24 May Design influenced by Buddhism
Buddhism and Hinduism have been incredibly influential in art and architecture over the past two millennia, particularly across Asia which was the birthplace of both religions. For over two thousand years, artists, sculptors and architects have produced a vast array of works that not only adorn interior walls and temples but bring to life the teachings and epic stories on which these faiths are based.
Buddhism first spread it’s roots from India along the Silk Road into Central Asia, which is why today we can see ancient Buddhist iconography and design in countries such as China, Korea, Tibet and Japan. The discipline of Buddhism that evolved in this region is known as Mahayana and during this evolution a number of different representations became prevalent including the famous laughing Buddha traditionally called Hotei or Pu-Tai. Hotei was a Chinese Zen Monk and healer who lived over 1000 years ago and was famed for his round belly. As well as Hotei, a number of recreations of alternative Buddhas, saints and Bodhisattvas can be found in Central Asia today.
In Japan, the tending of stone gardens or Karensansui which can be roughly translated as ‘dry mountain water’ grew from the Buddhist Zen monk lifestyle. The upkeep of these gardens took on a form of vigilant, disciplined meditation and when the Chinese introduced miniature trees to Japan, now known commonly as Bonsai, they were included in Karensansui giving the Zen monks and additional element to focus on.
Later through an increase in Indian overseas trade, Buddhism also found it’s way to South East Asia where Theravada Buddhism was developed. Again, new imagery including the reclining, meditating and Gautama Buddhas appeared in nations such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and most importantly to us Indonesia. The island of Bali, Indonesia is the source our handmade artefacts we are so proud of. Perfect examples of which are our wooden Guatama Buddhas representing the ascetic and sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.
Our next blog post will focus on the influence of Hinduism on art and design. In the meantime, why not visit us at the Origins Galeria, Medellin, to find out more about the exquisite range of original, handmade Buddhist influenced carvings and statues we have on offer.
Written By Adam Reeve