Asian Artifacts by Civilization

Asian Artifacts by Civilization

Ming DynastyCholaTibetanMauryan

Top Ten Vietnamese/Lao Artifacts

Top Ten Vietnamese/Lao Artifacts

       Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 90.3 million inhabitants (2012), it is the world’s 13th-most-populous country, and the eighth-most-populous Asian country. The country is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the east. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976. The Vietnamese became independent from Imperial China in 938 AD, following the Battle of Bạch Đằng River. Successive Vietnamese royal dynasties flourished as the nation expanded geographically and politically into Southeast Asia, until the Indochina Peninsula was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century. The First Indochina War eventually led to the expulsion of the French in 1954, leaving Vietnam divided politically into two states, North and South Vietnam. Conflict between the two sides intensified, with heavy foreign intervention, during the Vietnam War, which ended with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975. Vietnam was then unified under a Communist government, but was politically isolated and impoverished. In 1986, the government initiated a series of economic and political reforms, which began Vietnam’s path towards integration into the world economy. By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with most nations. Its economic growth has been among the highest in the world since 2000. Vietnam has the highest Global Growth Generators Index among 11 major economies, and its successful economic reforms resulted in it joining the World Trade Organization in 2007. However, the country still suffers from relatively high levels of income inequality, as well as disparities in healthcare provision.

  1. Vo Canh Stele (2nd-3rd Century)

           This is the earliest stone stele not only of the Champa Kingdom but also of the whole of Vietnam. Its content refers to the first period of the foundation of a state, important for history study in each nation. The inscription on this stele is in Sanskrit and informs about Sri Mara who founded the South Champa Kingdom in the Panduranda area (Now Phan Rang province). It also shows Indian cultural and religious (Hinduism, Buddhism) influence on the Cham people, especially in the 1st century AD.
    Links: Top Ten Stelae, Top Ten Asian Stele, http://masterpieces.asemus.museum/masterpieces.aspx,
  2. Buddha

    Description:
    Links: Top Ten Buddha Statues, Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  3. Boddhisattva (16th Century)

    The object is an ancient and valuable sculpture of Vietnam. It represents the Buddhist art of the 16th century. The sculpture has a strong, simple composition with sensible, precise decoration. The arms are placed so suitably that they form a rhythmical movement with each hand representing a folk dance. This is a concrete demonstration for the creation and skillfulness of the Vietnamese craftsmen of the 16th century.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptureshttp://masterpieces.asemus.museum/masterpieces.aspx,
  4. Gayatri Rajapatni

    Description:
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  5. Cham Sculpture

    Description:
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  6. Viet Khe Coffin in Boat Shape (500-0 BC)

    This is a typical burial way of Dong Son people (in the North of Viet Nam) and it is the biggest coffin in boat shape with the largest mount of grave goods as utensils, tools, musical instruments and weapons.
    Links: Top Ten Tombshttp://masterpieces.asemus.museum/masterpieces.aspx,
  7. Door Carved with Dragons (17th Century)

    The door was made from iron with wood- engraved dragons, unicorns (two of four sacred animals) and clouds – the common theme of Buddhist art. The object represented the plastic style of the Restored Le Dynasty in the 17th Century which implied the powerful living force of the Vietnamese. This is a typical work of art from Vietnam’s classical fine arts period.
    Links: Top Ten Doorshttp://masterpieces.asemus.museum/masterpieces.aspx,
  8. Gold Pendant (9th-10th Century AD)

    Description:
    Links: Top 100 Gold Artifacts, http://masterpieces.asemus.museum/masterpieces.aspx,
  9. Ling Xung Stele (11th Century AD)

    This is a stele which recorded the great merits of a national hero. This stele describes the contribution and merit of Ly Thuong Kiet, a National hero of Vietnam in the Ly Dynasty. It has remained intact until now with the complete engraved inscriptions.
    Links: Top Ten Stelae, Top Ten Asian Stelehttp://masterpieces.asemus.museum/masterpieces.aspx,
  10. Bodhisattva Lokeshvara (7th Century AD)

    This famous work originates from the Transbassac region, in the Shaman, where the lands belonged for a long time to the Khmer, and were only conquered by the Vietnamese in the 17th century. Naturally oriented towards the sea, rich in very ancient archaeological traces, this region seems to have especially benefited from the commercial exchanges that took place on the Southeast Asian coasts during the early centuries of the Common Era. The traders which established themselves at various points on the delta lands contributed to the Khmer Kingdom of Funan, amassing wealth. A faint echo of this can be found in the Chinese chronicles. Surprisingly well preserved, this large Buddha image bears witness to that affluence. Similar in many respects to the Khmer sculptures in the Phnom Da style, in what is today southern Cambodia, this sculpture was bestowed with the same style of clothing and ornaments found in meridional Khmer art. But, it is hardly surprising that a work originating from this region should display unusual characteristics, such as the treatment of the coronet and the halo, for example, when one considers that the region had more direct links with the outside world than Cambodia does today. The feeling of benevolence and the profound humanity which emanates from this radiant face decked in sumptuous jewelry wonderfully expresses the virtue of Compassion which characterizes this Being “bestowed with Enlightenment”, which is the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  11. Ceramic Bird

