall have to return to this point. Let us again cite two versions of the Sudhanakumdrdvaddna,
the one from the BodUsattvdvaddnahalpalatd (no. 64), the other (pointed out by

224

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

tion of a preamble, containing the adventures of the ndga

Janmacitraka and of the snake-charmer

also

it

is

not
,

with an

infallible lasso,

but thanks to a truthful word

that the hunter gets possession of the Kinnari.

There

is

no

longer any wicked chaplain, any expedition of the prince


against a rebel, any bad
that

dream of the king

it

simply happens

Sudhana, having
is

in the excess of his love neglected his


is

duties,

put into prison by his father, and the fairy

home, but not by way of the air. Then it is with two hunters, and not with an anchorite, that Manohara
sent
leaves her ring and her directions to her lover. It
is

huge

monkey who transports ions to the town of the


awaits

the prince and his three


Kinnari,

where the best


at

companwelcome
trial

him,

without

having to undergo any


if

of

strength or

skill.

In short,

we had

our disposal only

the Mahavastu, scarcely


reliefs, for

two or

three out of twenty bas-

example the capture of the Kinnari by the hunter


pitcher,

and the throwing of the ring into the


susceptible of a detailed interpretation
text
:

would be

by the aid of the


thanks to the

and yet

it

is

quite evident to us,

constant accord between the Divydvaddna and the sculptures, that the identification

with the legend of Prince Sudhana would be on the whole none the less just. This remark deserves to be borne in mind throughout the deli-

cate enterprise of the explanation of these

mute

stories.

II.

South-western Corner.

We should be tempted
we

to

apply it without further delay to the bas-reliefs which

en-

counter immediately after having passed the point where


the southern staircase crosses the first gallery of the stupa.

Dr. S. d'OLDENBDRG, Leo-M(i bouddhiques, St Petersburg, 1894, p. 43) from the Bhadrakalpavaddna, no. 29.

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA
(*),

225

Thanks once again

to the Divydvaddna

we

shall there

recognize with absolute certainty the biography of the

famous king Mandhatar,


bas-relief,

as

familiar to
it

the Brahmanic

legend as to the Buddhist. But

is

only from the eighth

counting from the southern entrance (no. 76 of Leemans), that the text again comes into line with the

monument,

to

march
first

side

by

side with

it

thenceforward

as far as the twentieth.

What

does this mean? Are

we

to

suppose that the

seven pictures relate to another story?

The analogy of
reliefs

the south-eastern corner seems to supply


first

stronger reasons for supposing that the

twenty bas-

of the south-western corner were likewise dedicated to


is

a single legend, that

to the Mdndhdtravaddna
at a

only the
point
far as

sculptor

must have commenced

much
it

earlier

than the compiler.

The

first

goes back,

seems, as

the incidents which preceded the birth of the hero, whilst


the second, in an exordium obviously shortened and

drawn
first

up

in telegraphic style, gives a rapid

r^sum^ of

his

youth, and proceeds to expatiate


his reign. Until

at large

on the exploits of

we

have fuller information, everything

leads us to beUeve that the story of


at

Mandhatar commenced

the corner of the southern staircase and not right in

the middle of one of the faces of this twenty-cornered


gallery,

and that

it

terminated, like that of Sudhana, at the

fourth angle after the staircase.

When we had arrived


it

at this

point in our hypothesis, the

reading of the Bodhisattvdvaddnakalpalatd came to confirm


in a

most unexpected manner. The abridged and colourCowELL and Neil, pp. 210-228. Cf.
de St-Pet., pp.

(i) XVII. Ed.


Jataka, no. 258
in the

a Pili version in the

(ed., 11, p. 310; trans., II, p. 216), another Tibetan version

Kanjur (Schiefner, Mel. As.

44 sqq., or Tibetan

tales,

Bodhisattvdvaddnakalpalatd, pp. 1-20), and a third Sanskrit version in the Series, no. 750, pp. 123-153). no. 4 (Bibl. Indica, New

226
less

BUDDHIST ART IN JAVA


version of the Pali Jdtaka no. 258 had been of

no

assistance whatever. Neither

had we been helped by the

Tibetan text of the Kanjur in the translation of Schiefner,

which, in

fact,

follows with great fidelity the Divydvaddna,

that is the version of the Mula-Sarvastivadins.

Kshemen-

dra does the same, but for once, in the midst of his insipid
concetti,

he has,

at the

beginning, preserved for us one

topical detail (st.8-io)

One day Uposhadha, anxious

to assure the protec-

tion of the anchorites

by the destruction of the demons, mounted on horseback, and began to go through the
a

hermitages.

There

certain rishis of royal race


sacrifice celebrated

were holding

a vessel

ready for a

with a view to obtaining a

son

very hot with the fatigue of the long journey, the


at

king drank the contents


cc

one draught.
;

No

one was there to prevent him and, because he had


that he

swallowed the contents of the enchanted vessel,the monarch,

on returning to his capital, found

had conceived...

All the versions agree in telUng us that there

came on

the

head of king Uposhadha an enormous tumour, very soft to


touch and in nowise painful.
issued from
the 60,000
it

When

it

had matured, there

a fine boy, for the charge of

whose nurture

women

of the royal harem


his birth

disputed.

To

the

wonderful circumstances of

he owes his double

name
to us

of Murdhaja and Mandhatar

or even, by confusion
is

of these two, Murdhatar. But what


is

of special importance

that the

Kashmir poet furnishes us with the only


in the interpretation of the bas-

link

which was missing

reliefs (').

Mdndhdtravaddna.

Henceforth nothing, indeed, prevents


in

(i) Cf. nearly the

same story

Mahahharata, Dronaparvan, LXII.

BUDDHIST ART
US from seeing in nos. i(L.,
rich
pi.

IN JAVA

227

XL VI,

62)cand 2(L., 64) the

alms which King Uposhadha himself bestows and causes

to be bestowed with a view to obtaining a son.


for the expedition represented in no,
3

The
is

reason

(L., 66)

no longer
in

hidden from us
this

it is

that undertaken

by the king (who

case travelled in a litter) for the protection of the

No. 4(L., 68) takes us straight to a hermitage of the rishis; and we beheve that we can see there the magic vessel to which Uposhadha owed in such an unusual manner
anchorites.

the fulfilment of his desires. In any case,

it is

in the followis

ing picture (no.


at last seen.

L.,

70) that the child so

much desired

Again, nos. 6 and 7 are probably there simply

as padding,

and they represent, the

first

(L., 72) the horo-

scope of the future cakravartin or sovereign monarch of the

world, the second (L., 74) the donation intended to recompense the astrologer. These last incidents, Uke that of the
alms, are very commonplace;
it is

easily intelligible that the

compiler of the Divydvaddna should have dispensed with a


further repetition of them.

On

the other hand, the sculptors

of Boro-Budur never

fail

to emphasize, as hints to visitprac-

ing pilgrims, these edifying scenes of virtue in


tice.

But

let

us proceed

we

are

now on

firm ground,
tra-

supported by both a written and a figured form of the


dition in
8.

mutual accord.
a

(L., 76)

Having become

a royal prince,

Mandhatar

goes to see the country.

We

do,

indeed, perceive the


starting

young

prince at the

moment when,

on

his jour-

ney, he respectfully takes leave of his father.


9. (L., 78).

During his absence the

latter dies.

Among the

marvels susceptible of representation which are adjuncts


of his coronation the text signalizes the sudden appearance of the
see

why we depicted here among the surroundings of the prince, who

seven jewels of the cakravartin. This

is

228

BUDDHIST ART

IN

JAVA

a horse, an elephant, a has become king, a disc, a jewel,

woman,
that not

a general,

and

a minister.
tells us,
is

10. (L., 80).


'far

The Divydvaddna
hundred
rishis.

immediately

after,

from Vai^ali there

charming wood, in

which

reside five

Now

extraneous noises are

the scourge of pious

meditations.

surly anchorite,

annoyed by the noise of certain cranes, breaks their wings turn by by a curse. King Mandhatar, angered in his
this

from

hardness of heart, requests the hermits to depart us birds his dominions. The bas-relief also shows

placed

on the ground between the king, who is standing in recogconversation with a stooping courtier, and two rishis,
nizable by their big chignons and their rosaries,
fleeing

who

are

by the route of the

air.

11. (L., 82).

Mandhatar, continuing his tour, decides


of his

not to have the

fields

kingdom any more


heaven.

cultivated

for the corn will rain


in fact, gather

down from

The

peasants do,
ears of rice,

up before

his eyes

bunches of
:

which have

fallen

from the clouds

we

expressly say
rice is

bunches, and not sheaves, because in Java the


but gathered by hand.
12. (L., 84). In the

not cut,

same way Mandhatar decides


fall

that

his subjects will

no longer need
material,

to cultivate cotton, or to

spin, or to weave.

Immediately there

from the clouds


to

pieces of

woven
i).

which the people have only

catch in their flight and to fold


(pi.

up for subsequent use


his subjects attri-

XXXVI,

13. (L., 86).

Somewhat vexed, because


for seven days a

bute partly to themselves the merit of

all

these miracles,

Mandhatar causes
within his

shower of gold, but only

own palace. This explains why, beside the king and his ministers, we see here only women, engaged in colfrom
jars set

lecting the treasures pouring

amid the clouds.

BUDDHIST ART
14. (L., 88). Finally

IN JAVA

229

king Mandhatar, preceded by the

seven jewels of the cakravartin and followed by his army, sets out for the conquest of the universe the feet of none
:

of the persons touch the ground.


15. (L., 90).

Here the

text, in

order better to depict the

insatiable greed of the

human

heart, enters

upon

a series

of repetitions impossible to reproduce on

stone.

King
still

Mandhatar has

for a herald (purojava) a yaksha, or genius,

who

at

each fresh conquest informs him of what

remains for him to conquer.


the presence, once for
all,

On

the

monument we

are in

of this periodical council meet-

ing

for the rest, the sculptor has given to the yaksha the

ordinary appearance ofaBrahmanic minister,


16. (L., 92).
tar at a

On the following
to the

panel he conducts Mandhahis prodigious fortune.

swoop

summit of

Two

kings, exactly aUke and both with haloes, are seated

in a palace side

by side on

seats of equal height, in the

midst

of their court. Without the slightest doubt the

moment
to

chosen

is

that

when

(Jakra, the Indra of the

Gods, has,

on the mere mental wish of the king of men, yielded up him the half of his throne and there was no difference
:

to

be seen between them, except that the eyes of ^akra did

not blink.
17. (L., 94). If this interpretation

were

at all doubtful,

it

would be confirmed by the picture immediately following, which represents a combat between the gods and the Asuras.

Thanks to their human ally, 18-20. But from this moment

the gods triumph.


a certain hesitation begins
bas-reliefs
;

to manifest itself

between the text and the


to the Divydvaddna,

and

immediately the uncertainty in our identifications reappears.

According
:

Mandhatar

after the
, is the

battle asks

Who is

conqueror?))

The king

reply of his ministers;

whereupon the

infatuated king car-

230
ries his

BUDDHIST ART
presumption so
far as to

IN

JAVA
in

wish to dethrone Indra,

order to reign alone in his place. But this time he has gone

too

far.

Scarcely has he conceived this thought than he

is

thrust

from the height of the heavens down to the earth;


dies, to

and he has hardly time, before he


edifying
tion.

pronounce

few

words concerning the excess of his blind ambi-

Consequently no. i8 (L.,96), which is quite analogous

to no. 15, should represent the last consultation of the king

with his minister; no. 19 (L., 98) should be dedicated to the last words which he pronounces after his fall, while on
the
left

Qakra, standing and with a halo, should turn

away
his

from him; then finally no. 20 (L., 100) should show us

funeral and, as befits a cakravartin, the depositing of his

ashes in a stupa. But these explanations, plausible though

they

may

be,

have not the obviousness of the preceding.

Qibi-jataka.

We should say the same


for the ten bas-reUefs

of those which

we might propose
series

which continue the


this latter
is

as far as the

western staircase, excepting the sixth


It

(L., pi.

LXXI,

112).

seems indubitable that


in

represents the essential episode of the Qihi-jataka, that


say, that

to

previous

life

which the future Buddha ranat the price of

somed

dove from a falcon


(').

an equal weight

of his flesh

At

least,

nothing

is

wanting to the
nor the

scene, neither the Bodhisattva seated in his palace, nor the


bird

of prey perched

on

neighbouring

tree,

(i)

It is

well

known

that

we

still

have no Indian Buddhist version of

this

form of the legend. Except for the Brahmanic epopee, it is known to us only from the allusions of the Chinese pilgrims Fa-hien (trans. Legge, p. 30), Sung Yun (trans. Chavannes, B. fi. F. E.-O., Ill, p. 427), Hiuanthat
I, p. 137), and from Chinese versions, such as which was retranslated from Chinese by M. Ed. Hdber, SutralanMra, Paris, 1908, p. 330, and from Tibetan by Schmidt, Der Weiseundder

tsang (trans. Stan. Julien,

Thor, p. 120.

BUDDHIST ART

IN

JAVA

231

pigeon, which appears twice, once placed on the back of


the
(pi.

throne

and once

in

one of the

plates of the

scales

XXXVI, 2). This time the bas-relief would be sufficient for its own interpretation. We feel how rare is such a case among all these sculptures and the greater number of those
;

of the upper

row

which

in the

south-west corner extend

from the

birth of

^akya-muni

determined his vocation


III.

to the four excursions

which

are not

more

expressive.

North-Western Corner.
represent in the upper
his

The

bas-reliefs of the

third portion of the first gallery

(on the right-hand wall) are

known to
dha from
gious
life,

row

the departure of Bud-

home,
all

that

is

to say, his entry into the reli-

and

the trials

which preceded the attainment


of the 30 in the lower

of perfect illumination.
least

Out
,

22 and perhaps 2 5
,

are, as

we

shall

row at show step by step,

consecrated

to the celebrated historical legend of king


it is

Rudrayana. Again
it (*).

in the Divydvaddna that

we may read
gave, in

In the B. i. F.E.-O. of 1906,

M. Ed. Huber
it

accordance with the Chinese translation and the Sanskrit


text,

an analysis of

it,

from which

clearly appears that

this avaddna, like the preceding ones, is only an extract

from

the Vinaya of the Mula-Sarvastivadins. In this connection

M. Huber had seemed


two cats Budur but,
the
;

to discern

through the drawings


viz. that

of Wilsen that one of the episodes of the story,


(cf.

of

below, no. 17), was represented

at

Boro-

justly discouraged

by the inexactitudes of the

only accessible reproductions, he was obliged to abandon this clue. Direct comparison of the text with the monument
has permitted us to follow
it

up from one end


pp. 544-586.
It is

to the other.

(i)

XXXVII,

ed.

CowELLand Neil,
it

known

that

Bur-

NOUF

translated a fragment of

in his Introduction a

I'histoire

du Bouddhisme

indien, pp. 341-344.

232

BUDDHIST ART

IN

JAVA

The extremely exact and sufficiently detailed resume published by M. Huber, to which

we

refer the reader, will allow

us this time to insist a


little

little less

upon the

history and a

more upon the

sculptures.

Rudrdyandvaddna.

First of

all,

we must state that we do


at

not see any

way

of making the story on the stone begin

the corner of the western staircase, but only at the first reenDo tering angle after the face intersected by that staircase. the three
first

bas-reUefs on the left of the entrance, in

which

Qakra plays his accustomed role of deus ex machind, form a whole by themselves, or must they not rather be a continuation of those

on the right? Or, on the contrary, may we not some day come to think that the story of Rudrayana also comprises a prelude omitted in the Divydvaddna} Only the
chance of reading some Indian text

may some day

tell us,

even

if

we have

not to await a solution by a Tibetan or

Chinese translation.

