Asian art

Buddha images and their history

Buddha images and their history

View our Buddha statues in our gallery

Buddhism's first few centuries did not have the visual or iconographic representations of the Buddha as the Buddhist art consisted of mainly Buddhist symbols. The beginning of the 1st Century AD saw the emergence of the Buddha images which went on to become one of the most revered ritual as well as spiritual items in the history of Buddhism. These Buddha images can now be found in many Buddhist temples, monasteries, homes, altars and just about anywhere you go around the world.

The history behind Buddha images

The history behind Buddha images

The first 6 centuries after his Nirvana, the Buddha and his teachings were well represented and symbolized in artifacts of symbols like footprints, empty thrones and the wheel (representing the Wheel of Law). The physical and human depictions of the Buddha started to emerge from the 1st century in the northern part if India. These iconographic representations depicted the Buddhain a monk's dressing of robes and having a serene expression in his face. These Buddha images showed him either standing or sitting in a lotus position with a begging bowl or with the gesture of fearlessness.

The two of the major centers of the creation and crafting of these iconic images have been identified as Gandhara in PunjabPakistan and Mathura in the northern India. Similarly, some of the gold and copper coins of that era in Kaniskha during 78 AD had images of the Buddha on their opposite side. Meanwhile, a Buddha head statue has also been dated to 1st and 2nd century, which originated from today's Afghanistan.

Buddha images

The Buddhist images from Gandhara period can be seen as greatly influenced by Greek style and the concept of the human god can be taken as the symbol of inspiration from the Greek culture of mythology. The Gandharan culture is also taken as the contributors of wavy hair, drapery covering both the shoulders, shoes and sandals and leaf decorations in many Buddhist images.

The artistic representations of the physical characteristics were started with a realistic idealism, combining realistic human features, attributes, characteristics, proportions and attitudes, coupled with a sense of perfection and serenity, these images are said to have been successful to depict the Buddha both as a man and a god which became the iconographic canon for all the Buddhist art that would follow later during the course of history. The development of Buddha images and other Buddhist art continued to flourish in India for few more centuries. The Gupta period helped the evolution of sandstone sculptures of Buddha to reach a very high fineness and the delicate carving in the modeling. The art of Gupta, then spread throughout the rest of the Asian regions like BurmaThailand, etc. The Buddha images from Burma and Thailand are the basic examples of this influence.

By the 10th century, the creation and development of Buddha images were slowly fading as Hinduism and Islam prevailed successfully over Buddhism though this did not stop the evolution of Buddha Images in the new and unique ways in ChinaJapanBurma, Thailand and other Asian countries.

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View our Buddha statues and images in our catalog

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

275 euro
Very early Jain statue with inscriptions

Very early Jain statue with inscriptions

600 euro
Bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha statue

Bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha statue

175 euro
Very special bronze Burmese Buddha statue

Very special bronze Burmese Buddha statue

47,500 euro
Old wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha

Old wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha

800 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

500 euro
Special antique marble Jain statue

Special antique marble Jain statue

2,750 euro
Special antique bronze Shan Buddha statue

Special antique bronze Shan Buddha statue

7,500 euro
Old bronze Burmese Buddha statue

Old bronze Burmese Buddha statue

500 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha statue

Antique wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha statue

1,850 euro
Old marble Burmese Buddha statue

Old marble Burmese Buddha statue

900 euro
Old Burmese Buddha statue

Old Burmese Buddha statue

1,600 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

600 euro
Antique bronze Thai Sukhothai Buddha statue

Antique bronze Thai Sukhothai Buddha statue

1,600 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

600 euro
Old bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha

Old bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha

250 euro
Special high quality bronze Nepali Dipankar Buddha

Special high quality bronze Nepali Dipankar Buddha

5,500 euro
Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha statue

Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha statue

600 euro
Special antique bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Special antique bronze Nepali Buddha statue

3,250 euro
Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

650 euro
Antique Japanese Amida Buddha statue

Antique Japanese Amida Buddha statue

2,950 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha

Antique wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha

3,500 euro
Old wooden Buddha carving with monks

Old wooden Buddha carving with monks

950 euro
Antique Buddha statue without face

Antique Buddha statue without face

150 euro
Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

900 euro
Antique Jain statue from an Indian temple

Antique Jain statue from an Indian temple

900 euro
Antique bronze Burmese Shan Buddha

Antique bronze Burmese Shan Buddha

400 euro
Antique marble Jain statue

Antique marble Jain statue

700 euro
Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

1,250 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

150 euro
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