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MATHURA SCHOOL OF ARTS, GANDHARA SCHOOL OF ARTS, AMARAVATI SCHOOL OF ARTS

MATHURA SCHOOL OF ARTS, GANDHARA SCHOOL OF ARTS, AMARAVATI SCHOOL OF ARTS

  • The foreign princes became enthusiastic patrons of Indian art and literature, and displayed the zeal characteristic of new converts.
    • The Kushan empire brought together masons and other artisans trained in different schools and countries.
    • This gave rise to several schools of art: Central Asian, Gandhara, and Mathura.
    • Pieces of sculpture from Central Asia show a synthesis of both local and Indian elements influenced by Buddhism.
  • During the same period, beautiful works of art were created at several places south of the Vindhyas.
    • Wonderful Buddhist caves were constructed out of rock in Maharashtra. In AP, Nagarjunakonda and Amaravati became great centres of Buddhist art, and stories associated with the Buddha were portrayed on numerous panels.
    • The earliest panels dealing with Buddhism are to be found at Bodh-Gaya, Sanchi, and Bharhut, and relate to the second century BC.
    • However, further development in sculpture occurred in the early centuries of the Christian era.

Mathura School of art

  • At Sanchi, Barhut or Gaya, Buddha was never depicted in a human form but was represented only as a symbol of either two footprints or wheel.
  • Artisans from Mathura initially continued the Mauryan sculptural forms of the Yaksha and Yakshi, until a human image of Buddha appeared, which was independent of other schools of art, but later influenced by the Gandhara School.
  • The representations of the Buddha in Mathura, in central northern India, are generally dated slightly later than those of Gandhara.
  • The school of art that developed at Mathura in modern Uttar Pradesh is called the Mathura art. It flourished in the first century A.D. In its early phase, the Mathura school of art developed on indigenous lines.
  • The Buddha images exhibit the spiritual feeling in his face which was largely absent in the Gandhara school.
    • It is also famous for the headless erect statue of Kanishka whose name is inscribed at its lower end.
    • It also produced several stone images of Vardhamana Mahavira.
    • Its pre-Gupta sculpture and inscriptions ignore Krishna, although Mathura is considered his birthplace and the scene of his early life.
    • The Mathura school also carved out the images of Siva and Vishnu along with their consorts Parvathi and Lakshmi.
    • The female figures of yakshinis and apsaras of the Mathura school were beautifully carved.

Period and Center of Production

  • Mathura School of art is purely indigenous style. Mathura art developed during post Maurya peiod (mainly during Shunga period) and reached its peak during the Gupta period (AD 325 to 600).
  • The Mathura school of art flourished in the early centuries of the Christian era.
  • The traditional centre, Mathura, remained the main art production site whereas Sarnath and Kosambi also emerged as important centres of art production.
  • Spotted red sandstone has been used in this school.

Type of Sculpture:

