Medieval Bengali Buddhism wasn’t purely ‘Indian’. Javanese gods, Hindu rivalry


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In Esoteric Buddhism in Mediaeval Maritime Asia, historians of Buddhism studied these developments in an Asian continental context. Up to the 5 th century, Buddhism’s centre of gravity was in Northwest India, embedded in the overland trade of the Silk Roads. But once Arab power assimilated these trade networks in the 8 th century, the Buddhist centre of gravity shifted toward the southeast, participating in overseas circulatory systems that included Burma, Java, and Sumatra. In her chapter ‘Images of Devotion and Power in South and Southeast Bengal’, distinguished archaeologist and art historian Claudine Bautze-Picron analysed sculptures from both of Bengal’s...