For the moment we begin with the Divydvaddna at no. 128, pi. LXXIX of Leemans, where Rudrayaria, king of Roruka, questions merchants, who have come from Raja1.

griha, the capital of Bimbisara, concerning the


their master.
2. (L., 130).

merits of

king

is

seated in his palace;

on

his right
:

a courtier holds in both

hands a rectangular
which, in the
first

tablet
fire

this

must represent the


his cousin of

letter

of his

enthusiasm, the sovereign of Roruka resolved to write to

Magadha, Further, two suppositions


is

are per-

missible

if

the king represented


if,

the sender, his


is

name

is

Rudrayaria;

as

seems more natural, he

the addressee,
this

he

is

Bimbisara.

We

do not ask our sculptors to decide

by attributing to each of the two monarchs a characteristic physiognomy that would be exacting too much from them.
:

3.(L., 132).

Then

follows a grand reception to welcome,

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

253

or to say farewell to, the improvised ambassadors, in a royal court no less uncertain. The Divydvaddna ssljs no word

but the meaning of the mise en not to be doubted; and, for the rest, it is sufficient to compare it with the 1 1 2* bas-relief of the upper row
:

regarding this function


scene
is

(L., pl.CXXVll, 223,or Pleyte,


a grand dinner offered to
is

fig.

112), which represents


as here, the table thirty

Buddha. There,
:

laid in

the Javanese fashion

from twenty to

bowls, containing divers seasonings or viands, surround an

enormous pot of

rice,

which constitutes the principal dish


of ten centuries ago.

in fact, a regular

rijstaffel

4.(L., 134). This time the attitudes of the

minor persons
disis

and the obvious character of the offering define very


tinctly the hero

and

locality of the scene

Bimbisara

receiving at Rajagriha the casket of jewels which Rudrayana

has sent to him together with his


5.

letter.

(L., 136).

The

case of stuffs sent in return by the

king of Magadha to his


the scene
:

new
air

friend occupies the middle of

but the pensive

of the king and the respectful


it

immobility of the attendants make

doubtful whether

we

have to do with Bimbisara deciding upon his present, or

Rudrayana receiving
give in exchange
6. (L.,
(').

it

and already wondering what he can


that

138).

However

may

be, the following bas-

relief again represents Bimbisara, receiving

from Rudrayana
terribly

his precious cuirass.

This object has been so

mal-

treated in the representation,

where

it is

absolutely unre-

were somewhat inclined towards this last supposition but, all taken into account, it seems impossible to establish a regular alternation between the heroes of these first six bas-reliefs. If we must admit any sym(i)
:

We

metry between them, we should rather be inclined to think that in nos. 1-3 the scene is at Roruka, and in the three following at Rijagriha. Then we
return to Roruka until no. 13.

234

BUDDHIST ART

IN

JAVA

cognizable, that

we

think

it

advisable to give a photograi).


is

phic reproduction
7. (L., 140).

(pi.

XXXVII,

The
it

total

absence of landscape

sufficiently
it

rare to render

worth our while to

direct attention to

here.

The whole

height and breadth of the panel are occu-

pied by a procession, in

which the place of honour, beperched on an elephant, belongs

tween the arms of


silhouette of

man
is

to a kind of rolled up kakemono,

on which we know

that the
is

Buddha
to

painted. Doubtless, the scene

taken
are

at

the

moment when
meet
this

the inhabitants of Roruka,

who

come out
it

supreme

gift

from Bimbisara,

bring

back with great

pomp

to their town.
is

8. (L.,

142). This picture


it is

quite analogous to no. i,

not to mention that

likewise placed at the turn

of

an angle

only, in the interval the subject of the conversa-

tion has changed in a

most edifying manner.

It is

no longer

the merits of their king which are the boast of the people

of Rajagriha, but those of Buddha himself.


9.

(L., 144). Rudrayaria, as

soon

as converted,

begged

to receive instruction

from

monk, and the master des:

patched
is,

to

him

the reverend Mahakatyayana

monk

in fact, sitting at the right of the king,

higher seat than he. In the most gratuitous

most perplexing
necessary to
pi.
is

manner the designer considered it surmount the shaven head of this monk (cf.
the protuberance of the ushnisha,

and

and even on a
also the

XXXVII, 2) with

which

special to

Buddhas. Let us add that Mahakatyayana seems,


refuses

in the

midst of the edified hearers, to be making a gesture


:

of refusal

what he

is,

doubtless, to preach in the

gynseceum of the king: that


10.

is

the business of the nuns.

(The drawing is missing in L.;. Thus the following panel shows us the nun ^aila preaching from the height of
a throne to the king and four of his wives,

who are

seated

on

BUDDHIST ART
the ground (pi.

IN JAVA

235

XXXVIII,

i).

Behind her a servant seems to

be ordering three armed guards to forbid anyone to enter the

harem during the sermon. It will be noticed that doubtless from modesty the nun and, in a general way, the

women
the

are seated with their legs bent

under them, and

not crossed in the same manner as those of the monks and

men

(').

(The drawing does not appear in L.). The scene is obviously the same, except in two points. Firstly, a second
11.

nun, squatting behind

Qaila, represents doubtless the

quorum

necessary for an ordination. In the second place, there are

now
ing.

only

women

in the audience,
is

and the place formerly

occupied by the king

taken by a third hhihhuni kneelin this

Immediately the text invites us to recognize

novice queen Candraprabha, who, conscious of her approach-

ing death, has obtained from Rudrayaria authority to enter


into religion (pi.
12.

XXXVIII,
is

2),

(The drawing

not to be found in L.). That on the


is

following bas-relief the king


his favourite wife

again in conversation with

would

likewise not be understood, did

not learn elsewhere that Candraprabha was born again in the nearest heaven, and that she promised her husband to return after her death to advise him as to the ways and

we

means of reunion with her


filHng her promise (pi.
13.

in another
i).

life.

Here she

is ful-

This explains

XXXIX, also why

the very next

morning

Rudrayana decides to go and be ordained a monk by Buddha, and announces to his son Qikhandin that he abdicates
again notice that the real padma-

(i) In the same order of ideas

we may

of the feet turned upwards and sana, with the legs closely crossed, the soles Buddha alone (cf. right foot forward, is reserved by our sculptors for the upper corners of our plates XXXVII, 2 and XL, i the image of the

on the

Bodhisattva, already represented in the form of a Buddha).

236

BUDDHIST ART

IN

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in his favour (pi.

XXXIX,

2). In this case the

drawing of

L., pi.
acters,

XCI,i52, reproduces only the upper part of the charand commits the very grave fault of making the

king's interlocutor a

woman

it is

obviously a man.

14. (L., 154). If the four preceding pictures are either


totally or partially

missing from Wilsen's album, the follow-

ing one

is,

in

compensation, more than complete. The

designer began once

more

with the

aggravation of an

indication of locks of hair covering an imaginary ushnisha

the mistake of which he had already been guilty in


:

no. 9

of a

monk

with a round, shorn head he made a

Buddha! Furthermore the two scenes nos. 9 (pi. XXXVII, 2) and 14 (pi. XXXIX, 3), which are quite symmetrical, bring
face to face

with one another, in the customary surround-

ings of a royal residence, the type of the

monk and

the type

of the king.

Only

the continuation of the text reveals to us

that this time the

monk Rudrayana himself, who


round

no longer Mahakatyayana, but has just been ordained by Buddha


is

in person at Rajagriha. In a
first

long dialogue he

rejects, for his

in public as a

mendicant monk, the seductive


well imagine that
it

offers of Bimbisara.

You may

was

impossible to pass by so fine an opportunity for reproducing,

both on the

monument and

in the text, the

famous episode
this

of the temptation of the future

^akya-muni by

same
parts

Bimbisara.
15. (L., 156).

The

bas-relief is divided into

two

by a

tree,

and the

different orientation

of the characters

emphasizes

this separation.

On

the right, at Rajagriha. the

monk Rudrayana (still wrongly


Buddha)
learns

represented by Wilsen as a

from merchants, natives of his country, that his son ^ikhandin is conducting himself badly on the throne, and he promises to go and put things in order. On
the
left,

at

Roruka, King Qikhaiidin

is

warned by

his evil

BUDDHIST ART
ministers that there
is

IN

JAVA

257

rumour of his father's early return, and he forms with them a plot to assassinate him. In the
a

background

is

to be seen already, in her private palace, the


in this portion of the story will play

Queen Mother, who


16.

a very important part.

(L, 158). The panel is divided like the preceding one,


tree is, in this case, further reinforced
little

and the separating

by a

edicula,
:

which serves

as

porch to a pahsaded
at

interior (pi. XL, i)

nevertheless the

two scenes take place

Roruka.

On the right king ^ikaiidin learns from several peris

sons (one of whom, being armed,


the

perhaps his emissary,

the executioner) of his father's death and last words.


left, filled

On

with remorse for a double crime, the murder

of a father and the murder of a saint, he comes to seek refuge with his mother doubtless this is the moment cho:

sen by the latter to disburden


parricide

him

at least

of his crime of
falsely,

by
is

revealing to

him,

truly or

that

Rudrayaria

merely his reputed

father.

17. (L., 160).

There remains the taskof exonerating him

from the not

less inexpiable

murder of an

arhat,

or

Bud-

dhist saint. Is it

worth while to recall the ingenious stratagem


evil ministers in

conceived by the
is

order to prove that there

no

arhat, or, at least, that those

are only charlatans?

On

the

left

who pretend to be such we perceive, each hidden


for vases
train-

under

his stupa

(which Leemans wrongly took

in the form of globes ), the

two

cats

which have been


first saints

ed to answer to the

name

of the

two

formerly

converted by Mahakatyayana.

On

the

right the

Queen

Mother and Qikhandin take


18. (L., 162).

part in the demonstration,

which to them appears convincing.

The frame

contains

two

distinct episodes.

On

the right king Cikhandin passes, seated in

a litter;

surely he has just ordered each person in his suite to throw


19

238

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

a handful of dust

on Mahakityayana, with

whom

his rela-

tions have
correctly
free

never been cordial.

On

the

left

for once,

represented by Wilsen

the

monk,

already

from the heap of dust, under which he has ministers Hiru preserved his life, announces to the good destruction of and Bhiru the approaching and inevitable
the infidel city of Roruka.

miraculously

Like Qikhandin in his palace, we witness prophet, must the rain of jewels which, according to the the inhabiprecede the fatal rain of sand. The eagerness of
19. (L., 164).

tants to gather
sels

up the precious

objects, cast
is

down from

ves-

vivaciousness which seemed to us quite deserving of reproduction (pi. XL, 2). In the first row a boat which is

in

the height of the clouds,

painted with a

being loaded with jewels proves that the good ministers


have not forgotten a very practical recommendation of

Mahakatyayana

Q.
The
destinies are accomplished
all its
:

20. (L., 166).

Roruka
the
first

has been buried with almost


curtain rises again,

inhabitants.

When

we

are in the village of Khara, the

halting-place of Mahakatyayana
to India.

on the route of

his return

The tutelary goddess


through the
:

of Roruka,
air, is

who has followed


monk
pre-

him

in his flight

detained at Khara by
her, the

an imprudent promise

but,

on leaving

sents her with a souvenir in the shape of his goblet, over

which we have already encountered above (Mindhitar, no. 13 L., pi. LVIII, 86), seem to be a current accessory of Indian imagination. Compare the passage from the Jdtdkamdld, XV, 15 (ed. Kern, p. 97; trans. Speyer, p. 138), where the clouds pour down like overturned ves(i) These vessels,
;

sels .

(2) Let us remark in passing that the departure of the


ters in ships scarcely fits in

two good minis-

with the localization (which was surely already

known

to the author of the text,

and which M. Hober recently treated again


335-340) of Roruka in Central Asia.

in the B, . F. .-0., VI, igo6, pp.

BUDDHIST ART

IN

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239

which

a stilpa

is

raised. It is the inauguration of this


:

monuright is

ment which

is

represented on the bas-relief


left,

on the

the chief of the village; on the

with a lamp in one

hand and a fan in the other, is the goddess herself; behind them crowd the laity of both sexes and the musicians.
21. (L., 168).

We

are carried to the next halting-place,

Lambaka. (^yamaka,the young layman, the sole companion who remained with Mahakatyayana, receives from the people
of the country an offer of the throne.

A miracle, which

is

frequent in the texts, but unsuitable for representation on

stone (the shade of the tree under which he stands remains


stationary, in order to shelter him), has revealed to

them

the excellence of his merit.


22. (L., 170).

We pass on to the third halting-place, Vokwho


in a

kana. Here Mahakatyayana leaves to her


existence

former

was

his

mother

his beggar's staff, a fresh pretext

for building a stupa.

inauguration of the

As in no. 20, we are present at the monument. At least, the continuation manner
for the identifi-

of the narrative accords with the introduction of this subject

on the

bas-reliefs in too striking a


itself.

cation not to impose

Better

still

just as

Leemans' nos. 166, 168 and 170


a profane subject, so nos. 172,

set

before us religious feasts interrupted, thanks to a not excess-

174 and 176 intercalate a land scene between two maritime


ive desire for variety,

by

episodes.

Now
who

this intervening scene

the entrance of a

monk

(L, 174) represents notwithstanding the drawing of and jewels,


it

Wilsen,

monk

lends

him

hair

is

indeed a

into the paHsaded enclosure of a town, whilst a


to give
it

group of inhabitants approaches

him welcome. Here


difficult

again, with the text in our hands,

seems

not to

recognize the return of Mahakatyayana to Qravasti. Then,


the

two

pictures in

which we

see a boat just

drawing near

240

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

to a

bank would represent, no less scrupulously than do the texts, the two foundations of Hiruka and Bhiruka by the

two ministers Hiru and Bhiru


from Roruka. Thus,
character of the

after their flight

by water

commonplace two disembarcations, we venture to make


in spite of the terribly
:

the following identifications


23. (L., 172).
24. (L.,

Landing of Hiru and foundation of Hiruka. 174). Return ofMahakatyayana to^ravasti.

25. (L., 176).

Landing of Bhiru on the future


(*).

site

of

Bhiruka or Bhirukaccha

The double
tion of
it,

repetition of the scene of the stupaand of the

ship will be noticed.

We do not

see

any plausible explana-

unless we suppose that the sculptor, after having

skipped more than one important incident in the history


of Rudrayana, has been obliged, in order to
fill

up the space

for decoration, to lengthen out the epilogue. In fact,

we
in

must not
situ

forget that the bas-reUefs,

which were carved


removed nor

and in the very stones whose juxtaposition consti-

tuted the
ced.

monument, could be
is

neither

repla-

There

no

absurdity, therefore, in supposing that the


last

artist,

on approaching the
perceived
that

angle before the northern

staircase,

panels, of

had to fill five or six which he could not decently devote more than
still
:

he

two
from

to the Kinnara-jdtaka
his

he will then have rid himself

embarrassment by a double repetition, which


justified
all

moreover was

by the

texts,

while bringing right

who had escaped from Roruka, that is the goddess, ^yamaka, Mahakatyayana, and the two good ministers.
to their destination the few persons

(i) Apparently

it is

sent Bharoch, or Broach,

Bharukaccha, the Barygaza of the Greeks and the prewhich is meant.

BUDDHIST ART
Kinnara-jdtaka,

IN

JAVA

241

We may

say, furthermore, that the


,

two last panels of this portion of the gallery (L.


are likewise duplicates.

