Prof. A.J. Gail: The Borobudur on the island of Java, Indonesia

Institute of South and Central Asia

Invites you to a lecture by

Prof. Dr. A. J. Gail

Freie Universität Berlin

The Borobudur on the island of Java, Indonesia

On Thursday 30/11/2017 at 5:30 PM, room 427, Celetná st. 20

The Borobudur, erected most probably between 780 and 850 CE under the dynasty of the Sailendras, is one of the worldwide most outstanding Buddhist monuments.

Whether it is a genuine stūpa, a temple or a mandala is still debated and will be discussed. The last comprehensive restoration of this UNESCO world heritage has been executed between 1975 and 1982.

The lower part comprises a (now hidden) basis and four galleries with no less than 1460 bas-reliefs, the upper part includes three steps occupied by 72 minor, perforated stūpas and a stūpa finial. The first gallery is devoted to Jātakas and Avadānas and, embellishing the upper register of the wall, to the life of the Buddha. Most panels of the upper galleries are devoted to the Gandavyūha, a Mahāyāna text describing the pilgrimage of Sudhana or his spiritual career leading to Enlightenment.

In accordance with the Lalitavistara, a Mahāyāna version of the master’s biography, the story stops with the first sermon. In other words: the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa that plays an eminent role in Gandhāran art is altogether omitted.

After a general introduction to the monument the lecture will concentrate on selected panels (out of 120) depicting the life of the Buddha, here and there including comparisons with Indian art schools.

The stylistic vicinity of the Borobudur panels with the Rāmāyaṇa at Prambanam will also be demonstrated.

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