Sakra in Early Buddhist Art by Leona Anderson

By Leona Anderson

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Lith the Jataka tales and contain many of the details from t,he particular tale they represent. This of course makes for easier narrative identification. The reliefs at Sanchl have been divided into three broad historical groups: early, intermediate and late. 70 representational style is found in the ea~liest Little variety in stages. concentrate on select events in the lii'e of the Buddha. decorative motifs occupy the remaining areas. t. r in any clearly identifiable form. on the reliefs of this period.

The evidence suggests that 'Sakra is, in terms of forms and deeds, the Indra of the H-indus 60 while in terms of his function be is a distinctly Buddhist character. general of the . ation. epithet which often refers to Indra's capacity as a compassionatlB helper. Jg Vede. just as in Buddhist sources is the lord of the heavens of thirty-three gods and is the slayer of demons. In addition, 'Sakra wields the thunderbolt, which is an attribute corresponding well with the . % Vedic vajra. 62 Ho",ever, the Buddhist vision of 13akra is more closely related to the textual description of Indra in the Epic texts.

Appear at San-chI. perspective. Otherwise why are not all of the Identifying inscriptions of this type do not In addition, there is an almost complete lack of Often in a given relief one finos more than one scene from a tale juxtaposed to another from the same tale. Certainly the iCCInographic forms and the tales 1-,hich are not inscribed must have been familiar enOlugh to render these tangled reliefs readily acce:osible. Without the aid OIf textual sources it is almost impossible for present day scholars to identify a story or scene in any particular relief.

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