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QUESTION: hello!
my request is somewhat unconventional...
i do not need help in identifying a picture, but i need some general, authentic information on Buddhist art.

i am doing a project of Buddhist art and architecture, so if you know of any internet sources or if you yourself are knowledgeable in the area, can you please send me some information?

thanks for the effort,


ANSWER: Dear Manjusha,

Perhaps you could provide some additional information on your project. There are a lot of sources on Buddhist Art and Architecture, but I need to know what area you're concentrating on. Typically you'll be talking about a country or a particular type of structure. If you could send additional information, I'll be able to direct you further.

Thank you,


Carolina Bodner

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thank you for the quick reply! :)

well, i am not concentrating on a particular country, or a typical type of structure. i need to mention and briefly explain the types of Buddhist architecture, including examples. i need to describe Buddhist art too, with information on their techniques, their subjects, and their skill. all this must be within twelve pages of core content.
so the information must be to the point, and brief, and at the same time not excluding any important information.

the schools of architecture that i have to concentrate upon are:
-the mauryan school
-the kushana school
-the mathura school
-the sarnath school
-the gandhara school

also, if you can provide any information on the Greek influence on the Buddhist art, it would be wonderful.

i have described my entire project for you now, not because i want you to do the entire thing for me, but because i want you to understand the kind of information i need.

so any information that you can provide will be helpful.

thanks a lot for your effort,
- manjusha

hope this helps!
- manjusha

ANSWER: Dear Manjusha,

Yes this helps quite a bit, however it is still difficult to give you good sources as my specialty deals with Buddhist art in SE Asia (2nd millennium), that is after the Gandhara period . Nonetheless, I wrote a chapter on Gandhara for my thesis. I can share the books I used on the topic but depending on what grade level you're writing for they might be too much or too little. These are solid sources on Gandharan art including Mauryan, Kushana, Mathura, Sarnath, but like I said it depends on your level. I hope you have access to a university library because you will not find these at the public library.

Gandharan Buddhism: Archaeology, Art, Texts. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2006 (ed. by Pia Brancaccio and Kurt Behrendt. This book is a group of articles written by scholars recently. It may be a bit dense, but you might want to look at it. It has several interesting articles.

Leidy, Denise Patry. The Art of Buddhism: An Introduction to its History and Meaning.
Boston, London: Shambala, 2008. Very scholarly as well.

Ingholt, Harald. Gandharan Art in Pakistan. Hamden: Archon Books, 1957.this is a good-well known, general one.

Frédéric, Louis. Buddhism. [Flamarion Iconographic Guides.] Paris: Flamarion,
1995. This is a good dictionary-like general source. Also well known.

Dehejia, Vidya. Discourse in Early Buddhist Art: Visual Narratives of India. New
Delhi: Munshiram Manharlal Publishers Pvt., Ltd., 1997. This was one of my adviser's favorite, very scholarly as well.

Behrendt, Kurt A. The Art of Gandhara in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New
York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007. Catalogs have tons of useful general information sometimes. It depends on what you're looking for.

Strong, John. Relics of the Buddha. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004. This is another solid source. He is very scholarly but he is a wonderful writer. It was one of my favorites thought it is a lot more about theory than the art itself. Worth checking though. His interpretations of art are, to say the least, "awesome":)

Vidya Dehejia also has one called Indian Art which is a very good textbook. These are mostly what I used for that chapter, and are solid sources. However, they may not be available at your library and you might have to request them through interlibrary loan, if that's a service that is available to you.

I had a very difficult time finding good sources on Gandharan art when I was writing my thesis so I understand. You may also want to look at the Huntington archives. The Huntington's (Susan and John) are professors at Ohio State U. and they specialize on Gandharan Art, you might want to check out their site as well: They're some of the foremost experts on the topic.

I forgot to mention the Greek influence in Early Indian art might be discussed in some of these textbooks, particularly the Dehejia Indian Art and the Ingholt, but it may not be as much in depth as you need it.

Good luck. Let me know how it turns out.


Carolina Bodner

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thank you so much!!
this is of GREAT help
really really, THANK YOU!!!
well, i will use the books, but they might be to much, as i am doing a 9th grade project. but since i plan to take up architecture, i am sure the list of books will come in handy sometime :)

the website i think i will use the most, since it is easily available!

again, thank you so much!

also, i was wondering if i may put your name on my credits page of my project. i would like to, but i will do so only if it is okay with you...

very very grateful,
- manjusha

Dear Manjusha,

I hope it was helpful. I didn't realize you were only in the 9th grade. I thought you were in college. Sorry about that. If I could maybe recommend a couple of simpler additional sources:

First of course, if your teacher allows it, Wikipedia is great for the kind of information you're looking for. If your teacher doesn't want you to use that, search for Gandharan Art (and Sarnath, etc. in Wikipedia), and go to the bottom of the page. You'll see several links. I think you'll find lots of good links there. You can also try this site: This is a general Gandharan art site. I think it has art for sale but it has brief information that may be useful. Also any library or bookstore (Barnes and Noble, Borders will have general books on India art and you can probably go and do your homework there without buying the book.

There's one by Roy Craven (also called Indian Art, these guys weren't very original with their titles), which you can probably get at your local public library or bookstore that could be very helpful. Also there's one in amazon you can buy for $5.99 and if you have the time to wait for it to be delivered, The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent, Second Edition by J. C. Harle. These are good general sources you can use and they talk a little bit about everything you need, particularly the Craven one. Also any museum catalogs that you can get on Indian art would be helpful. The Metropolitan museum has an excellent collection as does the San Francisco Asian Art Museum. Their websites don't have much info. but if you can find their catalogs they would have relevant information. The other books I suggested previously, with the exception of the Flamarion Guide and the Indian Art, are definitely too much for your project.

Thank you so much for your feedback,

I think you're going to be a wonderful student, and an awesome architect. I am a college librarian, I do this for my students every day:) I know smart when I see it (read it).

Good luck with everything,

Carolina B.

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Carolina Bodner


I CANNOT ANSWER QUESTIONS REGARDING ANY TYPE OF ART THAT IS NOT ASIAN. My expertise is Buddhist Art in mainland Southeast Asia particularly Thailand, Cambodia, Burma/Myanmar and Laos.


I have a Masters degree in Art History with a concentration in Southeast Asian Studies. I worked in Laos training local museum staff on object handling, and database maintenance. I have traveled and studied the art of Thailand and Cambodia, particularly Buddha images. I also conducted all my research in Burma/Myanmar on Buddhist narrative representation, and are due to publish an article on this subject in the fall.

Theosophical society, National Geographic Society, High IQ international society.

Finalis (collegial poetry), soon to be published in the Journal of Burma Studies.

MA in art history with a concentration on SE Asian studies.

Awards and Honors
FLAS (foreign language area scholarship) scholar two years in a row for the advance study of Thai language, NIU Art History Symposium best paper 2006, Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

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