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Sculpture representing a tree (Kulpadrum or wishing-tree), from Beshnagar, Bhopal State

Sculpture representing a tree (Kulpadrum or wishing-tree), from Beshnagar, Bhopal State

Photographer: Beglar, Joseph David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1875

Shelfmark: Photo 1003/(1305)

Item number: 10031305

Length: 22.7

Width: 16.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of a pillar capital carved in the form of a tree from Beshnagar, taken by Joseph David Beglar in the 1870s. Besnagar is located at a fork between the rivers Betwa and Bes. It was a large city from the Mauryan period onwards which has been confirmed from the coins found at the site. The pillar capital shown in this photograph is carved in the form of a banyan tree which we can assess from the shape of its leaves. It also represents the wish-fulfilling tree (kalpadruma or kalpavrksa) as indicated by the riches and treasures carved around it. The sacred railing at the base is the vedika that used to be built around sacred trees and sacred spots or chaityas in ancient India. The capital bears no inscription, but it has been dated to the Shunga period. The statue is now in the Indian Museum, Calcutta.

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