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Plan of the Stupa, Amaravati. March 1816

Plan of the Stupa, Amaravati. March 1816

Artist: Anonymous

Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink

Date: 1816

Shelfmark: WD806

Item number: 806

Length: 19.6

Width: 19

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Plan

Pen-and-ink and water-colour plan of the Stupa of Amaravati, dated March 1816. Inscribed on the front in ink is: 'A Sketch of Dupuldinna in its Present state. March 1816'; also measurements and notes.

The great Buddhist Stupa of Amaravati is one of the greatest architectural achievement of ancient India. The site is situated on the outskirts of the town of Amaravati near the ancient ruined city of Dharanikota. The stupa was founded in the 3rd-2nd centuries BC and enlarged in the 1st-4th centuries AD under the Satavahana and Ikshvaku patronage. It was a centre of religious activities for hundreds of years and then fell to disrepair. By the mid-1790s the ruin of the Great Stupa has deteriorated into a mound of rubble with fragments of sculpture scattered about. In 1797 the British colonel Colin Mackenzie heard about the site and visited it. He was able to return again only in March 1816. During his six months stay he made a series of drawings. This map shows the state of the stupa at that time. The top of the mound had been dug into by the local landlord to make a water tank and the stupa had been pillaged for its stonework.

The monument does now only survive in the collections of the Amaravati sculptures kept in various museums.

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