78 and

80)

The only

appreciable difference

that the

same prince is standing on the first to overhear and seated on the second to listen to the discourse of the same pair of Kinnaras. Such is, in fact, the name that

is

we do not hesitate to give to the human phenomena , who are related to the Gandharvas hythtir musical talents (') and who are represented here with birds' wings and
feet (pi.

XLI,

i).

The Buddhist

art

of India and the Far

East seems to have taken no account whatever of the

concurrent tradition which claims that the Kinnaras are

human monsters
(pll.

with horses' heads

Q. When

it

has not

been considered more suitable to give them,

as

above

XXXIV,

and

XXXV,

2) in the illustration of the Suit is

dhana-kumara legend, a purely anthropomorphic aspect,


usually a kind of harpy that
is

represented under this name.

This strange combination of the bust of a

man

or a

woman,
bird, is

with or without arms, grafted on to the body of a

found almost everywhere.

It fits as

well into the corners

of the pediments of the temple of Martand in Kashmir as


into those of the metopes of the
Java.
It

Parambanan temple

in

has continued to be especially frequent in the decoart

rative

and religious

of Siam. In India proper


;

it

appears

in the paintings of Ajaiita

and we have remarked elsewhere,

in a sculpture inscribed

on the

Tower

of Victory at

(i) Gandhabhaputta they are called by


1

st.

7 oi Jdt. no. 481 (IV, p. 252,

16).

(2)

It is
;

not that monsters of this kind are


but the

unknown
pl.

to ancient Indian

sculpture

woman

with a horse's head, who, on a medallion of the


Mitra, Buddha-Gaya,

balustrade of

Bodh-Gaya

(Ritj.

XXXIV,
is

2) and of

that of the smaller stilpa at Sinchl.is carrying away a

man,

at

the

commence-

ment of

}dt. no,

432, which relates her history, simply called a yakkhini

assamukhi.

242

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA
, per-

Chitor (XV"" Century), a double pair of Kinnaras


fectly

analogous to those ofBoro-Budur('). Perhaps, under

the Kinnara-jdtaka rubric, they were not otherwise treated

even

unfortunately we on the old raihng of Barhut can only judge of this by a wretched sketch from a half:

broken stone, and there


as

is at

present nothing to prove that,

Cunningham

suggests, the leaves, or the feathers,

which
separ-

terminate the busts of the two monsters,


ated their

must have

human

trunks from their bird legs

Q.

We

consider ourselves none the less authorized by this

inscription to consider the


replica of this

same jdtaka

two numbers 178 and 180 as a what other justification can be

given for the edifying character of these scenes and for


their introduction into the series? Certainly the subject is

once again borrowed from one of the previous


Master
:

lives of the

the only question

is

exactly

which

re-birth is

concerned. Here the two prolix pictures of Boro-Budur


will be of assistance in determining retroactively the real
identification of the bas-relief of Barhut, so
It is

poor in

details.

here quite clear, for example, that the scene of the


is

adventure

a rocky solitude

we must

at

once put aside


it

a certain episode in the Takkdriya-jdtaka (no. 481), since

takes place in a royal court,

where two Kinnaras, put


Moreover,

in to a

cage, refuse to display their talents.


fix

we

cannot
that

upon the Candakinnara-jdtaka (no. 485), although

(i)

We

brought back a photograph of it

the inscription

is

Kinmrayug(cf.

mayugma.
(2)

Cunningham, Stupa of Barhut,

p.

69 and

pi.

XXVII, 12

above,

p. 53).

GRiiNWEDEL, Buddhistische Studien,

p. 92, points

outtbat the connec-

between the Kinnara-jdtaka of Barhut and that of Boro-Budur has shown by Heer J.-W. Yzerman in the Bijdragm tot de Taal-, Land- enVolhenhunde van Ned. /wi., Vijfde Volgreeks, d. I, afl. 4, pp. 577-579. Since the above was written representations of Kinnaras have also been found on the paintings of Central Asia.
tion

already been

BUDDHIST ART

IN

JAVA
:

243

too has for scenery a piece of jungle for our king is evidently not thinking ot killing the male Kinnara, in order to
It therefore remains for us to adopt the Bhalldtiya-jdtaka (no. 504), in which also we have nothing but conversations in a mountainous dis-

get possession of the female.

trict

(').

It

is

most touching love

story.

The king

ot

Benares, while out hunting, surprises in the depth of the

wood

the extraordinary behaviour of

two of these mar-

vellous beings, and enquires

why
for

they cover each other

ahernately with tears and caresses.


years ago they

He

learns that 697

were separated
river;

one single night by the


their
life

sudden swelling of a

and in

of a thousand

years the loving couple have never yet been able to forget
this cruel separation, or to console each other entirely for

those few hours irremediably lost to their happiness.

It

will

be observed on
it

pi.

XLI,

i,

that the sculptor has considered

his

duty to maintain the hierarchical order, and has placed


if he

the male in front of the female, as

were the interlocutor

of the king: but in the text of the /ato^fl, just as in the famous

Dantesque episode of Francesca


always the more ready to speak,

di Rimini,

it is

the

woman,

who

relates their

common

adventure, whilst her lover stands silent by her side.

IV.North-Eastern Corner.

Altogether we have
much more
S.

offer-

ed certain, or at least extremely probable, interpretations

of 2 7 out of the 30 panels bordering upon the preceding corner.

The 30

still

to be considered are

refractory

to

all

attempts

at

explanation. After Messrs.

d 'Oldenburg,

(i) In other words, relying

on the

replica of

Boro-Budur,

we

believe

we

may

for the bas-relief of


(loc. cit.)

Barhut leave aside the identifications proposed by

Cunningham
besides,
is

and advocate that of Mr.

and Prof. Hultzsch {Ini. Ant., XXI, 1892, p. 226) S. J. Warren and of Dr. S. d'Oldenbdrg, who,
it

right in believing

as

not more demonstrable merely by the aid

of the sole Indian document than the

two others

{loc. cit., p.

191).

244

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

Speyer and Groneman

we

can quote as certain only the

dentification of the MaitrakanyakdvaddnaQ').


it

For the

rest,

would be
still

useless to launch out into hypotheses,

where

we

lack the elements of proof;

and even more so to

renew the purely descriptive commentary which Leemans has given in full for there is no task more idle than to des:

cribe bas-reliefs

without understanding them. Let us say

in

defence of the Dutch archseologist that access to the sources

was

for

him almost impossible, and

that he had at least the

perspicacity to recognize that the pictures of the lower


series

do not form a continuation of those of the upper


the north-eastern

On

corner these

latter

extend from
preaching.

Buddha's attainment of the Bodhi to his

first

Below, the legend of Maitrakanyaka

is

related to us

between

whose titles we are still ignorant. Our first care, therefore, must be to-determine as exactly as possible where it commences and where it ends. The texts which have preserved it for us (^), and to which we are indebted for the explanation of the meaning of the bas-reliefs, agree in rendering the story in two symmetrical parts, separated by
two
others, of

a turning-point. Maitrakanyaka, the orphan son of a ship-

owner, follows

at first

various trades, in order to provide

for the needs of his

mother, to

whom he successively

offers

gains increasing according to a geometrical progression


(i) Cf. the already-quoted paper of Dr. S.

Dr. J.

Groneman, pp. 66-67, Speyer, Bijdragen

kunde van Ned. -Indie, 1906, vd<= Deel., and for and Siamese images, Gkunwedel, Buddh. Stud., p. 97. (2) The Avadana-Qatalta (ed. Speyer in Bibl. Buddhica, p. 193, and trans. Peer in the Ann. du Musee Guimet) gives us, it seems, a canonical version of it.No. XXXVIII of the Divydvaddna (ed. Cowell and Neil, p. 586) is already
a literary rifacimento.
Further, let us

d'Oldenburg, the Guide of de Taal- Land- en Folkenthe comparison with Burmese


tot
,

quote Bodhisattvdvaddmkalpalatd,

no. 92, Bhadrakalpdvaddna, no. 28, and, for comparison, Jdtaka, nos. 41, 82, 104, 369, 439. A Chinese version has been re-translated by Beal, Romantic

Legend, p. 342.

BUDDHIST ART
;

IN

JAVA

245

of 4, 8, 16, and 32 kdrshdpdms but, as she wishes to prevent

him from following his


he forgets himself so

father's

example and going

to sea,

far as to kick

her prostrate head.

The

wreck of the ship which he has

fitted

out marks the culmin-

ating point in the story, of which the second part corres-

ponds, point for point, with the first. Having escaped death,

Maitrakanyaka

is,

as a

reward for his works, successively


at

and amorously received


16 and 32
leads

each halting-place
:

by

4,

8,

nymphs

(apsaras)

but his adventurous spirit

him

still

further and further, at last into a hell

where

sons
try

who

strike their

mothers are punished. This symmeto the sculptor,

must have been welcome

and must

have dictated to him


rehefs.

in his turn the

arrangement of his basis

Now

the scene of the wreck


(pi.

figured

on

no. 216

of Leemans
until no.

224.

CXXIII), and the story does not end One might suppose, therefore, that the

four pictures which precede no. 216 are likewise consecrated to Maitrakanyaka.

One

thing at least

is certain,

namely

that he appears, already accompanied

by

his

mother, on

no. 212, at the corner of the north and east facades of the
stupa.

For the following ones we

are entirely

in

accord

with Prof. Speyer and Dr. Groneman.

(The drawing of L., no. 212, pi, CXXI, is almost entirely missing). Under a mandapa Maitrakanyaka, seated on the ground with his hands joined, is offering to his mother a purse, which he has just placed before her upon a tray adorned with flowers (pi. XLI, 2). The bystanders are numerous behind the mother are seven women, standing
I.
:

or crouching; behind the son

may

be counted five of his


is

companions. Quite

at the left a

house

seen in outline.

We reproduce in plate XLI, 2


alone
It
is

only the central group, which

of importance for the identification of the scene.


left

will be observed that the

elbow of the mother

is

as

246

BUDDHIST ART
joint
is

IN
:

JAVA
us not hasten to cry

though the
out that this

were twisted

let

a mistake
at least

on the

part of the sculptor, or


:

even a deformity,

according to the native taste

the

skilfully dislocated

arms of the Javanese dancing-girls bend


edifice cuts the

no otherwise
2. (L.,

in this position.

214).

An

panel into two distinct


is

parts.

On

the right Maitrakanyaka

practising
is

his last

sedentary occupation, that of a goldsmith, as

proved by the
be either his

small balance held by a

woman, who may


is

mother or

a simple customer. In the

foreground a purse,
doubtless supgifts

bigger than that of the preceding picture,

posed to contain the

2 kdrshdpams.

The four legendary


state

would thus have been reduced by the sculptor

to two.

On
we

the

left,

in fact, despite the

poor

of the

bas-relief,

see the

mother of Maitrakanyaka vainly prostrated


i).

at his

feet (pi.

XLII,
all

Wilsenhad given her


;

moustache, which

cut short

identification

and

this explains

why

that

ofDr.

S.

d'Oldenburg, based upon the lithographs, began


following picture, that of the wreck.

only

at the

3. (L.,

216).

The

supplications of his

mother

failed to

restrain

Maitrakanyaka; on the right

we

see the sad end of


first

his sea-voyage,

on the

left his

encounter with the four


to have

nymphs. Here the sculptor seems


by the sight of so many pretty
successively
:

been

afraid

neither of repeating himself nor of wearying the spectator

women

for

we

perceive

4. (L., 218).
5.

(L.,

The encounter with the 8 nymphs; 220). The encounter with the 16 nymphs
1

(in

point of fact they are


6.

1);

(L., 222).

The encounter with


last

the 32

nymphs (14

in

reality).
7. (L.,

224). At

the mania for roaming has led Mai:

trakanyaka as

far as a

town of hell (pi. XLII, 2)

apparently

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA
terrible

247

he is gathering information from the


place, whilst in the

guardian of the
a

background we perceive, with


head, the

burn-

ing wheel upon

its

condemned soul whose


to take.

place, unwittingly, he has

come

For the

rest

both

wear the same costume, with the exception of a few details


in the

form of

their jewels.
it

But these

differences, slight

though they be, exclude,


is

appears, the possibiUty of recog-

nizing Maitrakanyaka a second time in the sufferer. There

every reason for believing, on the contrary, that, owing


artist, just as

to a scruple of the
his

we

did not see

him

strike

mother, so also
:

we

are not witnesses of his punishis

ment like his crime, his chastizement We must not forget, in fact, that he is
ly

only suggested.

the Bodhisattva in

person. According to the texts, the wheel of fire has scarce-

mounted upon

his

head, than he forms a

vow

to

endure

this terrible suffering for ever

with a view to the


is

salvation of

humanity whereupon he
:

immediately freed

from

all

suffering.

Does the

left

part of the panel forth-

with represent

this

apotheosis?

Or

does the palisading

which

intersects

the building, while at the

same time
it is

determining the boundaries of the interior of the infernal

town, serve as a framework for a

new

action? This

almost impossible for us to decide, so long as


identified in their turn the eight panels

we have

not

of the following

and

final story.

Let us

sum up
is
all

the principal wall of the

first

gallery of

Boro-Budur

decorated with 240 bas-reliefs, arranged in

two rows;
identified

those of the upper

row have
;

already been

by the help of the

Laliia-vistara

thanks especially
said of

to

the Divydvaddna, the

same may now be

two

thirds of those of the lower row.


results obtained not

This recapitulation of the

only encourages us to hope for the

248

BUDDHIST ART

IN

JAVA

fortunate

completion of this enterprise in a relatively ways and it also allows us to discern the near future
:

means
these

to the ultimate success, as well as the difficulties


shall

which we

continue to encounter.

Among

the

first

of

we must

naturally place the absence of satisfactory

which we have just examined would doubtless have been recognized long ago, as were immediately the scenes, in two or three pictures, of the jdtareproductions.

The long

series

kas figured

on the opposite

wall, if the published

drawings
as,

had been perfectly exact. But a slight inattention


in the story of Maitrakanyaka, the
or, in that of

such

change of sex of a person,

Rudrayana, the transformation of a


is,

monk into
have not
judi-

Buddha

as

may

be conceived, sufficient to put us

off the

scent,

and forces archaeologists


to

who

direct access to the originals

abandon the most

ciously chosen clue.

We

must, therefore, rejoice that the

Government-General of the Dutch Indies has recently


sanctioned the project of photographing
still

all
it

the sculptures
will,

existing at Boro-Budur. Doubtless


fail

with

its

accustomed generosity, not

to distribute copies

among

the various societies for oriental studies.

On this

condition

alone will the enigmas which

still resist,

although invaded

on

all

four sides at once, finally yield to the collective

researches of students of

Buddhism;

in the

meantime we
having
left

cannot legitimately reproach the long unexplained a

latter for

so

monument
that
it

of this importance.
to cast one's eyes
originals, of

Does

this

mean

is sufficient

upon

exact reproductions, or even

these bas-reliefs,

whose

narrative

upon the aim is not

doubtful, in

order to understand their meaning?


fications

The
it

preceding identialso necessary to


tell.

prove clearly enough that

is

know

beforehand the story which they would

And,

doubtless, the blame for this belongs to

some

extent to the

BUDDHISt ART
sculptors
:

IN

JAVA

249

would be well, before devolving upon them the burden of our ignorance, to have present to our minds the conditions under which they must have worked.
still it

Firstly,

enormous

surfaces

were given them to be covered


first

on the

principal wall of the

gallery alone

the 240

panels there aligned have an area of

more than 400 square

metres In truth,
!

it

fresco-work

that

was not so much sculpture as decorative was exacted from them. Hence we
120 pictures of the upper row they

understand

why

in the

should have spun out the childhood and youth of their


Master, whilst in the 120 of the lower one they somewhat

lengthened out the ten avaddnas to which they had recourse in order to fill the space. It was materially impossible for

them
that

to keep solely to the picturesque or pathetic episodes,


to those

is

diately

which alone had a chance of being immerecognized by the spectator, and which were

capable of forthwith arousing in the faithful of former

days the

memory
is

of

some

tradition

and

in the archaeo-

logist of to-day the recollection of

some
it

reading.

