Vajrayana Sculptures

Description : Numerous literary texts refer to the central role of Nalanda as an important Buddhist establishment in the spread of Buddhism. However, the literary texts tell very little about the role and importance of the Buddhist sites of Odisha. Ratnagiri mahavihara is referred to in many texts as an important centre of tantric Buddhism, especially Kalacakrayana ( which will be referred to) but there are hardly any literary reference to other Buddhist establishments such as Lalitagiri, (Candraditya mahavihara from the monastic seals found from excavation) or Udayagiri ( known as Madhavapura and Simhaprasta mahaviharas from the monastic seals) However epigraphic and sculptural and architectural evidence from these sites reveal that the Lalitgiri and Udayagiri were early centres of tantric Buddhism. These are different forms of Avalokiteswara, Manjusri, Heruka, Jambhala, Kurukulla, Mahakala, Vajrasattva, Aparchana, Vajrapani, Tara, Aparajita, Marichi, Arya Saraswati, Vajra Tara, etc.

Other important sculptures are the Tara figures of Solampur, the three Vajrasattva figures along with a Buddha image from Haripur, Prajnaparamita from Banesvaranasi, Tara image at Banpur, a Maitreyi image at Natara near Kendupatna, Avalokiteswara, Padmapani and Yamantaka images at Kuruma, Marichi and Vajravarahi at Ayodhya, Buddha from Khiching and Buddha figures of Ganiapalli. It is interesting to note that the back slab of a Buddha image at Solampur contains the story of Buddha, from his birth to nirvana. The excavation at Ratnagiri has revealed that Buddhist art in Orissa developed from about the fifth century A.D. and continued to flourish upto the twelfth century A.D. In fact, Buddhist sculptural art was one of the main constituents of medieval Orissan sculptural art.

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