Narrative Art Between India and the Hellenistic World

  • Maurizio Taddei (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


The focus of this study by the late Maurizio Taddei, which was translated from the Italian, lies on narratives of the Buddha’s life in friezes on stupas built to contain relics of the Buddha in Gandhāra (in today’s Pakistan) between the late first century B.C.E. and the second century C.E. It pursues five connected issues: The methodological differentiation between pictorial narratives of historical events, myths, and religious icons; the impact of the nineteenth century European appreciation of Buddhism (as opposed to Brahmanism) on emphasizing Buddhist art in archeological work and analysis; the resulting framing of Gandharan art as being primarily influenced and thereby elevated by Hellenistic art and thus characterized more by “Greekness” than by “Indianness;” the original Gandharan development of narrative depictions that incorporate both Indian philosophical and literary sources as well as Hellenistic art forms to reflect a new religious sensibility and offer pilgrims circumambulating the stupa a model for their lives, and, further to the East and Southeast, the eventual move away from this narrative art form while it became a staple in later Roman and Christian art.


Academic discipline and sub-disciplines
Buddhism, buddhist art, art history
Gandhara, Buddhism, narrative art,
How to Cite
Taddei, M. (2015). Narrative Art Between India and the Hellenistic World. The Journal of Transcultural Studies, 6(1), 34–74.