'East gate' [North gate], Sanchi
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil drawing by Frederick Charles Maisey of a sculptural panel from the North gateway of the Stupa of Sanchi, dated 1847-1854. This drawing depicts the top front panel of the right front of the North Gateway of the Stupa of Sanchi. It represents the descent of Buddha from the heaven of the Thirty-three Gods where he had gone to preach his dharma. Buddha is depicted by aniconic symbols descending the central ladder accompanied by Indra and Brahma and other gods and sages. 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 269-232 BC ca.). The stupa was later enlarged around the1st century BC under the Shungas and four elaborately carved gateways were added at the cardinal points. The Northern gateway consists of two square posts crowned with a group of four elephants. These support a triple architrave with scrolled ends. The gateway is completely covered of sculptures depicting various episodes of the life of Buddha Sakhyamuni from the Vessantara Jataka and the Chhaddanta Jataka and other scenes such as the Miracle at Sravasti, the Buddha's departure from the palace and the temptation of Mara.