    Description:
    Links: Top 100 Birds,
  12. Martavaan Jar

    A large cream-colored stoneware jar. On the shoulder, there is a four trefoiled appliqués and other decorations formed in a mould. The decoration of dragons around the body of the jar has been covered by a transparent dark blue glaze, forming thick glaze drops in places. The dark blue cobalt used for this jar probably originated in the Chinese province Yunnan. This province borders Vietnam and is where cobalt was found from the 15th century onwards.
    Links: http://masterpieces.asemus.museum/masterpieces.aspx,
  13. Ceramic Figure (14th-16th Century)

    The piece is a very unusual example of figurative ceramics made for the Indonesian market. It is expressively modelled and has finely painted features in various shades of cobalt blue glaze. The grotesque features and attributes such as the skirt wrap (kain panjang) and keris worn at the back of the waist, likely refer to a servant-clown character associated with the Javanese court. Such characters, known as Panakawan, feature prominently in the performing arts of Java.
    Links: http://masterpieces.asemus.museum/masterpieces.aspx,
  14. Links: Artifacts, Top Ten Asian Artifacts,

Recommendations for Venturing into Vietnam and Laos

Top Ten Tibetan/Nepali Artifacts

Top Ten Tibetan/Nepali Artifacts

       Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 m (16,000 ft). Tibet emerged in the 7th century as a unified empire, but it soon divided into a variety of territories. The bulk of western and central Tibet were often at least nominally unified under a series of Tibetan governments in Lhasa, Shigatse, or nearby locations; these governments were at various times under Mongol and Chinese overlordship. The eastern regions of Kham and Amdo often maintained a more decentralized indigenous political structure, being divided among a number of small principalities and tribal groups, while also often falling more directly under Chinese rule; most of this area was eventually incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai. Following the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1912, Qing soldiers were disarmed and escorted out of Tibet. The region declared its independence in 1913. The region maintained its autonomy until 1951 when, following a military conflict, Tibet was incorporated into the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the previous Tibetan government was abolished in 1959 after a failed uprising. Today, the PRC governs western and central Tibet as the Tibet Autonomous Region while eastern areas are mostly within Sichuan and Qinghai provinces. There are tensions regarding Tibet’s political status and dissident groups are active in exile. The economy of Tibet is dominated by subsistence agriculture, though tourism has become a growing industry in Tibet in recent decades. The dominant religion in Tibet is Tibetan Buddhism, in addition there is Bön which was the indigenous religion of Tibet before the arrival of Buddhism in the 7th century AD (Bön is now similar to Tibetan Buddhism) though there are also Muslim and Christian minorities. Tibetan Buddhism is a primary influence on the art, music, and festivals of the region. Tibetan architecture reflects Chinese and Indian influences.

  1. Wisdom

    See Buddhist Philosophy
    Links: The Pineal Gland, Sun Gazing, DMT and Om, Chakras and the Human Energy System, Sacred Geometry, Philosophers, Top Ten Philosophers, Top Ten Asian Philosophers,
  2. Tibetan Book of the Dead

           The Liberation Through Hearing During The Intermediate State (Tibetan: bardo “liminality”; thodol as “liberation”), sometimes translated as Liberation Through Hearing or Bardo Thodol is a funerary text. It is often referred to in the West by the more casual title, Tibetan Book of the Dead, a name which draws a parallel with the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, another funerary text. The Tibetan text describes, and is intended to guide one through, the experiences that the consciousness has after death, during the interval between death and the next rebirth. This interval is known in Tibetan as the bardo. The text also includes chapters on the signs of death, and rituals to undertake when death is closing in, or has taken place. It is the most internationally famous and widespread work of Tibetan Nyingma literature.
    Links: Top 100 Books, Top Spiritual Texts,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_Book_of_the_Dead,
  3. Sacred Crown (1000-1200 AD)

           This is a gilded copper crown with turquoise, rock crystal, ruby and pearl inlays. It stands 33 cm and is part of the “Tibet: Treasures from the Roof of the World” exhibit.
    Links: Top Ten Crowns
  4. Vajrabhairava Mandala (1403-1424 AD)