  • The Mathura School of Art, noted for its vitality and assimilative character, was a result of the religious zeal of Brahmanism, Jainism and Buddhism.
  • Theme may vary from Buddhist to Brahmanical to sometimes secular. Several Brahmanical Deities were first crystallized by this school.
  • The images of Vishnu and Shiva are sometimes represented by their weapons. Images of the Buddha, Yakshas, Yakshinis, Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities and portrait statues are profusely sculpted.
  • Brahmanical images:
    • Quite a few Brahmanical images have been found in Mathura.
    • To 300 A.D. The earliest representations are of Siva, Lakshmi, Surya and Sankarshana or Balarma.
    • During the Kushana period Karttikeya, Vishnu, Sarasvati, Kubera and certain other gods, including Naga images, were represented in sculpture.
    • Some of iconographical features or features which characterize each deity are present in images of this period.
      • For example Siva, though he is represented in the linga form, began to be carved in the form of Chaturmukha linga. This refers to linga with four human faces of the Siva on all four sides.
      • The Surya in the Kushana age is shown riding a chariot driven by two horses. He wears a heavy coat, a dress in the lower half of the body resembling a salwar, boots, a sword in one hand and a lotus in the other.
      • Balarama has a heavy turban on his head.
      • Saraswati is seated with a hsary and manuscript in her hands. Dressed in a simple way she wears no ornaments and is attended by two other figures.
      • Durga in her Mahisha-mardini form, is depicted as the killer of buffalo demon.
  • Jaina specimens:
    • Mathura was a sacred centre of the Jains as it was of the followers of Brahmanical and Buddhist faiths.
    • It has yielded a number of inscriptions which refer to lay followers of Jainism, to Jaina monks and nuns and to donations and dedications made by them.
    • For example, as early as the middle of the second century B.C., an inscription
      (pasada-torana) by a Jaina Sravaka named Uttaradasaka.
    • Kankali Tila was the main Jaina site at Mathura and it has yielded an overwhelmingly large number of sculptures:
      • ayaqapatas or stone slabs with Jaina figures in centre and auspicious marks or with representations of Jaina Stupas (these were objects of worship)
      • a various architectural fragments like pillars, capitals, crossbars, railing – posts, etc.
    • The representations of the Jainas or the Tirthankaras on the ayaqapatas date before the Kushana period but regular images become common only from the Kushana period onward.
    • Of them Parsvanatha is recognizable from his canopy of snake hoods and Rishabhanatha from rocks of hair falling on his shoulders but other Tirthankara images are not so easily identified.
    • The Jina Image and Indigenous style of Buddhas image was a remarkable features of Mathura art. The Sarvatobhadrika image of 4 jain Jinas standing back to back belongs to the Mathura school.
Sarvatobhadra_Jain_-_Circa_6-7th_Century_CE_-_ACCN_00-B-65_-_Government_Museum_-_Mathura_2013-02-23_5447
Jain sarvatobhadra
  • Buddhist images:
    • Buddhist images are found in large numbers compared to other faith.
    • The earliest images of Bodhisattvas and Buddha were perhaps made at Mathura and sent also to other regions. For example, the Samath image of standing Bodhisttvas installed in the period of Kanishka-I was made at Mathura.

Lord_Vishnu_in_Mathura_School_of_Art_Style

    • Buddha was depicted as Human and the main theme was Buddha and Bodhisattavas.
    • Both sitting and standing posture of Buddha’s statues were carved out in the Mathura school.
      • Among the sitting idols the one found at Katra is among the oldest. The characteristics of this idol are:
        • a Buddha sitting under a Bodhi tree,
        • Right hand in abhaya posture,
        • Dharam chakra and tri-ratna chiselled in palms and at bottom of the feet, and
        • the head is shaven except one lock.
    • Buddha image at Mathura is modelled on the lines of earlier Yaksha images whereas in Gandhara it has Hellenistic features.
SV-AS10 ImageData
A Bodhisattva, 2nd century, Mathura
    • The Standing Buddhas of the Sravasthi ,Sarnath and Kausambhi belong to the Mathura School.
Standing Buddha From Sarnath
Standing Buddha from Sarnath
    • The sitting Buddha of Mathura School is in padmasana and soles of the feet have been decorated with Tri ratna and Dharmachakra signs.
buddha
Buddha attended by 2 Bodhisattvas. Mathura, 2nd century CE
    • The presences of the two attendants by the side of Buddha who hold Chanwars is a feature of the Mathura school and this figure has been later inspired the images of Indian Deities.
    • The art of Mathura features frequent sexual imagery. Female images with bare breasts, nude below the waist, displaying labia and female genitalia are common.
Buddha-head1
The Buddha, Kushana period, 2nd century A.D., Katra mound, Mathura region
    • Some of the general characteristics of the Buddha idols of this age are:
      • They are made of white spotted red stone.
      • Images started getting fashioned in the round so that they could be seen from every side.
      • The head and face are shaven.
      • The right hand is shown raised in abhaya posture.
      • There is no mark on the forehead.
      • The dress is always tight on the body and the left hand holds the frill.
  • A number of Yaksha and Yakshini images have been discovered in Mathura.
    • They are associated with all the three religions – Buddhism, Jainism and Brahmanism.
  • Kubera was another deity shown with a bulging belly.
    • He is associated with wine and with parties where participants indulge in drinks.
    • He bears resemblance to Bachhus and Dionysius respecting the Roman and Greek gods of wine.

