Post-Maurya or Pre-Gupta Period: Schools of Art: Gandhara School

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Schools of Art

Gandhara School

Gandhara School

Period, Place and Patrons

It flourished from about the middle of the 1st century BC to about the 5th century AD in the Gandhara region (north- western India) and hence Known as the Gandhara school. It owed its origin to the Indo- Greek rulers, but the real patrons of the school were the Sake՚s and the Keshena՚s, especially Kamslika.

Influence of Mahayanist

Because of its intimate connection with Mahayana Buddhism, it is also called the Greco- Buddhist School.

Gandhara Sculpture Specimens

Gandhara Sculpture Specimens of Gandhara sculpture have been found extensively in the ruins of Axilla and the various ancient sites in Afghanistan and the north-western India They were executed in black stone Gandhara school has fool lowing main features:

  • a tendency to mound the human body in a realistic manner with great attention to accuracy of physical details especially the delineation of muscles the addition of moustaches curly hair etc.
  • the representation of thick drapery with large and bold fold lines
  • Rich carving elaborate ornamentation and complex symbolism

Gandhara Architecture

  • Buddhist Monasteries: A very large number of Buddhist monasteries were built in the Carly centuries of the Christian era Ruins of about 15 monasteries have been found in the neighborhood of Peshawar and Rawalpindi while in the Kabul valley alone there are some 50 examples
  • Buddhist Stupas: The Grace Roman ars- chitctural impact modified the structure of the stupa The orthodox Indian design of the stupa was developed into an architectural composition of fine proportions and characid- tar The height of the taupe was raised mnor mousy by elevating it on a high platform and by elongating it main body upwards Besides plastic ornamentation was added to the struck- true of the stump [pa All this provided the stupa effective and colorful appearance


The main theme of Gandhara School can be said to be the new form of Buddhism viz Mahayanist and its most important contra button was the evolution of an image of the Buddha

Mathura School

  • Period and Place; The school of art that developed at Mathura (U. P) has been called the Mathura School; its origin has been traced back to the middle of the
  • century BC, but it was only in the 1st century AD that its genuine progress began. The artists of Mathura used the spotted red sandstone for making images.

Its Relationship with Other Schools

Though the Mathura school owed much to the carlier Indian traditions (Bharuch, Gaya and Sancho) , it also borrowed from the Gandhara school and adopted more than one Greece- Roman motif.

Jain Images

In its early phase, the Mathura school was probably inspired by Jainism as we find that many Figures of cross. Legged naked ‘tirthankara’ in meditation were carved by. Mathura craftsmen.

Buddhist Images

The early Buddha՚s and Bodhisattvas of the Mathura school are fleshy figures with little spirituality about them, but later. They developed in grace and religious feeling. The attempt to display spiritual strength by a circle behind the faces of the images, in fact began with the Mathura school.

Brahmanical Images

The Mathura art-ists also carved out images of Brahmanical divinities Popular Brahmanical gods Siva and Vishnu were represented alone and sometimes with their consorts Parfait and Lakshmi respectively Images of many other Brahmanical deities were also faithfully ex-eluted in stone

Female Figures

The most striking re- mains are the beautiful female figures of Yaksinis Naggings and Asmara՚s these richly yelled ladies stand in pert attitudes remit nascent of the Indies dancing girl

Royal Statues

Most of the Keshena royal statues were found at the village of Mat (near Mathura) where the Keshena kings had a winter palace with a chapel in which the memory of former monarchs and princes was revered Almost all the figures have been bro ken by the rulers of the succeeding dynasties and that of the great Kanishka the most strike king of the statues unfortunately lacks its head

Amravati School

  • Period and Place: In the region between the lower valleys of the Krishna and Godavari which became an important center of Buddhism at least as early as the 2nd century BC a separate school of art known as the Amaravati School flourished Though it had its beginnings in the middle of the 2nd century BC it matured only in the later Satavahanas period (2nd and 3rd centuries AD) and declined by the end of the 4th century AD is main centers were Amaravati Nagarjuna Konda and Jaggayyapeta its art consists mainly used white marble
  • Buddhists Statues: The great stupa of Amaravati was adorned with limestone reliefs depicting scenes of the Buddha s life and sur rounded with free- standing Buddha figures
  • Secular Statues: Amravati artists crew acted beautiful human images which outnumber those of religious nature The figures and images of males and finales carved under the influence of this school have been regarded as some of the best amongst the contempt rabies not only from the point of view of their size physical beauty and expression of human emotions but also from the point of view of composition The female figures in different moods and poses are in particular its best creations. Even men animals and vegetation have been treated elegantly
  • it՚s Relationship with Other Schools: The Amravati school had great influence. it՚s products were carried to Ceylon and South East Asian counties and had a marked of fact the indigenous styles. it՚s influence on later south Indian sculpture is also very evident.

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