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North gate, Sanchi. Upper panel on west face of east pillar.

North gate, Sanchi. Upper panel on west face of east pillar.

Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)

Medium: Pencil on paper

Date: 1850

Shelfmark: WD3571

Item number: 3571

Genre: Drawing

Pencil and wash heightened with white of the upper panel on the west face of the east pillar of the North gateway at Sanchi, by Frederick Maisey, dated 1847-1854. Inscribed: 'plate VIII'.

This panel depicts the visit of Indra to the Buddha in the cave near Rajagriha. In front of the door of the cave temple there is a throne that marks the presence of the Buddha. The animals among the rocks show the wilderness of the spot. Below there is Indra and his company in attitude of worship.

The great Stupa of Sanchi is the finest example of monumental architecture of the Shunga era. It consists of a large hemispherical dome which was built over an already existing stupa ascribed to the 3rd century BC from the time of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka Maurya (reigned circa 269-232 BC). The stupa was later enlarged around the1st century BC under the Shungas and four elaborately carved gateways 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. The gateway is completely covered with sculptures depicting various episodes from the life of Buddha Sakhyamuni from the Vessantara and the Chhaddanta Jataka.

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