Jason Neelis: "Moving Narratives: Transmission of Avadānas and Jātakas in Gandhāran Texts and Images"
Emplacement of Buddhist narratives of episodes associated with previous births of the Buddha and other figures in ancient Gandhāra is reflected in Gāndhārī manuscripts with original summary compositions of over fifty distinctive stories labeled as Avadānas and Pūrvayogas and in a limited visual repertoire of about a dozen Jātakas identified in Gandharan art. This presentation will address tensions between localization and transmission of Gandhāran literary and visual narratives belonging to periods of regional cultural production between the first and third centuries CE by examining patterns of selective appropriation and transformation of Avadānas and Jātakas in relations to other traditions of South Asian and Central Asian Buddhist texts and images.
Jason Neelis is an Associate Professor in the Religion and Culture Department at Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) with research interests in Buddhist inscriptions, manuscripts, and visual / material cultures. He is co-ordinating a collaborative project on Buddhist Rebirth Narratives in Literary and Visual Cultures of Gandhāra funded by The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation for Buddhist Studies through the American Council of Learned Societies.
Image: From Wladimir Zwalf, A Catalogue of Gandhāra Sculpture in the British Museum (London: British Museum Press, 1996): cat. no. 136, p. 141–142.