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Sculpture pieces excavated from the Stupa at Bharhut: torana beam, disc carved with tala palm and firgures, sculpture slab with Idasalaguha scene

Sculpture pieces excavated from the Stupa at Bharhut: torana beam, disc carved with tala palm and firgures, sculpture slab with Idasalaguha scene

Photographer: Beglar, Joseph David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1874

Shelfmark: Photo 1003/(1481)

Item number: 10031481

Length: 18.4

Width: 23.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of some sculpture pieces excavated from the stupa at Bharhut taken by Joseph David Beglar in 1874. In this photograph we can observe a torana beam, a disc carved with tala palm and figures and a slab of sculpture with an Idasalaguha scene; they were probably part of a gateway at Bharhut. The exact date that a stupa was first erected at this site is not known, however, by the time the gateways were added in the early part of the first century BC, Bharhut had been established as a Buddhist place of worship for centuries. At this stage, the stupa complex consisted of a hemispherical dome, encircled by an inner and an outer railing or vedika which had been added in the latter part of the second century BC. The railing had openings in each of the four cardinal directions and about half a century after its addition, the openings were adorned with the addition of gateways. Each of these consisted of two pillars and three elaborately carved beams. The torana beam pictured would have made up part of the latter while the other carved pieces would have served a decorative purpose, probably as part of the pillars. The scene carved on this torana beam represents gryphons, lions and a sphinx approaching a bamboo altar. The relief in the medallion represents two devas seated on the upper floor of a palace with the lower floor resting on pillars with lotus capitals. There are two fan palm trees in the foreground.

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