India’S Rare Life-Sized Stucco Sculpture Unearthed in Telangana (Download PDF)

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Indian archaeologists unearthed a rare life-sized stucco sculpture from a Buddhist site at Phanigiri in Suryapet, Telangana. This is biggest stucco sculpture found in India till date. As per archaeologists, life-size figurine represents a Bodhisattva in Jathaka Chakra. It was created nearly 1,700 years ago by craftsmen at Phanigiri at peak of Ikshavaku dynasty. Traditional stucco is made of sand, water and lime while Modern stucco is made of sand, water and Portland cement. To increase permeability and workability of modern stucco, Lime is added to it.

Map location Show in Phanigiri in Suryapet, Telangana

Map Location Show in Phanigiri in Suryapet, Telangana

Map location Show in Phanigiri in Suryapet, Telangana

This is Image show in rare life-Sized Stucco Sculpture

This is Image Show in Rare Life-Sized Stucco Sculpture

This is Image show in rare life-Sized Stucco Sculpture

Stucco & Sculpture Features

  • It is a material made from aggregates, binder, and water. It is applied wet and hardens in to a very dense solid.

  • It is about 1.73 metres in height and 35 cm in width.

  • It is used as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture.

  • As per archaeologists, the life-size figurine represents a Bodhisattva in Jathaka Chakra.

Background Developments

  • According to the Heritage Department, while scientific clearance works were being carried out on January 6,2015, a valuable dull red earthenware pot with silver container consisting of 11 miniatures beats and three silver and three thin gold flower pelts were discovered at the north-eastern corner of Mahastupa.

  • The mahastupa is considered as Paribhogika stupa which contains the personal belongings of Buddhist monks, a practice that was prevalent during the Ashoka period and continued till the 4th century AD.

  • The preliminary excavation at Phanigiri was started in 1941 by Khaja Muhammad Ahmad of the Archaeology Department of the erstwhile Hyderabad state, which continued till 1944. After that, the department took up conservation and restoration work of the Mahastupa and chaityagrihas at the Phanigiri hillock in the 2000s.

  • The excavations have also brought to light other artefacts belonging to ancient times. A Mahastupa, apsidal chaitya grihas, votive stupas and pillared congregation halls belonging to the Satavahana period from the first century BC were also found.

The Ikshvaku Dynasty

  • As per Puranic literature, it was founded by king Ikshvaku.

  • Known as Sūryavamśa (the Solar dynasty). Important Personalities belonging to this dynasty includes: Lord Rama, Twenty-two out of twenty-four Jain Tirthankara, and according to Buddhist texts, Prince Siddhartha also belonged to this dynasty.

- Published/Last Modified on: August 9, 2019

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