Musical iconography of Buddhism. Introduction into the theme


The article may be considered a pioneer research on musical iconography of main denominations in Buddhism — Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana.
The iconographic data represented here are compared with traditions of Buddhist Cult music as well as of China (Tang era) and Japan Court Music. Comparative and historical analysis of musical scenes, instruments and ensembles depicted in dif­ferent art works enables reconstruction of evolution stages of ancient and medi­eval Indian musical culture and also enlarges our knowledge of origin and devel­opment of musical traditions of China, Tibet, Korea, Japan and ancient kingdoms in South-East Asia.
The author identifies musical instruments pictured in hands of divine musicians and also the ones attributed to definite holy persons belonging to main branches of Buddhist Pantheon; a brief mention of their history is made also.
Succession of Chinese, Tibetan, etc. musical iconography with ancient Indian is traced, different non-Indian cultural superpositions are displayed also.