BUDDHIST JAIN AND HINDU ART
(3rd century B.C. to 8th century A.D.)
General introduction of art Mauryan, shunga, Kushan, gandhara, and Mathura style and Guptas period)
Maurya art encompasses the art produced during the period of king Ashoka. he was the first emperor to rule over most of the Indian subcontinent. Indian art had undergone an important transition during his period as his stone came into use in place of wood. The royal art was patronized by him. he built pillars stupas and caves.
The elaborately carved animal on Ashoka pillar are the best-known works and among the finest is the lion capital of Ashoka from sarnath, as it is now the national emblem of India. Mauryan art had both court and popular art. court art is represented by the pillars and their capital. Popular rt is represented by its works of the local sculptors like (Chauri) whisk – bearer from Didar Ganj.
These pillars were carved in two type of stones some were of the spotted red and white sandstone from the region of Mathura , the others were of buff colored fine grained hard sandstone usually with small black spots quarried in chunar near Varanasi. The uniformity of the style in the pillar capital suggests that they all were sculpted by craftsman from the same region .they were given a fine polish characteristic of Mauryan sculpture .these pillars were mainly erected in the gangetic plains . they were inscribed withn edicts of Ashoka on dhamma or righteousness.
GANDHARA SCHOOL OF ART
The gandhara school art flourished under Kushan emperor in the 2nd century A.D. according to hinayana ,the making of buddha image is prohibited ,like charan paduka (foot gears) and other symbols to propagate his religion and existence. The Mahayana religion came up in the reign of king Kanishka ,the great Kushan ruler. He started the creation of bhagwan buddha’s image and became the great patron of gandhara art . there was a definite effect of Greek art on these statues . these statues were mostly prepared at Peshawar , Rawalpindi and Takshila ;on the whole this area was known as gandara the art of this period was named as gandhara school, of art .
LION CAPITAL FROM SARNATH
PERIOD:CIRCA 3rd CENTURY B.C.
DYNASTY: MAURAYANS ASHOKA
COLLECTION: SARNATH ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
THEME: A sculpture of four lions standing back to back on an elaborate base that includes other animals. It was adopted as the national emblem of India in 1950.
DESCRIPTION: the sarnath lion capital the crowning piece of monolithic Ashokan pillar was built in the 3rd century B.C. at the deer park in sarnath the outskirts of Varanasi . here buddha had preached his first sermon after gaining the enlightment and set the wheel of law in motion dharma chakra pravaratana.
The capital made of polished sandstone is more than two meters 7ft in height. It comprises of four roaring lions placed back to back on a round slab called abacus. The abacus is supported by a bell shaped inverted lotus base .on the side of the abacus are carved four animals lion ,elephant, bull and horse moving in a clockwise manner. These animals carved with great skill alternate with four smaller dharma chakras or wheels of law.
It is believed that the capital was originally crowned by a bigger ‘wheel of dharma’ dharmachakra with 24 spokes the broken pieces of which were found at the original site.the four lions on top are highly symbolic and stylized with very little hint of naturalness.this is clear in the hair carved along the neck as a little flame shaped bunches and upper lip of the lions shown by three cut lines . the magnificent modeling gives them a great power and dignity. Surprisingly compared to the majesty of of lions the animal on the round the bare are done with great naturalistic energy and are defined carefully.petas of the lotus have rhythmically cut curves and contours .the surface of these pillars has a mirror like finish.it Laos reveals the aristocratic and international nature of the Mauryan art.
The great symbolism of the greatest Buddhist virtues along with the great masterly skill of sculpting of this piece of art deserved to be a national identity of great nation.
CHAURI BEARER FROM DIDARGANJ
PERIOD: 3rd CENTURY B.C.
COLLECTION:PATNA MUSEUM BIHAR
THEME: a life size sculpture of yakshi holding a chauri.