           Chinese emperors lavished costly gifts on Tibetan high lamas. This one, made during the Ming dynasty, is fantastic both in its amazing detail, and also in its Buddhist subject. The upper part of the object unfolds, like a lotus blooming, to reveal the wrathful deity Vajrabhairava and his entourage. The figures are arranged to form a mandala, or mystic diagram of the universe, as envisioned by Buddhists. Chinese emperors exchanged gifts with Tibetan lamas to maintain cordial political relations and also to celebrate a shared religion, as many emperors practiced the Tibetan style of Buddhism.
    Links: Top 100 Mandalas,
  5. Skullcup (Kapala) (19th Century AD)

           A human skull rests on a mount of pure gold, embellished with turquoise. During a sacred ceremony, the elaborately decorated lid was removed and the skull – perhaps lined in gold – became a crucible. Inside, symbols of ordinary life were placed, heated, and transformed as part of an elaborate ritual enacted to help the initiates visualize the conversion of ordinary life and death into the path of enlightenment. This skull, given the elaborate mount of costly materials, undoubtedly belonged to a high-ranking lama, whose spiritual status lent special importance to this ritual object.
    Links: Top 100 Gold Artifacts, Top Ten Chalices/Cups, Top Ten Skulls, Top Ten Human Skulls,
  6. Chakrasamvara (1400 AD)

           This is a slit silk tapestry, which measures 143.2 cm by 93 cm.
    Links: Top Ten Thangkas, Top Ten Tapestries,
  7. Lolladoff Plate (7,000 BC)

           The Lolladoff plate, discovered in Nepal, appears to show a hovering disk-shaped object in the center and a small being, resembling an alien resembling an alien gray, beside it. The circular pattern is reminiscent of the spiraling movement of consciousness, Sacred Geometry of creation.
    Links: http://www.crystalinks.com/ufohistory.html,
  8. Pearl Crown (18th Century AD)

           This pearl crown stands 19 cm and is part of the “Tibet: Treasures from the Roof of the World” exhibit.
    Links: Top Ten Crowns,
  9. Tibetan Armor

    Description:
    Links: Top Ten Suits of Armor, Top Ten Helmets, http://www.tibetcollectibles.com/artifact.php,
  10. Vajravarahi (15th Century)

           This is a gilt copper figure depicting Vajravarahi. It stands 41.5 cm and is part of the “Tibet: Treasures from the Roof of the World” exhibit.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  11. Statuette

    Description:
    Links:
  12. Ceremonial Dagger

    Description:
    Links: Top Ten Daggers/Knives,
  13. The Buddha Shakyamuni (600-900 AD)

           This gilded copper figurine of Buddha Shakyamuni stands 28.5 cm and is part of the “Tibet: Treasures from the Roof of the World” exhibit.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures, Top Ten Buddha Statues,
  14. King Songtsen Gambo (13th Centrury)

           A rare surviving imperial portrait, made in the 13th century, this finely detailed sculpture honors the great Tibetan king, Songtsen Gambo, who in the 7th century, united Tibet into a large and influential Asian kingdom. Through his two marriages to Nepalese and Chinese princesses, he established Buddhism in Tibet. The small head that tops his headdress is that of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion and the patron deity of Tibet.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  15. Bonus: Unidentified Four-armed Goddess (14th-15th Century AD)

           Originally from the Red Palace inside the Potala, this unidentified goddess sits in meditation on a lotus throne placed on a lion pedestal. She has two pairs of hands. The bottom pair is held in the gesture of meditation. The top pair is in the gesture of preaching (dharmachakra mudra), while also holding two stalks of lotus blossoms, supporting a conch (left) and a vase of immortality (right) at shoulder level. The goddess is bedecked with jewels, mainly inlaid turquoise. Her head is enclosed within a cloverleaf halo and the wavy scarves behind her arms add a sense of movement. In her elaborate ornament, jewel encrusted lower garment, and clover-shaped halo, this figure closely resembles a group of copper repoussé images from Densatil Monastery, a Kagyu establishment founded in the 12th century that was once located in central Tibet. During the 14th and 15th centuries, this region of Tibet was ruled by the Lang family, who generously patronized Densatil.
    Links:
  16. Seal of the Fifth Dalai Lama (17th Century AD)

           Chinese, Manchu, and Tibetan inscriptions, carved into this official seal, express the international stature and importance of the Fifth Dalai Lama, the “Buddha of Great Compassion in the West and Leader of the Buddhist Faith beneath the Sky.” The Fifth Dalai Lama, also known as the Great Fifth, built the Potala Palace and served as both the secular ruler and spiritual teacher of Tibet, a dual role held by each subsequent Dalai Lama.
    Links: Top Ten Dalai Lamas,
  17. Long Horn Stand (17th-20th Century)

