Go around the world of Buddha statues 18:  the birth of Buddha statues 5


I write about the process that Buddha statue was born in India.



       Priest king statue and female clay doll, Moenjo-Daro, 2600-1900 B.C.

< 1. Priest king statue and female clay doll, Moenjo-Daro, 2600-1900 B.C.>


From the oldest iconography in India

The above statures are things of Indus civilization, and the female doll resembles slightly the clay doll of Patna Museum (right-side in Fig. 6 of this series 17).

The priest king statue has greatly deformed eyes, but let you feel dignity.

The image expression was already possible at that time.







a posture of yoga

< 2. a posture of yoga >


Left fig.: a seal of Indus civilization in 2600-1900 B.C., a person performing yoga is being surrounded by sacred animals.

Right fig.: Buddha triad statue in the 2nd century. The posture of Buddha sitting down and meditating seems to have roots in Indus civilization.


左図: インダス文明の印章、紀元前2600~1900年、神聖な動物に囲まれ、ヨーガを行っている人物が描かれている。

右図: 仏三尊像、後2世紀、仏陀が座り、瞑想する行為の原点はインダス文明まで遡るようです。


 lion statue of a pillar of King Asoka in Sarnath, 250 B.C. 

< 3. lion statue of a pillar of King Asoka in Sarnath, 250 B.C. >


Although the power of expression of this statue was wonderful, these expressions of statue, construction and letter were a big blank in between Indus civilization collapse and this time.

After this time, relief engraving of King Asoka or native divine statues (Yaksi etc.) came to be made.






In the 3rd century B.C., King Asoka built epitaphs, king’s pillars, and stupas (Buddhism) in various parts of India, in order to encourage “law” (morality, religion).

Centering on these stupas, a trend to worship as God to Buddha who died at hundreds years ago was born (Mahayanist Buddhism).

On the other hand, a religious sect that strictly conformed to religious precepts of Buddha and searched the doctrine had separated from the people (Hinayana Buddhism).








a story of Buddha in a gate of a stupa in Sanchi 

< 4.   a story of Buddha in a gate of a stupa in Sanchi >


Upper fig.: a linden tree of the left corner shows Buddha.

Lower fig.: the scene shows that he rode a horse and went out left-side royal palace when Buddha was a prince. 50-25 B.C.


Before long, the relief engraving that explains a life of Buddha, miracles, and a doctrine was dedicated around these stupas.

However, people symbolized it with Buddha’s foot and linden tree without first expressing Buddha.

Probably, people hesitated to express worshiped Buddha with a poor image.

Moreover, Buddha itself did not desire to be deified probably.



上図: 左隅の菩提樹が仏陀を示している。

下図: 釈迦王子が左の王宮から馬に乗って出家するシーン、馬上に釈迦は描かれていない。前50~25年頃








Letter hadn’t yet spread at that time, and many people couldn’t read the sacred book of Buddhism and the story of Buddha.

Hereby, Buddha statue would also play important role for spreading Buddhism.

Before long, the produce of Buddha sculpture in the round began from relief engraving.

In Gandhara, the culture was affected by Greece, a resistance of the hesitation was few and the Greek style was adopted.

On the other hand, in Mathura, it was strong, and then Buddha statues were made by way of bodhisattva at first.

Gandhara and Mathura have influenced mutually, therefore it isn’t important which made Buddha statue in first.

Aryan Veda culture and native cultures had fused, and Greek culture of the westward stimulated it, and then Buddha statue was born.

By the degree of these influences, the difference between the both birthplaces arose.













gold coin

 5. gold coin >


Upper fig.: gold coin of King Kanishka in the 1st – 2nd century, left shows King Kanishka, right shows Buddha.

Lower fig.: Hindu’s Shiva and a bull in about the 2nd century.

The Brahmanism was stimulated by the Buddhism prosperity, and absorbed the beliefs among the natives, and the statues of Hindu god were made.


Next time, I investigate relations between Buddha statue in India and statues of god of the world.


上図: カニシカ王発行の金貨、表(左)にはカニシカ王、裏(右)には仏陀、後1~2世紀。

下図: ヒンドゥーのシバ神と牡牛、おそらく後2世紀。








Categories: culture+society, history+evolution, <english language, <japanese language, Series: Go around the world of Buddha statues | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Post navigation

2 thoughts on “Go around the world of Buddha statues 18:  the birth of Buddha statues 5

  1. We took our kids for a tour of the National Museum of History in New Delhi this staturday, there is a big hall within the museum dedicated to only the Buddha statues found across Indian subcontinent and it reminded me of your series of articles on Buddha statues across the world and I hope one day you will be able to see them yourself. It was a mesmerizing feeling to be able to stand in front of these statues, created by artist hudreds & thousands of years ago. You may note it down as a must-visit place whenever you plan to travel to India. It is very conviniently located in center of Delhi. A tour of this museum is truly worth spending 3-4 hours inside – even though our kids are young (8 and 6 years old) and do not fully understand the significance of these artifacts, still they were fascinated by these statues and the stories behind them.

    Warm Regards,


    • I thank you for your advice. I want to visit the National Museum of History in New Delhi. It is good that your children learned the history.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Aim 優美聡明


LIF:E - Love Is For Everyone

Pondering the present, while forgetting about the future and realising the past.


Traveling Fashion Designers 🌼






#元公務員 #早期退職 #52歳 #遠回りの人生

K's Travel Channel


神様が先生:毛利太郎(福田泰志 )



What Life is all about

わが心はタイにあり Love Thailand



I speak my heart out.


Becoming Unstuck



The Eternal Words

An opinionated girl penning down her thoughts.🌸❤



%d bloggers like this: