[Buddha-l] angels

Dan Lusthaus dlusthau at mailer.fsu.edu
Tue May 24 12:21:16 MDT 2005

While there is no clear term for "angel" in Buddhist texts, there are indeed
representations of winged humanoids in flowing robes with expanded white
wings that look a heck of a lot like conventional western renditions of
angels. One is found, for instance, on a painted glass goblet of the 1st-2nd
c. from Begram, Afghanistan, labeled by archeaologists as "ganymede" It is
considered a greco-roman import (possibly made in Alexandria, Egypt),
thought to have been owned by Kushan rulers. A picture of it can be found in
the catalog _The Silk Road and the World of Xuanzang_, Asahi Shimbun
Commemorative Edition, 1999 -- this was a splendid exhibit on display that
year in Nara, Japan.

There are other representations of winged humanoids in Central Asian
Buddhist art, some participating in group scenes, much as cherubim, etc.,
appear in some European Art. They even enter in early Chinese Buddhist art,
though I don't think they made if further East than China, nor continue to
appear past the Tang dynasty.

If John Huntington is still on this list, perhaps he can provide more
detailed information.

Dan Lusthaus

More information about the buddha-l mailing list