Ganesa Beyond The Indian Frontiers

Introduction of Ganesa Beyond The Indian Frontiers
Introduction of Religio-Cultural Emissaries From India

Introduction of Ganesa Beyond The Indian Frontiers


Ganesa probably reached China through Central Asia and Chinese Turkestan. However, it appears to have reached there at a very early date, for there are two early representations of Ganesa in China. One is a fresco in the rock-cut caves at Tun-huang and the other is a stone image carved in low relief in the rock-cut temple at Kung-hsien The former is depicted along with other Hindu deities such as the Sun, the Moon and the Hindu god of love, Kamadeva and the Navagrahas. On stylistic grounds it can be dated to 6th century. The stone image at Kung-hsien can be dated on the basis of inscriptional evidence, to 53l A.D. It, thus, becomes the earliest dated image of Ganesa. He is shown seated in the true Indian cross legged posture. He has two hands, the right one holding lotus and the left, the cintamani jewel. The inscription refers to him as the 'Spirit King of Elephants'.

Two forms of Ganesa were known to the Chinese and the Japanese. Of these, Vinayaka was the single form and the Kangi-ten was the double form. There are many representations of Vinayaka who is usually shown seated. He has two hands, left holding a radish and the right holding a parasu (Fig. 14). Notwithstanding the fact that there is documentary evidence to show that the double form was secretly worshipped in China as late as 11th century no images of the double form have been found. This may perhaps be due to the ban on the worship of Kangi-ten imposed by emperor Chen Tsung in 1017 by an edict.