Fig.19. Sandal from N. Gate entablature
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pencil drawing by Frederick Charles Maisey, of the details carved on one the entablatures of the North gateway of the Stupa of Sanchi. This drawing is 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 (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. The North Gateway 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. Figure 23 in this drawing depicts the floral motif carved on the small posts positioned in between the architraves. Figure 19 shows the detail of a sandal carved on one of the architraves. The gateway is completely covered of sculptures depicting various episodes of the life of Buddha Sakhyamuni from 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.