Fragments from one of the architraves of the N. Gate
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil and wash drawing heightened with white by Frederick Charles Maisey of the
fragments from one of the architraves of the north gateway of the stupa of Sanchi, taken from an album of 60 drawings dated 1847-1854.
The great Stupa of Sanchi is the finest example of monumental architecture of the Shunga era. Situated in a peaceful and meditative site crowning a hilltop, Sanchi was ideally located in proximity to the prosperous city of Vidisha. The foundation of this monastic centre were laid by the emperor Ashoka (reigned 269-232 BC ca.) who built the original stupa and erected a monolithic pillar in the third century BC. The stupa was later enlarged and encased in stone around the1st century BC under the Shungas and four magnificent gateways or toranas were added at the cardinal points. The northern torana consists of two square posts crowned with a group of four elephants and two shalabhanjika, females figures grasping the branch of a tree. These support a triple architrave with scrolled ends. The gateway is completely covered of sculptures depicting various episodes of the life of Buddha Sakhyamuni as narrated in the Vessantara Jataka and the Chhaddanta Jataka and other scenes such as the Miracle at Sravasti, the Buddha's departure from the palace and the temptation of Mara. The detail depicted in this drawing represents thrones, stupas and trees of the Manushi Buddhas.