           The lords of the dance, shown here as lively skeletons, represent death and rebirth, life and death. They serve as reminders that life is impermanent, a central belief in Buddhism. This copper horn stand, with a crescent shape at the top, supported a long ceremonial horn.
    Links:
  18. Tibetan Coin, Jaya Srinirasa Malla

    Description:
    Links: Top 100 Coins, Top 100 Asian Coins,
  19. Ritual Conch Trumpet (1640 AD)

           This piece is made out of a conch shell with gilded silver. It is 79.2 cm in length and 21 cm wide and is part of the “Tibet: Treasures from the Roof of the World” exhibit.
    Links: Top Ten Historical Instruments, Top Ten Instruments,
  20. Crystal Stupa (18th Century)

           This stupa from the 18th century is made of crystal, gilt copper and turquoise measures 33.5 cm in height.
    Links: Top Ten Stupas,
  21. Bonus: Namchu Wangden: The Kalachakra Symbol (16th-17th Century)

           This is embroidered silk.
    Links:
  22. Prayer Wheel (19th Century AD)

            The beauty of this prayer wheel – with its delicately carved decoration and slender ivory handle – suggests an important owner, most likely one of the Dalai Lamas. The gilt silver cylinder once held thousands of individual inscriptions, each a mantra written in the tiniest of letters. The mediator held the prayer wheel, and during countless rotations of the wheel, repeatedly changed the mantra. In this way, he sent out thousands of prayers, each calling for universal compassion for all living beings.
    Links:
  23. Sacred Vessel (Kundika) (19th Century AD)

           This sacred vessel was constructed out of gold, turquoise and coral.
    Links:
  24. Coral Mandala Offering Set (18th Century AD)

           This is a coral and gilt silver mandala offering set. It stands 21.5 cm tall and has a diameter of 16.5 cm.
    Links: Top 100 Mandalas,
  25. Set of Message Boards (1800-1900)

           This is a set of message boards made from painted and gilded wood.
    Links:
  26. Bonus: Lock from the Potala Palace (1600-1700 AD)

           This is a gilded iron lock from the Potala Palace.
    Links: Top 100 Keys, Palaces, Top Ten Asian Palaces,
  27. Links: Artifacts, Top 100 Asian Artifacts, http://www.asianart.com/exhibitions/bowers/index.html,

Recommendations for Traveling to Tibet and Nepal

Top Ten Srivijaya Artifacts

Top Ten Srivijaya Artifacts

       Srivijaya was a powerful ancient thalassocratic Malay empire based on the island of Sumatra, modern day Indonesia, which influenced much of Southeast Asia. The earliest solid proof of its existence dates from the 7th century; a Chinese monk, I-Tsing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in 671 for 6 months. The first inscription in which the name Srivijaya appears also dates from the 7th century, namely the Kedukan Bukit Inscription around Palembang in Sumatra, dated 16 June 682. The kingdom ceased to exist in the 13th century due to various factors, including the expansion of the Javanese Majapahit empire. Srivijaya was an important center for Buddhist expansion in the 8th to 12th centuries. In Sanskrit, sri means “fortunate,” “prosperous,” or “happy” and vijaya means “victorious” or “excellence.” After Srivijaya fell, it was largely forgotten and historians had not even considered that a large united kingdom could have been present in Southeast Asia. The existence of Srivijaya was only formally suspected in 1918, when French historian George Coedès of the École française d’Extrême-Orient postulated its existence. The aerial photograph taken in 1984 revealed the remnants of man-made ancient canals, moats, ponds, and artificial islands in Karanganyar site in Palembang suggested the location as Srivijaya urban center. Several artifacts such as fragments of inscription, Buddhist statues, beads, pottery and Chinese ceramics were found, confirming that the area was once a dense human habitation. By 1993, Pierre-Yves Manguin had proven that the center of Srivijaya was along the Musi River between Bukit Seguntang and Sabokingking (situated in what is now Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia).

  1. Gold Statue of Avalokiteçvara

    The graceful gold coated bronze statue of four handed Avalokiteçvara in Malayu-Srivijayan style, discovered at Rataukapastuo, Muarabulia
    Links: Top 100 Gold Artifacts, Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  2. Relief

    Description:
    Links: Relieves and Petroglyphs, Top Ten Asian Relieves,
  3. Statue of Avalokiteçvara

    The graceful gold coated bronze statue of four handed Avalokiteçvara in Malayu-Srivijayan style, discovered at Rataukapastuo, Muarabulia
    Links:
  4. Statuette

    Description:
    Links:
  5. Coins

    Description:
    Links: Top 100 Coins, Top 100 Asian Coins,
  6. Links: Artifacts, Top 100 Asian Artifacts,

Top Ten Singhasari Artifacts

Top Ten Singhasari Artifacts

       Singhasari was a kingdom located in east Java between 1222 and 1292. The kingdom succeeded Kingdom of Kediri as the dominant kingdom in eastern Java.

