(Last Updated on : 10/01/2009)
The Mauryan Empire is marked for its great achievements in art, culture architecture and literature, since the period of King Ashoka led to the base of sculpturing art of India in later period. Some of Ashoka`s edicts carved on pillars and rocks made out of shafts of sandstone, represent the earliest known stone sculptures in our country. The rule of the Mauryan Empire regarded for the period of promotion in the Field of art and architecture. This mainly includes:
The stupas are solid dome like structure built with bricks and stones and they were created first as symbol of artistic tradition in Mauryan dynasty. The great example of the architecture of the Mauryan period is the great stupa at Sanchi, constructed about 54 feet in height, surrounded by
exquisitely carved stone railings around it. It is perhaps the finest surviving relic of the Mauryan Empire. It is also famous and notable due to the four gateways, since before this there was no such tradition of carving gateways. These gateways are elaborately carved and depict the various scenes from the life of Buddha
and also about the lifestyle of people in that era. So, construction of gateways can be said as the unique architectural technique used by Mauryans. It is believed that Ashoka in total had erected almost 85,000 stupas and pillars. All these monuments are carved in stone and teachings of Buddhism engraved on them.
The Pillars were one of the major works done by Ashoka of Mauryan dynasty. The monument at Sarnath having four lions on it is also a kind of a pillared structure. The pillars of monolithic and smooth columns having more than 50 ft (15 m) height and are carved with lotus capitals and animal figures on it denotes the artistic features of the period. But among these, the most famous Lion-Capital (pillar of showing four-lions) erected by Ashoka at Sarnath
in Madhya Pradesh
in sandstone realistically represents the artistic achievements of Indian artists and patronage of their masters.
Besides these works of art, rock-cut caves, palaces and buildings constructed in Mauryan dynasty are also noted for the creative artwork. At some of the places, Mauryan art reflected an influence of the sprit of the Persian and Hellenistic art, but while executing the sprit a perfect craftsmanship was acquired by the artist to being solely a Mauryan art. After two thousand years from the period of its construction, today one can see ruins of them in most states of India including Gujarat
, Madhya Pradesh
and Tamil Nadu