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North gate, Sanchi. Upper panel on inner face of west pillar.

North gate, Sanchi. Upper panel on inner face of west pillar.

Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)

Medium: Pen and ink on tracing paper

Date: 1850

Shelfmark: WD3604

Item number: 3604

Length: 26.4

Width: 17.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Pen and ink drawing on tracing paper by Frederick Charles Maisey of the upper panel on inner face of west pillar of the North Gate of Sanchi, inscribed: 'Plate XII and Costumes, Pl. X'.

The scene depicted in this drawing represents the worship of a stupa, probably the one containing the Buddha's relics. Some of the figures are celebrating the occasion with music and dancing while other are circumambulating the stupa, from right to left, with offerings and garlands. Around the stupa there are four male 'kinnaras', celestial musicians.

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 the 1st century BC under the Shungas and four elaborately carved

gateways were added at the cardinal points. The North Gateway consists of two square posts crowned with a group of four elephants and two 'shalabhanjika', females figures who grasp the branch of a tree. These support a triple architrave with scrolled ends. The gateway is completely covered of sculptures depicting various episodes of the life of Buddha Sakhyamuni. The panel depicted in this drawing is carved on the inside face of the left post of the gateway.

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