decorated capitals


Greco-Buddhism is the term given to refer to the cultural syncretism of Hellenistic and Buddhist culture in ancient Bactria and the India (present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Northern India) between the 4th century BCE and 5th century CE. The style gave rise after the invasion of Bactria (present-day Afghanistan) and the Indus Valley by the Greek armies of Alexander the Great, and flourished under the subsequent Indo-Greek Kingdom and the Kushan Dynasty, who incorporated the Greek Alphabet and other aspects of Hellenistic culture into their own society. The result was an interesting combination of Greek artistic elements in the local Buddhist art. It is generally believed that the first anthropomorphic images of the Buddha emerged during the Greco-Buddhist period in the 1st century CE. Scholars credit many stylistic elements of the image of the Buddha, such as his halo, stylistic curls, and top bun style to Greco-Roman artistic influence. Interestingly, many standing images of the Buddha at this time also depict him in a Greek contrapposto. Many deities from the Hellenistic pantheon were also adopted into Buddhist religion. The most notable examples are the deities, Heracles, Tyche, and Boreas, who eventually became associated with the Buddhist deities, Vajrapani, Hariti, and Oado respectively. Aspects of Greco-Buddhism managed to filter into Buddhist art within the Indian subcontinent and Eastern Asia as the religion started to spread eastward. Greco-Buddhism is one of the greatest examples of long distance cultural and artistic exchange in the ancient world, spanning between two continents and adapting elements from countless different cultures, most notably, Greco-Roman, Persian, and Hindu.

Greco-Buddhism particularly flourished in the ancient region of Gandhara which encompassed the land around the border of Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan. Excavations in the archaeological site of Hadda, located near the Kyber Pass in Afghanistan, recovered over 23,000 examples of Greco-Buddhist art. Many of these sites, unfortunately, were destroyed or heavily damaged through looting and vandalization by the Taliban in the 1990s. The artifacts that have survived are a testament of a very rich and diverse cultural syncretism.

1) Statue of the “Hadda Triad.” A Giant statue of the Buddha sits between the two deities, Vajrapani/Heracles and Hariti/Tyche who are sculpted in the Hellenistic style. From the Tapa-i-Shotor Buddhist complex in Hadda, Afghanistan. c. 2nd-5th century CE.  This statue was destroyed in the 1990s by the Taliban. Only photographs and illustrations survive.

2) Sculpture relief of the Buddhist gods Hariti/Tyche and her consort Pancika. The two figures are donned in Greek style dress and Hariti/Tyche is holding a Hellenistic-style cornucopia. From Gandhara, Pakistan, c. 3rd century CE. British Museum.

3) Bronze statuette of a seated Buddha. From Gandhara, Pakistan, c.1st-2nd  century CE. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

4) A reliquary known as the “Bimaran Casket.”  The Buddha, pictured in the center, is depicted in a contrapposto pose. He is surrounded by two deities, Brahma and Śakra, inside Greco-Roman style arched niches. From Hadda, Afghanistan, c. 1st century CE. British Museum.

5) Indo-Conrinthian capital decorated with a seated Buddha. From Gandhara, Pakistan. 3rd century CE. Musée Guimet

Princess Serenity's Dress: An Analysis and Break-Down

Hey, Sailor Moon fandom, hey…

It’s that time again where I talk too much. This time let’s discuss Princess Serenity’s famous dress which is well-known as an interpretation of the “Palladium” / “Il Palladio” dress in the Christian Dior, Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1992 collection. Here’s a very nice post by Moonie Trivia with detailed pics comparing them with the included inspiration, an Ionic column.

So what more is there to add, really?

Well, let’s take a little trip down history and fashion lane.

