By Mostafa Vaziri (auth.)
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Additional resources for Buddhism in Iran: An Anthropological Approach to Traces and Influences
71 Some of these cross-cultural similarities make it difficult to be precise about the original source of influence. As further evidence of iconographic intermingling, in Buddhist vihāras many paintings exhibit shared Iranian-Buddhist iconography. 72 Besides cross-influences manifesting during the Kushan period, Sasanid influences on Buddhist art can also be found. 79 Despite the lack of evidence of a Shaivism in Mesopotamia, the Gandhāran art of the Kushāns had found its way to the westernmost territories of the Sasanid Empire.
112 The fate of Buddhism in Khurāsān, eastern Iran, Kabul, and the Sindh remained fragile until the rise of the Saffārid dynasty in eastern Iran. 840–879), raided Kabul, which was later raided by the Ghaznavid Sabūktakīn in the late tenth century. 113 The Saffārid Ya‘qūb’s anti-Buddhist campaign led him to encroach on the “infidel” country of India, and to suppress Buddhism as well as Hinduism wherever he could. Ya‘qūb’s successor, his brother ‘Amr, who defeated the Shāhī king Kamālū, came to serve the interests of the caliphate of Baghdad by sending 50 gold and silver idols (a mixture of Buddhas and Hindu deities) to Caliph Mu‘tamid, which were later dispatched to Mecca114 —probably for display as a symbol of the caliph’s iconoclasm and for a revival of the historical memory of Mohammad’s defeat of idolatry.
The translation of this Sasanid literary work seems to have influenced Persian literature and miniature painting such that animals became the dominant characters, which was an already-established style of literature in Buddhism. Certainly, many of the Kushān Buddhist jātakas were passed on not only to the Sasanid literary culture but to the writers and artists of the Islamic period as well. In one of the Kushān jātakas, the bird illustrations represent a story among which Sīmurgh (the phoenix), the king of the birds, appeared along with the owl and other smaller fowls,81a theme that appears in the literary work of ‘Attār (d.