DESCRIPTION: The statues of yaksha and yakshis the deities of fertility and abundance are excellent specimens of the Mauryan craftsmanship in fashioning the human figure . the yakhsi from the Patna museum is a striking example of 3rd century created by a gifted sculptor .
The Didar Ganj Chauri bearers is named so because it was excavated from Didar Ganj an ancient locality of Patna in Bihar.it is beautiful female figure carved out of a single piece of stone standing 64” 5ft 4 inches tall. This classic life size sculpture was carved in the five grained buff colored sandstone delicately polished to a mirror like shine. though massive and bold in its execution this is a grand portrayal of the Indian ideal of feminine beauty. the careful attention to the detail is visible in the notable breasts, broad hips narrow waist and the creases on the lower abdomen formed due to the weight of her breasts the figure is wearing elaborate jewelry in the neck ears and the beaded matha patti with a big round piece in the center of hair partition at the forehead. There is a heavy garment below her waist draped elegantly with folds and pleats gathered in front. the pleats are neatly held in place by a beautiful in place and delicate jewel oddiynam .the most remarkable feature of the sculpture apart from the shiny polish is the peaceful and calm expression of her face .her composure creates a powerful impact of rare and royal dignity.this beautiful didarganj chauri bearer is a proud symbol of Indian artistic genius. It is considered the monalisa of Indian art because of “the mysterious half smile on her face.
BODHISATTVA HEAD FROM TAKILA
PERIOD:2ND CENTURY A.D.
DYNASTY: KUSHAN GANDHARA SCHOOL
SIZE:27.5 X20 X15cms.
COLLECTION:NATIONAL MUSEUM ,NEW DELHI
THEME: A fine museum quality schist stone head of Bodhisattva in a thoughtful expression carved with well defined features.
DESCRIPTIONS: in this Bodhisattva head the face is in oval shape and is tilted to its right. The forehead plane is large having protruding half closed eyes downcast beneath arched brows. He has full lips, long straight nose, round chin and elongated earlobes. The hair forming the ushnisha are thick and curly covering the head with sharp wavy linear strokes. The small urna in the middle of the brow arches is carefully added to complete the iconography. the two arches of the eyebrows are smoothly meeting the outline of soft protruding areas of nose. the lips have a delicate smile of contentment and eyes are carved in soft rhythmic line. The slight ups and downs of the facial features give a sharp shade and light to the face.
The most striking feature of this sculpture is the I fluence of Greco – roman -Hellenistic elements in the treatment of sculpture giving it an Apollo like representation.it is a fusion of physical feature of the Greco-Roman sculpture with Indian expression of serene spirituality. A large number of buddha images are found in the gandhara region. this mixture of indigenous elements in gandhara distinguishes it from other schools of art.
SEATED BUDDHA FROM KATRA TILA (MOUNT)
MEDIUM: RED SPOTTED SANDSTONE (SIKRI)
PERIOD:3rd century A.D.
DYNASTY: KUSHAN PERIOD – MATHURA STYLE
COLLECTION: GOVT. MUSEUM (U.P)
THEME: Buddha seated in padmasan with Bodhisattva on both sides.
DESCRIPTION: This Kushan sculpture height 27X1/4-inch 69 cm. Was found at the katra mount at Mathura.
Buddha has two crowned Bodhisattva attendants on both sides padmapani holding a padma lotus and vajrapani holding a vajra thunderbolt. He is dressed as true Indian as a transparent muslin garment sangheti that covers only one shoulder and gathered in small stringed folds along the upper left arm.this feature of gathered transparent textile also seen on the two Bodhisattva figure is a distinctive characteristics of Mathura.
Buddha is seated as a yogi in padmasan as crossed leg pose with soles turned upwards on lion throne under a bodhi tree. The face has a smiling friendly expression like all other Mathura Buddhas the buddha is backed by a large decorated halo carved on the edges and decorated with simple motifs. He is attended by heavenly beings called gandharvas placed diagonally above the halo bearing whisks. The Abhay mudra of the right hand and the other angled arm resting on his knee gives an air of movement. there are no wavy impressions of hair on the head like most of the later buddha only a snail shell like knot on the head ushnishas .other lakshnas like urna on the forehead between the eyebrows the wheel on the palm and soles on the feet are clearly represented.
