West gate, Sanchi. South end of lower architrave.
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Wash drawing heightened with white by Frederick Charles Maisey of the figures of yakshas carved on the south end of the lower architrave of the west gate of Sanchi, inscribed: 'Plate XXV' with further notes, dated 1847-1854.
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 western gateway consists of two square posts crowned with a group of four pot bellied dwarfs called 'yakshas', reproduced in this drawing. These support a triple architrave with scrolled ends. The posts and the gateways are completely covered of sculptures depicting various episodes from the Jatakas, the stories of Buddha's previous incarnations. In these scenes the Buddha is represented aniconically.