NCERT Class 11 Indian Art & Culture Post Mauryan Trends in Indian Art & Architecture YouTube Lecture Handouts Part 1

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NCERT Class 11 Indian Art & Culture Post Mauryan Trends in Indian Art & Architecture | CBSE |English
  • Incidentally, the period of the second century BCE also marked the rise of the main Brahmanical sects such as the Vaishnavas and the Shaivas
  • There are numerous sites dating back to the second century BCE in India.
  • Some of the prominent examples of the finest sculpture are found at Vidisha, Bharhut (Madhya Pradesh) , Bodhgaya (Bihar) , Jaggayyapeta (Andhra Pradesh) , Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) , Khandagiri-Udaigiri (Odisha) , Bhaja near Pune and Pavani near Nagpur (Maharashtra) .
  • Bharhut is a village located in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh, central India. It is known for its famous relics from a Buddhist stupa. The most famous donor for the Bharhut stupa was King Dhanabhuti.

Bharhut Sculptures

  • Narrative Panels with few Characters
  • Can be a single main event or more than 1
  • Tall images of Yaksha and Yakshini
  • Folded hands are shown
  • Dressing the stone slab & then sculpting the body
  • Deep carvings, pronounced volume and naturalistic
  • representation of human and animal bodies
  • Pictorial language used to communicate stories
  • Male images with knotted headgear
Male Images with Knotted Headgear
  • Tall like the images of Yaksha and Yakhshini in the Mauryan period
  • Images stick to the picture plane.
  • In the relief panels depicting narratives, illusion of three-dimensionality is shown with tilted perspective
  • But in some cases, especially in later times, the hands are shown with the natural projection against the chest.
  • In one such narrative, showing Queen Mayadevi՚s (mother of Siddhartha Gautam) dream, a descending elephant is shown. The queen is shown reclining on the bed whereas an elephant is shown on the top heading towards the womb of Queen Mayadevi.
  • Some of the sculptures found at Bharhut are displayed in Indian Museum, Kolkata
  • Depiction of a Jataka story is very simple — narrated by clubbing the events according to the geographical location of the story like the depiction of Ruru Jataka where the Boddhisattva deer is rescuing a man on his back.
  • King standing with his army and about to shoot an arrow at the deer, and the man who was rescued by the deer is also shown along with the king pointing a finger at the deer. According to the story, the man promised the deer after his rescue that he would not disclose his identity to anybody. But when the king makes a proclamation of reward for disclosing the identity of the deer, he turns hostile and takes the king to the same jungle where he had seen the deer. Such Jataka stories became part of stupa decoration.
  • The next phase of sculptural development at Sanchi Stupa-1, Mathura, and Vengi in Andhra Pradesh (Guntur District) is noteworthy in the stylistic progression.
  • Stupa-1 at Sanchi has upper as well as lower pradakshinapatha or circumambulatory path. It has four beautifully decorated toranas depicting various events from the life of the Buddha and the Jatakas.
  • Sanchi, about 50 km from Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, is a world heritage site. Along with other relatively small stupas, there are three main stupas at Sanchi. Stupa-1 is presumed to have the relics of the Buddha, Stupa-2, the relics of ten less famous arhats belonging to three different generations. Their names are found on the relic casket. Stupa-3 has the relics of Sariputta and Mahamougalayana.
  • Stupa-1, known for the carvings on its gateways is one of the finest examples of stupa architecture. Originally the stupa was a small brick structure which expanded over a period and was covered with stone, vedika and the torana (gateways) . The Ashokan lion capital pillar with an inscription is found on the southern side of the stupa, indicating how Sanchi became a Centre of monastic and artistic activities. The south gateway was made first followed by the others. The pradakshinapath around the stupa is covered with the Vedika. There is also the upper pradakshinapath which is unique to this site. The four gateways are decorated profusely with sculptures. Buddha is shown symbolically as an empty throne, feet, chhatra, stupas, etc. Toranas are constructed in all four directions. Their stylistic differences indicate their possible chronology from the first century BCE onwards. Though Stupa-1 is the oldest stupa, the carving of images on the vedica of Stupa-2 are earlier than those on Stupa-1. Jatakas also become an important part of the narratives in stupas.
  • The figures at Sanchi, despite being small in dimension, show considerable mastery of sculpting. Their physiognomic treatment of the body shows both depth and dimension which are very naturalistic. There are guardian images on pillars and the shalbhanjika (i.e.. , lady holding the branch of a tree) sculptures are remarkable in their treatment of volume. The rigidity of the earlier sculptures of Stupa-2 is no more there. Each torana consists of two vertical pillars and three horizontal bars on the top. Each horizontal bar is decorated with different sculptural themes on the front as well as at the back. Supporting the extensions of the lowermost horizontal bar from below are the images of shalbhanjikas.

Sanchi Sculptures

Naturalistic postures with no stiffness

Reduced rigidity in contours

Elaborate narrations

Advanced carving techniques than Bharhut

Sanchi Sculptures

Figure compositions are in high relief, filling up the entire space. Depiction of posture gets naturalistic and there is no stiffness in the body.

  • Symbols continue to be used representing the Buddha and the Manushi Buddhas or the past Buddhas (according to the textual tradition, there are twenty-four Buddhas but only the first one, Dipankar, and the last six are pictorially represented) .
  • At Sanchi Stupa-1, narratives get more elaborated; however, the depiction of the dream episode remains very simple showing the reclining image of the queen and the elephant at the top. The historical narratives such as the siege of Kushinara, Buddha՚s visit to Kapilavastu, visit of Ashoka to the Ramgrama Stupa are carved with considerable details.

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