For them

every incident
ly to

good, provided that

lends itself docile-

representation.

We

may

even ask ourselves wheare not in their

ther the
best.

most colourless motifs

view the

They

are really too fond of scenes in

which every-

thing takes place by

way

of visits and conversations be-

tween persons whose

discreet gestures, such as are


tell

becomstrictly

ing to people of good company,

us absolutely nothing
abuse
is,

concerning the course of events.

If this

speaking, excusable, they do not, in our opinion, escape


the reproach of having

more than once evaded


by

the difficulty

by

intentionally omitting, and replacing

insipid recep-

tions at court, subjects


better fitted to
(i)
It is,

more dramatic and consequently


the thread of the story (').
are here speaking from the point

make us grasp

of course, understood that

we

2^0

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

drowned Not only are the characteristic episodes thus pictures without movein a dull, monotonous flood of
the principal motif^ is ment, but even in each picture of accessories often'submerged under a veritable debauch the artists is to be and details. The only excuse here for at least three times found in the form of the frame, which is there is no great peras wide as it is high. Consequently
to form a wallsonage whose cortege is not spread out True, the presence covering, sometimes over several rows. conformable to these numerous dumb actors is quite

of

understood Javanese, as well as to Indian, custom; but it is they conthat most often they take no part in the action
:

fine

themselves to crowding

it

with their stereotyped

repetition,

which

is

more

or less compensated

by the variety
:

of the attitudes, always deftly treated. This is not all the sculptors have made it, as it were, a point of honour not to
leave vacant any part of the surface at their disposal. In

order to complete the furnishing of their panels, they go


so far as to
vases
at the
fill

the space beneath the seats with coffers or


i
;

(cf. pll.

XXXV,

XXXVIII,

XXXIX,

XL,

i);

top they heap together, according to circumstances,

buildings or trees, naturally figured

on

a reduced scale; or

again rocks, treated according to the old Indian convention


(cf. pll.

XXXVII,

2,

upper scene; XLI, i); or,

finally, ani-

of view of the identification of these bas-reliefs. Ail the less must


that

we

forget

we

are treating of images of piety, the


this.

more mindful the sculptors


all

themselves were of

Their evident decision to put aside

scenes of

violence (bloody sacrifices, executions, murders, parricide, etc.) offered by


their subjects,
is

justified, like their

irreproachable chastity, by the desire

to arouse in the

mind of the

faithful

none but calm and


to reproach

collected, in

one
in

word, truly Buddhist impressions. This they have perfectly succeeded


doing, and

we

are rather in the


if

wrong
taste,

them

for

it.

It

is

not

entirely their fault


for expression
series,

our western
is

corrupted by an excessive striving

and movement,

especially affected
to us a

by the monotony of these


letter.

whose edifying character remains

dead

BUDDHIST ART
mals of
all

IN

JAVA
life,

251

kinds, cleverly sketched, indeed, from

with
(cf.

the single exception of the horses, which are mediocre


pi.

XXXVI,

2,

upper scene).
is

It

clearness

not crowding, the more so as there is nothing to example, whether the animals play a part in
for the

of the story

may be imagined that the much enhanced by this


tell us, for
it

or not

worst

is

that they

sometimes do

so.

Thus
2), or

the

birds represented in the QiU-jdtalta (pi.

XXXVI,

on

such and such a scene from the MAndhdtravaddna (no. 10), form an integral part of the story, whilst those which fly

away with Manohara (pi. XXXIV, 2) are pure decoration. Finally, we must not forget that the artists of Boro-Budur
did not in any

way

forbid themselves the use of the ancient

expedients of the Indian school, juxtaposition of two or


three distinct episodes and repetition of a person in the

same

picture.

Thus

it

may happen

and on

this point the

reading of Leemans' descriptions

is

particularly edifying

that in the midst of such confused masses

we

fail
is

to fix

upon the
But the
is

sole actors, or objects,

whose presence
facts.

of

real

importance for the concatenation of the


chief

and most evident

fault of these bas-reliefs

the persistent incapacity of their authors, in spite of

their

manual

skill,

to create figures having a characteristic


it

individuality. Assuredly,
a

would be

unfair to regard

it

as

crime on the part of the

artists

of those distant

isles

not

to have reached a pinnacle of art to the Indian school and to

which remained unknown


art itself attained

which Greek

only atits best period. Butthefactis patent. They arecapable of representing types, but not individuals. They possess a

model of
a

a king,

which serves without distinction


the exception
;

for

gods, as does that of the queen for goddesses; a model of

monk, which, with

of the coiffure,

is

equally suitable for Buddhas

model of

a courtier, an

2 52

BUDDHIST ART
a

tN JAVA

anchorite,
is

Brahman,
all

warrior, etc. This stock figure

used by them on
it is

occasions. According to the circum-

stances
facial
it is
it

capable,

by the play of gesture and even by


of

features, of expressing different states

mind

incapable of assuming a
its

physiognomy distinguishing
it is

from

congeners.

Thus

that, for

example, in the

same legend we have seen the same princely personage called here Dhana, Sudhana, or Druma, there Rudrayaria,
Bimbisara,
(cf.

or Qlikhandin.

At

a distance

of five panels

pU.

XXXVII, 2 and XXXIX,

3) a king and a

monk are
:

similarly

engaged in conversation with each other

no-

thing warns us that in the interval they have both changedT^

would not appear that in ancient times the pilgrim who made the pradakshind of these galleries was able without the oral commentary of some monkish cicerone to ascribe different names to figures so similar
their personalities. It
:

still

less

can we,

now

that the local tradition

is

completely

extinct, dispense

with a written commentary.

We may
we have
read
it

affirm that

we

shall succeed in identifying

on the walls of

Boro-Budur only those

bas-reliefs
:

of which

somewhere read the legend


in the

and, again, the example of

the Sudhanakumdrdvaddna proves that

we must have

same work

as

had the sculptor.

This bookish character of the sculptures of Boro-Budur


is

from the philological point of view the most curious conclusion to which we are led by our rapid inquiry direcview of
their identification. If

ted to the particular point of

these bas-rehefs cannot be understood except

by

a constant

comparison with the


posed
after the texts

texts,

it is

because they were

comin

and to serve as illustrations thereto.

Through

the lithographic reproductions the

manner

which the Javanese artists treated the last life of Buddha had already given us an inkling of this the direct study
:

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

253

of the originals and the review of the neighbouring series only confirm us in this opinion ('). It follows that these
sculptures not only give us information on
details of

many

concrete
:

contemporary Javanese
to us

life

and

civilization

they

also reveal

which version of the Buddhist writ-

ings

was most readily used in Java at that time. Thus we know already from the manner in which the artist illustra-

ted the legend of Prince Sudhana, that he followed the

Sanskrit text preserved by the Divydvaddna, and not the


Prakrit version of the Mahdvastu.
identified avaddnas, those of

The

three other certainly

Mandhatar, Rudrayana, and

Maitrakanyaka, Hkewise attest the current custom of draw-

ing from
a

this canonical

fund of which the Divydvaddna

is

kind of anthology.

Now

the independent researches of

MM.

Ed. Huber and Sylvain L^vi have shown simultanelast collection


is,

ously that this

for the

most

part,
;

taken

from the Vinaya-pitaka of the Mula-Sarvastivadins and, on


the other hand, the Chinese
tell

us that the Lalita-vistara,

which

is

followed page

after

page by the bas-reliefs of the

upper row, belongs to the same school

Q. The

study of

the sculptures of Boro-Budur authorizes, therefore, the

supposition that the canon of the Mula-Sarvastivadins was


that best

known

in Java. Perhaps this preference


it

the prestige of the Sanskrit, in which


to
as

was due to was edited, and


,

what may be called compared with the


is

its

higher exportation value

Prakrit of the Mahasahghikas, or

the Pali of the Sthaviras.


thesis
clearly

However

this

may be,

the hypo-

confirmed by the categorical informatraveller Yi-tsing; in

tion furnished

by the Chinese

his

time, he

tells us,

towards

the year

700 of our

era, that is

(i) Art greco-bouddhique du Gandhara, vol. I, p. 617. (2) Cf. Ed. Huber, B. . F. E.-0.,VI, 1906 and S. Lfivi, Toungpao, series II, vol. VIII, no. I ; Beal, Romantic Legend, pp. 386-7.
20

254

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

to say, scarcely a century before the foundation of

Boro-

Budur,

in

the Islands of the Southern Sea the Mula.

Sarvdstivddanikdya hiis been almost universally adopted (')

This agreement in the evidences deserves to be noticed. All taken into account, it does not impair the interest of our
bas-reUefs. Assuredly, in spite of the talent of their authors,

condemned beforehand to lack that indefinable spontaneity and animation which can be communicated to the work of the artist only by labour in communion with
they were
a
still

living oral tradition.

The

sculptors of Boro-Budur,
at

in the effort to revive

an inspiration

times languishing,

have had to be content with dipping into foreign and


already ancient texts
:

but,

on the other hand, they have


scriptures

the merit of having suppHed us with several series of illustrations for authentic fragments of the sacred

of Buddhism, treated with a technical


deserve to be studied in detail by those
If

skill

which would

our conclusions run the risk

whose metier it is. of somewhat lessening the


considerably increased.

sesthetic

value of their works, the documentary interest

emerges, by

way of compensation,

in
Buddhist Iconography
Boro-Budur.
in Java.

We

shall

not undertake a detailed review

of the bas-reUefs deployed along the upper galleries of the


stupa.

We restrict

ourselves to noticing that, as

we mount,
finally

they assume a character more and more iconographic, less

and

less narrative ,

and that the edifying story


Takakoso,

(i) I-TsiNG,
there
is

record of the Buddhist Religion, trans.

p. lo. Lit.

almost only one...)).

BUDDHIST ART
gives

IN JAVA

255

way

to the

image of piety

Q.
file

Buddha, monks,

nuns, Bodhisattvas of both sexes times seated under trees more or


are seen

past in twenties, at

less stereotyped,

most

often installed undertheopen porches oftemples, just as they

on the miniatures, or the clay seals, of India (') sculptors weary so much the less of all these repetitions as each one of them represents so much progress in

The

covering the considerable surface which


to decorate.

it

was

their task

There would be no advantage


few
the second gallery,

in noting here

and there
such

in passing a

specially characteristic figures,

as, in

some

Avalokite^varas with

four or six arms, and a Maujugri carrying the Indian book

on the blue lotus (iitpala) or again, in the third gallery, a group composed of a Buddha between these same two Bodhisattvas, etc. The problem is much more
(pustakd)
;

vast,
It

and demands a solution of very


to
their varieties, to

different amplitude.

would be necessary

make a census of all

these images

and each of

draw up an exact and com-

plete table of them,


;

and

to study attentively their graphic

distribution then only, after having allowed for the necessities

of decoration and having

discerned the really essential


identification of

among this crowd of idols types, we might attempt the

what

for the artists of Java constituted the

Buddhist

pantheon.

archaeologist will

must hope that some Dutch find time to undertake this deUcate and
unnecessary to say that
it is

We

extensive task;

it is

forbidden

to a simple visitor.

Neither shall

we

dwell upon the hundreds of statues

which decorate

this siupa of the

Many Buddhas

(for
^

such would be the meaning of the word Boro-Budur)

but

(i) But see, supra, the identification ofoneof the bas-reliefs of the upper
gallery, pp. 165-6

and

pi.

XXII (Great

Miracle of ^rivasti).
I,

(2) Cf. Elude sur Viconogr. bouddhique de I'lnde,

1900, pp, 45-6.

. .

256

BtJt)t)EtlSt

ARt

In JAVA
is

here the reason for our abstention


were, in fact, classified long ago,

quite diflferent.

They

and

W.

de Humboldt

proposed to recognize

among them,

in accordance with
five

Hodgson's Nepalese drawings, the images of the


admitted, and in principle
it
:

Dhyani-Buddhas. The identification has since been generally

we

see

no reason
to

for con-

testing

at the

most

it

would need

be pressed furthe groups

ther and completed.


in

The arrangement of

must

any case be remade.

Among
all

these manifold repHcas

with heads

generally well treated

and expressive, but

effeminate and bloated bodies,

seated in padmdsana and

only differentiated by the gestures of the hands,


in fact, distinguish
1
:

we

must,

in the four first

rows of niches (in the proportion of


east,

92 to each facade), to the


drd (')
2
3

those in bhumispar(a-mu-

at the south,
at

those in vara-mudrd
;

the west, those in dhydni-mudrd

4. at the north,
5

those in ahhaya-mudrd;
niches,

in the fifth

row of

on the four facades

(viz.

64 altogethe
6.

r), those in

vitarka-mudrd;
circular

in the 72 little

open cupolas of the three


;

terraces, those in
7.

dharmacakra-mudrd

the single

image found under the great central

cupola.

Whatever

identification

may

be proposed,

will,

it

is

understood, have to take into account each of these varieties, without omission and without confusion. Therefore

we

cannot

admit that

of

Humboldt
5. If

(*),

which
identify

confuses and mixes up nos. 4 and

we must

(i) For the mudras, or gestures of the hands,


(2) Cf. Leemans, he.
cit.,

cf. ibid.,

p. 68.

p.

480.

BUDDHIST ART
1

IN

JAVA

257

Akshobhya, by the gesture of calling the earth to witness, 2. Ratnasambhava, by the gesture of giving, 3. Amitabha, by the gesture of meditation, 4. Amoghasiddha, by the
gesture of protection,
it is

clear that in the last

row of

niches

we must

recognize, 5. the fifth Dhyani-Buddha,

Vairocana, by the gesture of discussion, although the gesture of teaching


is

more usually

reserved for
is

him and
scarcely
it

although, on the other hand, the vitarka-mudrd

distinguished from the abhaya-mudrd by the fact that in


the index-finger
is

joined to the thumb.

It

follows likewise

that with the five


al galleries

rows ofniches belonging to the polygonlist

we

have, as was natural, exhausted the

of

the five Dhyani-Buddhas.


6.
all

The 72 images

of the circular terraces would then

be consecrated to the historic Buddha, Qakya-muni, and

would exhibit him teaching. 7. As for the purposely unfinished


subject of
last

statue
it

which was
as the
,

discovered under the great central cupola,

has been the


it

many

hypotheses. Dr. Pleyte regards


:

enigma of Boro-Budur says Q, was formerly without any opening; but


<c

The great Dagaba

he

at pre-

sent one can have access right into the interior, part of
the wall having been removed.
light
a

hidden image of

The removal brought to Buddha, which represents him


Buddha
is

seated in hhumisparQa-mudrd. This image of

thus

the centre of the sanctuary.

By

reasori of its incomplete

form

it is

considered by Groeneveldt to be a representation

of the Adi-Buddha. This would be a manner of symboUzing the abstract essence of this supreme divinity of Maha-

yanism. Kern, on the contrary, recognizes in


(i) C.

this unfinish-

M. Pleyte,

Dk

Boro-Budur, Amsterdam, 190 1-2, notes on pages i-in.

Buddhalegende in den Skulpturen des Tempels von p. ix. For the bibliography see ibid.,

258

BUDDHIST ART IN JAVA


:

ed figure an embryo Buddha


to the Bodhisattva in the

this

would be an

allusion

womb

of his mother... If these

diverse interpretations

fail

to satisfy us

any more than

they did Dr. Pleyte, the short resum^ which he gives of do not them is at least sufficient for our purpose.