Mathura sculpture from this period have light volume but a fleshy body.the beauty in the flexibility of delicately carved curves and contours give them an earthy look.the face is round with fleshy cheeks and shoulders are broad. the swell of the belly is sculpted with the quality of prana or inner breath in the figure. The flying Gandharans give a spiritual importance to the sculpture. the lion throne has three lions carved in relief the one in center facing the front and the two on sides facing away from each other . the earliest style at Mathura Kushan ultimately led to the development of the supreme Buddha icon in the Guptas period.
The flying gandharvas give a spiritual importance to the sculpture. the lion throne has three lions carved in relief the one in center facing the front and the two on side facing away from each other . the details are minimal but the liveliness in the figure makes it unique. this sculpture is an excellent early example of an entirely Indian buddha. The earliest style at Mathura Kushan ultimately led to the development of the supreme Buddha icon in the Guptas period
MEDIUM :- STONE
PERIOD :- CIRCA 5TH CENTURY A.D.
DYNASTY : GUPTA
COURTESY: STATE MUSEUM , LUCKNOW (U.P)
THEME : THE FAMOUS JAIN DIETY SEATED IN PADMASAN
DESCRIPTION: the main Jain deities consist of twenty four tirthankaras, the first being rishabhnath and the last Mahavir
. this image of swami Mahavira the 24th Tirthankara found in Mathura is seated on a square pedestal in a meditative mood. This statue of Jain tirthankara in Dhyana mudra with one hand at the top and the other is made in the Buddhist and Jain style of Kushan period.
As taught by lord Mahavir, tri-ratna the three gems of action which are faith righteous action and truthful words free a man from the circle of life sized sensitively modeled sculpture with a gentle peaceful expression beneath bow shaped brows. the eyes with an intense spiritual gaze, the hair arranged in snail shell curls rising to a lotus ushnisha complete this sculpture.
SEATED BUDDHA SARNATH ( GUPTA )
MEDIUM : CHUNAR SAND STONE
PERIOD : 5TH CENTURY A.D.
DYNASTY : GUPTA
COLLECTION : SARNATH MUSEUM , U.P
THEME : Buddha preaching the first sermon and turning the wheel of law at the deer park in sarnath .
DESCRIPTION : Sarnath was the most glorious site of Buddhist sculpture in the gupta period ( C.E 320-550) where Buddha gave his first sermon in the deer park and set the wheel of law in motion.
The Buddha sits in lotus position -PADMAASAN with his hands in dharmchakra pravartan mudra , the gesture of preaching or ‘turning the law of wheel’ . the half closed eyes are those of withdrawn meditation in a thoughtful mood but his hands are active to bring his message to the world .
The sculpture has illustrated all possible metaphors of Buddhist iconography – bow like eyebrows ,lotiform ( lotus bud shaped ) eyes and long earlobes.the buddha has an oval face , round cheeks fishey lips and heavy lidded half closed eyes in a yogic gaze. This is a typical gupta buddha with high arched eyebrows and a bulging power lip smiling gently at all humans .the body is slim and slightly elongated .the neck is carved with two lines indicating skin folds.the ouline of the form is delicate and rythymic . the tight snail shell curls on his heads to form ushnisha are well finished .
The panel below the throne depicts a wheel in center and a deer on either side disciples . the rear slabs below the halo represents the throne decorated on both sides with mythical beasts and crocodile heads. The richly decorated halo is another special feature of the art of the gupta figure . the wide , artistically decorated with floral motifs between two circles of pearl string like carving has a flying gandharva on each side . this gives his face more emphasis and adds on to the spiritual calmness.