Cultural Comparison Crucifixion And Seated Term Paper

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In addition, this door panel, composed of cedar wood, may represent a type of social event which was rather prominent during the Early Christian period, circa 430 C.E. Since one can make out some kind of brick background behind the three figures, the panel might not have been designed to teach or provide instruction on a spiritual event like the crucifixion of Jesus but may be images "from an early passion play, possibly one performed outside the city walls" of Rome. This type of play was part of what is known as Roman mime theater which "specialized in short scenes of gory violence, irony, satire and sarcasm" for the delight of audiences which still clung to and appreciated some of the worst social aspects of the Roman Empire, a good example being the killing of Christians in the coliseum (Storage, "The Door Panels of Santa Sabine," Internet).

Around the year 206 C.E., a new dynasty was created in China known as the Ch'in/Han, distinguished by a powerful centralized government which extended the southern and western boundaries of the country and maintained an indirect trade route with distant Rome. At about this time, the religion of Buddhism was rising in China while Christianity was emerging in the West. This new Eastern religion revolved around the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha or "Enlightened One" who lived in India some three to five centuries before Jesus Christ ("A Flowering of Faith," 12), and as a result of the spread of Buddhism throughout China and other parts of Asia, artists began to sculpt images of Buddha in various forms and made from various materials like wood, stone and gilt bronze. One of these artworks is simply known as the Seated Buddha from the Gandharan region of northwest Pakistan and dated circa 200 C.E. Or later. This stone image of Buddha symbolizes many cultural aspects of the Gandharan region and of greater India, Pakistan and China, much like the door panel of the crucifixion of...
...In fact, the Gandhara school incorporated "many motifs and techniques from classical Roman art," much like the door panel at Santa Sabine, such as "vine scrolls, cherubs bearing garlands, tritons and centaurs;" however, the foundation of all Buddha images remained purely Indian ("Gandharan Art," Internet).

By looking at the face of the Seated Buddha, it is obvious that he is in deep meditation, searching for enlightenment, the "omniscient consciousness of reality" which for Siddhartha brought about the knowledge that "the cause of human suffering was desire" ("A Flowering of Faith," 13). This yearning for enlightenment was also quite prevalent in the cultural/societal worlds of the East, where the image of Buddha, akin to the crucifixion of Jesus on the door panel of Santa Sabine, became "a blend of conventional restraint and religious fervor" and "human enough to carry the worshipper (or audience member) beyond the image to the abstraction it symbolized" (de la Croix, 832).

In conclusion, Crucifixion and the Seated Buddha are true representatives of the cultures that created them, especially related to religion and how common men and women viewed not only themselves but also the spiritual world. Not surprisingly, both of these artworks, despite coming from very different cultural backgrounds, provides a sense of awe and wonder and allows the viewer to ponder the mysteries of life in a reflective and meditative state of grace.

Works Cited

Flowering of Faith: Christianity and Buddhism." Chapter 8.

De la Croix, Bertrand. History of Western Art. New York: Prentice-Hall, 2003.

Storage, Bill. "The Doors Panels of Santa Sabine." 2006. Internet. Retrieved May 3, 2008 from http://www.rome101.com/Christian/Sabina.

Gandharan Art." 2008. Internet. Retrieved May 3, 2008 at…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Flowering of Faith: Christianity and Buddhism." Chapter 8.

De la Croix, Bertrand. History of Western Art. New York: Prentice-Hall, 2003.

Storage, Bill. "The Doors Panels of Santa Sabine." 2006. Internet. Retrieved May 3, 2008 from http://www.rome101.com/Christian/Sabina.

Gandharan Art." 2008. Internet. Retrieved May 3, 2008 at http://www.afghan-network.net/Culture/gandhara.html.

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