Harapan Civilization time period
2600 - 1900 BCE
Large Water Tank
Public pool or ritual bathing area, Mohenjo-Daro, 2600-1900 BCE, Harapan, Indus Valley Civilization.
2600-1900 BCE, Harapan. Elevated citadel area with government buildings. Grid-like plan, drainage systems indicate advanced engineering skills.
Indus Valley. 2500-1500 BCE Steatite stone. Animals portrayed with naturalism, well molded surfaces imply skeletal structure. Some show a yogi, others show worshippers, indicating religious customs.
Mohenjo-Daro. 2000-1900 BCE Indus Valley Civ. Steatite. May represent leader or ancestor. Characteristic low forehead and slit eyes. Head band may indicate rank. Decorated with trefoils.
Nude Torso of Harappa
2000 BCE. Naturalistic style, emphasizes soft texture of the human body and nuances of muscular form.
Yakshi Holding A Fly-Whisk
Didarganj, 250 BCE. Maurya Period. Long shawl and skirt-like cloth, held by girdle. Represents female beauty and auspiciousness and bounty.
Lion capital, from an Ashokan pillar at Sarnath
Maurya Empire, c. 250 BCE Polished sandstone, with 4 back-to-back lions, facing the cardinal directions.
- Their roar = spread of the Buddhist word OR Lion = Buddha himself, known as the lion of the Shakya clan.
- Originally capped the pillar at Sarnath where Buddha made his first sermon.
- Lotus base = Purity
- Abacus alternates chakras with horse, bull, elephant and lion, which may symbolize the 4 Great Rivers of the world, mentioned in Indian creation myths.
- Shaft is the Axis Mundi, connecting heavens and earth.
322-185 BCE. Emperor Ashoka made Buddhism state religion.
Shunga and Early Andhra period
185 BCE - 50 CE. Shunga and Andhra dynasties were regional dynasties. Magnificent Buddhist structures created.
The Great Stupa at Sanchi
150-50 BCE. Dome built up from dirt, covered in dressed stone. Echoes arc of the sky. Enclosed perimeter walkway and railing provides separation of the sacred from the profane. Three umbrellas on top of stupa represent 3 realms of existence. The mast is an Axis Mundi.
Torana of the Great Stupa at Sanchi
Early Andhra Period. Stone gateway, one of 4, ornamented with didactic sculpture of Buddha's life and Jataka Tales (His Past lives). Yakshi makes daring un-rigid pose, with less distinction between flesh and clothes. Represents a source of life.
Chaitya Hall at Karla
100 CE, Karla, India. Buddhist Rock cut sanctuary hall, housing a stupa. Facade carved in low relief with rows of small balconies and windows, simulating a great multi-storied tower. Chataya Window, (horseshoe shaped opening) provides the hall with light. The columns are unique. Their bases are potlike forms, that lead into octagonal shafts, each topped with an inverted lotus and a mithuna couple.
Kushan and later Andhra periods
30 BCE - 433 CE. Mahayana Buddhism emerges, 3 schools of Buddhist depictions in art.
The Gandhara School
Combines Hellenistic, Persian and Native styles. Superhuman Buddha figure.
Standing Buddha (Kushan Period)
Gandhara, Kushan Period 2nd-3rd Century Larger than life, superhuman buddha (7ft tall). Carved in Schist, Body revealed through folds, Hellenistic influence.
The Mathura School
Powerful Buddha, But intense and concentrated. Soft molding of flesh and naturalistic molding. Influenced by Yakshas. Abstraction of cloth and face, but naturalistic.
Buddha and Attendands
Mathura School. 1-2nd century CE, Kushan Period. High relief. Yogic posture, hand raised in symbolic "Have no Fear" gesture. Large halo and tree of enlightenment behind head. Abstracted cloth folds.
The Amaravati School
Slighter and more mobile figures, seeming always in motion, even at rest.
Siddhartha in the Palace
Later Andhra period, 3rd century CE, Limestone. Depicts scene from Buddha's life where he is being pampered as a prince, before he reached enlightenment.
320 - 484 CE Sarnath school similar to Mathura School. Flourishing Arts.
Standing Buddha (Gupta Period)
Sarnath style. Sandstone, relaxed pose, body visible through clinging robe. Fully human, yet fully enlightened.
Sarnath Gupta Style
Human, but enlightened Buddha. Graceful and slight body. Gupta Period.
Wall painting in Cave I, Gupta Period, 475 CE. Bodhissatva, identified by princely garments and crown. Graceful bending posture = Sympathetic attitude Naturalistic style combined with gradations and outlines. Lighter Gradation indicates closer in space. Gracefully divine, yet Human. (Sarnath Style)
Early Northern Temples
Shikhara is the large parabolic mass Garbhagriha is the windowless inner sanctum Amalaka is the top 'cushion' Axis Mundi through central tower of temple.
Vishnu Temple at Deogarh
Post-Gupta Period, 530 CE. Northern style temple. Shikara mostly crumbled. Garbhagriha houses image of Vishnu, at the center of the mandala, or cosmic temple plan. Entrance is sacred and elaborate, with carved panels or 'windows' of Vishnu.
Vishnu Narayana on the Cosmic Waters
Vishnu Temple at Deogarh, relief panel, 530 CE. Vishnu rests on Ananta, serpent of infinity. He dreams the universe into existence, signified by a lotus blossoming from his navel. Brahma sits on lotus, 4 headed.
Cave-Temple of Shiva at Elephanta
Post-Gupta Period, 6th century CE. North, east, and west entrances. Large pillars cut from living rock line the east-west axis. Bottom half is square base, top half is fluted, and has a curved contour into a billowing cushion capital. Lingham shrine at center of hall represents phallic nature of Shiva.
Chola Dynasty, 12th Century CE, bronze.
Dance of shiva is of cosmic proportions, sygnifying cycle of death and rebirth.
Right arm doing "Have no Fear" mudra.
Ring of Fire represents destruction of samsara and the physical universe.
Bhakti style shown through intimate expression and human yet divine form.
Rock cut relief in Cave-Temple of Shiva at Elephanta, 6th century CE. Huge bust of eternal shiva. 3 heads shown, 5 implied. Front face of Shiva shows deep introspection. Protector nature on left shoulder is female. Destroyer nature has fierce expression on right shoulder. Hindu Monumental narrative, 11' tall bust.