Sunday, April 17, 2011

All Greek to me

I went to see Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World in the British Museum yesterday and bought a fridge magnet.

Musing on the Greek influence and looking at a small statue of Heracles that had been discovered there I started - as one does - telling the Burglar how as Buddhism expanded in Central Asia, and fused with Hellenistic influences into Greco-Buddhism, Hercules was adopted to represent the Vajrapani bodhisattva, so that there is a sense in which he may be said to be the patron saint of the Shaolin monastery.

He countered by telling me that some people think that the club wielding Cerne Abbas giant is a representation of Hercules as well.

It is a long way from China to just outside Dorchester whether you go via Greece and Afghanistan or not.

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