  1. Prajnaparamita Statue

    The serene beauty of Prajnaparamita statue found near Singhasari temple is believed to be the portrayal statue of Queen Dedes (the collection of National Museum of Indonesia), the extraordinary beauty of this statue marked the refinement of Singhasari art.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures, Temples, Top Ten Asian Temples,
  2. Mandala of Amoghapāśa

    Description:
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  3. Singhasari Text

    Description:
    Links: Top Ten Examples of Ancient Writing,
  4. Stone Carving

    Description:
    Links:
  5. Links: Artifacts, Top 100 Asian Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singhasari,

Top Ten Mongolian Artifacts

Top Ten Mongolian Artifacts

       The Mongol Empire existed during the 13th and 14th centuries AD, and was the largest contiguous land empire in human history. Beginning in the Central Asian steppes, it eventually stretched from Eastern Europe to the Sea of Japan, covering large parts of Siberia in the north and extending southward into Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Iranian plateau, and the Middle East. At its greatest extent it spanned 9,700 km (6,000 mi), covered an area of 24,000,000 km2 (9,300,000 sq mi), 16% of the Earth’s total land area, and held sway over a population of 100 million. The Mongol Empire emerged from the unification of Mongol and Turkic tribes of historical Mongolia under the leadership of Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan was proclaimed ruler of all Mongols in 1206. The empire grew rapidly under his rule and then under the rule of his descendants, who sent invasions in every direction. The vast transcontinental empire which connected the east with the west with an enforced Pax Mongolica allowed trade, technologies, commodities and ideologies to be disseminated and exchanged across Eurasia. The empire began to split as a result of wars over succession, as the grandchildren of Genghis Khan disputed whether the royal line should follow from Genghis’s son and initial heir Ögedei, or one of his other sons such as Tolui, Chagatai or Jochi. The Toluids prevailed after a bloody purge of Ögedeid and Chagataid factions, but disputes continued even among the descendants of Tolui. When one Great Khan died, rival kurultai councils would simultaneously elect different successors, such as the brothers Ariq Böke and Kublai, they were both elected and then not only had to defy each other, but also deal with challenges from descendants of other of Genghis’s sons. Kublai successfully took power, but civil war ensued, as Kublai sought, unsuccessfully, to regain control of the Chagatayid and Ögedeid families. The Battle of Ain Jalut marked the high-water point of Mongol conquests, and was the first time a Mongol advance had ever been permanently beaten back in direct combat on the battlefield. After previous battlefield defeats, the Mongols had always returned and avenged their loss, ultimately defeating their enemies. The Battle of Ain Jalut marked the first time they were unable to do so. By the time of Kublai’s death in 1294, the Mongol Empire had fractured into four separate khanates or empires, each pursuing its own separate interests and objectives: the Golden Horde khanate in the northwest, the Chagatai Khanate in the west, the Ilkhanate in the southwest, and the Yuan Dynasty based in modern-day Beijing. In 1304, the three western khanates briefly accepted the nominal suzerainty of the Yuan Dynasty, but when it was overthrown by the Han Chinese Ming Dynasty in 1368, the Mongol Empire finally dissolved.

  1. Deer Stones

    Deer stones are Mongolian ancient megaliths carved with symbols. The name comes from their carved depictions of flying deer. Their purpose and creators are unknown. Archaeologists have found around 500 deer stones around Mongolia. However, Cimmerian ruins also show deer stones and they were known to have expanded into the Mongolian area and other areas. In additions to images of flying deer, the stones also include a circle at the top and stylized dagger and belt at the bottom, which has made some scholars speculate that the stones were supposed to represent notable people. Some rare stones do have a human face carved at the top. The tallest of the stones is 15 feet tall.
    Links: http://www.si.edu/mci/english/research/conservation/deer_stones.html,
  2. Statue of the Buddha Amitābha (18th Century)

    Description:
    Links: Top 100 Gold Artifacts, Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures, Top Ten Buddha Statues,
  3. Statuette

    Description:
    Links:
  4. Shadakshari Avalokiteshvara Figurine (17-18th Century)

    This is a gilt bronze statuette crafted by the School of Zanabazar.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  5. Seated Buddha (17-18th Century)

    This is a cotton thangka with gold and mineral pigment.
    Links: Buddhists, Top Ten ThangkasTop Ten Tapestries,
  6. Hayagriva (17-18th Century)

    This is a cotton thangka with gold and mineral pigment.
    Links: Top Ten Thangkas, Top Ten Tapestries,
  7. Sitipati (17-18th Century)

