The Rise and Fall of Visual Narratives of the Buddha in India

Robert Brown, UCLA and LACMA

The period during which representations of the Buddha’s life stories and jatakas were produced in Indian art was brief, from the first c. BCE to about the fifth c. CE, a period of only some 500 years. After that the visual representations were standardized to a few simple and repeated scenes. The lack of interest in narrative depictions in art has been argued to be due to shifts in Buddhist doctrine, specifically to the rise of Mahayana Buddhism. The talk questions this thesis, and offers a materialistic explanation.

Robert L. Brown graduated from UCLA with a PhD in Indian art history in 1981. Immediately after graduation he worked at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), being promoted to Curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art in 1984. In 1986 he began teaching at UCLA where he is presently Professor of art history. In 2001 he was reappointed as Curator in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Art at LACMA, a position he holds with his UCLA professorship.

Friday, November 19, 2010 | 5:15 pm — 6:30 pm
Encina Hall West - Room 208

Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford
Department of Religious Studies