NCERT Class 11 Indian Art & Culture Post Mauryan Trends in Indian Art & Architecture YouTube Lecture Handouts Part 2

Click here to read Current Affairs & GS.

NCERT Class 11 Indian Art & Culture Post Mauryan Trends in Indian Art & Architecture | CBSE |English

Mathura, Sarnath & Gandhara School of Architecture

Gandhara Art

  • Developed with Graeco-Roman influence and mostly centred in Taxila, Jalalabad, etc. Grey Sandstone was used and images were more expressive with slender body, details were finely carved, wavy hair. But halo was not decorated.
  • Hellenistic features like triton decoration, Vajrapani considered as Hercules, etc. were common. Roman influence could be seen in cherubs holding garland, vine scrolls, centaurs, etc. Buddha was depicted like Apollo God with Roman dressings.
  • Examples are Bimaran casket, Bamiyan Buddha, etc.

Mathura Art

  • Indigenously developed and later cross-fertilized with Gandhara art. Initially started with making of Yaksha and Yakshini figures.
  • Mostly centred in and around Mathura, it used red sandstone with mud, stucco, etc. Body details were not as expressly carved as Gandhara and images were fleshy, but halo was profusely decorated.
  • Examples are Sarvatobhaadrika, etc. It also showed Jainism.
  • A headless statue of Kanishka was found in Mathura.
  • Both Gandhara and Mathura Art schools reached peak during Kanishka.

