South gate. Middle section of bottom architrave on back of South gate, working drawing of right hand section
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil drawing by Frederick Charles Maisey, dated 1847-1854, of right hand section of the panel depicting the War over the Buddha's relic on the Stupa of Sanchi. This scene is carved on the middle section of the bottom architrave on the back of the south gateway. This is a working drawing for the final plate XX published in Maisey's 'Sanchi and its Remains' of 1892. Lieutenant Maisey spent the cold seasons of 1849-50 and 1850-51 at Sanchi to prepare an illustrated Government report of the antiquities of the site. He was joined by Major Alexander Cunningham in 1851.
The great Stupa of Sanchi is the finest example of monumental architecture of the Shunga era. 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 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 magnificent gateways or toranas were added at the cardinal points. These consist of square posts 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.