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Mathurā: The Archaeology of Inter-Religious Encounters in Ancient India


CERES-Palais, Raum "Ruhrpott" (4.13)

The aim of this workshop is to examine the interaction between Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism and cults associated to nāgas (snake deities) and yaksas (nature spirits) at Mathurā (Uttar Pradesh, India) during Antiquity and Late Antiquity (ca. 2nd century BCE-6th century CE). Although various sites across the Indian subcontinent have yielded what are considered the first anthropomorphic depictions of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu gods, evidence for the use of the human form to represent and/or embody the main divinities among the three religious traditions at the turn of the Common Era is only combined at Mathurā. This workshop offers to systematically explore issues related to the interaction between these traditions on the one hand and to the formation of their respective imageries on the other. In this respect, the workshop will concentrate on four thematic foci.

  1. The Practical Settings and Modalities of Encounters
  2. Visual and Textual Descriptions of the Main Gods
  3. Pilgrimage
  4. Social Dimension of the Artistic Production

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