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 Buddha and his topknot

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Binky
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PostSubject: Buddha and his topknot   Wed 11 Oct 2017, 12:50

I am not sure under which heading my question should be posted: culture, history or religion. Apologies if it is in the wrong category.

I am currently doing a short introductory course on Japanese Art. Today’s lecture was about the influence of Buddhism on Japanese life and art.

As I expect most people know, the statues of Buddha show him with a ‘topknot’ which looks like hair, and indeed the teacher today even called it his hair.

However, going back about 20/25 years I went to an art exhibition in the US, and a Japanese teacher there said that the topknot was in fact a representation of the Buddha’s brain. He was the Enlightened One, the Wise One, the Superior One and consequently his brain was larger (and poked out through his skull).

I have been unable to find any other reference to this, and wondered if anyone here had further info to either confirm or refute this claim about the topknot?
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: Buddha and his topknot   Wed 11 Oct 2017, 12:59

Binky,

according to Wiki, it is referred to as an Ushnisha

Ushnisha

Buddha Art

"Ushnisha, the Enlightenment Elevation above the fontanelle; is the flame-topped elevation on the head of the Buddha, defined as that which emerges from the head of a Fully Enlightened One."
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Buddha and his topknot   Wed 11 Oct 2017, 13:12

I know a few cranial knobs.

It seems both visualisations of his knob have some relevance to believers, the "protruding brain" bit having come later in the deification process. But then, as others here will testify, nothing woo-woo surprises me anymore.

Japanese Art is a fascinating subject, Binky - I hope you enjoy your course. It puts the top European early Renaissance artists in a very different perspective than we usually get when you see what was being produced by their contemporaries and earlier artists in the Far East. Some really beautiful works.
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PostSubject: Re: Buddha and his topknot   Wed 11 Oct 2017, 13:27

An article about Japanese Art in general:

Japanese Art
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Binky
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PostSubject: Re: Buddha and his topknot   Wed 11 Oct 2017, 20:14

Thank you for those links. 

Japan is a fascinating country to visit. We both love it and intend to go there again. The art, the architecture, the shrines, almost everything is fabulous to the western eye. 

I shall enjoy reacquainting myself with the art once more before we go again...
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