We

indeed pretend to discuss here the greater or less degree of probabiUty in these theories. Still less shall we stop to
criticize that

of Wilsen,

who saw in

this

same

statue a

rough

model of
pletion
this

a future

Buddha, prepared

for subsequent

com-

by the cunning

priests (*) In truth, speculations of

kind are scarcely more susceptible of refutation than of proof; and it is this which makes us suspicious of them.

we in our turn we should prefer


If

venture a

new

hypothesis,

it is

because

to seek the solution of this

problem of
such and

archaeology elsewhere than in the messianic, symbolical or theistic conceptions

more or

less familiar in

such forms of Indian Buddhism.


Let us, then, make a tabula rasa of
all

this

metaphysics
essential

and consider again,


stupa of

as

briefly as possible, the

elements of the question. Under the central

dome

of the

Boro-Budur,

at

the spot where

we

should expect

to find the usual deposit of rehcs, or at least the upper

deposit

for it

happens sometimes that there are along the

perpendicular which joins the

of them, one above the of Buddha,

summit to the base several other was discovered an image

whose emplacement

sufficed to prove its spe-

cially sacred character.


left

Now
, says

this statue

was

intentionally

unfinished

The

hair, the ears, the

hands and the

feet are

not completed

Leemans; and further on he

adds

One

is

forced to admit that the artist

who made

the plan of the

whole

really

had

premeditated intention

(i) Cf. Leemans, op.

cit.,

pp. 486-7.

BUDDHIST ART

IN

JAVA

559

of leaving the statue of the central sanctuary in the state

which we possess it (*). On the other hand, this image shows us Buddha seated, his legs crossed in the Indian manner, the left hand resting in his lap, his right hand hanging down, the palm turned inwards and the
in

fingers stretched toward the ground. Before

committing

ourselves to any apocalyptical explanation of this figure


it is

well, in point of method, to ask ourselves,

first

of

all,

whether the iconography of

model for that of Java, does not comprise any type of Buddha composed in the same attitude and presenting the same
India, the recognized
If

peculiarity of in completion.
it

were permissible to judge by the

facility

of the solu:

tion, the question

would
it

in this case be well put

at least,

in order to answer,

is

not necessary to push

far

our

interrogation of the Indian tradition.

The two most celebraBuddha


that of

ted prototypes of the pretended portrait images of


are that of

Kau^ambi (or ^ravasti) and

Mahabodhi,

near to Gaya.
tion.

The former

is in this

case out of the ques-

Concerning the second we possess two versions of

an identical legend, the one reported by Hiuan-tsang, the


other by Taranatha

Q.

Anxious before
artist

all

to guarantee the

authentic resemblance of the image, they naturally attribute


its

execution to a supernatural
the less in

on two points they


historic truth. First

seem none
of all,

harmony with
texts, in the

we

learn

from the

most formal manner,


rightly or wrongly,

that the original

work was regarded

matters not

as not being finished, an accident

which

people were unanimous in explaining as due to an unfor-

(i) See the discussion, be. (2) See, for the


first,

cit., pp. 484-6. the translation of Stan, Julien,

II,

pp.

465 sqq.,

or of S. Seal,

II,

pp. 120 sqq.; and,

for the second, the translation of

SCHIEFNER, p. 20.

26o

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

tunate interruption in the mysterious

work of

the divine

sculptor.Among the unfinished parts Taranatha cites especially the toe of the right foot and the locks of hair. Whilst
these material details

would be

less easy

of verification

than might be thought in the obscurity in which, asHiuantsang tells, the majesty of the idol

was hidden,
its state

there is

some

appearance that this general belief in


teness

of incomple-

was

in

one way or another well-founded. In the


and in any
case,
it is

second

place,

a fact attested

by the
and

monuments,
it

as also

by the descriptions of the


seated,

texts, that

represented

Buddha
, at

the

left

hand

at rest,

the right hanging


his meditations

the

moment when,
it

disturbed from

by the assaults of Mara, he touched the


as witness (').
, to

earth with his fingers, in order to invoke

In short, the image of Vajrasana of


the term under
bhumisparfa,

Mahabodhi

use

was known, made the gesture of and was, or which for us comes to the
which
it

same thing

passed

for being, incomplete.

We
of

leave to experts the task of concluding.

To

us this

double rapprochement appears sufficiently precise to allow

our putting forward the idea that the central Buddha of


siud in

Boro-Budur, incomplete
least intends to be,

bhumisparga-mudrd,

is,

or at

nothing but a replica of the statue of


its

Bodh-Gaya. In addition to

simplicity, the hypothesis has


it

also this great advantage, that


ity

frees us

from the necessof Java, always

of attributing exceptionally to the

artists

so respectful towards Indian tradition, the creation of a

new

model which India would not have known. Finally, if it does away with one difficulty, in our opinion a considerable

one,

we do

not think that

it

raises

another in

its

(i)

The

references are to be found in our Etude sur V Iconographie boudI,

dhique de Vlnde,

pp. 90-94.

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

261

by Chinese evidence that from the VII* to the XI"' century of our era that is, during the period covering the construction of Boro-Budur, which is attributed to the second half of the

place. It is a fact historically established

IX"' century

the

mond

or

of Intelligence
in India,

True Visage of the Throne of Diawas the most venerated


,

Buddhist idol

and even the model most

in request

Mahabodhi had greatest centre of pilgrimage. This would explain without effort why a more or less faithful copy of this miraculous image should have been able to assume a

for exportation 0), whilst the temple of

become the

character sufficiently sacred to merit being placed by the

Javanese architects in the hollow of the great stupa of the


Indian Archipelago, just as the original reposed under the
arches of the famous sanctuary of Magadha.

Such,

at least, is

the hypothesis which

we

could not
all

help long ago

submitting to Indianists, with

the

respect inspired

by the experience of our predecessors


necessity, in

and the reservations imposed by the

which

we

still

were, of trusting to the descriptions of others. At

the time of our visit to Boro-Budur


to add concerning this statue,

we found nothing
as
it
it,

inasmuch

was

still

in

the

same

state in

which Dr. Pleyte had seen


left in a state
it

once again

covered up to the neck and


very unworthy of
all

of abandonment

the ink which

had caused to flow.

Thus we were
the wish that

obliged to restrict ourselves to reiterating


it

might once again be cleared and more

closely studied. If
subject,
filled,
it is

we have

returned in

some

detail to this

because in the interval this wish has been ful-

and because the kindness of Major Van Erp allows

(i) Cf. Ed. Chavannes, Les Inscriptions chinoises de Bodh-GayS- in Revue de


I'Histoire des Religions, vol.

XXXIV,

i,

1896.

(2) B. . F. E.-O.,

Ill,

1903, pp. 78-80, whence these pages are taken.

262

BUDDHIST ART IN JAVA


at last a

US to produce
(pi.

photograph of

this

famous

idol

XLIII, i). Perhaps this latter will be for the reader a in fact it merely sketches in a rather disillusionment
:

rough fashion the ordinary type ofBuddhas of Boro-Budur, and it is quite clear that, if a replica of the image of Vajrasana
is

really intended,

it

was executed

freely

and not

from

moulding. But upon a moment's reflection it will be seen that this was exactly what was to be expected; and, in any case, it is well once for all to place before the
a

eyes of the public the decisive piece of evidence in a dispute

which otherwise would run the


The Chandi Mendut.
reach to identify, by

risk of

being endless.

It

would be a

way

of a

more within our specimen, the images which


task

decorate the Chandi Mendut. This edifice, placed in the axis

of the oriental gate of, and

at three

kilometres from, Boro-

Budur, consists, in
front.

fact,
is,

of a cdla only, with a vestibule in

The whole

according to the Javanese custom,

perched on a terrace in the same manner as are the Brah-

manic temples of Parambanam.In Buddhist terminology it is

what
tues,

is

properly called a vihdra

(').

Naturally

it

shelters sta-

and the walls of its entrance vestibule, hke the exterior


with figures whose purely

faces of the building, are decorated

Buddhist character

may

be recognized at once by anyone

who is
upper
(i)
cell)

little

familiar with the Indian

iconography of

this

religion.

The

building, fairly well preserved, except in the

parts, has

been the object of a restoration the archimeaning of this term (temple of divinity or monk's

We know

that the

has been unduly extended by European archseologists to the whole of

the monastery (Cf. Art g.-b. du Gandhara, p. 99).


aside the other Buddhist edifices

We deliberately leave
visited in the neigh-

which we likewise

bourhood of Jogyakarta under the guidance of Dr. J. Groneman, and on which we may consult his guide, entitled Boeddhistische Tempel-en KloosUrBouwvalknin de Parambanan-Vlakte, Soerabaia, 1907.

BUDDHIST ART
tectural details of which

IN JAVA

263

we

shall

not undertake to discuss.


cella

The three enormous


on
their pedestals (').
detail.

statues of the

have been replaced

They

are characterized

by

a curious

Whereas at Boro-Budur, and even on the walls of the Chandi Mendut, the nimbuses of the divine personages
retain, as in

Southern India, the simply oval form, those

of the three figures rise to a point, like the leaf of the

Bodhi-tree,

in the Sino-Japanese

fashion.

It

would be

interesting to date as exactly as possible the appearance of


this

form

in Java. It

would, in
the

fact,

mark with

sufficient cer-

tainty the

moment when

influence,

two great currents of artistic which, diverging from their common Indian

source, had followed respectively the land routes through

Central Asia and the sea route south-eastwards, met again


in the island

and

there, so to speak, closed their circuit (').

The
in the

central statue, about


andesite,

enormous block of

m. 2,50 high, cut out of an represents a Buddha seated


in the gesture

European manner, the hands joined

of teaching. Not only the dsana and the mudrd, but even
the details of the hair, the lotus-stool, the throne with a
back,
etc., recall

in a striking

manner

the images found at

Sarnath, in the northern suburb of Benares, on the traditional site of the master's
I,

first

preaching
all

(cf. Icon,

houddh.,

fig.

10). Besides, to cut short


is still

discussion, the lower


a

band of the pedestal


law
,

stamped with

wheel of the

accompanied by the two

characteristic antelopes ot

the Mrigadava.

On

each side of the teaching Qakya-muni, on a throne


leg bent back,

having a back likewise adorned with superposed animals, a


Bodhisattva
is

seated in lalitdkshepa, the

left

the right foot hanging

down and

resting

on

a lotus.

At the

(i) Cf. B. . F. E.-O., IX, 1909,?. 831.

2^4

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA
at

right of Buddha Avalokitefvara

may

once be recognized,

thanks to the effigy of Amitabha which he bears in his


headdress.

As

usual, his right

hand makes the gesture of


a lotus (cf, ibid.,
left

charity; his left is folded back in the position of discussion,

but without
pi,

at the

same time holding

V, 2). His counterpart, with the palm of his

hand

leaning on the ground and the right hand turned back in


front of his chest, does not present

any particular mark


It is

allowing us to determine his identity.


ditional force of

solely the traattribute to

custom which compels us to


:

him the name of Mafijucri the more so as, after having despoiled these two acolytes of every characteristic attribute, the sculptor must for a means of recognition have
relied

upon

their simple presence

by the

side of Buddha.

The

walls of the vestibule bear

on the

right

and

left,

in

panels of about m. 1,90

X m.

i,

figures of the genius of

wealth and his wife Hariti, which have already been published by Dr.
J.

Ph. Vogel

(').

We shall

not insist further upon

them.

Of the

principal facade of the temple

oriented towards the north-west

exceptionally instead of the


to
east
is

only the wall to the

left

of the entrance

preserved

it

bears a standing Bodhisattva, holding a lotus

surmounted

by

a stupa

it

seems that we must by


112-3).

this sign recognize

Maitreya
If

(cf. ibid., pp.

the

we now commence on the terrace the pradakshind monument, we come first to the north-eastern facade. we
see, seated

of In

the middle of the central panel, framed by pilasters bearing


atlantes in their capitals,

on

a throne covered

feminine divinwith eight arms. Unfortunately the head is broken; but it seems, in fact, that it had only one face; and this
tree, a ity
(i) B. . F. E.-O., IV (1904), pp.

with a lotus and under a stereotyped

727-730

ct.

above, p. 141

and

below,

pi.

XLVIII,

2.

BUDDHIST ART IN JAVA


suffices to

265

put aside the identification with the Vajra-Tara


(ibid., II,
pi.

with four faces


(ibid., I, p.

1905,

p.

70) in favour of

Cunda

146 and

VIII, 4).

Her

right

arms do hold

the shell, the thunderbolt, the disc, and the rosary.


left

Of her

arms, the

first

from the top

is

broken; the three others

carry an elephant's

hook

(ankugd), an arrow,

and some
either side

object

which we could not distinguish.


:

On

stands a Bodhisattva holding a flyflap

the one

on the

right

has further the pink lotus of Avalokite^vara, the one on the


left

the blue lotus of Manju^ri. Finally, on the

two

lateral

panels, the

same standing Bodhisattva,


(ibid., I, fig. 14).

his right

hand

in

the varamudrd, bears a flower quite analogous to the ndgapushpa of Maitreya

On

the next facade the central figure


I,

is

an Avalokiteof
its

cvara with four arms(i^R,

p. 104, etc.).

One

right

arms, which

is

broken, must have been lowered in the

gesture of giving, whilst the other holds up a rosary.

pink lotus and a book adorn the

left

hands

the flagon of
side.

ambrosia

rests

upon another

lotus

on the same

Two

feminine attendants, doubtless forms of Tara,

worship

him. In the Bodhisattvas figured on the two

lateral panels

the thunderbolt with which both are armed proclaims Vajrapani.

The
facade

principal
is

figure

of the

south-western,
is

and

last,

again feminine (pi. XLIV). She

seated in the

Indian manner upon a lotus supported by two ndgas.

The

two

attributes of the

upper pair of hands, on the right the


the book^should indicate the Prajna(ibid., pi.

rosary and on the

left

paramitawith four arms


case the

IX,

and

4).

But in that

normal hands should make the gesture of teaching, instead of that of meditation. Similarly, if she were a
four-armed Tara, the
ture of charity (ibid.,
first right
II,

hand should make the ges-

p. 63).

The symbols and

the alti-

266

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

tudes combine, therefore, to indicate a second representation of the goddess Cunda, the form with four arms (ibid.,
pi.

VIII,

and

figure 24).

The two

Bodhisattvas, her attend-

ants, reproduce

exactly those of her counterpart

on the

opposite facade.
carry

As

regards those of the lateral panels, the)^

on blue

lotuses a

sword and

book

respectively

we must,
(ibid., p.

therefore, see in

them two

replicas

of the same

Maiiju^ri, of

whom these
:

are the

two

traditional

emblems

119).
in the personages

To sum up
dut

who

decorate the exte-

rior of the three

unpierced faces of the temple of

Men-

we

propose

at first sight to

recognize, in the middle,

two images of Cunda with four and eight arms, and one of Avalokitefvara with four arms; on the sides, two replicas each ofMaitreya, Vajrapaniand Manjugri all being im:

portant figures of the Buddhist pantheon. But, naturally,


this
It

preUminary review would have to be severely

tested.

would be necessary, in particular, to examine these basrehefs more closely with the help of ladders or a hanging stage, so that no detail could escape; and, this minute labour accomphshed, it would still be necessary to verify
by comparison with other Buddhist statues of Javanese
origin whether there
is

not occasion to modify in

some

measure, for local reasons, the Indian attribution of these


images. At that cost only could these too rapid identifications

become reasonably

certain.

The

Museum

of Batavia.