Sarnath Art

  • Mostly in 5th century, used chunar sandstone and localised around Sarnath.
  • Example is sitting Buddha in Dharchakrapravartan mode with legs crossed and drapery shown as transparent. The back of the throne is decorated with motifs.
  • Many art works are preserved in Sarnath museum.
  • All these art schools were mostly inspired by religion and have left behind a rich heritage.
  • The traditional centre, Mathura, remained the main art production site whereas Sarnath and Kosambi also emerged as important centres of art production. Many Buddha images in Sarnath have plain transparent drapery covering both shoulders, and the halo around the head has very little ornamentation whereas the Mathura Buddha images continue to depict folds of the drapery in the Buddha images and the halo around the head is profusely decorated.
  • Mathura has images from Kushan Period - The image of the Buddha from the Katra mound belongs to the second century CE. It represents the Buddha with two Boddhisattva attendants. The Buddha is seated in padmasana (cross-folded legs) and the right hand is in the abhayamudra, raised a little above the shoulder level whereas the left hand is placed on the left thigh. The ushanisha, i.e.. , hair knot, is shown with a vertically raised projection. Mathura sculptures from this period are made with light volume having fleshy body. The shoulders are broad.
  • The sanghati (garment) covers only one shoulder and has been made prominently visible covering the left hand whereas while covering the torso, the independent volume of the garment is reduced to the body torso. The Buddha is seated on a lion throne. The attendant figures are identified as the images of the Padmapani and Vajrapani Boddhisattvas as one holds a lotus and the other a vajra (thunderbolt) . They wear crowns and are on either side of the Buddha.
  • The halo around the head of the Buddha is very large and is decorated with simple geometric motifs. There are two flying figures placed diagonally above the halo. They bear a lot of movement in the picture space. Flexibility replaces the earlier rigidity in the images giving them a more earthy look. Curves of the body are as delicately carved. The upright posture of the Buddha image creates movement in space. The face is round with fleshy cheeks. The bulge of the belly is sculpted with controlled musculature.
  • The Buddha head from Taxila in the Gandhara region, now in Pakistan, dates back to the 2nd century CE and belongs to the Kushana Period. The image shows hybridised pictorial conventions that developed during the Gandhara period. It has Greco-Roman elements in the treatment of sculpture. The Buddha head has typical Hellenistic elements that have grown over a period of time. The curly hair of the Buddha is thick having a covered layer of sharp and linear strokes over the head. The forehead plane is large having protruding eyeballs, the eyes are half-closed and the face and cheeks are not round like the images found in other parts of India. There is a certain amount of heaviness in the figures of the Gandhara region. The ears are elongated especially the earlobes. The treatment of the form bears linearity and the outlines are sharp. The surface is smooth. The image is very expressive. The interplay of light and dark is given considerable attention by using the curving and protruding planes of the eye-socket and the planes of the nose. The expression of calmness is the centre point of attraction.
  • Modelling of the face enhances the naturalism of three-dimensionality. Assimilating various traits of Acamenian, Parthian and Bactrian traditions into the local tradition are a hallmark of the Gandhara style. The Gandhara images have physiognomic features of the Greco-Roman tradition but they display a very distinct way of treating physiognomic details that are not completely Greco-Roman.
  • The source of development of Buddha images as well as others has its genesis in its peculiar geo-political conditions. It may also be observed that the north-western part of India, which is now Pakistan, always had continuous habitation from protohistoric times. It continued in the historical period as well. A large number of images have been found in the Gandhara region. They consist of narratives of the life of the Buddha, narrations from the Jataka stories, and Buddha and Boddhisattva images
  • This image of the Buddha from Sarnath belonging to the late fifth century CE is housed in the site museum at Sarnath. It has been made in Chunar sandstone. The Buddha is shown seated on a throne in the padmasana. It represents dhammachackrapravartana as can be seen from the figures on the throne. The panel below the throne depicts a chakra (wheel) in the centre and a deer on either side with his disciples.
  • Thus, it is the representation of the historical event of dhammachakrapravartana or the preaching of the dhamma. This Buddha image is a fine example of the Sarnath school of sculpture. The body is slender and well-proportioned but slightly elongated. The outlines are delicate, very rhythmic. Folded legs are expanded in order to create a visual balance in the picture space. Drapery clings to the body and is transparent to create the effect of integrated volume. The face is round, the eyes are half-closed, the lower lip is protruding, and the roundness of the cheeks has reduced as compared to the earlier images from the Kushana Period at Mathura. The hands are shown in dhammachakrapravartana mudra placed just below the chest. The neck is slightly elongated with two incised lines indicating folds.
  • The ushanisha has circular curled hairs. The aim of the sculptors in ancient India had always been to represent the Buddha as a great human being who achieved nibbana (i.e.. , cessation of anger and hate) . The back of the throne is profusely decorated with different motifs of flowers and creepers placed in a concentric circle.
  • The central part of the halo is plain without any decoration. It makes the halo visually impressive. Decoration in halo and the back of the throne indicates the artisan՚s sensitivity. Sarnath Buddha images of this period show considerable softness in the treatment of the surface and volume. Transparent drapery becomes part of the physical body. Such refinement comes over a period of time and these features continued in subsequent periods.
  • There are many other Buddha images in the standing position from Sarnath having features like transparent drapery, subtle movement, carved separately and placed about the memorial stupas around the Dharmarajika Stupa. These images are now preserved in the Sarnath Museum. They are either single or with the attendant figures of Boddhisattvas, Padmapani and Vajrapani.
Gandhara School of Art and Mathura School of Art
Gandhara School of ArtMathura School of Art
It is a style of Buddhist visual art.It deals with subjects from Hinduism (both Vaishnav and Shavite images) and Jainism as well.
It has Hellenistic features of Buddha image.The Buddha image at Mathura is modelled on the lines of earlier Yaksha images.
The expression of calmness is the centre point of attraction of Gandhar Buddha.Mathura Buddha is delighted in mood, seated in Padmasana and right hand in Abhyamudra and left hand on left thigh showing masculinity.
Eyes are longer; ear lobes longer and noses sharper and better defined.Shorter ear lobes, thicker lips, wider eyes and prominent nose.
Grey sandstone, stucco (lime plaster) .Red stone for making the sculptures.
It was a fusion of Greco-Roman/Hellenisitc and Indian styles.It was inspired by the early Indian Buddhist arts of Bharhut and Sanchi of MP.
It flourished from about the middle of the first century BC to about the fifth century AD in the Gandhara region (north-western India) .The origin has been traced back to the middle of the school century BC, but it was only in the first century AD that its genuine progress began.

Developed by: