Details on The Gupta Age & Cave Architecture for Competitive Exams

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The Gupta Age

Image of Gupta Age

Image of Gupta Age

Image of Gupta Age

  • Timeline A.D. to A.D. approx.

  • Art, science and literature flourished greatly during their time.

  • The iconographic canons of Brahmanical, Jain, and Buddhist divinities were perfected and standardized.

  • Two climax in this era

  • Architecture

  • Cave architecture

  • Temple architecture

  • Sculpture

  • Sarnath school of sculpture


Image of Guptas

Image of Guptas

Image of Guptas

  • Brahmanical by religion

  • Showed tolerance towards Jainism and Budhhism.

  • Development of Hinudism.

  • Mainly Three deities of Hinduism

  • Vishnu-Northern and central India

  • Shiv-Southern India

  • Shakti-Bengal and eastern India, Malabar region of kerala

Cave Architecture

  • Earliest rock cut caves by Asoka (around B.C.) and his grandson Dasharatha.

  • Early caves excavated on wooden models

  • Standardised religious meeting places

  • Ex. Barabar caves and Nagarjun I caves

  • Inner walls finely polished.

  • Later cave temples and monestries found in many parts of India.

  • West Deccan under Satvahana rulers-largest and most famous artificial caves were excavated.

  • Eventually this rock cut architecture developed into powerful and popular architectural style.

Phases of Cave Architecture

Image of Cave architecture

Image of Cave Architecture

Image of Cave architecture

3 definite phases

1st phase or earliest phase-2nd B.C. to 2nd A.D.

  • Related exclusively to early budhhism

  • Buddha was represented symbolically

  • Major excavations chaitya and vihar

  • Practised in less permamnent materials like wood.

  • Ex-karla, Kanheri, Nasik,Bhaja,Bedsa caves.

2nd phase-5th and 7th century

  • Elimination of timber

  • Introduction of the image of the Buddha

  • The plan of excavations specially for chaitya remained the same as before.

  • Vihar - some changes housed the image of Budhha

3rd phase-or the last phase-7th to 10th Century

  • The hindus and Jains extended the Buddhist architectural tradition

  • With some modifications suitable to their rituals

Dravidian Cave Architecture

Image of Dravidian architecture

Image of Dravidian Architecture

Image of Dravidian architecture

  • Dominant features

  • The Mandapa-open pavallion excavated out of a rock-simple columned hall with two or more cells

  • The Ratha-monolithic shrine carved out of a single rock