Comparing Sculptures of Ancient India and Greece essay


ComparingSculptures of Ancient India and Greece


ComparingSculptures of Ancient India and Greece

Basedon their religious beliefs, the ancient Greeks and the Indianscontained highly varied customs and ideals. Each nation had differentforms of gods and the two civilizations believed in dissimilarrituals for celebrating and praising their gods. Even from therecorded stories and sculptures, the two ancient countries’ peopleand culture were very different. However, the countries hadsimilarities as both their religions were quite diverse and thepoetry that was utilized to praise the gods was interestingly alike.India’s cultural heritage is among the most ancient and richest inthe globe comparable only to the Chinese art. The sculpture art,which is a highly celebrated medium for artists, was largely exploredthroughout India. In ancient Greece sculpture and art had massiveimpact and this has continued to the modern world. Ancient Greeksculptures emphasized the significance and achievement of humanbeings. Although the Greek and Indian sculptures representation ofpeople and gods are similar in the significance and subjects used,they are also different in their meaning and material used.

TheWay Gods and People Were Depicted In the Sculptures

Thetwo civilizations are similar because their sculptures were primarilyreligious. The Indian sculpture subject matter was invariablyabstracted human forms that were depicted to instruct and guidepeople concerning the Hindu Buddhist religion (Cambridge, 2005).Similarly, during the archaic and classical eras, the mostsignificant Greek sculptures were of a religious character dedicatedto a single divinity and meant for temples (Dillon, 2006). Thecivilizations are comparable based on the materials used. Both Greeceand India used gold, bronze, stone, marble, and wood to create theirartifacts (McEvilley, 2012). They are also similar because thesculptures were used to represent topics such as royalty, gods andgoddesses, sports, everyday life, and myths.

Thetwo nations are different because they used different materials toconstruct their sculptures. The Greeks mostly used stone marble andwood to make their art works (Jenkins, 2006). On the contrary, theancient Indians used a variety of material ranging from stone, wood,plastic, bronze and included gems and beads on their figures. TheGreeks tended to use a red-figure pottery style usually with blackbackgrounds. Contrastingly, the Indians utilized simple but equallyamazing painted, unglazed pottery. Moreover, while Greeks sculpturesemphasized a lot on sports the Indians did not dedicate as much timeto the field of sports. The religious Indian sculptures tookdifferent forms ranging from animals to man to mysterious forms.Conversely, the Greek sculptures are different because the divinestatues were sculpted in the image of man.

TheCultural Values and Ideals That These Art Works Reflect

Thesculptures of both the Indian and Greeks had religious values andideal. Religious places such as temples in both ancient Greece andIndia provided a place where people offered prayers to gods henceuniting them (McEvilley, 2012). As such, statues of leaders and godsthat provided guidance to society regarding politics, intellect,religion, and the economy were created. Most sculptures wereconstructed to honor the gods and goddesses. In the ancient Greekculture, divine statues made in the image of man were built outsideand inside temples, as well as in urns to represent their religiousbeliefs. In ancient India, sculptures performed the role ofrepresenting the different religious deities that exhibited thedivine celestial universe and the forces of nature (Shaw, 2013). Thesculpture depicted the importance of the deity and semi deitystructures and the legends that corresponds to them. Deities such asVishnu, Brahma and Shiva were depicted in sculptures showingcreation, harmony, love, order, destruction and rebirth among others.Thus, the painting and images were created to reflect the religiousbeliefs and dedication of people to their gods and practices thataligned with Buddhism teachings (Cremo, 2008). The Greeks sculptureswere built to honor sports, daily life, myths, stories, gods, andanimals. Gods such as Zeus, Hermes, and Aphrodite were built insculptures to depict matters like authority, creation, and love amongothers. Other sculptures showed human actions particularly athleticssuch as Myron’s DiscussThrower,which is a sculpture illustration of Artmeis the huntress (Jenkins,2006).

AModern Situation of Artistic Expression

Impressiveart work is usually characterized by skill, beauty, uniqueness andinherent meaning. Modern art commenced in the latter years of thetwentieth century and it mostly involves analysis and self-criticismstyles. The modern art applies poetic compositions and visual arts toshow the diverse cultural practices and conventions in the society,convey messages of happiness and hope, bring forth cherished valuesin communities like unity, compassion and generosity, as well ascriticize evil practices in the world such as genocide, patriarchalbeliefs and oppression among others.

TheIndian and Greece sculpture comparison indicates the varied beliefsthat people contain in matters of faith in the current world (Sedlar,1980). For example, in the modern world the issue of terrorism ismajor concern for different governments and populations. The issuebrings forth differences in culture and religion particularly betweenChristians and Muslims. As such, there is increasing intolerance ofreligious differences between the western countries and the MiddleEast ones. Therefore, in such a situation, an artist such as anovelist, painter, sculptor, musician, director, and poet amongothers can use his or her skills to show, explain, support, condemn,and criticize the terrorism subject. An artist can create a paintingor picture that shows an image of an attack such as the September 11twin towers U.S. bombing, Paris attacks or suicide bombings tohighlight the issue and its effects on society.

Thus,an image that captures and portrays a terror attack moment reflectson the matter of religious differences. Terrorists often killinnocent and ordinary citizens that have nothing to do with theirattacker’s twisted beliefs. Hence, an artist can use his or herwork to suggest ways to reconcile the dissimilar differences,solutions to the prevailing problem, and support religious diversityin society among others. Additionally, the artist can use hiscreative works to motivate combat personnel to protect citizens andfight terrorist in the world. Therefore an artist’s work can depictthe prevailing religious beliefs in a given society and support it orhighlight a vicious practice and condemn it.


Artinvolves creative works that represent the situation of people’severyday life and their practices. It offers a perspective on thelifestyle and culture of people and their beliefs, customs, as wellas traditions. The differences and similarities of ancient India andGreek societies help art enthusiasts to compare and contrast the twocivilizations and develop knowledge of these regions and their impacton the modern society. Additionally, they help to indicate thepurposes that art serves in the society. Even modern art helps topropagate and support the diverse cultural aspects of the highlytechnological contemporary world. Thus, art works such as sculpturesare significant to society they represent the different innovativesituations and practices of the society.


Cambridge,M. (2005). The Ajanta Caves: Ancient paintings of Buddhist India.&nbspArtBook,&nbsp12(4),45-46. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8357.2005.00611.x.

Cremo,M. A. (2008). Excavating the eternal: An indigenous archaeologicaltradition in India.&nbspAntiquity,&nbsp82(315),178-188.

Dillon,S. (2006). AncientGreek portrait sculpture: Contexts, subjects, and styles.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jenkins,I. (2006). Greekarchitecture and its sculpture.New York: Harvard University Press.

McEvilley,T. (2012). TheShape of ancient thought: Comparative studies in Greek and Indianphilosophies.New York: Constable &amp Robinson.

Sedlar,J. W. (1980). Indiaand the Greek world: A study in the transmission of culture.Totowa, N.J: Rowman and Littlefield.

Shaw,J. (2013). Archaeologies of Buddhist propagation in ancient India:‘ritual’ and ‘practical’ models of religious change.&nbspWorldArchaeology,&nbsp45(1),83-108. doi:10.1080/00438243.2013.778132.