Dancing figure at N. Entrance
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pencil and ink on paper
Pencil and ink drawing with notes by Frederick Charles Maisey of the figure of salabhanjika from the north gateway of the stupa of Sanchi, from an album of 60 drawings, dated 1847-1854.
The salabhanjika is a female tree spirit represented grasping the branch of a tree which represents an ancient fertility emblem. The sculpture projects from the top of the posts of the gateway crowned with a set of four elephants.
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 historical Buddha.