Sculpture Traditions During Post Mauryan Phase

  • After the decline of the Mauryan Empire in the second century BC, various rulers controlled the regions which were once under the Mauryas, like the Shungas, Kanvas, Kushanas, and Guptas in the north and central India; and the Satavahanas, Abhiras, Ikshvakus, and Vakatakas in the south and western India.
  • During this time, three different schools of sculpture developed in 3 different regions of India.

Gandhara School

  • Location: Northwest Frontier of India, In Pakistan near Peshawar and Afghanistan. Major centres were Jalalabad (in Afghanistan); Hadda; Bagram (in Afghanistan) & Taxila (in Pakistan).
  • Patronage by: Kushana rulers like Kanishka & later by Sakas.
  • Religion: Buddhism (especially Mahayana)
  • Influence of external factors: It has a lot of Greek influence and is also called Greco- Indian school of art or Hellenistic sculpture.
  • Material: Blueish-grey sandstone & stucco
  • Features of Sculpture:
    • Buddha is in spiritual state with eyes half-closed and large ears and seated like a yogi. Spiritual buddha.
    • Minute attention has been given to physical details with wavy hairs. In some sculptures Buddha is bearded or moustache. Buddha has a lean body.
    • Both seated and standing figures are found.
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Mathura School

  • Location: On the banks of the Yamuna River, in Mathura and near areas. Major centres were Mathura, Sonkh and Kankalitila. 
  • Patronage by: Kushana rulers
  • Religion: Hinduism (both Shaivite and Vaishnavite), Buddhism, and Jainism.
  • Influence of external factors: No influence and is completely indigenous. Most of the images are based on earlier indigenous Yaksha images found during Mauryan times.
  • Material: Spotted red sandstone
  • Features of Sculpture:
    • Buddha is in a delighted mood with a smiling face.
    • Beard or Moustache is not found on Buddha.
    • Buddha’s eyes are open with small ears.
    • Most of the images of Buddha are seated gracefully in padmasana.
    • Body is muscular.
    • Right hand in Abhay Mudra
    • No mark on the forehead.
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Amravati School

  • Location: In the Krishna-Godavari and Amravati and Nagarjunkonda.
  • Patronage by: Satavahana rulers
  • Religion: Buddhism
  • Influence of external factors: No influence and is completely indigenous.
  • Material: White marble
  • Features of Sculpture: These sculptures are part of narrative art, and thus there is less emphasis on the individual features of Buddha. It depicts the life stories of Buddha and the Jataka tales.
27.2. Life scenes of Buddha 2nd century CE Limestone Amravati Andhra Pradesh Sculpture Gallery Indian Museum Kolkata A1 A25070
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