Monday, 15 February 2016


Post Mauryan Period
• Starts from: 2nd century BCE
• Caves, stupas, sculptures continued
• Sculpture making reached its climax during this stage.

Caves :

Now 2 kinds of caves originated –
  1. Chaitya 
  2. Vihar


·        Prayer hall for monks.
·        Karla Chaitya in Mahrashtra.


·        Residence / rest places of Monk.
·        Nashik Vihar, Ajanta caves (29 caves – 4 chaitya and 24 vihars)


  • Now more enlarged stupas were built.
  • Gateways or Toranas were now beautifully carved.

In this phase – 3 schools developed with regard to sculpture making.
  • Gandhara
  • Mathura
  • Amravati

1. Gandhara:

  • The origins of Greco-Buddhist art are to be found in the Hellenistic Greco-Bactrian kingdom (250 BC- 130 BC)
  • Outside Influence- Greek influence. Also called Indo Greek Art.
  • Religious Influence- Mainly Biddhist .
  • Promoted by- Kushana Dynasty.
  • Type of Sandstone- Grey Sandstone/Bluishgrey sandstone.
  • Areas- Northwest Frontier .

Features of sculptures:

  1. Spiritual Buddha(sad buddha) Represents calmness.
  2. Bearded Buddha with Moustache Wearing Less ornaments.
  3. Having wavy hair.
  4. Large forehead.
  5. Buddha is seated in position of Yogi.
  6. Having large ears.
  7. Protuberance on his head.
  8. Two Schools:
    1. Early – Bluish – grey sandstone.
    2. Later – Use of mud and lime plaster.
  • Mathura art developed during post Maurya peiod (mainly during Shunga period) and reached its peak during theGupta period (AD 325 to 600).
  • Outside Influence- No outside influence – indigenous.
  • Religious Influence- All 3Hinduism, Jain, Buddhist .
  • Promoted by- Kushana Dynasty.
  • Type of Sandstone- Spotted Red Sandstone.
  • Areas-  Mathura(U.P)    

Features of sculptures:

  1. Head and face shaven.
  2. Muscularity.
  3. Dress is tight, energetic body.
  4. Buddha face reflects grace.
  5. seated in Padmasana.
  6. Right hand in Abhaya.
  7. Mudra raised above shoulders.
  8. Left hand on thigh.
  9. Buddha surrounded by two Bodhisattavas:
    1. Padmapani – Holding lotus .
    2. Vajrapani –Holding vajra.
  10. Halo around the head of Buddha decorated with geometrical motifs.
  11. Images of Vaishnava (mainly vishnu and his various forms).
  12. Shiva represented through ling and Mukhaling.
  13. Jain:Sculpture of Mahavira Protuberance on head.
  14. The Buddha image at Mathura is modelled on the lines of earlier Yaksha images whereas in Gandhara it has Hellenistic features.

3.Amravati :

  • Evolved and flourished for nearly six centuries commencing from 200-100 BC.
  • Patronized first by the Satavahanas and later by the Ikshvakus and also by other groups
  • Outside Influence- indigenous.
  • Religious Influence- Mainly Buddhist.
  • Promoted by- Satvahanas and Icchavakus.
  • Type of Sandstone- White marbles.
  • Areas- Krishna Godavari lower valley.
Features of sculptures:
  1. Reflects narrative .
  2. Theme based on life of Buddha as Jataka stories.
  3. Stories of previous birth of Buddha both in human as well as animal Form.
  4. Amaravati has a mahachaitya and had many sculptures which are now preserved in Chennai Museum.
  5. bodies are shown with three bents (i.e. tribhanga).
  6. Linearity becomes flexible, dynamic movement breaks thestaticness of form.


