Plan and elevation of Stupa no.2, Sanchi
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink and wash drawing of the plan and elevation of Stupa no.2 at Sanchi, by Frederick Charles Maisey, dated 1857-1854, inscribed: 'Plate XXIX', with notes.
Lieutenant Maisey spent the cold seasons of 1849-50 and 1850-51 at Sanchi to prepare an illustrated Govenment report of the antiquities of the site. He was joined by Major Alexander Cunningham in 1851. The result of his work was published in 'Sanchi and its remains' of 1892, illustrated by reproductions of his own drawings. The Buddhist site of Sanchi is of outstanding importance for the number and variety of its monuments and sculptures. It has numerous Buddhist structures, mostly stupas, built between the third century BC and the sixth to seventh century AD. The foundations of this monastic centre were laid by the emperor Ashoka (reigned circa 269-232 BC) who built the original Stupa 1 and erected a monolithic pillar in the third century BC near the south gateway. Stupa 2 stands on the western slope of the hill and dates from the second century BC. It was found entire by Captain Fell in 1819 but was later partly destroyed by various archaeologists; this drawing shows the state in which Maisey found it in 1850. The stupa consists of a plain hemispherical dome with no gateways and external decorations, differently from Stupa 1 and Stupa 3. The balustrades of the processional pathway are elaborately carved with floral designs, real and mythical animals and divine beings. The importance of this stupa lies in the fact that it contained relics of several Buddhist teachers in caskets buried in the solid mass of the stupa.