Sculpture Features and Its Evolution

  • More stress is given to the inner beauty and facial emotions rather than bodily gesture.
  • There is boldness in carving the large images.
    • The first Mathura image makers never intended to sculpt an anatomically correct human Buddha.
    • Their images were a composite of 32 major and 80 minor laksana, or marks.
    • Later, the Human Buddha images evolved associated with humanly beauty and heroic ideals.
  • The early images of the Buddha and the Bodhisattva are happy, fleshy figures with little spirituality about them.
    • The block like compactness and smooth close-fitting robe, almost entirely devoid of folds, are replicated in the earliest standing Buddha image that belongs to the Mathura school.
  • The volume of the images is projected out of the picture plane, the faces are round and smiling, heaviness in the sculptural volume is reduced to relaxed flesh. The garments of the body are clearly visible and they cover the left shoulder.
  • However, in the second century AD, images got sensual with increased rotundness and became flashier.
  • The extreme fleshiness was reduced by the third century AD and the surface features also got refined.
  • The trend continued in the fourth century AD but later, the massiveness and fleshiness was reduced further and the flesh became more tightened. The halo around the head of Buddha was profusely decorated.

The images of rulers:

  • The Mat village in Mathura yeilded big images of Kushana Kings and other notables like Kanishka, Wima and Chastana.
  • The idea of building reliquaries or structures for housing portrait-statues of rulers and other dignitaries of the State possibly came from Central Asia. This was done to give the rulers a divine status: The dresses which the dignitaries wear were also of Central Asian origin.
  • Many heads of Scythian dignitaries have also been found at Mat. These discoveries indicate that Mathura was the most important centre of the eastern part of the Kushana empire. They also forcefully suggest interaction between Gandhara and Mathura art forms.

In due course Mathura art forms contributed significantly to the development of Gupta art forms.

Gandhara School of Art / Greco-Buddhist art

  • Indian craftsmen came into contact with the Central Asians, Greeks, and Romans, especially in the north-western frontier of India in Gandhara.
    • This gave rise to a new form of art in which images of the Buddha were made in the Graeco-Roman style, and his hair fashioned in the Graeco-Roman style.
  • Greco-Buddhist art is the artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism, a cultural syncretism between the Classical Greek culture and Buddhism, which developed over a period of close to thousand years in Central Asia, between the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, and the Islamic conquests of the 7th century AD.
  • A large number of monasteries were also built from first to fourth centuries A.D.
    • Ruins of about fifteen monasteries were found in and around Peshawar and Rawalpindi.
    • The Buddhist stupas erected during this period had Graeco-Roman architectural impact.
    • The height of the stupa was raised and ornamentation was added to the structure of the stupa. These changes made the stupa more attractive.

