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0592 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 592 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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in these frescoes. The use of chiaroscuro, familiar in classical painting, was before unknown to me in Buddhist paintings of India, Central Asia, or the Far East. The wall-paintings of Mirân invariably showed it in all exposed parts of the body.

We can see the usual method employed by the painter quite as clearly in the angels' of the dado, M. III. i-ix (Plate XL), as in the disciples' heads of the panel M. III. 003 and in numerous smaller fragments of the frieze. It consisted in applying over the pink flesh tints different shades of grey, pale or warm, for the shadows round the face, under the eyes and neck, or elsewhere. But instead of the grey we sometimes find the effect of rough shading produced also by the use of a light red, as in the Buddha's head of our panel and in the two figures of M. III. 002 (Plate XLIII), to be described presently. In order to obtain the effect of high lights ' a very skilful method was on occasion resorted to : the result was secured by allowing the lighter tint of the flesh to show through in the proper places from under the outlines of the lips or similar features, which were painted in boldly with a stronger pink (see Plates XL, XLII). Elsewhere, as in the eyes of the disciples of Plate XLII, the fingers and nails of the hand of M. in. 0035 (Plate XLV), etc., these high lights are cleverly laid in by bold brushwork in white.' Here and there the white impasto is thick enough to catch a real ` high light ', as in the disciples' eyes in M. in. oo3 (Plate XLII) and M. III. ooh (Plate XLV).

It is a method distinctly reminiscent of the treatment peculiarly suited to encaustic painting, and its actual use in the wax painting of Hellenistic and Early Christian times is attested by surviving examples from Egypt.' These and other details of technique, for which reference may be made to the expert observations furnished by Mr. F. H. Andrews's artist eye and embodied in the Descriptive List below, clearly point to the conclusion that the painters of these Miran frescoes, simple decorators as they were, had inherited from their masters well-established methods of producing a finished effect with such economy of work as constant application demanded. The belief seems justified, too, that the craftsmanship displayed in these paintings was derived from the same Hellenistic Near East which had supplied the Graeco-Buddhist sculpture with its style and with most of its artistic skill.°

The adaptation of forms derived from Hellenistic art to the representation of subjects from Buddhist legend is also well illustrated by the large piece of wall-painting reproduced in Plate XLIII, M. III. 002. It was found broken into several fragments which were lying close together in front of the last-described panel, as seen in Fig. 127. This suggests that it belonged to a higher frieze than the latter. But the evidence cannot be considered as absolutely conclusive, and it is noteworthy that by its size and scale the composition would fit in well with the frieze to which M. III. oo3 belonged. We see the figure of a teacher seated on a low throne, with the right hand raised in a lively gesture. The absence of a halo round the well-drawn head may be taken as an indication that, if Gautama is intended, he is shown here before the attainment of Buddhahood. A dark pink lower garment reaches from the hips to above the feet, which rest on a footstool. A buff coloured cloak is passed like a stole over the left shoulder, leaving most of the upper portion of the body bare. This arrangement is quite common in Graeco-Buddhist as well as in other Indian schools of Buddhist sculpture, particularly where Gautama is represented as seated on a throne.? It is probably based upon descriptions of Buddha's appearance as fixed by early Buddhist tradition in India. .But here, too, as always in the corresponding representations of Graeco-Buddhist sculpture, the drapery is treated in a fashion which is unmistakably classical.

Use of chiaroscuro.

Method for high light' effect.

Panel, M. III. 002, of seated Buddha.

Cf. the descriptions in the List below of M. In. oo6, oo8, 009-0010, 0033, 0035, 0038, 0039, with reproductions in Pl. XLIV, XLV.

° Cf. A. J. Reinach, Les Portraits Greco-Egypliens in

Revue Archéologique, 4e sér., tome xxiv. pp. 47-53.

6 Cf. M. Foucher's very illuminating observations on this subject, L'art du Gandhk'ra, i. pp. 601 sq.

Cf. Grünwedel-Burgess, Buddhist An in India, p. 172.