Rear view of the N. Gate. Inscribed with notes and measurements
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil drawing with notes and measurements of the rear face of the north gateway of the stupa of Sanchi with notes, by Frederick Charles Maisey, 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 north gateway consists of square posts crowned by elephants supporting three curved architraves with scrolled ends. These are completely covered with relief sculptures depicting stories from the Chaddanta Jataka and the Vessantara Jataka(stories of the Buddha's earlier incarnations) and scenes from the life of the historical Buddha such as the Temptation of Mara and various Buddhist symbols.