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Fragments of a lion capital found at Bodh Gaya

Fragments of a lion capital found at Bodh Gaya

Photographer: Garrick, Henry Baily Wade

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1880

Shelfmark: Photo 1003/(66)

Item number: 100366

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of fragments of a lion capital found at Bodh Gaya, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections, taken by Henry Baily Wade Garrick in 1880-81. Bodh Gaya marks the spot where the Buddha attained his enlightenment. The focal point of Bodh Gaya is the Mahabodi Temple whose original shrine was raised by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC and the present temple dates from the 7th Century, late Gupta period.

Alexander Cunningham wrote: "Amongst the numerous fragments lately exhumed at Buddha Gaya, perhaps one of the most interesting is a portion (the lower half much mutilated) of an Asokan capital, representing two seated lions, both winged: this fragment with its plinth is about 10 inches high by about 20 inches long; but the restored capital, with its abacus, which measures 3 feet ½ inch long, would not be less than 2 feet 10 inches high. After making a diagram, which gave the approximate distance between each fragment, and served as a guide to the masons, I built up the missing parts with bricks and mortar (omitting of course the lions' heads), and by this means obtained a good idea of the general design of this important discovery. I also took a photograph of the whole capital after restoration."

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