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Conference May 20th : Buddhist Wall painting in ancient Bactria

20 Mai 2010

The next conference Buddhist Wall painting in ancient Bactria by Mr Ciro Lo Muzio, Professor at University la Sapienza, Rome, will be held May 20th . Summary :

The epoch in which Buddhism began its spread beyond the north-western border of the Indian Subcontinent, that is to say in ancient Bactria and in other historical regions of Central Asia, is still an open question. An established fact is, on the contrary, that the first flourishing of Buddhist monastic settlements can be situated during the Kushan epoch (I-III centuries CE). This is the time to which the foundation of the earliest sangharamas unearthed Bactria is to be dated.

Buddhist monasteries have been so far discovered in greater number in northern Bactria (Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), which has been €and still is – more extensively explored than southern Bactria (northern Afghanistan). From that part of this crucial historical region come important evidence on Buddhist mural painting.

This lecture will offer an overview of the paintings found in North-Bactrian Buddhist sites, with a special focus on the monasteries of the Termez oasis. The murals from Kara Tepe and Fayaz Tepe display a close relationship with the Gandharan and, broadly speaking, the Kushan tradition and partially fill in the gap of Gandharan painting, which is almost totally lost; on the other hand their subject range reveals elements which deserve to be more thoroughly analysed.