We

have just spoken of a

kind of general confrontation of the Buddhist statues of


Java.

would not be lacking, in spite of the relatively restricted number of Buddhist monuments in the island. Many of them have already been brought
material

The

together, both in a building near to the residency of Jogya-

BUDDHIST ART
karta and in the

IN JAVA

267

museum

of the Asiatic Society of Batavia.

Of

the

first

collection a catalogue has been published

by

Dr. Groneman.
tioned in the

The most

interesting objects to be

men-

second are some inscribed images of the

Dhyani-Buddhas Akshobhya(no. 224)andRatnasambhava


(no. 225), of the gakti Locana (no. 248"), of Tara in the

form of Bhrikuti (no.

112"), of Hayagriva (no. 76"), etc.


interest of these

Every one will appreciate the

names

(*),

taken at hasard from our notes on the lapidary

museum.

We must likewise mention as belonging


more
which
or less

to the

museum

of the capital a considerable collection of small figures of


precious metals (gold, silver, or bronze),

are for the

most

part already classed Q). Let us cite


artistic statuettes

among
tefvara,
this in

others

some very

of Avaloki-

Vajrasattva, Kuvera, Tara, Marici, etc. All have


that they are remarkably faithful to their

common,
is

Indian models.

There
for a

one

at

which

it is

perhaps worth while to stop

moment, because
it

of the rarety of the type in India

and the success which

has had in the Far East.

We

have

already had to occupy ourselves with the sole example pre-

served by chance at Bodh-Gaya.

Now

Dr. Pleyte

and
repli-

we

apologize for not having

time

had

known
in

this

reference at the

for his part


is

pubhshed three Javanese

cas (^),

one of which

now

London, another

at Lei-

J.

(i) Several of these statues have already been published by the late L. A. Brandes, Beschrifving van de mine... Tjandi Djago, The Hague and

Batavia, 1904.

(2)

For access to this collection

we

are indebted to

the kindness

of

Dr. C.

M. Pleyte, who was


tot

so

good

as to take the trouble of

opening the

glass-cases for us.

(3) Cf. Bijdragen


houddh. de I'lnde,

dc

Volgreeks, Tiende Deel,


IIj

afl.

Tad-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Ned.-Ind., Zesde i and 2, pp. 195-202, and our t. sur I'Icon.
fig. 4-

1905,

268

BUDDHIST ART IN JAVA

den, and the third at Batavia (pi. XLIII, 2).


the merit of discovering in Schiefner

He had
a

likewise

legend which

explained the bellicose pose of this divinity,


foot treads

whose

left

upon the

face of a

man, and
a

his right

upon

the

bosom of a woman. This would be


macy

mode

of deciding,

with no possible equivocation, the question of the supreof a simple Buddhist guardian of the law over

the great

god of the Brahmans. ^iva had the imprudence


under the pretence that

to refuse obedience to Vajrapani

the latter

was only

a yaksha

contemplate for your


his

own

edification the

punishment of

crime.

We

in our turn

may

note that on this point the descriptions of the sddhanas,

or magic charms, confirm the Tibetan tradition by Hkewise

giving to the persons overthrown the


fvara and his wife Gauri
:

names of Mahe-

while for the genius, instead

of making
Vajrapaiii,

of him

simply a furious transformation of

they use the more precise appellation of Trailo-

kyavijaya. Let us add that this last reappears


divinities of the Japanese

among

the

pantheon under the vulgar desighe has no longer more than one

nation of Gosanze. His pose has notchanged, nor his double,


living pedestal
;

and,

if

pair of arms, his hands, at least, continue to execute the

vajrahutnkdra-mudrd characteristic of his anger and

com-

mon
tuette

to

all

his representations

Q. On

the Javanese sta-

we

find again the four visages

which the Sanskrit

manuscripts and the stele of Magadha ascribe to him, and even the eight attributes (sword, disc, arrow and bell,

(i) A. Schiefner, Eine tibetische Lebensbeschreibung Qakyamuni's, p. 244.


(2) Cf, J.

von Japan of
loi and

Von Siebold), p. {Ann.duMusuGuimet, Bibl.


pi.

Hoffman, Pantheon von Nippon (vol. V, of the Beschreibun<r 75 and pi. XIX, fig. 164; and Si-do-in-diou
d'etudes, vol. VIII,
Paris, 1899), pp. 100-

XII.

BUDDHIST ART

IN JAVA

269

thunderbolt, elephant's goad, lasso and

bow) which they


believe, to this

agree in placing in his eight hands.

Any

special inquiry
:

would

lead us,

we

double conclusion

on the one hand, the


their

close fihation of

the Javanese Buddhist images in relation to their Indian prototypes, and,

on the other hand,

more or

less distant

kinship with the Tibetan, Chinese, or Japanese idols, deri-

ved from the same origin.


the composition or style

no profound divergence from of the common models seems to


If

guarantee to this province of Buddhist iconography any


great originality,
its interest,

on the other hand, promises to

beyond the local horizon. It is important for the general advancement of Asiatic studies that it should at last form as a whole the subject of some pubhcation. Not
extend
far

only would the harvest be abundant, but

we

have carried

away
ed. It

the impression that


is

it is

ripe

and ready to be gather-

much

to

be desired that the enlightened govern


provide

ment of the rich colony should


with the necessary
[Note additional
Bulletins
des
to

some Dutch savant

leisure.

note i on p.

214
(

Upon
de

reperusing M. August Earth's


VHist.
des
Religions,
t.

Religions

de

I'Inde

Rev.

1902, p. 354 n. I, or vol. II, p. 442 n. i, of the edition of his CEuvres) see that the identification suggested above for the bas-relief no. 14

XLV, we
ot

Dr. Pleyte's publication has been already proposed by him.


in full

He works

out

the same interpretation

That the maternal womb, the scene of


is

the central incident, has been omitted,

entirely in conformity with the

conventions of this
ex post facto at

art...

We

are doubly fortunate in finding ourselves


in rendering to

one with him and

him

the priority as regards

the identification.]

21

PLATE XXXI
Cf. pp. 206-7, 213-5.

View of Boro-Budur as it slill appeared in 1907; by the care of I. Major Van Erp the stone seat contrived on the summit with a vitw to
the

more comfortable contemplation of


and
the original

the magnificent scenery has


lines of the top cupola

since been removed,

have

been partly restored. (Cf. pp. 206-7.)


II.

Our photograph represents the


face, at the point

central part of the


it is

first

gallery

on the western
staircase.

where

crossed by the western

On

the light, at the top,

we

distinguish in the upper

row of

the

bas-reliefs the

two

last

of the Bodhisattva's four promenades, nam.ely,

the rencontre with the dead

man

and wiih the monk.

The

correspond-

ing bas-reliefs of the ihe other hand,

lower row have not yet been explained.

On

from the place where the view is taken, we cannot see the two rows of sculptures which correspondingly decorate the moulded parapet to the left. (Cf. pp. 213-5.)

BUDDHIST ARCHAEOLOGY

IN

JAVA

PL.

XXXI

BORO-BUDUR

GENERAL VIEW

(FROM THE NORTHVVtIST)

BORO-BUDUR
(PART OF

FIRST GALLERY

WEST FAgADE)

PLATE XXXII
a

Cf

pp. 209

1 1

The

three following drawings (section, plan

and outline of Boro-

Budur) have been obligingly communicated by Major

Van Erp, and

they present in consequence every guarantee of accuracy.


I.

The

present elevation replaces that published in the B. E.


fig.
3

F. E. O., 1909,
section, had

(cf. ibid., p.

831), which, not

being a normal

led us into error.


;

The

curve a b follows the original line

of the

to the right of the point b and marked by divergent hatchings represents the terrace subsequently added, under which is at present buried the ancient base with its decosttlpa

the

whole portion situated

ration already half accomplished. (Cf. pp.


II.

208

n.

and 210.)

The

plan corresponds exactly in dimensions with the eleva-

tion placed above. Just as the elevation

decorative architectural

elements, niches

shows the arrangement of the and cupolas, so the plan

enables us to get a clear idea of the distribution of the galleries, both

polygonal and circular, of the staircases, and of the gargoyles for carrying off the rain water. (Cf. p. 211 .)

BUDDHIST ARCHEOLOGY

IN

JAVA

PL.

XXXII

BORO-BUDUR SECTION AND PLAN


:

PLATE XXXIII
Cf. pp. 209, 211.

Plates

XXXIV-XLII

are reproductions of photographs taken


in

by the

author from the bas-reUefs,

the state in

which they were

in

May

pU.

1907, with the lichens which in places were eating them away (cf. XXXV, 2; XXXVI; XXXIX, 0, and their stones sometimes

disjointed (cf. pll.

XXXVIII

and XLII, 2).

This plate and the following belong to the story of prince I. Sudhana. For the description cf. p. 218. On the left will be observed the characteristic type of the Brahman, with his beard and large chignon.
II.

Upper
latter,

scene.

Qvetaketu, half recumbent on his throne in his

celestial palace

without a

amid the paradise of the Tushitas, pays (not, it seems, certain melancholy) his adieux to his heavenly companions.
ranged on each side of him, manifest, on their part,
of affectionate
dis-

The

creet signs

regret for the

imminent departure of the Manoshall

future Q^kya-muni.

Lower
hari
is

scene. Cf. p.

220.

It

will be noticed that the flight of

the only

movement
i,

in the slightest

degree violent that


(cf.,

we

have to encounter in the whole series of these bas-reliefs


further
tiers
pi.

however,
of

XXXVI,

lower scene). Scarcely do guards and courto

allow themselves

betray at

the sight of her

gesture

surprise.

The

birds figured

on her

left

have no other object

absolutely necessary to ascribe one to

them

(cf.

p.

251)

if it is

than to

emphasize the

aerial character of

her

flight.

BAS-RELIEFS OF BOROBUDUR, JAVA

PL.

XXXIV

1.

STORY OF SUDHANA,

No

3:

INCANTATION AGAINST THE NAGA

(CENTRAL PORTION)

2,

--

STORY OF SUDHANA,
Above
,

No. 11

MANOHARA'S FLIGHT

THE BODHISATTVA'S FAREWEEL TO THE GODS

PLATE XXXV
Cf. pp. 220-2.

I.

is,

upper

scene.

That on

pi.

XXXIV,
his
last

2 (upper scene) the

Bodhiearth,

sattva

in fact,

on the eve of

re-descent

upon our

may

be seen in this picture, the next in the upper

row

of bas-reliefs.

Seated in the pose of meditation under a

much decorated pavilion, which


above the clouds in the midst
are conveying him,
as pledges

forms

kind of tabernacle, he

still floats

of his flying cortege of divinities, of


whilst others

whom some

wave banners,
Cf.

fans, fly -flappers

and parasols

of

his future princely dignity.

Lower

scene.

p.

221. Grouped on the right, the royal insignia

(parasol, fly-flapper, conical fan, and leai oi sente [alocasia macrorrhiza

ScHOTT.j, the

last still

used by the Javanese, says Dr. Groneman, as a


all

provisional umbrella ), will naturally reappear in


(cf. pi.

the court pictures

XXXVI,
Cf.
p.

r,

lower scene,

etc.).

II-

222.

The group on

the right duly represents prince

Sudhana

letting his ring fall into the vessel of

one of the attendants,

who, stooping down, has just placed it at his feet. On the left the spring towards which walk, or rather glide, the other women have you ever seen the gliding motion of the Javanese female dancers ?

is

depicted as a kind of rocky basin, shaded by a tree and

overgrown

with lotuses.

BAS RELIEFS OF BOROBUDUR, JAVA

PL.

XXXV

STORY OF SUDHANA, No
Abo\-e

12 THE PRINCES THE BODH ISATT V A'S DESCENT UPON EARTH


:

RETURN

1.

STORY

OF SUDHANA,

No, 16: AT (niGHT-HAND PORTION)

THE FOUNTAIN

PLATE XXXVI
Cf. pp. 228, 230-r.

I.

is

upper

scene.

Prince Siddhirtha, languidly ensconced upon his


ring, as a

throne, offers his

own

token of betrothal,
at his feet.

to

Gopi
left

or Yagod^,
presses the

who

kneeling with clasped hands

On

the

crowd of maidens disdained

for her sake;

on the right the emissaries

of the king with visible satisfaction discover, and discuss


selves, the significant attitude of the prince,

among them-

whose

heart, to the great

despair of his father, had until then remained proof against love.

Lower

scene.

Cf. p. 228,

On

the right,

King Mindhitar, flanked by


:

his court, witnesses the scene


fall

from

his palace

pieces of

woven

stuff

from the clouds, naturally

in the

same

long, rectangular shape

which they would have when issuing from the loom. Among the people some catch them in their flight, others commence to drape
themselves

with them,

whilst

others

providently

make

veritable

bundles of them.
II.

Upper

scene.

Prince Siddhirtha, preceded by his guard and


is

followed by his court,


iot

seated under a parasol on a four-wheeled chardrawn by horses, very poorly designed (cf. p. 251) he has just met (as may be seen on the left) an old mendicant, leaning on a stick
:

and led by

a child; and a propos of this unexpected rencontre he learns through the mouth of his squire the existence of old age. This is the first of the four promenades (cf. pi. XXXI, 2).

Lower

scene. Cf. p.

230.

It

will be observed that

we do

not see here,

as in Gandhira and even at Amaravati,an executioner lay his obedient,

but cruel, hand upon the Bodhisattva;

still less

does this latter appear,

4s in Central Asia, with his skeleton almost entirely stripped of flesh.

Such

a horrible sight

would

jar

too strangely at Boro-Budur.

BAS-RELIEFS OF BOROBUDUR, JAVA

PL.

XXXVI

STORY OF MANDH ATAR, No


Above

12 THE RAIN OF THE BODHISATTVA CHOOSES HIS BRIDE


;

GARMENTS

STORY OF KING
Above
:

giBI, THE DOVE AND THE THE FIRST OF THE BODHISATT V A'S FOUR PROMENADES

HAWK

PLATE XXXVII
Cf. pp. 233-4.

Plates

XXXVII-XL
Cf.

are consecrated to the story of

Rudriyana.

I.

pp.

cuirass,

Brahmans who which is about to pass from

253-4. Judging by their head-dresses, these are have been charged by Rudriyaiia to bring the precious
their

hands into those of Bimbisara's


it

courtiers.

And

it

is

clearly a cuirass,

without sleeves and closing,

seems,
II.

in front.

Upper

scene.
is

On

the

left

the Bodhisattva (already under the

aspect of a

Buddha)

seated

on

throne covered with a lotus, and in

conversation with his master Ar^da.


teristic

The

latter exhibits all the

charac-

marks of the Brahmanic


midst of
a

ascetic, as

do

also his other disciples,

who,

in the

conventional laadscape of trees and rocks, which

represents their hermitage, occupy the rest of the picture, meditating or

praying, their rosaries round their necks or in their hands.

hmier
appears.

scene. It is

the ever- recurring court picture

that here

again

We

have remarked (p. 234) that the throne of the teaching


It

monk

is

higher than that of the king, his disciple.

might be

inter-

esting to refer the reader to a rule to this effect, expHcitly stated in the

Prdtimoksha of the Sarv^stivjldins, v,


19131
P-

92 (Journal ^siatique, nov.-dec.

general custom in India


prestige of

535; ^^- FiNOT and trans. Huber). But, in fact, this is the it is by an exception, only explained by the
:

Buddha among

later generations, that in

the scene above

the sculptor has assigned to

h'm

a seat

higher than that of his master.

BAS-RELIEFS OF BOROBUDUR, JAVA

PL,

XXXVII

i*aiai*tK5!*'&iV'>S---^'y;..