Origin Place and Period of Development

  • The home of the Gandhara school of art is the territory in and around Peshawar in northwestern India.
  • The origins of Greco-Buddhist art are to be found in the Hellenistic Greco-Bactrian kingdom (250 BC- 130 BC), located in today’s Afghanistan, from which Hellenistic culture radiated into the Indian subcontinent with the establishment of the Indo-Greek kingdom (180 BC-10 BC).
  • Under the Indo-Greeks and the Kushans, the interaction of Greek and Buddhist culture flourished in the area of Gandhara, in today’s northern Pakistan, before spreading further into India, influencing the art of Mathura, and then the Hindu art of the Gupta empire, which was to extend to the rest of South-East Asia.
  • The influence of Greco-Buddhist art also spread northward towards Central Asia, strongly affecting the art of the Tarim Basin, and ultimately the arts of China, Korea, and Japan.
  • The best of the Gandhara sculpture was produced during the first and second centuries A.D.
  • It originated during the reign of Indo-Greek rulers but the real patrons of this school of art were the Sakas and the Kushanas, particularly Kanishka.
  • Specimens of Gandhara sculpture have been found in Taxila, Peshawar and in several places of northwest India.

Salient Features

  • Gandhara style of art that developed in sculpture was a fusion of Greco-Roman and Indian styles.
    • Gandhara school was heavily influenced by Greek methodologies, the figures were more spiritual and sculpted mainly in grey, and great detail was paid to exact depiction of body parts.
  • It is also known as Graeco-Buddhist School of art.
  • The Gandharan Buddha image was inspired by Hellenistic realism, tempered by Persian, Scythian, and Parthian models.
  • The theme of the Gandhara school is mainly Buddhist and it made sculptures of the Buddha in various sizes, shapes and postures.
    • The reliefs depict Buddha’s birth, his renunciation and his preaching.
    • The main theme was the new form of Buddhism – Mahayanism– and the evolution of an image of Buddha.
  • Sculptors constructed Buddhist images with anatomical accuracy, spatial depth, and foreshortening.
  • The images of Buddha resembled Greek God Apollo.
  • Moulding human body in a realistic manner with minute attention to physical features like muscles, moustache and curtly/ wavy hair.
    • Rich carving, elaborate ornamentation and symbolic expressions.
  • The Buddha of Gandhar art is sometimes very thin, which is opposite in Mathura art.
  • Thick drapery with large and bold fold lines.
  • More stress is given to the bodily features and external beauty.

Gandhara_Buddha_(tnm)
Gandhara Style, Afghanistan,4th-5th C.
  • It looks like the Mathura, Gandhara arts cross-fertilized in due course of time, and the bulky Mathura Buddha gradually gave way to the slender elegance of the Gandharan image.
    • The result of this synthesis ennobled, refined, and purified the Buddha image that appeared in the Gupta period.
    • This Gupta style became the model for Southeast Asian Buddha images.
  • Some Greco-Buddhist friezes represent groups of donors or devotees, giving interesting insights into the cultural identity of those who participated in the Buddhist cult.

Material Used

  • Grey sandstone is used in Gandhara School of Art. The Bamyan Buddha of Afghanistan were the example of the Gandhara School.
  • The other materials used were Mud, Lime, Stucco. However, Marble was not used in Gandhara art.
  • Terracotta was used rarely.
  • Stucco provided the artist with a medium of great plasticity, enabling a high degree of expressiveness to be given to the sculpture.

The Various Mudras of Buddha in Gandhara Art

  • In all the Buddha depicted in the Gandhara Art is shown making four types of hand gestures and this is a remarkable feature in this art. The gestures are as follows:
  • Abhayamudra : Don’t fear

buddha1

  • Dhyanamudra : meditation
Buddha2
Buddha in Dhyanamudra, Swat Valley, Pakistan(Buddha when meditating under the pipal tree before his Enlightenment)
  • Dharmachakramudra: a preaching mudra
buddha3
Seated in dhyanasana with his arms crossed before his chest in the gesture of teaching, Dharmachakra Mudra. This mudra symbolizes one of the most important moments in the life of Buddha, the occasion when he preached to his companions the first sermon after his Enlightenment in the Deer Park at Sarnath.
  • Bhumisparshamudra: Touching the earth
Buddha4
“The Enlightenment : After meditating for forty days beneath a pipal tree, the Buddha approached the moment of omniscience. Evil demons have failed to distract him, and he calmly touches the earth to witness his attainment of enlightenment.