    This is a painted mineral pigment copper repousse from the Huvsgul province of Mongolia.
    Links: Top Ten Skeletons, Top Ten Human Skeletons,
  8. Kurkulla (18-19th Century)

    This is a silk applique with gold threat and coral, pearl and turquoise beads.
    Links: Top Ten Thangkas, Top Ten Tapestries,
  9. Dorjpagmo (19th Century)

    This is a silk applique with coral and pearl beads.
    Links: Top Ten Thangkas, Top Ten Tapestries
  10. Bone Carving

    Bone Carving in the Huhhot Museum,
    Links:
  11. Hand of Buddha (18th Century)

    This is a gilt bronze representation of the hand of Buddha.
    Links: Buddhists, Top Ten Buddha Statues,
  12. Prayer Wheel (18th Century)

    This is a wood, steel and silver prayer wheel with gilding and mineral pigments.
    Links:
  13. Hayagriva Phurbu Knife (15th Century)

    This is a gilt steel Hayagriva Phurbu knife.
    Links: Top Ten Daggers/Knives,
  14. Traditional Drawer (18-19th Century)

    This is a Mongolian wood drawer with silver, gilding and mineral pigments.
    Links:
  15. Buddha Shakyamuni (18-19th Century)

    This is a thangka created by the School of Zanabazar.
    Links: Top Ten ThangkasTop Ten Tapestries,
  16. Stupa (17-18th Century)

    This is a cotton thangka with gold and mineral pigment.
    Links: Top Ten Thangkas, Top Ten Tapestries,
  17. Begtse Dharmapala (18-19th Century)

    , Silk applique, silk with threat
    Links:
  18. Yamantaka with Consort (17-18th Century)

    This is a gilt bronze created by the School of Zanabazar.
    Links:
  19. Bonus: Woodwinds

    Description:
    Links: Top Ten Historical Instruments,
  20. Padmasambhava (17-18th Century)

    This is a gilt bronze created by the School of Zanabazar.
    Links:
  21. Standing Buddha (18th Century)

    This is a copper and wood statue of Buddha with gilding, coral and turquoise from the Dornod province.
    Links: Buddhists, Top Ten Buddha Statues,
  22. Knife with Ibex Head

    This bronze Mongolian knife dates back to between the 12-7th century B.C. It is 17cm in length and…
    Links: Top Ten Daggers/Knives,
  23. Precious Elephant

    Description:
    Links:
  24. Ritual Headdress of Monk

    Description:
    Links:
  25. Incense Burners

    Description:
    Links: Top Ten Incense Holders, Top Ten Incenses,
  26. Bell and Vajra

    Description:
    Links: Top Ten Bells, Top 100 Symbols,
  27. Ritual Knife

    Links: Top Ten Dagger/Knives,
  28. Links: Artifacts, Top 100 Asian Artifacts, http://mongolianantique.com/view.php?con=vw&id=42http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongol_Empire,

Top Ten Mauryan and Post-Mauryan Artifacts

Top Ten Mauryan and Post-Mauryan Artifacts

       The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 322 to 185 BC. Originating from the kingdom of Magadha in the Indo-Gangetic plains (modern Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bengal) in the eastern side of the Indian subcontinent, the empire had its capital city at Pataliputra. The Empire was founded in 322 BC by Chandragupta Maurya, who had overthrown the Nanda Dynasty and rapidly expanded his power westwards across central and western India taking advantage of the disruptions of local powers in the wake of the withdrawal westward by Alexander the Great’s Greek and Persian armies. By 320 BC the empire had fully occupied Northwestern India, defeating and conquering the satraps left by Alexander. With an area of 5,000,000 km2, it was one of the world’s largest empires in its time, and the largest ever in the Indian subcontinent. At its greatest extent, the empire stretched to the north along the natural boundaries of the Himalayas, and to the east stretching into what is now Assam. To the west, it conquered beyond modern Pakistan, annexing Balochistan, south eastern parts of Iran and much of what is now Afghanistan, including the modern Herat and Kandahar provinces. The Empire was expanded into India’s central and southern regions by the emperors Chandragupta and Bindusara, but it excluded a small portion of unexplored tribal and forested regions near Kalinga (modern Orissa), until it was conquered by Ashoka. Its decline began 60 years after Ashoka’s rule ended, and it dissolved in 185 BC with the foundation of the Sunga Dynasty in Magadha. Under Chandragupta, the Mauryan Empire conquered the trans-Indus region, which was under Macedonian rule. Chandragupta then defeated the invasion led by Seleucus I, a Greek general from Alexander’s army. Under Chandragupta and his successors, internal and external trade, agriculture and economic activities, all thrived and expanded across India thanks to the creation of a single and efficient system of finance, administration and security. After the Kalinga War, the Empire experienced half a century of peace and security under Ashoka. Mauryan India also enjoyed an era of social harmony, religious transformation, and expansion of the sciences and of knowledge. Chandragupta Maurya’s embrace of Jainism increased social and religious renewal and reform across his society, while Ashoka’s embrace of Buddhism has been said to have been the foundation of the reign of social and political peace and non-violence across all of India. Ashoka sponsored the spreading of Buddhist ideals into Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, West Asia and Mediterranean Europe. The population of the empire has been estimated to be about 50-60 million making the Mauryan Empire one of the most populous empires of the time. The Lion Capital of Asoka at Sarnath has been made the national emblem of India