Z^.' l-ii; JaSiiai*^


i.1

1,

STORY OF RU DRAY AN A, No

PRESENTATION OF THE CUIRASS

(LEFT-HAND PORTION)

STORY OF RUDRAYANA,
Above; THE BODHISATTVA

No

M AH AKATYAY ANA'S VISIT


BRAHMAN TEACHER

WITH

HIS FIRST

PLATE XXXVIII
Cf. pp. 234-5.

I.

Cf.

pp.

234-5.

Note

in

the case of the Buddhist

nun the
first

complete tonsure of the head and the total absence of jewels, conformably to the rule of the monastic order to

which she belongs. The


is,

feminine person seen full-length on the right of the king

doubtless,

queen Candraprabhjl.
II.

Cf.

p.

23

It is

the latter

whom we

find again in the following


a

scene, kneeling

on the ground

in the

costume of

nun. Between her

and the bench on which are seated the two bhikshunis (whose heads
have been displaced with the block which carried them) curious utensils
of worship will be noticed.

RASRELIEFS OF HORO BUDUR, JAVA


''

PL.

XXXVIII

lirlU'iiiri'i.-Vi^'r:^

1.

STORY

OF RUDRAYANA, No

10:

THE NUN QAILAS SERMON

(LEFT-HAND PORTION)

^^^^^^

2.

STORY OF RUDRAYANA, No

11

QUEEN GANDRAPRABH A'S ORDINATION

(CCNTRAL PORTION)

PLATE XXXIX
Cf- pp. 235-6.

I.

Here CandraprabM, descending again from heaven,

in order

to

keep the promise which she had made to her husband to come back
a

as

ghost, reappears, quite naturally to our eyes, in the costume of

a goddess,

and consequently of

queen

that

is

lo say, the

she wore on plate


the king
is

XXXVIII,

i.

Note the cracks

in the block

same which on which

carved.

II.

Cf.

pp.
is

235-6.

The

distinction

crown-prince

in this scene especially

between the king and the emphasized by the fact that

the father alone wears the tnukuta or tiara,

custom
pi.

(see,

for

instance, prince

which the son, contrary to Sudhana in the low.-r scene of

XXXV,
III.

2), here

does not wear.

Cf. p.

236 and, for the sake of comparison, the right part of

the lower scene in pi.

XXXVII,

2.

BAS-RELIEFS OF BORO-BUDUR, JAVA

PL.iVXXXIX

STORY OF RUDRAYANA FRAGMENTS OF


:

Nos. 12, 13

AND

14

PLATE XL
Cf. pp. 237-8.

I.

upper

scene.

Oa

the

left

the

Bodhisattva (in the form of a


the rocks

Buddha), seated ia meditatioa

among

UruviM,
of

raises his right


is

hand

in order to

make

to the fifteen gods

and in the shades of (one

whom

broken) ranged on his

left a polite

gesture of refusal.

What

he dedines is the proposal, which they have just


in

through his pores a secret vigour,


:

midst of his super-human austerities

made to him, to breathe which may sustain him in the for he will owe his salvation to
his decision

himself alone. His well-bred interlocutors receive

with a

demeanour
by the
loss

as discreet as

it is

varied.

It

will be observed that the maceras in

ations of the Bodhisattva are not in

any way shown,


so

Gandhira,

of flesh on his body

much

realism would here be

regarded as the height of impropriety.

Lower
(cf. p.

scene.

Cf. p. 237. It will be noticed

also in this connection

that the sculptor does not

make

us witness the

murder of Rudriyatia
the existence in the

249, n.

i). It

may

be curious to observe

Mus6e Guimet of Tibetan paintings whose authors have not troubled themselves with so much dehcacy for there is more than one way
:

of being a Buddhist, in
II.

life as

well as in

art.

Cf. p. 238.

It

will be observed

and

this

trait

curiously

recalls the pleasantries of

our Middle Age concerning the monks

that the

Brahmans

distinguish themselves

by a special degree of cupidity.

BAS-RELIEFS OF BORO BUDUR, JAVA

PL.

XL

1.

STORY OF RUDRAYANA. No
Above
:

16

AFTER THE PARRICIDE

THE ASCETIC BODHISATTVA DECLINES THE AID OF THE GODS

2.

STORY OF RUDRAYANA,

No. 19: THE (LEFT-HAND PORTION)

RAIN OF JEWELS

^'

PLATE XLI

Cf. pp. i4i-3, 245-6.

I.

Cf.
:

pp. 240-3.

plates

XXXVIII, 2

The conventional rocks already met with in and XLI (upper scene) are here still more distinctly
at

seen

they are the same as

Ajanta and in Indian miniatures


1,

(cf.

t.

sur riconogr. bouddh. de I'lnde,

pp. 35, 183).

The

three following

reproductions belong to the story of Mai-

trakanyaka.
II.

Cf. pp.
is

245-6.

The

respect due to the mother, as well as to


(cf.

the teacher,
p.

here also marked by the higher seat attributed to her


pi.

220, no. 8, and

XXXVII,

2).

BAS RELIEFS OF BORO BUDUR, JAVA

PL. XLI

1.

STORY OF THE PAIR OF KINNARAS


(CENTRAL PORTIOW OF THK SECOND SCENE)

2.

STORY OF MAITRAKANYAKA, No

THE PURSE-OFFERING

(CENTRAL PORTION)

PLATE

XLII

Cf. pp. 246-7.

I.

Here, again,

is

supposed to

subject (cf. pp. cracks.


II

would never be suspected that Maitrakanyaka kick his mother on the head such is, however, the 245-6). This portion of the wall shows very serious
it
:

Cf. pp.

246

7.

The

dvdrapdla

is

to be

compared with those

who
left IS

likewise guard the gates

of the Brahmanic temples of Java. of wh'ch


r

palisade of the

same kind seen again from the

as thit

we

get a side view

on the

front

on pU. XL,

(lower scene) and

XLIV.

BAS-RELIEFS OF BOROBUDUR, JAVA

PL. XLII

1.

STORY OF MAITRAKANYAKA,

No, 2

THE MOTHERS SUPPLICATION

(LEFT-HAND PORTION)

STORY OF MAITRAKANYAKA,

No. 7

IN

THE INFERNO CITY

(RIGHT-HAND PORTION)

PLATE

XLIII
267-9

Cf. pp. 257-62,

o y
Si

o n B Oh o
rt
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(-!

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4- -

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'53

Cu,

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4^

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B = ~ t= J3 J- O g u

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-

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c^

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-- u
4-

o to

BUDDHIST ARGH.-EOLOGY

IN

JAVA

PL. XLIII

< < <

3 2

'<

A o <

CD

"-

CM

o c

Q Q D m

o w p
01

Q U
Cfi
is

-I

2:

PLATE XLIV
Cf. pp. 265 6.

Photograph by Major Van Erp

for the identification cf. pp. 265-6.

On

the plinth stretches the top of a palisade of large

wooden

stakes

joined by a thin crossbar. Behind are seen the

which

are supposed to

grow

the lotuses

waves of a lotus pond, in which support the three prin-

cipal persons.

Two

Nigas, recognizable by their serpent head-dresses,


pU.

hold up the stem of the central lotus, and thus recall those of the Great
Miracle
at

gr^vasii

(cf.

XX; XXIII; XXVIII,


The

i).

The

stereotyped

trees attest a
lateral

remarkable feeling for ornament. At the foot of the


central tree, further embellished with birds
is

two
and,

ones are placed treasure-vases.


is

surmounted by
bells,

parasol,

and hanging

conformably to tradition,

flanked by adoring divinities, here enframed

in finely chiselled folds of cloud.

The

iconographic motif, carved in

position, thus extends over the

whole wall of the temple.

BUDDHIST ARCH.'EOLOGY

IN

JAVA

PL.

XLIV

THE GODDESS GUNDA BETWEEN TWO BODHISATTVAS


iON

THE SOUTH- WESTERN WALL OF THE CH A N DI M E N DU T


-

The Buddhist Madonna 0.

The
this

painting reproduced in colours on the frontispiece to


ruins of Yar-Khoto, at about

volume comes from the

ten kilometres to the west of Turfan. Discovered


ij""

on the
of

of July 1905 in the course of the operations of the


this region

second German archaeological mission in

Chinese Turkestan,
Ethnographical
in Berlin,
lar,
it

it is

at present

deposited in the Royal


fur

Museum

(Kgl.

Museum

Volkerkunde)

under no. T(urfan)

II,

Y, 69. In shape rectangu-

all

measures m. 0,35 by m. 0,50, and, according to probability, was formerly framed in bands of woven

kakemono. The sanctuary, which it had once adorned, was apparently one dedicated to Buddha at least, the fairly numerous manuscripts found in its company retain, under the diversity of their Sogdian, Turmaterial, like a Japanese
:

kish or Chinese languages and scripts, the


teristic

common

charac-

of having a Buddhist purport

we

should have to

except only

some Uigur fragments, which would be Mani-

the other hand, the final disintegration of the building, constructed of undressed bricks, could not be much later than the ninth century of our era. Only the

chean.

On

a thing extraordinary dryness of the climate explains how reaching us, beneath so perishable should have succeeded in dust, in a state the thick accumulated debris of bricks and

memoires publUs par VJcadimie des Inscrip(i) Extract from Monuments d Eugene Piot), vol. XVH, fasc. II, 1910. tions et Belks-Lettres (Fondation
22

272

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA

of preservation relatively so satisfactory.


to the kindness of Dr.

We

are indebted

A. von Le Coq and Dr. Bode, the

Director-General of the Royal

Museums

in Berlin, for the

opportunity of offering to the public a first acquaintance with


this

work, one of the most significant, in our opinion, which

have issued from the recent excavations in Central Asia.

The

reproduction which

we

publish

is

sufficiently ad-

equate to enable us to dispense with anything


succinct description, insisting less

beyond

seen

at

the

first

upon what is still to be glance than upon what only a close examprincipal subject
is

ination reveals.

The

a seated

woman,

holding in the hollow of her right arm a child in swaddHng


clothes, to

whom with her left hand


by a
veil,

she presents her bosom.


is

Her head, surrounded by atriple circular nimbus,


as far as the shoulders

covered

embroidered round the


is

hems and

tied

back with a ribbon. She

clothed

down

to

the feet in a tunic with long sleeves,


quite analogous to those

open

at the breast

and

which we have seen worn by the


is

women

of Kashmir. This robe

strewn with lozenges

themselves subdivided into four hke figures, each marked

by a red spot

which were probably woven


hem
The
as the veil.
feet are

in the stuff;

the collar, cuffs, opening and

being bordered with the

same embroidery

shod in slippers
is

without heels, depicted in black, and the neck


with a necklace of the same hue.

adorned

swathed up to the neck,


the

like a

The child is tightly mummy. The chair on which


position, is

woman

sits,

in a very

awkward

without

arms or back, but very massive and much ornamented.

From

the front

we perceive only two

rectangular uprights,

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA


fitted

273

between two frames of the same shape, the one which rests on the ground being a Httle wider than that which serves as a seat. The mouldings are
repeated symmetrically. Those of the two inner crossbars reproduce the regularly outhned curves of the embroidery
:

the decoration of the outer framework and of the uprights introduces halves or quarters of the lotus flower into the intervals of the curved undulations or the angular zigzags

of a stripe.

This central figure


ants, four

is

surrounded by eight

little

attend-

on each
little
:

and plump
tufts

These are so many vigorous boys. All wear on their shaven crowns
side.

of hair

round

their necks are necklaces

ornamented
cotton
is

with

medallions,
their
feet

doubtless serving as

amulet-bearers

on

black
in

shoes

about their loins


little

drawers,

forming

front a

pocket

which

pierced with a small

slit,

but projecting in wide pleats

behind.
already

The

penetrating eye of Dr. A. von Le


that four of

Coq

has

noticed

them

are about

to play a
left,

kind of hockey.
raising his

The

first,

at the

bottom

to the

is

two hands, of which


if

the right brandishes a

crooked

stick,

towards one of his companions,


to incite

who

is

perched upon the stool, as

him

to

throw the

ball

which he clasps tightly in


holds upright in his
left

his right

hand.
bat,

The

latter also

hand a similar
as if she
.

and half turns


their
right,

towards the seated


play,

woman,

were watching

while feeding her latest-born At the top, on the


little

two other
the ball,

boys are engaged


is

in the

same

sport.

The

upper one,

who
it

squatting, with his left hand throws


indicated in red; the
;

which

is

one standing
canvas was

below receives
stretched

with his bat

for, before the

and the drawing


disappeared,

distorted, his left arm,

which

has

now

was, doubtless, long enough to

274

f HE BUDDHIST MADONl^A
is

reach and manipulate the red, bent stick which

to be

seen between the two partners. Below, a fifth child, seated on the ground, practises playing a sort of guitar with four
strings. Still lower, a sixth is carrying as well as

he can, in

a basket too big for his arms,


slices

some melons, whole or in those famous melons of Upper Asia, whose


all travellers

excellence

unite in celebrating and of

which

awaken in the heart of the Great Mogul Baber, even mid the enchantment of his
the scent alone

was

sufficient to

Indian gardens, a homesickness for his native Ferghana.

To

return to the

left

portion of the plate, above the two


little

hockey-players

we

see another

boy,

who seems

to be

amusing himself by trying to balance on his head a twohandled vase. As for the eighth Httle figure in the top corner, it is so much injured that we dare not venture any conjectures concerning
its

manner of amusement

the author
is

of the tracing which

accompanies and supphes what

missing in the

plate,
little

has completed the figure, with infinite

probability, as a

genius perfectly analogous to the one

in the symmetrically opposite corner.

To
a

this

summary

description

we

are justified in adding


is

few observations of a technical kind. The painting

executed on a piece of coarse canvas, which had previously

been covered with a coating,

now

partly vanished.
a

The
often

features (perhaps first sketched

by the help of

pounce,

dusted over a perforated pattern, as

we know was
drawn

the custom of these image-makers) were

in ink,

with great sureness of hand.

If the sitting

posture of the

woman

is

unskilfully

rendered,

we

shall

remark, on the
the lozenges
figure.

other hand, an interesting attempt to

make

on the dress blend with the movement of the


colours, doubtless

Then

water-colours,

have been applied in

broad uniform

tints.

Here,

it

seems, golden yellow was

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA

275

confined to the seat and embroideries, while for the textures there is recourse to a series of reds, passing from the

minium of

the dress to

the carmine of the veil

all

are to be seen again

on the various bands of

the halo.

Then

Hght wash in ink, encircUng each

feature,

emphas-

izes the

contours and hollows out the folds, whilst a few delicate touches here and there give the finishing stroke to
the

summary

indication of the

the procedures which are


paintings, as also

modelHng. These are exactly found to recur in Sino-Japanese

on Persian miniatures.

We

know

that

Oriental art has continued of set purpose to ignore the


chiaroscuro.
it is,

As

to the date to be assigned to this picture,


:

provisionally, rather uncertain

for the archaeology


its

of Central Asia has to be drawn from the chaos of


rials,

mate-

which for the most

part are

still

unedited.

However,

thanks to the previous excavations of Sir Aurel Stein,

we

know

that the rabdb with four keys, with


is

which the

child

musician

playing, the flowers which the mouldings of

the seat encircle, the

wave
at

or

cloud motif of the


at

embroidery were in use

Niya and

Rawak

in southern
(*).

Turkestan from the third century of our era

But,

on

the other hand, according to the opinion of Dr. A.

von

Le Coq, the woman's costume, of a fashion already Uigur not to mention the extreme obliquity of the eyes
of the seventh.

would

force us to descend at least as far as the beginning

SeeM. A. Stein, Ancient Khotan, pi. LXXIII (guitar handle), LXVIII and cf. our Art greco-boud(seat), LXXXVIII (waves), LXVII(halo), etc.
(i)
;

dhique du Gandhdra, figg.

