Juhyung Rhi: "Buddhist Images in Gandhāran Monasteries: The Context of Creations"
Gandhāra, a region located in the northwestern corner of the Indian subcontinent, was one of the peripheral areas of Indian civilization and is thus often mistakenly thought to lie outside its geographical boundaries. However, it was once an active region with its own remarkable cultural achievements competing with other regional units of Indian culture until the hegemony of Indian civilization was established by the middle Gangetic valley. Gandhāra played an equally important role in the development of Indian Buddhism. As one of its flourishing centers, it produced a number of important scriptures and treatises as well as eminent practitioners and theoreticians. It was also the home of a distinctive visual tradition known as “Gandhāran art,” which comprised visual images dedicated in the form of independent statues, narrative reliefs, and complex steles inside Buddhist monasteries. The Buddhist visual tradition of Gandhāra fascinates us with its many different aspects, perhaps the foremost of which has been its manifest indebtedness to the Western classical tradition. This talk will focus on its internal issues, especially how such visual images relate to Buddhist communities and monasteries in Gandhāra.
Juhyung Rhi, Professor of Art History, Seoul National University Juhyung Rhi received a PhD from UC Berkeley in Indian and Buddhist art. He has written extensively on early Indian Buddhist art, particularly the tradition of Gandhāra, as well as Korean Buddhist art. His publications include several books on Gandhāra, Afghanistan, Korea, and India.