Under Kushana

  • In India, first time the Gandhara art flourished during the Kushana rule in India. Particularly Kanishka, the greatest of the Kushanas was a great patron of art and architecture. It was during his reign that Gandhara School of art flourished.
  • The Kushans, at the centre of the Silk Road enthusiastically gathered works of art from all the quarters of the ancient world, as suggested by the hoards found in their northern capital in the archeological site of Begram, Afghanistan.
    • The Kushans sponsored Buddhism together with other Iranian and Hindu faiths.
  • Particularly under the Kushans, there are also numerous representations of richly adorned Bodhisattvas, all in a very realistic Greco-Buddhist style.
    • The Bodhisattvas, characteristic of the Mahayana form of Buddhism, are represented under the traits of Kushan princes.
  • Their coins, however, suggest a lack of artistic sophistication: the representations of their kings, such as Kanishka, tend to be crude (lack of proportion, rough drawing), and the image of the Buddha is an assemblage of a Hellenistic Buddha statue with feet grossly represented and spread apart in the same fashion as the Kushan king.
kanishka
Kanishka, 1st century A.D. Mathura Region
  • This tends to indicate that the Hellenistic Greco-Buddhist statues were used as models, and a subsequent corruption by Kushan artists.
BuddhistTriad
An early Mahayana Buddhist triad. From left to right, a Kushan devotee, the Bodhisattva Maitreya, the Buddha, the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and a Buddhist monk. 2nd-3rd century AD, Gandhara.
KanishkaCasket
The “Kanishka casket,”(made in gilded copper) with the Buddha surrounded by Brahma and Indra, and Kanishka on the lower part, AD 127.
Kushans&Maitreya
Maitreya, with Kushan devotees, left and right. 2nd century Gandhara
Kushans&WorshippingOfTheBowl
Kushans worshipping the Buddha’s bowl. 2nd century Gandhara.

Gandhara school of art represents Greek-Roman influence:

Gandhara School of art had developed in post-Maurya period during reign of Kushana emperor Kanishka. Both Shakas and Kushanas were patrons of Gandhara School.

  • Though subject matter is predominantly Buddhist, yet many sculptural motifs shows Greco-Roman influence.
  • Greek influence:
    • The mother of Buddha resembles with Athenian matron.
    • Many early Buddha has Apollonian faces.
    • Greek gods are depicted paying obeisance to Buddha.
    • Other Greek influences:
      • Artistic beauty
      • Halo around Buddha
      • masculine Buddha
      • Natural realism
      • Broad forehead, and long earlobe of Buddha.
      • Curly or wave hair of Buddha and also depiction of very thick hair
      • Mustache and beard of Buddha
      • A heavy forms of body and depiction of muscles
  • Roman influence:
    • Dresses of many Buddha’s images are arranged in the style Roman Toga.
    • Deeply delineated folds of robes of Buddha.
    • Artistic interpretations like Roman motifs (triton)
    • Anthropomorphic tradition
  • Other Greeko-Roman influences:
    • Facial features of Buddha reflect Greeco-Roman influence like:
      • Protruding eyeballs
      • elongated eyes,
      • half closed eyes,
      • elongated face and sharp nose,
    • Many ordinary people shown in various scenes also bear the imprint of distinct Greeco-Roman style.

Though many features of Gandhara art were influenced by foreign elements, it also developed unique features with indigenous influence.

Influence of Gandhara Arts on other Indian Arts

Influence on Mathura Art

  • Many Mathura sculptures incorporate many Hellenistic elements, such as the general idealistic realism, and key design elements such as the curly hair, and folded garment.
  • Specific Mathuran adaptations tend to reflect warmer climatic conditions, as they consist in a higher fluidity of the clothing, which progressively tend to cover only one shoulder instead of both. Also, facial types also tend to become more Indianized.
  • The mixed character of the Mathura School in which we find on the one hand, a direct continuation of the old Indian art of Bharut and Sanchi and on the other hand, the classical influence derived from Gandhara.

