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Nicoletta Celli. Chinese or Not Chinese? Investigating Early Bronze Buddhas

This article reopens the discussion on two celebrated early Buddhist bronzes, one in the
Harvard Art Museums seated in dhyana mudra and with flaming shoulders, and the
other in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, dated to 338. The article suggests that
the Harvard Buddha is not Chinese, as generally believed, in light of a series of
iconographical details, the most important of which—the dhyana mudra—has been
overlooked in the previous scholarly research. Focusing on the form this mudra takes in
India and China, the author shows that it underwent significant modifications as it
moved east, which has important implications for the wider field of the transfer of
Buddhist art to China.

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Nov/Dec 2018
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