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REMARKS ON THE ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE GOSPEL OF BUDDHA. - Buddha, The Gospel of Buddha 
The Gospel of Buddha. Compiled from Ancient Records by Paul Carus. Illustrated by O. Kopetzky (Chicago and London: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1915).
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REMARKS ON THE ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE GOSPEL OF BUDDHA.
UPON the task of illustrating The Gospel of Buddha, I have spent three years, the first of which was entirely devoted to preparation. By the kind assistance of Dr. Hans Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Director of the Royal Court and State Library at Munich, I was enabled to make very extensive use of the treasures of this institution, and I am under great obligations to him for the courtesies extended to me. Above all I endeavored to obtain a solid foundation for my work by acquiring a clear conception of the personality of the Buddha from religious, historical and artistic standpoints and by familiarizing myself with all the Buddhist dogmas, symbols and religious observances.
Detailed studies of Indian costume, armor, decoration, architecture and the arrangement of dwellings and gardens, as well as the fauna and flora of the country, were likewise indispensable. Not only modern documents, explorers’ reports and photographs of ancient ruins provided me with available material, but also some old Dutch works of the seventeenth century.
The two main sources of our knowledge of ancient Buddhist art will always remain the monuments of Gandhāra, and the cave dwellings of Buddhist monks in Ajantā and other places. The formernd other places. The former bear witness to the extraordinary influence of Greek art on Buddhism; and the latter are rich in wonderful fresco paintings of the classical period of Buddhist art. A description of all the caves as well as a selection of the best mural paintings in colored pictures are to be found in Griffith’s elegant work The Paintings in the Buddhist Cave Temples of Ajanta1 and some reproductions from it have been made further accessible in Dr. Carus’s Portfolio of Buddhist Art.2 The two great expositions in Munich, “Japan and Eastern Asia in Art” and “Expositions of the Masterpieces of Mohammedan Art,” 1910, were very instructive to me from the point of view of art history, containing invaluable material conveniently arranged from the great museums, royal treasures and private collections from London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, St Petersburg, Moscow, and Cairo. In the former the great wave of the marvelous Buddhist faith which had been flowing towards China for two millenniums and which had brought new life from China to Japan was evidenced in many rare pieces. Yet almost more fruitful for my purpose was the exposition of Mohammedan art. It displayed wonderful Persian and Indian book-making and lacquer work, tapestries, ceramics, fabrics, armor and metal work. To be sure these were exclusively of Mohammedan manufacture, but many large museums and institutions (native and foreign), collectors and explorers had sent also chests of Buddhist works, which, not falling within its compass, had been excluded from the exhibition, but were placed at my disposal in the so-called Library Department reserved for students.
Indian art has been greatly neglected by archeologists and connoisseurs at the expense of the so-called classic style, and explorers seem to be more interested in the geographical and political conditions of the country, or even look down with contempt and lack of understanding on the early artistic monuments of India, although they have enriched our European middle ages. Thus there are great gaps in the history of Indian art which I was obliged to fill up for myself, and certainly a very different kind of study was needed to illustrate a Gospel of Buddha than for a pictorial construction of the life of a Plato or a Jesus.
Fräulein Emily von Kerckhoff, an artistic and highly cultured lady of Laren in Northern Holland, sailed on November 9, 1909, to join her family in Java where she remained for some time. Her journey occurring just at this time was of great help to me, for she complied with all my wishes in the most accommodating manner and filled up many gaps in my knowledge of India.
In Colombo she became acquainted with the Dias Bandaranaike and other refined Singhalese families, who were very friendly in answering my questions. Further she met Sister Sudham Machari of Upasikarama, Peradeniya Road, Kandy, a prominent Singhalese nun, who with the assistance of Lady Blake, the wife of a former governor, had founded the first modern Buddhist nunnery in Ceylon where she now lives as lady superior. She is well posted on Buddhism, for she has studied Pāli, Sanskrit, and Burmese for nine years in Burma, and has received ordination. Through her, Fräulein von Kerckhoff had an opportunity to visit the temple in Kandy where the strange relic of the “Sacred Tooth of Buddha” is perserved, and on this occasion was able to obtain some leaves from the sacred Bodhi tree which I wished to possess. She also became acquainted in Kandy with Dr. Kobekaduwe Tikiri Banda, a Singhalese physician who belonged to a Buddhist family and is the son of a Kandian chief. He had studied in England for a long time and possesses a remarkable knowledge of the country and people of India and Ceylon, by which I thus had an opportunity to profit.
Fräulein von Kerckhoff gathered further material for my purposes in Gampola, a place in the mountains about an hour’s ride from Kandy, on the occasion of a visit to the family of the district judge, Mr. De Livera, and by the acquaintance with Mr. J. B. Yatawara Rata-Mahatmaya, Governor of the District and a zealous Buddhist, who has translated into English part of the Jātakas (stories of the various rebirths of Buddha) in collaboration with the late Prof. Max Müller, of Oxford.
Later, in December, 1910, she sent me leaves from the Bodhi tree at Anuradhapura, the sacred city of the Buddhists, where there are ruins of ancient palaces and temples, and where stands that Bodhi tree which Mahinda, the first Buddhist apostle in Ceylon, is said to have planted from a branch of the sacred Bodhi tree in Buddhagaya under which Buddha attained enlightenment.
With regard to customs, habits and usages at princely courts I received information, though to be sure referring mainly to Java, through Prince Paku Alam, his uncle Prince Noto, his sisters and other relatives, all of whom talked Dutch fluently with Fräulein von Kerckhoff. She was also kind enough to send me all the interesting photographs she could find of famous Indian temples and ruins, views of native life, types and landscapes, pictures of the newly excavated temple ruins of Sarnath, where Buddha first preached after attaining enlightenment, and particularly also of the splendid temple of Boro-Budur. (She also went to Japan in search of traces of Buddhism for me).
By means of the Hagenbeck Indian ethnological exposition (Oct. 1911, in Munich) I was able to study types of the different Indian races and castes from nature, and this in addition to a personal observation of the features of Indians in the harbors of Genoa and Venice enabled me to draw my figures according to nature from genuine Indian models.
However, all these studies slightly influenced the externalities only of the whole series of pictures, for the knowledge obtained by detailed study had been covered to a remarkable extent at the beginning when I made my first sketches on the first inspiration. Still they have proved of great value to me since they gave me the assurance that historical fidelity has been preserved in my work.
[1 ] Two volumes, 1896, Published by order of the Secretary of State for India in Council.
[2 ] Chicago, Open Court Publishing Company.
During the time of printing “The Gospel of Buddha” the following valuable works on Indian art have come under my notice:
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy: The Arts and Crafts of India and Ceylon. E. B. Havell: The Ideals of Indian Art; Indian Sculpture and Painting. Dr. Curt Glaser: Die Kunst Ost-Asiens (Leipzig, Insel-Verlag).