East gate, Sanchi. Capital on north end of lowest architrave
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil and wash drawing heightened with white of the capital on the north end of the lowest architrave of the East gateway of the stupa of Sanchi, by Frederick Charles Maisey, dated 1847-1854. Inscribed: 'plate XVIII'.
The four magnificent gateways or toranas of the stupa (a Buddhist monument consisting of a domed-shaped mound often containing sacred relics) of Sanchi were added during the first century BC. They consist of square posts, crowned with a set of four lions, elephants or pot-bellied dwarfs, supporting three curved architraves with scrolled ends. They are completely covered with relief sculptures depicting Jatakas (stories of the Buddha's earlier incarnations), scenes from the life of the historical Buddha and Buddhist symbols. This drawing depicts the set of elephants with elaborate ornaments that crown the post of the east gateway.
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 when the four elaborately carved
gateways were added at the cardinal points.