Influence on Amaravati Art

  • The influence of Greek art can be felt beyond Mathura, as far as Amaravati on the East coast of India, as shown by the usage of Greek scrolls in combination with Indian deities. Other motifs such as Greek chariots pulled by four horses can also be found in the same area.
AmaravatiScroll
Greek scroll supported by Indian Yaksas, Amaravati, 3rd century AD

Influence on Gupta Art

  • The art of Mathura acquired progressively more Indian elements and reached a very high sophistication during the Gupta Empire, between the 4th and the 6th century AD. The art of the Gupta is considered as the pinnacle of Indian Buddhist art.
  • Hellenistic elements are still clearly visible in the purity of the statuary and the folds of the clothing, but are improved upon with a very delicate rendering of the draping.
GuptaBuddha
Buddha of the Gupta period, 5th century, Mathura.
  • Artistic details tend to be less realistic, as seen in the symbolic shell-like curls used to render the hairstyle of the Buddha.
MathuraBuddhaHead
Head of a Buddha, Gupta period, 6th century.

Main Differences Between Mathura School of Arts and Gandhara School of Arts

(1) Origin

  • Mathura School: No foreign Influence, however, later it cross fertilized with the Gandhara School. Its development took place indigenously.
  • Gandhara School: Strong Greek influence.  Was based on Greco-Roman norms encapsulating foreign techniques and an alien spirit. It is also known as Graeco-Buddhist School of art. Initially inspired by Yaksha Images Assimilating various traits of Acamenian, Parthian and Bactrian traditions into the local tradition is a hallmark of the Gandhara style. Initially inspired by Hellenistic features.

(2) Material Used

  • Mathura School: Spotted Red Sandstone
  • Gandhara School: Blue-grey Mica schist / Grey Sandstone

(3) Image Features

  • Mathura School: Early period: Light volume having fleshy body. Later Period: Flashiness reduced. Buddha carved out in various Mudras. Not much attention to detailed sculpting. Buddha is stout.
  • Gandhara School: Finer details and realistic images. Buddha carved out in various Mudras. Curly hair, anatomical accuracy, spatial depth, and foreshortening. Buddha is sometimes thin.

(4) Halo

  • Mathura School: The halo around the head of Buddha was profusely decorated. Images are less expressive.
standing_buddha_-_detail1316630904177
Buddha with decorated Halo
  • Gandhara School: Not decorated, generally.The images are very expressive.