  1. Relief

    Description:
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  2. A bodhisattva

           This is a bodhisattva statue which was found in Pakistan and dates back to ancient Gandhara during the 2nd – 3rd century.
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  3. Statue (3rd Century BC)

           Didarganj Yakshi Style of draping the lower garment during Mauryan era. Worn supported on the waist with a girdle, with one half carried to right arm across the left and the back.
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  4. Relief

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  5. Chandragupta Maurya Statue

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  6. Statuette (2nd Century BC)

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  7. Lion Capital

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  8. Lion Statuette

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  9. Relief

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  10. Ring Stone

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  11. Coins

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  12. Statuettes

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  13. Links: Artifacts, Top 100 Asian Artifacts, Top 100 Indian Artifacts, Top Ten Empires, Top Ten Emperorshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauryan,

Top Ten Majapahit Artifacts

Top Ten Majapahit Artifacts

 

       Majapahit was a vast thalassocratic archipelagic empire based on the island of Java (modern-day Indonesia) from 1293 to around 1500. Majapahit reached its peak of glory during the era of Hayam Wuruk, whose reign from 1350 to 1389 marked by conquest which extended through Southeast Asia. His achievement is also credited to his prime minister, Gajah Mada. According to the Nagarakretagama (Desawarñana) written in 1365, Majapahit was an empire of 98 tributaries, stretching from Sumatra to New Guinea; consisting of present day Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, southern Thailand, the Philippines, and East Timor, although the true nature of Majapahit sphere of influence is still the subject of studies among historians. Majapahit was one of the last major empires of the region and is considered to be one of the greatest and most powerful empires in the history of Indonesia and Southeast Asia, one that is sometimes seen as the precedent for Indonesia’s modern boundaries.

  1. Gold Statue of Indic Goddess

    Found in 1917 in a Mindanao riverbank, the Image is a 4.5 pound, 21-karat gold statue of an Indic goddess. It was originally identified as Hindu, but Prof. Juan Francisco argued that Hindu goddesses were rarely in cast in gold, and they were usually depicted standing, not seated in the lotus position as this was. He consequently proposed that the image was a Tara of Mahayana Buddhism, dating back to the Indo-Javanese Madjapahit Empire.
    Links: Top 100 Gold ArtifactsTop Ten Hindu Deities, Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures, http://ericflo.blogspot.com/2007/03/opium-vivien-tan_11.html,
  2. Golden Celestial Apsara

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  3. Surya Majapahit Coat of Arms Emblem Stone

    Surya Majapahit’ or ‘The Sun of Majapahit’ is the emblem common found in temples and ruins dated from Majapahit era. Some scholars suggested that this sun disc was the royal emblem of Majapahit, probably functioned as the coat of arms of the Majapahit Empire. The sun disk is stylized with carved ray of light; surrounded by eight Lokapala gods, the eight Hindu gods that guarded eight cardinal points of the universe. There’s other version of Majapahit’s Sun, such as sun disc with sun god Surya riding a celestial horse or chariot, to just a simple sun disc with stylized ray of light.
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  4. Statue of Harihara

    The statue of Harihara, the god combination of Shiva and Vishnu. It was the mortuary deified portrayal of Kertarajasa. Originally located at Candi Simping, Blitar and the statue is now preserved at National Museum of Indonesia.
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  5. Statue

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  6. Door Guardian Statues (14th Century)

    Description: Pair of door guardians from a temple, Eastern Java, 14th century (Museum of Asian Art, San Francisco)
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  7. Strange Statue Head

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  8. Piggy Bank (14th-15th Century AD)

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  9. Links: Artifacts, Top Ten Indian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majapahit

