'Relic Series. Plate.3. Sthupa. No 3. at Sanchi and its relics.'
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink and wash drawing by Frederick Charles Maisey of the Stupa no. 3 at Sanchi and its relics, from an album of 60 drawings dated 1847-1854.
The Buddhist site of Sanchi is of outstanding importance for the number and variety of its monuments and sculptures. Its numerous preserved Buddhist structures, mostly stupas (Buddhist hemispherical monuments often containg relics), were built between the third century BC and the sixth to seventh centuries AD.
The foundations of this monastic centre were laid by the emperor Ashoka (reigned circa 269-232 BC) who built the original Stupa 1 and erected a monolithic pillar in the third century BC near the south gateway. Stupa 3 (1st century AD) resembles Stupa 1 although is of smaller dimensions. The importance of this monument lies in the fact that relics of two of Buddha's disciples, Shariputra and Maudgalyayana, were enshrined within the solid dome. Fragments of bone, several beads and other objects were found inside the caskets.