Amaravati School of Art

  • In the eastern Deccan, in the lower valleys of the Krishna and the Godavari developed the Amaravati school of art during this period for nearly six centuries commencing from 200-100 BC.
    • Patronized first by the Satavahanas and later by the Ikshvakus and also by other groups, by other political dignitaries and families, by officials, merchants, etc.
  • Inspired by Buddhist themes the main centres of this art were Nagarjunakonda, Amaravati. Goli, Ghantasala, Jaggayyapeta etc.
  • The Amaravati school of art occupies a pre-eminent position in the history of Indian Art. With its beginning in 3rd century BC the Amaravati unfolds its chapters through the galaxy of sculptural wealth that designed the Mahachaityas.
  • The sculptural forms come to us from the railings, plinths and other parts of several Stupas.
    • The reliefs represent the traditional narrative art taking themes from the Buddha’s life and from Jataka stories.
    • For example, on a relief medallion at Amaravati is depicted the story of the taming of an elephant by the Buddha and the commotion preceding it.
    • The whole depiction of the story has been done by the sculptor in a natural way:
      • an infuriated elephant approaching the Buddha on a street,
      • men and women are frightened; men throw up their hands and women cling to men,
      • Buddha moves towards the elephant in a spirit of adoration and humility,
      • the elephant kneels down in submission, and
      • the entire episode is being watched by women and men from balcony and windows.
  • The general features of Amaravati art are:
    • the figures are carved out of white marble,
    • they are well modelled with long legs and slender frames,
    • physical beauty and sensual expressions command this art,
    • though nature is depicted, the central characters are human beings, and
    • kings, princes and palaces figure prominently in sculptural representations.
    • The lotus and the purnakumbha motifs are typical of Amaravati Art expressing auspiciousness and abundance.
  • White Marble was used in this art and the themes were Buddha’s life and Jatakas tales. The curly hairs of Buddha is a feature that is influenced by the Greeks.
  • In this school, the Kings, Princes, Palaces etc. have got prominence.
  • Among the events of Buddha’s life, the most popular to be depicted, are his descent from heaven in the form of a white elephant, queen Maya’s conception, the casting of his horoscope after his birth, the great renunciation, the transportation of Gautam’s head-dress to heaven, the scene of temptation, the Naga- Muchalinda protecting the Buddha from rain with broadhood, the first sermon, and the mahaparinirvana represented by the stupa.
buddha123
A drum slab carved in limestone with the four events related to the Buddha’s birth: Mayadevi’s Dream (top right); the Interpretation of the Dream attended by the dikpala-s (top left); the Birth of the Buddha attended again by the dikpala-s (bottom right); the Presentation of the Buddha to the caitya of the Sakyas (bottom left).
Siddhartha in the Palace
Depicts a scene from the Buddha’s life when he was prince Siddhartha, before his renunciation of his princely status and his subsequent quest for enlightenment. He is surrounded by palace women
  • In thematic treatment there is a striking similarity in certain cases with Mathura.
    • For example, a relief panel at Amaravati which shows a group of six bathing women with water pots is very close to such depictions of Mathura.
    • The way we have the representations of Kushana kings from Mathura in the form of statues, we find the kings and princes as themes represented in Amaravati sculpture also.
    • However, at Amaravati, they are not individual statues but are arts of a narrative.
    • For example: the story of King Udayana and his queen is depicted on a relief, a relief medallion depicts a court scene where the king is receiving presents, and in a relief panel is depicted a scene showing a king on march, with elephants, horse- riders and footmen.

Four Different Periods

First Period (200-100 BC)

  • Amaravati art shows distinct evolution toward maturity of style in a period of five hundred years. Through the successive stages, one may observe an advance in technique and refinement.
  • The first period is evidenced at Jagayyapeta, where a few slabs on decorative pieces at the base of the stupa have been found. These slabs depict pilasters at intervals with animals above bell-shaped capitals and devotees adoring the Buddha, who is symbolically represented.
  • The earliest examples which we get from Jaggayyapeta date back to 150 B.C.
    • In these, the figures are isolated units and are not interrelated in one composition.
    • However, “one can see here the beginning of that tall and slender human frame which is so characteristic an ethnic form in the narrative reliefs of the Krishna valley, and later, of Pallava sculpture”.
    • In later narrative reliefs the figures are well-shaped and interrelated.

Second Period (100 BC to AD 100)

  • The casing slabs above the platform are to be attributed to the second period.These slabs contain superposed panels depicting the Buddha in preaching form. The figures are more graceful and natural than those of the first period.
  • They depict the principal scenes of Buddha’s life, the Buddha almost always being represented by a symbol, though in two or three places he is personified, the earliest cases of his personification on record.
  • The sculpture showing Siddhartha leaving his palace on his journey, is typical of symbolic representation.

