The Travels of Two Marine Beasts from the Mediterranean to Gandhara – A Transfer of Form and Meaning?
The geographical area which is today called “Greater Gandhara” had already been part of the Hellenistic world, or at least been in close contact to it, for more than three hundred years before the emergence of what we call “Gandharan Art”. Epigraphic and archaeological evidence proves that at least the higher-educated layers of society were familiar with the Mediterranean culture of their day in terms of literature and the performing arts. A general understanding of the stylistic vocabulary of the visual arts can therefore be assumed. But does this also imply, as suggested by the pioneers of the subject, that there was no creativity in applying or using this stylistic vocabulary? In other words, is Gandharan art merely an unreflective and unquestioning repetition of given forms and motifs?
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