Ancient India Simplified: Mauryan Art and Architecture

Palaces1. Inspired from Achaemenid palaces of Iran.
2. Wood was the principal material used.
Ex: Megesthenes mentioning Chandragupta Maurya’s palace as the greatest creations of mankind.
Pillars1. Ashoka pillars- usually made of chunar sandstone.
2. Objective: disseminate Buddhist ideology and court orders.
3. Language: Pali and Prakrit. A few were also in Greek or Aramaic.
4. Mainly comprise four parts: 1. Shaft: Long single piece of stone 2. Capital: lotus shaped or Bell shaped on top of shaft 3. Abacus: a rectangular or a circular base 4. Capital figure: usually animals like Bull, lion, elephant etc. 
Stupas1. Stupas are burial mounds prevalent in India from vedic period.
2. The core was made of unburnt brick while the outer surface was made of burnt bricks.
3. Ex: Sanchi Stupa (MP), Piprahwa Stupa (UP):Oldest one.
Cave Architecture1. Caves were generally used as Viharas i.e. living quarters by the Jain, Ajivika and Buddhist monks.
2. Key features: Highly polished and decorative gateways
Ex: Barabar Caves (Ajivika Sect) Bihar
Sculptures1..Two most famous Sculptures are Yaksha and Yakshi.
Ex: Didargunj Yakshi
PotteryNorthern Black Polished Ware.
Characterised by black paint and highly lustrous finish.
Kosambi and Pataliputra were centres of NBPW pottery.
Development of Terracotta art In the central phase of the NBPW around 300 B.C. the central gangetic plains became the centre of terracotta art. 
In Mauryan times, terracottas were produced on a large scale and they generally represented animals (elephants) and women (mother goddess).

Ashokan Pillars


Barabar Caves (Ajivika Sect)

Didarganj Yakshi

Fragments of Northern Black Polished Ware

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