Top Ten Gupta Empire Artifacts

Top Ten Gupta Empire Artifacts

       The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed from approximately 320 to 550 AD and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri Gupta, the dynasty is a model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under the leadership of the Guptas enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors. This period is called the Golden Age of India and was marked by extensive inventions and discoveries in science, technology, engineering, art, dialectic, literature, logic, mathematics, astronomy, religion and philosophy that crystallized the elements of what is generally known as Hindu culture. Chandra Gupta I, Samudra Gupta the Great, and Chandra Gupta II the Great were the most notable rulers of the Gupta dynasty. The 4th century AD Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, credits Guptas with having conquered about 21 kingdoms, both in and outside India, including the kingdoms of Parasikas (Persians), the Hunas, the Kambojas tribes located in the west and east Oxus valleys, the Kinnaras, Kiratas etc. The high points of this cultural creativity are magnificent architecture, sculptures and paintings. The Gupta period produced scholars such as Kalidasa, Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Vishnu Sharma and Vatsyayana who made great advancements in many academic fields. Science and political administration reached new heights during the Gupta era. Strong trade ties also made the region an important cultural center and set the region up as a base that would influence nearby kingdoms and regions in Burma, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia. The earliest available Indian epics are also thought to have been written around this period. The empire gradually declined because of many factors such as substantial loss of territory and imperial authority caused by their own erstwhile feudatories and the invasion by the Huna peoples from Central Asia. After the collapse of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century, India was again ruled by numerous regional kingdoms. A minor line of the Gupta clan continued to rule Magadha after the disintegration of the empire. These Guptas were ultimately ousted by Vardhana ruler Harsha Vardhana, who established an empire in the first half of the 7th century.

  1. Buddha Statuette

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  2. Sculpture

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  3. Coins

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  4. Buddha Statue

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  5. Links: Artifacts, Top 100 Asian Artifacts, Top Ten Empires, Top Ten Emperorshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gupta_empire,

Top Ten Chola Empire Artifacts

Top Ten Chola Empire  Artifacts

       Chola dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which was one of the longest-ruling dynasties in southern India. The earliest datable references to this Tamil dynasty are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BC left by Asoka, of Maurya Empire; as one of the Three Crowned Kings, the dynasty continued to govern over varying territory until the 13th century AD. The heartland of the Cholas was the fertile valley of the Kaveri River, but they ruled a significantly larger area at the height of their power from the later half of the 9th century till the beginning of the 13th century. The whole country south of the Tungabhadra was united and held as one state for a period of two centuries and more. Under Rajaraja Chola I and his son Rajendra Chola I, the dynasty became a military, economic and cultural power in South Asia and South-east Asia. The power of the new empire was proclaimed to the eastern world by the expedition to the Ganges which Rajendra Chola I undertook and by the occupation of the maritime empire of Srivijaya, as well as by the repeated embassies to China. During the period 1010–1200, the Chola territories stretched from the islands of the Maldives in the south to as far north as the banks of the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh. Rajaraja Chola conquered peninsular South India, annexed parts of what is now Sri Lanka and occupied the islands of the Maldives. Rajendra Chola sent a victorious expedition to North India that touched the river Ganges and defeated the Pala ruler of Pataliputra, Mahipala. He also successfully invaded kingdoms of the Malay Archipelago. The Chola dynasty went into decline at the beginning of the 13th century with the rise of the Pandyas, who ultimately caused their downfall. The Cholas left a lasting legacy. Their patronage of Tamil literature and their zeal in building temples has resulted in some great works of Tamil literature and architecture. The Chola kings were avid builders and envisioned the temples in their kingdoms not only as places of worship but also as centers of economic activity. They pioneered a centralized form of government and established a disciplined bureaucracy.

  1. Bronze Chola Statue of Nataraja

    This is a bronze statue of Nataraja, which resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
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  2. Standing Hanuman (11th Century AD)

           This is an 11th century standing Hanuman, who is a Hindu deity and ardent devotee of Rama according to the Hindu legends. He is a central character in the Indian epic Ramayana and its various versions. He also finds mentions in several other texts, including Mahabharata, the various Puranas and some Jain texts. A vanara (ape-like humanoid), Hanuman participated in Rama’s war against the demon king Ravana. He is son of Lord Vayu and incarnation of Lord Shiva.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures, Top Ten Hindu Deities, Top 100 Books, Top 100 Spiritual Texts, Top Ten Indian Texts,
  3. Bronze Statues of Lord Shiva and Parvati (11th Century AD)

    These statues are of Lord Shiva as a cowherd and Parvati. They currently reside at the Ulster Museum.
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  4. Statue

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  5. Pillar

    With heavily ornamented pillars accurate in detail and richly sculpted walls, the Airavateswara temple at Darasuram is a classic example of Chola art and architecture.
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  6. Coin

    An early silver coin of  Uttama Chola found in Sri Lanka showing the Tiger emblem of the Cholas.
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  7. Links: Artifacts, Top 100 Asian Artifacts, Top Ten Empires, Top Ten Emperors, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chola_Dynasty