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South gate, Sanchi. Kneeling elephant. Working drawing of the west end of the lower architrave.

South gate, Sanchi. Kneeling elephant. Working drawing of the west end of the lower architrave.

Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)

Medium: Pencil on paper

Date: 1850

Shelfmark: WD3585

Item number: 3585

Length: 17.5

Width: 19.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Pencil drawing of a kneeling elephant from the South gate of the Stupa of Sanchi, by Frederick Charles Maisey, dated 1847-1854. Working drawing of the west end of the lower architrave, inscribed: 'Plate XXIX Sanchi series' and notes.

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 South Gateway consists of two square posts crowned by lion caryatids which support an architrave with

scrolled ends. These are covered with sculptures that illustrate episodes from the Jatakas legends related to the life of Buddha. The kneeling elephant with a male and female rider represented in this drawing is carved on a square block of the lowest architrave of the gateway.

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