Third Period (AD 150)

  • The railing round the stupa was carved. An inscription informs that in Vasisthiputra Sri Pulamavi’s reign (of Satavahana), additions were made to the stupa and the Tibetan tradition associated the Buddhist Acharya Nagarjuna with the construction of the rail.
  • The sculptures form the high watermark of this school and the most outstanding in the whole of India. A new feature, absent in the earlier sculptures of Amaravati, is the delineation of different planes. The figures of the first plane are carved in deep relief, and the depth of cutting gradually diminishes with the successive planes.
  • Most remarkable of all is the skill displayed in representation of scenes of action.
  • The sculptures of Nagarjunikonda on the light- green limestone were a sequel to the Amaravati School and had their beginning contemporary with the third period of Amaravati art. The panels on the carved vertical slabs contained scenes illustrating the Jatakas.

Fourth Period (AD 200-)

  • The casing slabs of the fourth period show richer and elaborate carvings than the rail. The figures in the sculptures of this period tend to grow taller and slimmer. Also, one sees the finest miniature sculptures on the small circular bosses, in the friezes and on the casing slabs.
  • The statues of the Buddha dating from the third century AD are magnificient and powerful creations. The features are full and the body is far from slender, the expression aristocratic and benign. The head is crowned with short curly hair.

Mathura school of arts differed from the Gandhara school not only in origin and material used but also in several other features.” Elaborate. 

Ans:

  • Mathura School of art is purely indigenous style. Mathura art developed during post Maurya peiod (mainly during Shunga period) and reached its peak during the Gupta period (AD 325 to 600).
  • Gandhara School of art had developed during reign of Kushana emperor Kanishka. Both Shakas and Kushanas were patrons of Gandhara School. It shows Greco-Roman influence.

Difference in origin

  • Mathura School:
    • No foreign Influence, however, later it cross fertilized with the Gandhara School.
    • Its development took place indigenously.
  • Gandhara School:
    • Strong Greek influence.
    • It was based on Greco-Roman norms encapsulating foreign techniques and an alien spirit.
    • It is also known as Graeco-Buddhist School of art.
    • Assimilating various traits of Acamenian, Parthian and Bactrian traditions into the local tradition is a hallmark of the Gandhara style.
    • Initially inspired by Hellenistic features.

Difference in material used

  • Mathura School:
    • Spotted Red Sandstone
  • Gandhara School:
    • Blue-grey Mica schist / Grey Sandstone.
    • Other materials used were Mud, Lime, Stucco. Marble was not used in Gandhara art.
    • Terracotta was used rarely.

Difference in image features

  • Mathura School:
    • Theme may vary from Buddhist to Brahmanical to sometimes secular.
      • Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Jainism, Buddhism, Yakshas, Yakshinis etc.
      • Buddhist images are found in large numbers.
    • Both sitting and standing posture of Buddha’s statues.
    • Buddha image at Mathura is modelled on the lines of earlier Yaksha images whereas in Gandhara it has Hellenistic features.
    • More stress is given to the inner beauty and facial emotions rather than bodily gesture.
    • There is boldness in carving the large images.
    • Early period:
      • Light volume having fleshy body with little spirituality about them.
    • Later Period:
      • Flashiness reduced and surface features also got refined.
      • Buddha carved out in various Mudras.
      • Not much attention to detailed sculpting.
      • Buddha is stout.
  • Gandhara School:
    • Finer details and realistic images.
    • Great detail was paid to exact depiction of body parts.
    • Theme is mainly Buddhist, depicting various stories from the life of Buddha. Also known as Graeco-Buddhist School of art.
    • Buddha carved out in various Mudras.
    • The images of Buddha resembled Greek God Apollo.
    • Curly hair, anatomical accuracy, spatial depth, and foreshortening.
    • More stress is given to the bodily features and external beauty.
    • Buddha is sometimes thin.

Difference in halo

  • Mathura School:
    • The halo around the head of Buddha was profusely decorated.
    • Images are less expressive.
  • Gandhara School:
    • Not decorated, generally.
    • Images are very expressive.

Though there were differences in both schools, both also influenced each other. For example, many Mathura sculptures incorporate many Hellenistic elements, such as the general idealistic realism, and key design elements such as the curly hair, and folded garment.

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