This paper presents a depth revision of the technological, material, and symbolic knowledge of what we advocate to be identified as “monumental terracruda sculpture” along the Silk Roads. Through a highly interdisciplinary approach, combining a) the latest results of archaeometric analysis carried out on Buddhist examples, b) the documentation of traditional knowledge in making terracruda sculptures in Buddhist and Hindu religious practices, and c) the systematic review of the archaeological and anthropological literature on this topic, this work brings new evidence for proposing the existence of a common pattern of elaboration of monumental terracruda sculptures, connecting traditional Buddhist and Hinduist artworks with a millenary artistic tradition that uses raw earth as the preferred material for the representation of the sacred. The recognition of this common pattern in the production of monumental terracruda sculptures led to the questioning of the prevailing archaeological narrative of a Hellenistic origin of the technique as well as the causes of its popularity within Buddhism from the 4th century CE onwards. Based on the qualitative and quantitative evidence discussed in this paper, new interpretations about the origin and spread of this cultural expression are finally proposed. Finally, the need for future research that takes a systemic view of the subject is advocated, proposing a multidisciplinary vision that integrates archaeology, archaeometry, ethnographic research and the study of ancient religious texts.

Shaping the sacred along the Silk Roads: the millenary artistic tradition of making “monumental terracruda sculptures”

Pecci A.;Miriello D.
Supervision
2024-01-01

Abstract

This paper presents a depth revision of the technological, material, and symbolic knowledge of what we advocate to be identified as “monumental terracruda sculpture” along the Silk Roads. Through a highly interdisciplinary approach, combining a) the latest results of archaeometric analysis carried out on Buddhist examples, b) the documentation of traditional knowledge in making terracruda sculptures in Buddhist and Hindu religious practices, and c) the systematic review of the archaeological and anthropological literature on this topic, this work brings new evidence for proposing the existence of a common pattern of elaboration of monumental terracruda sculptures, connecting traditional Buddhist and Hinduist artworks with a millenary artistic tradition that uses raw earth as the preferred material for the representation of the sacred. The recognition of this common pattern in the production of monumental terracruda sculptures led to the questioning of the prevailing archaeological narrative of a Hellenistic origin of the technique as well as the causes of its popularity within Buddhism from the 4th century CE onwards. Based on the qualitative and quantitative evidence discussed in this paper, new interpretations about the origin and spread of this cultural expression are finally proposed. Finally, the need for future research that takes a systemic view of the subject is advocated, proposing a multidisciplinary vision that integrates archaeology, archaeometry, ethnographic research and the study of ancient religious texts.
2024
Archaeometry
Buddhism
Clay
Gandhara
Sculpture
Stucco
Terracruda
Traditional Knowledge
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/364418
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