162, 213,

243, 246 (encircled

flowers), 273

(waves), etc.

276

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA

11

So

far

we have

restricted ourselves to a

simple statement

of the facts furnished by an examination of the document. Now it is time to broach the more deHcate question of its
interpretation. Inevitably, as
this pious design,

soon

as

we

are confronted

by

some familiar picture of the Virgin nursing the Child Jesus. For this unavoidable rapprochement we see at least two reasons. Firstly, there are not so many ways for a woman to offer her bosom to her nursling. The second, more

we

are carried back in

memory

to

topical,

reason might chance through long habituation

not immediately to occur to us.

We
it

heard the ingenuous expression of

remember having from the lips of a

young Panjabi Brahman, who, in front of an Italian chromo-lithograph of the Holy Family, could not conceal
his astonishment that

the mother of the


after the

God

of the
the

Europeans should not be dressed

manner of

Mem-Sahebs
Enghsh
Indian

He

expected, as he explained to us, to see


a

on the head of Mary


ladies,

hat similar to
fact,

those

worn by

whereas, in

her veil gave her quite an

appearance. This he could not get over... After


at his

having smiled

amazement, we

shall

do well not to
incontestable

forget the exact bearings of his remark.

It is

that the artistic tradition of the veil does in fact give

an

Asiatic appearance to the most Gothic of our Virgins, But,


if

our European images go more than half


(c

this
first

Notre

Dame

de Tourfan

is

way

to

meet
con-

as

it

had from the


that

(')

been christened

it

intelligible

(i) This hypothesis was, indeed, put aside by Dr.

von Le Coq because

of the Buddhist character of the manuscripts found at the same time as the

painting (cf. Journ. of the Roy. As. Soc, 1909, p. 309).

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA


versely our
first

277

instinct will be

to connect this latter

with a Christian prototype. Have not the excavations in fact proved the former existence, in this oasis of Turfan, of

Manichean and even Nestorian


by
this hypothesis

sects?

The

unedifying

entourage of eight urchins would indeed be ill-explained


;

but, with a

little

good

will, all

may
little

be arranged, and in strictness one could reduce these

elves to a purely decorative role, analogous to that played

by

their counterparts,

the

putti,

on the paintings of the


settle the

Catacombs. In short, definitely to


the identity of our figure,
sufficient to confront
it

question of
it

we may
first

imagine that

will be

with the

chance representation,

provided that
ing her child.
It

it

be somewhat anterior, of the Virgin nurs-

will perhaps surprise

more than one

reader to learn

that

we have

experienced great difficulty in laying our


a representation. It is not, indeed, that

hand upon such

we

ever thought to find thereby the clue to an enigma which seems to us, as will be seen, susceptible of a much
nearer solution. But as
little

as

anyone did we think of

denying the Christian analogies of the painting of Turfan, and in any and every case it would have been interesting

went thereWe must fore, and knocked at the door of the specialists. They confess that their reply was not what we expected. was not told us, to begin with, that the Virgo lactans
to connect with
it

a western counterpart.

We

shown
art,

the

Byzantine C). Even in of with its well-known horror of the nude, the icons some raXaxTOTpotpoOoa, charged, perhaps, at first with
in the

catacombs of

Rome

indecorum, do not seem to appear until very

late, in

the

Katahomben Roms, 1903 (not even (i) Cf. J. WiLPERT, Die MaUreien der on his pi. 22).

278

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA


Italian
first

XV"' century, and would be imitations of an


itselfof recent date ('). Finally, in

model,

France the

examples

would not go back further than the XIV"' century, and would translate in our religious art new feelings of familiarity

and tenderness

Q.

But even the best established


exception, and in the present

laws must always have


case

some

M. Gabriel
first is

Millet has pointed out to us at least two.

The

furnished by the ivory cover of a Gospel of Metz,

attributed to the IX"' century of our era (pi.

Mother of God
offers

thus designated

XLVI, i) the by name in Byzantine


:

sigla, is seated

on
left

a raised throne in the

form of a

coffer,

and

her

bosom, over which she has modestly


swathed in

drawn
bands.

a fold of her veil, to a child entirely

The

other specimen, recently obtained from the

excavations of the Service of Egyptian Antiquities at Saqqara,


is

by the gracious permission of M. G. Maspdro repro(pi.

duced here

XLVI, 2). Seated on

a chair

with a back, of

Mary no less chastely offers the nipple of her right bosom to a little Jesus, already growing, who, installed on his mother's knee,
holds
her forearm with both hands. According to the
this painting

rather rude construction, the Virgin

pubhshed information

had once adorned the

470 and probably destroyed soon after the Arab conquest of Egypt (640-641). Whilst the Carolingian ivory would be later than the image of
Turfan, the Coptic fresco would, therefore, be earUer. But, since notwithstanding the analogy of the wholes and

walls of a convent founded in

even of certain details

we discern
Christian

at

once that none of

(i)

KoNDAKOV, Monuments of
;

Art

at Athos, 1902, fig.

p. 173 (in Russian)

Benigni,

La Madonna

allatante e

68 and un motivo hixantino?

ap. II Bessariom, VII, 1900, pp. 499-501.

We

are indebted for this informa-

tion to the kindness of our colleague

M. Gab. Millet.
du Moyen-dge en France (1908), p. 148.

(2) E.

Male, UArt

religieux de la fin

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA

279

these three figures proceeds directly from either of the other two, their simuhaneous existence serves in the end only to

induce us to bring a prudent reserve to bear upon our statements. If our short enquiry does not at all resuh, as we

had begun to think, in guaranteeing the entire absence of the type of Nursing Virgin from ancient Christian art, it
at least

proves the extreme rarety thereof. Consequently,

suffices

and

it

makes no

further claim

to

it

divert us

from the

first trail

along which our European prejudices

would have
Whoever,

started us.

in fact, has

by

his studies acquired a certain

famiharity with Central Asian matters, whether he be Indianist

or Sinologue, cannot have remained ignorant of the pre Serindia ,


;

ponderant role played by Indian civilization in


at least

down

to the

coming of

the

Musalmans and
It is

it is

a fact

no

less surely

estabhshed that the principal vehicle


in this

of this influence was the religion of Buddha.


direction that
it

researches

would be proper, a priori, to point our towards the same quarter we are in the case
it

of this particular picture directed by the character of the


edifice

beneath whose ruins


it

was discovered. Now,

if

we

look at

no longer with eyes


it,

hereditarily Christian, but

through Buddhist spectacles,


recognize in

no less infallibly instead of the Virgin Mary nursing the


shall
last

we

Child Jesus, the fairy Hariti suckling her


gala,

born. Pinare playing

whilst
her.

some of
This
is

her numerous

sons

around

a consecrated iconographic theme, of

which

it

will be easy for us to quote

numerous examples,

spread over nearly twenty centuries and over the whole of


the Far East. In face of the scarcity of western counterparts,
this

abundance of documents would

at

once weigh down


:

the balance in favour of the Buddhist identification comparison of the various replicas will bring full confirmation.

28o

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA

III

But,

first

of

all, it

is

relevant to present briefly to the

non-Orientalist reader the goddess


invite
fairy,

him

to

make. In
a

truth,
fairy.

whose acquaintance we she was originally only a


birth she, as well as her

and even
of the
still

wicked

By

troup of imps, belonged to the race, often maleficent, of


spirits
air {yakshd), in

whom

popular Indian belief

had, and
dies.

has, a habit of incarnating contagious


pitiless

mala-

She herself personified the most


It is

of infantile

epidemics.

well

known

that in the India of the present


is

day, in spite of the progress of vaccination, small-pox

dreaded to such an extent that

it is still

the

custom not

to

reckon children

among
is

the

members of

the family until


trial

they have victoriously passed through the


rible disease.

of this terreceives

This

why the

green Hariti

still

from the Buddhists of Nepal the worship which the Hindus of the plains address to the cold Qitala. That she should have ended by transforming herself from a formidable scourge into a beneficent divinity will not surprise

any student of

religions.

Of

course, there

was

a legend to

explain this transmutation


gold.

of worthless lead into pure

Buddha

in person

had once converted the yakshini


is

who

decimated,

or (as
,

metaphorically written)

piti-

lessly

devoured

the children of the

(now Rajgir, in Behar). In human feelings, he decided


Pihgala. the last and

order to

town of Rajagriha convert her to more


five

to deprive her for a time of

most loved of her

hundred sons.

Some even
fact,

relate that the


:

inverted alms-vase
see

Master hid Pirigala under his and on Chinese paintings we do, in

hordes of demons vainly endeavouring by the help of cranes and levers to turn over the huge bowl,

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA


in

281

which the
be,

little

genius

is

imprisoned

(').

However

this

may

the
this

stratagem succeeded.

Hariti

by

momentary
at

separation

The grief caused made her return

to to

herself, or, better, put herself in the place of simple


tals,

mor:

whom she had

times robbed of their sole offspring

she swore never to do so again. However, every one must live, even the wicked who repent. As soon as she is converted, the ogress

mother respectfully
first

calls the attention

of

the Master to the fact that the

precept of his morality,

by interdicting
five

all

homicide, really condemns her and her


die of hunger;

hundred sons to

and Buddha, much

struck by the justice of this remark, promises that henceforth in all convents his

monks

shall offer a daily pittance,

of course on condition that she and hers faithfully observe


their vows...

This monastic legend, very


ours, as

skilfully

composed, endeav-

we

see,

not merely to conciliate the contradic-

tory notions attached to this deity, at once both cruel

and propitious
ful, it also

in order completely to reassure the faith-

stands as a guarantee against any relapse of

the converted yakshini into her ancient errors. Last and in

regard to

decorum most important,

it

claims to vindicate,

under colour of a contract long ago made with the Master,


the installation of this former ogress in the convent, and
the propriety of the worship offered to her.
It is,

in fact,

only too clear that

it

is

from pure concession to popular


of Hariti was to be

superstitions that, according to the testimony of the Chi-

nese pilgrim Yi-tsing, the image

found either

in the

porch or in a corner of the dining-

hall of all Indian monasteries .

There she was, moreover.


;

(i) Cf. Archseologia, LHI, 1892, pp. 239-244 La Ugende de Kouei tseu mouchen (Annales du Mus^e Guimet, Bibl. d'Art, vol. I); Ed. Chavannes,

Toung

Pao, Oct. 1904, p. 490.

282

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA


tells

us in plain terms, adored no longer as a devourer, but as a giver of children. Usually the genius with at least, when he the golden bag was opposite to her

he

was

not, as in a
:

number of surviving

representations, seated

beside her

for the

common

people had been quick to

associate the dispenser of riches with the goddess of fecundity (').

We may even be permitted

to think that their altars

must have been those not least frequented by devout laymen, the more so as both sexes were there plainly provided for. A passage from Hiuan-tsang interests us still

more

directly

by

attesting that the

worship of Hariti had

been transported early into the north-west of India. While following the same itinerary, we were surprised to encounter,

under a name which

is

nothing but an Afghan transstill

lation of hers, the

mound,

miraculous, even in the

eyes of present-day Musalmans, which marks the location

of her principal sanctuary in this country of Gandhara,

where

at

about the beginning of our era the Grseco-Buddhist

art flourished

Q.
to explain to us the antiquity,
classical

This

is sufficient

number

and character,
cription given

at

once

and benignant, of her


holding a

Indian images. All answer more or less to the general des-

by Yi-tsing

she

is

depicted

as

babe in her arms and round her knees three or five children
.

The
There

little

genii

who

are

usually playing and


five

worrying each other evidently represent her


sons
.
is

hundred
all

nothing astonishing in seeing them


:

of nearly the same size


true Gigogne,

the texts admit that their mother, a

may

very well have been able to bring them

(i) See above Essay V, The Tutelary Pair.

trans. Julien,

(2) Cf. Yi-Tsing, Records, trans. Takakdsu, p. 37 ; Hiuan-Tsang, Memoires, I, p. 120; Bull, de I'^c. fr. d' Extreme-Orient, 1, 1901,

pp. 341 sqq.

THE BUbDHIST MADONNA


all

283

this

same year (*). In the midst of all swarm, which often dimbs over her person, one would sometimes say that she is posing in advance as'
an Italian allegory of Charity. At one time she
her

is

into the world in the

seated

Benjamin

rests in her lap

and childishly plays with


at

her necklace (pi. XLVII, i), or


suckles her breast.
favourite
still

times simultaneously
is

Then

again she

standing; but her


is

clings to

her bosom. Usually he

placed

astride her hip, in the


;

manner in which Indian women carry their children and two at least of his brothers have succeeded in cUmbing as far as the maternal shoulders (pi. XLVII, 2). With these two types at times partly

combined, as

in pi.

XLVIII,

i,

husband of the goddess

may be connected the

which

in addition

shows the
relatively

numerous images furnished no less by the ruins of the districts of Peshawar and Mathura than by the famous grottoes

of Ajanta.

The

ogress,

once the terror of

fruitful

mothers, has clearly there become a kind of matron, hope


of barren

women.

It is this

auspicious group that, as

we

are about to see, has

conquered the whole of the Far East.

IV
For
this pacific

conquest two ways had been opened by

those pioneers of Indian civilization, leaders of caravans or

master mariners, the one by land and the other by sea. It was this latter route which must perforce have been followed
in order to reach Java,

on the

actual confines of the Indian


little

Archipelago. In preference to the

bronzes of the

muon

seum
able,

we reproduce here the


I,

in Batavia

evidence too portable to be unexceptionHaritJ actually sculptured


p. 253,
1.

(i) Mahdvastu, ed, Senart,

2.

284

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA


left

wall of the entrance corridor of the temple called Chandi Mendut, near to the famous stupa of Boro-Budur
the

(IX* century), and doubtless almost contemporaneous with right wall opposite, an image of it. Represented on the
the genius of riches

completes the proof of the trans-

plantation of their double worship into the

most

beautiful

of the

Islands of the Southern Seas

(')

Crouching upon and her body


wears a sumpthan thirteen

a cushion, her legs covered with a sarong

clothed only with jewels, the goddess,

who
less

tuous
little

coiffure,

is

surrounded by no

demons

One

is

being presented to her on the

right

by an attendant, whilst the others play in the sand,


time Pirigala, resting in her arms, prepares
the conviction of a nursHng charged
identification of his

caper about, or climb trees in order to steal their fruits

and during

this

to suckle with

all

by

the sculptor to emphasize the


ther (pi. XLVIII, 2).

mo-

mark noted, we return to our startingpoint, we may follow the same family group on the march over the sandy roads of Central Asia. It was hardly doubtful that, in order to reach China, they must have pursued the same routes which the Chinese pilgrims had taken in
If,

this

first

order to reach India.

Of this

probability recent discoveries

have made a certainty. The original of the frontispiece marks


at

Turfan precisely the route followed on the outward

journey by Fa-hian and Hiuan-tsang, the northern route


which, footing the chain of the Celestial Mountains, rounds

As to the southern route, which deployed along the northern slope of the Kuen-lun mountains the chaplet of the oases visited by Sung Yun on the outward journey and by Hiuan-tsang on his return.
the great desert basin of the Tarim.
(i) See above, p. 264.

THE BUDDHIST MADONNA


it

285

was unwilling

to be behind

its rival

in

any way, and

it

also has already furnished us, if not with a canvas, at least

with a mural painting of Hariti.

No

one

is

unacquainted with the briUiant excavations

carried out

by

Sir

Aurel Stein, on the occasion of two

successive missions, over the ancient alignment of this


track across