Arts of Mauryan Period Lomus Rishi Cave

Download PDF of This Page (Size: 810K)

The rock-cut cave carved at Barbara hills near Gaya in Bihar.

Image of Lomus Rishi Cave In Bihar

Image of Lomus Rishi Cave in Bihar

Image of Lomus Rishi Cave In Bihar

  • The facade of the cave is decorated with the semi-circular chaityaarch as the entrance.

  • The elephant frieze carved in high relief on the chaityaarch shows considerable movement.

  • The interior hall of this cave is rectangular with a circular chamber at the back.

  • The entrance is located on the side wall of the hall.

  • The cave was patronised by Ashoka for the Ajivika sect.

  • An isolated example of this period.

  • Many Buddhist caves of the subsequent periods were excavated in eastern and western India.

  • Stupas were constructed over the relics of the Buddha at Rajagraha, Vaishali, Kapilavastu, Allakappa, Ramagrama, Vethadipa, Pava, Kushinagar and Pippalvina.

  • The textual tradition also mentions construction of various other stupas on the relics of the Buddha at several places including Avanti and Gandhara which are outside the Gangetic valley.

  • Stupa, viharaand chaityaare part of Buddhist and Jaina monastic complexes but the largest number belongs to the Buddhist religion.

  • One of the best examples of the structure of a stupa in the third century BCE is at Bairat in Rajasthan.

  • It is a very grand stupa having a circular mound with a circumambulatory path.

  • The great stupaat Sanchi (which will be discussed later) was built with bricks during the time of Ashoka and later it was covered with stone and many new additions were made.

  • Donations by the guilds are also mentioned at several sites.

  • very few inscriptions mentioning the names of artisans such as Kanha at Pitalkhora and his disciple Balaka at Kondane caves.

  • Artisans’ categories like stone carvers, goldsmiths, stone-polishers, carpenters, etc. are also mentioned in the inscriptions.

  • The Lion Capital discovered more than a hundred years ago at Sarnath, near Varanasi, is generally referred to as Sarnath Lion Capital.

  • One of the finest examples of sculpture from the Mauryan period.

  • Built in commemoration of the historical event of the first sermon or the Dhammachakrapravartana by the Buddha at Sarnath, the capital was built by Ashoka.

Image of Dhammachakrapravartana

Image of Dhammachakrapravartana

Image of Dhammachakrapravartana

  • The capital originally consisted of five component parts: (i) the shaft (which is broken in many parts now), (ii) a lotus bell base, (iii) a drum on the bell base with four animals proceeding clockwise, (iv) the figures of four majestic addorsed lions, and (v) the crowning element, Dharamchakra, a large wheel, was also a part of this pillar.

  • Wheel is lying in a broken condition and is displayed in the site museum at Sarnath.

  • The capital without the crowning wheel and the lotus base has been adopted as the National Emblem of Independent India.

  • The lions appear as if they have held their breath.

  • Kept in the archaeological museum at Sarnath, the capital has four lions firmly seated back to back on a circular abacus.

  • The surface of the sculpture is heavily polished which is typical of the Mauryan Period.

  • Their curly manes have protruding volume.

  • The abacus has the depiction of a chakra (wheel) having twenty-four spokes in all the four directions and a bull, a horse, an elephant and a lion between every chakra is finely carved.

  • A lion capital has also been found at Sanchi but is in a dilapidated condition.

  • The life-size standing image of a Yakshini holding a chauri (flywhisk) from Didargunj near modern Patna is another good example of the sculptural tradition of the Mauryan Period.

  • Stupas were elaborately built with certain additions like the enclosing of the circumambulatory path with railings and sculptural decoration.

  • The stupa consists of a cylindrical drum and a circular and a with a harmika and chhatraon the top which remain consistent throughout with minor variations and changes in shape and size.

Image of Stupa, Consist of A Cylindrical Drum And a Circular

Image of Stupa, Consist of a Cylindrical Drum and a Circular

Image of Stupa, Consist of A Cylindrical Drum And a Circular

  • During the early phase of Buddhism, Buddha is depicted symbolically through footprints, stupas, lotus throne, chakra, etc.

  • This indicates either simple worship, or paying respect, or at times depicts historisisation of life events.

  • Thus, events from the life of the Buddha, the Jataka stories, were depicted on the railings and torans of the stupas.

  • While events from the life of the Buddha became an important theme in all the Buddhist monuments, the Jataka stories also became equally important for sculptural decorations.

  • The main events associated with the Buddha’s life which were frequently depicted were events related to the birth, renunciation, enlightenment, dhammachakra pravartana, and mahaparinibbana (death).

  • Among the Jataka stories that are frequently depicted are Chhadanta Jataka, Vidurpundita Jataka, Ruru Jataka, Sibi Jataka, and Vessantara Jatakaand Shama Jataka.