Early Temples

  1. While construction of stupas continued, Brahmanical temples and images of gods also started getting constructed. 
  2. Often temples were decorated with the images of gods. 
  3. Myths mentioned in the Puranas became part of narrative representation of the Brahmanical religion. 
  4. Each temple had a principal image of a god. The shrines of thetemples were of three kinds—
    1. sandhara type (without pradikshinapatha), 
    2. nirandhara type (with pradakshinapatha), and 
    3. sarvatobhadra (which can be accessed from all sides).
  5. Some of the important temple sites of this period are Deogarh in Uttar Pradesh, Eran,Nachna-Kuthara and Udaygiri near Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh. 
  6. These temples are simple structures consisting of a veranda, a hall and a shrine at the rear.

Bharhut :

  1. Bharhut sculptures are tall like the images of Yaksha and
  2. Yakhshini in the Mauryan period, 
  3. Images stick to the picture plane. 
  4. In the relief panels depicting narratives, illusion of three-dimensionality is shown with tilted perspective.
  5. Clarity in the narrative is enhanced by selecting main events. At Bharhut, narrative panels are shown with fewer characters but as the time progresses, more than one event at one geographical place is clubbed in the picture space .
  6. Sculptures at Bharhut, Bodhgaya, Sanchi Stupa-2, and Jagayyapetta are good examples.
  7. Narrative reliefs at Bharhut show how artisans used the pictorial language very effectively to communicate stories.
  8. In one such narrative, showing Queen Mayadevi’s (mother of Siddhartha Gautam) dream, a descending elephant is shown.
  9. The queen is shown reclining on the bed whereas an elephant is shown on the top heading towards the womb of Queen Mayadevi. 
  10. On the other hand, the depiction of a Jataka story is very simple—narrated by clubbing the events according to the geographical location of the story.
  11. Such Jataka stories became part of stupa decoration.

Cave Tradition in India :

Karla cave : (MH)

  1. The biggest rock-cut chaitya hall was excavated. 
  2. The cave consists of an open courtyard with two pillars,a stone screen wall to protect from rain, a veranda, a stone-screen wall as facade, an apsidal vault-roof chaitya hall with pillars, and a stupa at the back. 
  3. Karla chaitya hall is decorated with human and animal figures

  1. It is located in Aurangabad District of Maharashtra State.
  2. Ajanta has twenty-nine caves. 
  3. It has four chaitya caves datable to the earlier phase, i.e., the second and the first century BCE (Cave Nos. 10 and 9) and the later phase, i.e., the fifth century CE (Cave Nos. 19 and 26). 
  4. It has large chaitya viharas and is decorated with sculptures and paintings.
  5. Ajanta is the only surviving example of painting of the first century BCE and the fifth century CE.
  6. The chaitya Cave Nos. 19 and 26 are elaborately carved. Their facade is decorated with Buddha and, Boddhisattva images.
  7. They are of the apsidal-vault-roof variety.
  8. Important patrons at Ajanta were Varahadeva- (patron of Cave No. 16), the prime minister of the Vakataka king, Harishena; Upendragupta (patron of Cave Nos. 17–20) the local king of the region and feudatory of the Vakataka king, Harishena; Buddhabhadra (patron of Cave No. 26); and Mathuradasa (patron of Cave No. 4).
  9. The themes of the paintings are the events from the life of the Buddha, the Jatakas and the Avadanas


  1. Located in Aurangabad District
  2. It is located a hundred kilometres from Ajanta
  3. It has thirty-two Buddhist, Brahmanical and Jain caves.
  4. It is a unique art-historical site in the country as it hasmonastries associated with the three religions dating from the fifth century CE onwards to the eleventh century CE.
  5. confluence of many styles at one place. 
  6. The caves of Ellora and Aurangabad show the ongoing differences between the two religions—Buddhism and Brahmanical.
  7.  Ajanta also has excavated double-storeyed caves but at Ellora, the triple storey is a unique achievement.
  8. Various guilds at Ellora came from different places like Vidarbha, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Elephanta Caves and Other Sites :

  1. The Elephanta Caves located near Mumbai, were originallya Buddhist site which was later dominated by the Shaivite faith. 
  2. It is contemporary with Ellora

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