Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink drawings by Frederick Charles Maisey of Plate XXXV, inscribed: Fig.1. Chatta-shaded Wheel pillar (South Gate).' Fig. 2. 'Sinha-Stambha, supporting a wheel of 16 or 17 radii, or spokes, from No 3 Sthupa.' Fig. 3. 'Wheel, of 24 radii, or spokes, on a pedestal, or altar: from No 2 Sthupa.' These drawings are taken from an album of 60 drawings, dated 1847-1854.
Lieutenant Maisey spent the cold seasons of 1849-50 and 1850-51 at Sanchi to prepare an illustrated Government report of the antiquities of the site. He was joined by Major Alexander Cunningham in 1851.
The Buddhist site of Sanchi is of outstanding importance for the number and variety of its monuments and sculptures as it has preserved numerous Buddhist structures, mostly stupas, built between the third century BC and the sixth-seventh century AD.
The foundations of this monastic centre were laid by the emperor Ashoka (reigned 269-232 BC ca.) who built the original Stupa1 and erected a monolithic pillar in the third century BC near the south gateway. Stupa 2 stands on the western slope of the hill and dates from the second century BC. Stupa 3 is situated at a short distance from the great stupa and was built between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD.
Fig.1 represents the Dharmachakra pillar which is carved on the south side of the west pillar of the southern gateway of the great stupa of Sanchi. In his 'Sanchi and its Remains' of 1892, Maisey wrote, "The fourth or top compartment has a representation of the worship of the sacred wheel-symbol, by men and women, in Indian dress, and eight deer. The wheel has thirty-two spokes; each of which ends, on the outer circumference, or tire, in a small disc-and-crescent symbol..."
Fig.2 shows the Sinha-stambha or lion pillar supporting the wheel of Dharma or Law which Buddha set in motion with his First Sermon, carved on the right post of the gateway or torana of Stupa 3.
Fig. 3 depicts the adoration of the Dharmachakra, the wheel of Dharma or Law.