Keep reading


Highly important group of four typescripts of screenplays of movies, two of them masterpieces, two of them never made; all once owned by Tarkovsky, comprising:

1. Working typescript of Stalker (1977), extensively annotated by Tarkovsky, with revisions, alterations, deletions and additions, written in a variety of inks, ballpoints, felt-tips and crayons, with paste-overs and text cut away, with one autograph drawing, autograph title in decorated capital letters, 54 pages, 10 January 1977

2. Early photocopy of the final version of the typescript of Mirror (1974), with  “Kinofilm” label “Montazhnie Listi”, without annotations, 97 pages

3. Typescript (undercopy) of Svetii Veter, a film never made by Tarkovsky, without annotations, (1972), 78 pages

4. Typescript of Hoffmanniana, never made by Tarkovsky, without annotations, (1976), 56 pages

All in original hand-made cardboard covers, 11.5 x 8.5 inches


Dev Blog: Research and Reference in Rise of the Tomb Raider 

Note from Brian Horton, Game Director: “In light of the news about the bombings in Turkey today, my thoughts go out to the people affected by this tragedy.”

[Leading into the launch of Rise of the Tomb Raider, we’ll feature a variety of developer blogs that lift the curtain on the creation of Lara’s first great tomb raiding expedition.]

Creating believable worlds for Tomb Raider requires extensive reference gathering, and we take photos on location. For Rise of the Tomb Raider, our story begins in Syria in a hidden refuge carved into the mountainside. 

Cappadocia is in central Turkey and has a similar climate to Syria with underground cities carved from rock. This was perfect reference for the Prophet’s Tomb, the scale and artistry was amazing and the quality of light was luminous. The photos above and below are a small sample of the hundreds taken.

Lara travels back to London, and we wanted to capture some of the local architecture to represent the location around Lara’s flat. King’s Cross was a cool location to shoot in, with a mix of businesses, the train station, and industrial brick living spaces.  

The bulk of the adventure takes place in Siberia, and we chose to use online research for most of the mountains and abandoned Soviet Gulags, but the lush valley in the center of the hostile tundra was inspired by Yosemite. This location is very convenient for us to travel to and had amazing examples for mountains, trees, grasses, and rivers.

Byzantine architecture is a late Roman style, which is inspired by Greek architecture. One of our locations is inspired by a Greek Library from Ephesus in Turkey. The ruins here are very well preserved in places and are badly damaged in others. The library façade below was a perfect example of the architecture, carved detail and distress we were looking for.

The Mythical City of Kitezh is a Russian myth, but the Orthodox religious architecture in Russia has rich Byzantine influences. Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul would be the main inspiration behind the mythical city. 

Hagia Sophia was the crown jewel of the Byzantine construction. The signature stacked dome design was an engineering marvel for its time, and the impression you feel going inside is simply breathtaking. The scale is massive and took my breath away to walk through the central chamber. The golden domes seem to float above, the walls are panels of various different marbles. Dozens of intricate Brass chandeliers hang low from the ceiling, detailed carvings decorate the capitals of each marble pillar and the meticulous detail of the mosaics glisten in the glancing light.

Byzantine Art and architecture has been a passion of mine for many years and it was an honor to capture thousands of pictures of these amazing locations. Our artists are committed to bringing as much detail and authenticity to our worlds as possible, these reference trips are just one small example of how we do that.

Brian Horton
Game Director, Rise of the Tomb Raider

Arranging the Festivities || Royalty AU || Closed RP


The Lusye Empire was a prosperous country. The land was bountiful and in itself, radiant and serene. Normally, it was a quiet place, however this day the country was lively and the word was going about: the Emperor had chosen a suitor for the Crown Princess. This meant the country would be getting their future rulers. They would learn about who the future emperor was once the Emperor and Empress officially presented the couple to the public. 

Right at this moment, everyone was preparing for the celebration. The citizens were decorating the capital while the servants inside the palace were perfecting everything. 

The princess stood in front of her mirror as the maids finished doing her hair. She wore a light blue empire gown that exposed her shoulders. The under dress was white and had azaleas embroidered in gold. Her hair was styled into a natural braid and her diadem rested on her head. She bit down on her rosy, bottom lip before releasing a soft, nervous sigh. 

It would be her first time meeting him. The man she was to be wed to.