Plans and sections of Chaitya hall, Sanchi
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink and wash drawing by Frederick Charles Maisey of the plans and sections of temples at Sanchi, inscribed: 'Plate' 'XXXVII', with notes.
The Buddhist site of Sanchi is of outstanding importance for the number and variety of its monuments and sculptures. The site 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 269-232 BC ca.) who built the original Stupa 1 and erected a monolithic pillar in the third century BC near the south gateway. There are also some interesting temples preserved at the site. This drawing shows the plans and the sections of Temple 18, Temple 17 and Temple 31. Temple 17 (fig. 2 and 3) is an important example of structural architecture of the Gupta period from the fifth century. The temple consists of two units, a pillared porch and a shrine. Temple 18 (fig. 1) was built in the seventh century on the foundation of an earlier chaitya hall (a hall containing a stupa) as the circular walls and the columned nave with side aisles show. These used to be contained within a rectangle of walls. Tall sandstone columns decorated with part-circular incisions framing ocatgonal sections are still standing. Temple 31 (fig. 4 and 5) is a rectangular shrine entered by steps on the south and contain an image of a seated Buddha. Two columns standing in the middle of the structure are from the fifth century Guptan period whilst the rest of the structure is from the 11th century.
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.