Contents: The introductory. 1. Head of Siva-Dhurjati, Balawaste. 2. Bodhisattva Gautama with a sheaf of grass in his right hand, Dunhuang. 3. Ordination of Rahula, Dunhuang. 4. Indra blowing a Conch-shell, Kizil. 5. Buddha’s twin miracles at Nyagrodha—Arama (Kapilavastu), Karashar. 6. Vairochana Buddha, Farhad-Beg-Yailaki. 7. Maitreya, Dunhuang. 8. The story of Padumavati as presented in a Dunhuang silk banner. 9. Buddha’s discourse to the Boatman of the Ganga, Kizil. 10. Buddha in meditation, Sib-chu Valley to the West of the Mountain Kailash. 11. A Mural fragment illustrating Dharmaparyaya, Karashar. 12. The story of Kshema’s visit to Buddha at Venuvana, Kizil. 13. Bodhisattva Gautama’s meditation and enlightenment, Dunhuang. 14. Mahamayuri, Khotan. 15. The monkey at the Wedge, Khotan. 16. The Bimaran reliquary and its iconography. 17. Rishyasringa (Ekasringa) story in India, Central Asia, China and Japan—a brief study. 18. Kalyanakarin and Papamkara story, Bezeklik. 19. Dipankara Buddha, Bezeklik. 20. Nanda holding Buddha’s Alms—bowl, Khotan. 21. Mara (?) with his bow, Toyuk. 22. Some observations on the Balagrahas (Female spirits), Dunhuang. 23. Monk with a mirror, Dunhuang. 24. The story of Vajrapani-Indra and a part of Sibi Jataka as depicted in a Mural fragment from Kizil. 25. A Mural fragment representing Yasodhara offering sweetmeat to Buddha, Kizil. 26. An ivory plaque showing Vajravarahi Mandala, Yotkan. 27. A Manichaean leaf illustrating two Avataras, Khocho. 28. A Mural fragment depicting a princely figure holding a relic Casket, Kizil. 29. Agni from Kumtura. 30. Some observations on Kuvera from Dunhuang and Central Asia. 31. Surya from Kumtura. 32. Varuna in Sino—Japanese idiom. 33. Indra’s visit to Buddha at the Indrasala cave along with the musician Panchasikha, Kizil. 34. Buddha and Indra in the Sudharma Hall of the Gods, Kumtura. 35. The story of Patachara, Dunhuang. 36. A note on the City Gate of Pataliputra as depicted in Kizil Art. 37. The Avalokitesvara as guide of souls, Dunhuang. 38. Appendix I: Some aspects of cultural relations between Ajanta, Bamiyan, Turfan and Dunhuang. 39. Appendix II: Buddhist wall paintings from India and Central Asia and their major themes—a brief survey. 40. Appendix III: A brief study of cultural contacts between India, Western Central Asian states and Persia during the early historical period. Select bibliography.
"Central Asian antiquities discovered from different parts of Xinjiang and its neighbouring regions including Dunhuang are of great archaeological and artistic significance. The credit of discovering these antiquities goes to a galaxy of distinguished explorers, the most prominent among them being Sven Hedin from Sweden, Aurel Stein from British India, A von. Le Coq and A Grunwedel from Germany, Oldenburg and Kozlov from Russia, Paul Pelliot from France and Count Otani from Japan. These objects are vast in number and fall into different categories, periods and styles.
The study and interpretation of these objects by the above mentioned savants have thrown a good deal of light on the forgotten civilisation of Xinjiang.
It should, however, be noted that Central Asian art is highly complex and composite in nature. Further, most of the objects are fragile and fragmentary in condition adding difficulty to identifying them. Therefore, notwithstanding the splendid work done by the previous scholars, there are still a number of unidentified Central Asian objects in various collections of the world.
Dr. P. Banerjee, a well-known exponent of Buddhist art, has identified in this volume about thirty-five objects from Xinjiang and Dunhuang. Dr. Banerjee has studied these objects closely for over a decade and his conclusions are published in this volume. While interpreting an object he has cited parallel examples in support of his views. This volume, it is hoped, will contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of Central Asian art and iconography." (jacket)