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Details of sculptured panels, standards, columns and lintels from the gateways of the Stupa of Sanchi

Details of sculptured panels, standards, columns and lintels from the gateways of the Stupa of Sanchi

Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)

Medium: Pen and ink on paper

Date: 1850

Shelfmark: WD546

Item number: 17a

Length: 14.4

Width: 20.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

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Pencil, pen and ink drawing with notes by Frederick Charles Maisey from an album of 60 drawings dated 1847-1854. Fig. 28. Detail from a sculptured panel, N. Gate, right pillar. Fig. 29. Detail from a sculptured panel, N. Gate, right pillar. Fig. 30. Voluted end of lintels. E. Gate. Fig. 31. Standards. Inscribed 'Vignettes. Sheet 5.'

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 circa 269-232 BC) who built the original stupa (Stupa 1) and erected a monolithic pillar in the third century BC. The stupa was later enlarged and encased in stone around the 1st 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 (see fig. 30), all covered with sculptures illustrating episodes from the Jatakas, legends about the previous lives of Buddha, as well as stories from the historical Buddha. This drawing shows some of the details from the elaborate sculptural decoration of the stupa's gateways.

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