Buddhism has made very larger impact on the Art history of India. It is the fourth largest religion followed in the world. Buddhism has 3 vehicles to enlightenment; Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Vajrayana includes embodiment of Sunya called Adi Buddha or Vajradhara. Dhyani Buddhas were emanated from Adi Buddha and Dhyani Bodhisattvas with Saktis were emanated from Dhyani Buddhas which were responsible for Creation. Due to major incarnations in Vajrayana, Buddhism has wider scope for Iconography which can be classified into Idols, Mandalas, and Mudras (Hand postures).
Mudras are a non-verbal modes of communication and self-expression, consisting of hand gestures and finger postures. It is an external expression of ‘inner resolve’, suggesting that such non-verbal communications are more powerful than the spoken word. Mudras are thus gestures which symbolize divine manifestation. They are also used by monks in their spiritual exercises of ritual meditation and concentration, and are believed to generate forces that invoke the deity. Another interesting meaning is given to the idea of the mudra. It reveals the secret imbibed in the five fingers. In such an interpretation, each of the fingers, starting with the thumb, is identified with one of the five elements, namely the sky, wind, fire, water, and the earth. Their contact with each other symbolizes the synthesis of these elements, significant because every form in this universe is said to be composed of a unique combination of these elements. This contact between the various elements creates conditions favorable for the presence of the deity at rites performed for securing some desired object or benefit. That is, mudras induce the deity to be near the worshiper.
This resource gives an emphasize on illustrating this deeper meaning imbibed in Mudras through the series of posters. It will also include the exploration of the delicate forms of Mudras through illustrations. It will not only be relevant for the Buddhist followers but also the students of Design and Art who wants to study and wants to know the meaning behind Iconography in Buddhism.
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• Illustrating Iconography of Buddhism......