Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pencil and ink on paper
Pencil, pen and ink drawing by Frederick Charles Maisey, of details of carvings from the gateways or toranas of the great Stupa of Sanchi, taken from an album of 60 drawings dated 1857-1854. The drawing is inscribed: 'Plate XIV. Fig. 22.' 'Caryatid figure. West gate' 'Fig. 24. Small prop. N. Gate entablature.' 'Fig. 26, 27. Female figures. N. Gate entablature.'
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 (Stupa1) 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 magnificently carved gateways called toranas were added at the cardinal points. These consist of square posts supporting three curved
architraves with scrolled ends, all covered with sculptures illustrating episodes from the Jatakas (legends about the previous lives of Buddha) as well as stories from the
Fig. 24 in this drawing depicts the figure carved on the small posts set in between the North gateway architraves. Fig. 22 depicts a dancer head carved on the West gateway. Fig.26 and 27 represent female figures carved on the architraves of the North gateway.