Comparing Sculptures of Ancient India and Greece
Something that has been a constant in the human civilization, whether it be in form of paintings or pottery or ···
Something that has been a constant in the human civilization, whether it be in form of paintings or pottery or simple carvings or sketches. As seen in many literatures on the origin of art. It first originated in the form of carving in caves, which eventually paved way for the renowned 3D art form, sculpture. As can be seen about the Venus figurines found in Western Europe.
Having its roots in Africa, sculpture art has gradually spread around the world, becoming wildly eminent in Greece and sub-continent (modern day India). Being an art form, sculptures reflected the human characteristics. And notions of the people of the above-mentioned areas. Though practiced in almost the same fashion, the cultural and religious interpretation of the sculptures varied, followed by the variance in their physical demeanor. And their public manifesto, for the people of Greece and India.
As mentioned earlier, sculptures had religious and cultural significance for both Greeks and the Indians. They were fashioned in elegant aesthetic manner, displaying various gods the people believed in. Sculptures found in Greece portrayed more of human features, even their Gods and Goddesses, although fine specimens of beauty, were fashioned like a human body. Hades, Zeus, Aphrodite, Hera, Athena, Apollo and many other mythical Gods are still a sight to watch in the modern world.
Indians too considered some of their busts their divine Gods, but they weren’t necessarily human forms, certain animals too were considered divine deities. Elephant named as Indra, a mouse known as Ganesha, an owl called Lakshmi, a swan named Sarasvati. And the famous lion called Durga are some of the famous Indian mythical Gods (“Sculpture in India”, 2013). Evolving from the sacred Indian myths, these Gods are still worshipped by Indians.
Furthermore, all these Gods were considered to master certain element of nature, or certain human trait, therefore they were designed to portray as such. In Greek culture, God of love (made most beautiful), hate (made the ugliest), winds (made strong), trickery (made having a deceptive face), so on and so forth were praised and summoned when the people were in some sort of turmoil.
However, there was no concept of some Universal Deity ruling over all these Demi gods. Whereas in Indian culture along with the Gods controlling various attributes. There was a concept of a Universal God, who’s bust is the most magnificent of all the Indian gods and is considered most powerful; Shiva. These cultural and religious manifestations in the form of sculptures are of prime importance to Greeks and Indians, even to this day.
印第安人也把他们的某些半身像看作神的神灵，但他们不一定是人类形态，某些动物也被视为神灵。名为Indra的大象，名为Ganesha的小鼠，名为Lasshmi的猫头鹰，名为Sarasvati的天鹅。著名的杜尔加狮子（Durga）是印度著名的神话中的神灵（“ Sculpture in India”，2013年）。这些神从神圣的印度神话演变而来，仍然被印第安人崇拜。
Apart from the diverse cultural and religious implication
The physical appearance of the sculptures of the two different regions varied too. Hinduism with its sculpture art was at its peak from 300 B.C to 500A.D, followed by Buddhist sculptures. Whereas the Greek sculpture evolved around 1100 B.C to 146 B.C (Barton, 2002). Although the time difference isn’t much but the different geographical areas played the key role in the variant physical forms. With its simple, tranquil and lucid style the Greek sculptures were the epitome of poise.
These busts emphasized on human expressions, sculpted to display sheer beauty. With little to no color, these sculptures not only played a religious role but were an important part of the Greek sports and everyday life in general. Whereas the extravagant Indian sculptures with their brilliant, stupendous strokes manifested the rich Indian culture and reflected the vibrant customs people followed. Painted in exotic colors and portraying detailed expressions of anger and felicity, Indian statues had a class of their own.
Along with the physical form, the displaying of these ingenious art forms was exuberant. Marble, bronze, stone and clay were mostly employed for the creation of these innovative forms. Both the Greeks and the Indians used expensive minerals to sculpt the masterpieces which were then to be displayed either in temples or in public places.
The arrival of Hellenistic culture
The Greek sculptures were no longer produced to serve religion, rather they were a sign of aristocracy (Morriss-Kay, 2010). They, especially Plutus (God of wealth), were used to adorn mansions owned by emperors, and kept up in temples. Although the Indian sculptures did follow much of the same routine, yet their use for adornment was a bit different, where they we engraved in shrine walls, sometimes mounted on raised platforms inside temples, like Somnath and Meenakshi, but never used as a sign to present extravagance.
Whether Greek or Indian, the art of sculpture formation holds a significant value in religion and culture. Their features and use might differ making their perception by people differ. But this only reflects the diversity in the field of art and how it has managed to evolve with time. Even now, the sculptures hold immense importance whether it be in the cinematic world, or some temple or simply as a monument used for adornment. The progression in this art form forces one to think of the influence it has in other fields, preferably Robotics!
Barton, E. D. (2002). The history of sculpture. In The new book of Knowledge.
Morriss-Kay, G.M. (2010). The evolution of human artistic creativity. Journal of Anatomy,
Sculpture in India. (2013, August 12). Retrieved August 18, 2017, from