Stupa 3, 1st c., Sanchi, India (photo: Nagarjun Kandukuru, CC: BY 2.0)
A mound of dirt or the body of the Buddha? These sacred sites give practitioners insight into the Four Noble Truths.

The stupa

Bust of a Bodhisattva Shakyamuni, 3rd-4th century (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Despite a princely upbringing, Siddhartha insisted he was just a man—albeit one who attained perfection.

The historical Buddha

Ercole de’ Roberti The Dead Christ c. 1490
Like place, time is an important theological category and, like the Incarnation, it can be hard to comprehend. This episode looks at sophisticated ways of handling different but related time frames in Ercole de’ Roberti’s ‘The Dead Christ’ (about 1490) and the exquisite ‘The Deposition’ by the Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece (about 1500–5).

Time and eternity: Yesterday, today, and always

This episode looks at the visual language of signs and symbols known as iconography. Chloë Reddaway considers the surprising appearance of a snail in Crivelli’s ‘The Virgin and Child with Saints Francis and Sebastian’ (1491) and asks how it might help in the seemingly impossible task of painting Christ.  From The National Gallery.

Christ is not like a snail: Signs ...

Cave 19, Ajanta Caves
From simple assembly halls to expansive rock caves, buildings for Buddhist monks grew in complexity over time.

Buddhist Monasteries

Hindu Temples Madurai and Meenakshi
Often covered with figural sculpture, these dwelling places of the gods draw worshipers to their inner sanctuaries.

Hindu temples