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East gate, Sanchi Topes

East gate, Sanchi Topes

Photographer: Dayal, Deen

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1875

Shelfmark: Photo 187/(20)

Item number: 20

Length: 19.1

Width: 13

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the eastern gateway of Sanchi stupa, taken by Deen Dayal around the 1870s. The great stupa of Sanchi is the most important surviving monument of the Shunga era (c.185-75 BC). It consists of a large hemispherical dome which was built over an already existing stupa ascribed to the 3rd century BC under the reign of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka Maurya (c.269-232 BC). Four elaborately carved gateways or torana were added to the stupa during the 1st century BC. The eastern gateway consists of two square posts crowned by four elephants supporting a triple architrave with scrolled ends elaborately carved with scenes taken from the Jataka legends on the life of the Buddha. On the sides of the elephants are two salabhanjikas, female figures grasping the branch of a tree representing an auspicious symbol.

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