Mauryan art

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Mauryan art encompasses the arts produced during the period of the Mauryan Empire (4th to 2nd century BCE), which was the first empire to rule over most of the Indian subcontinent. It represented an important transition in Indian art from use of wood to stone. It is also notable for a refinement in pottery.


According to Niharranjan Ray, the sum total of the Mauryan treasury of art include the remains of the royal palace and the city of Pataliputra, a monolithic rail at Sarnath, the Bodhimandala or the altar resting on four pilars at Bodhgaya, the excavated Chaitya-halls in the Barabar and Nagarjuni hills of Gaya including the Sudama cave bearing the inscription dated the 12th regnal year of Ashoka, the non-edict bearing and edict bearing pillars, the animal sculptures crowning the pillars with animal and vegetal reliefs decorating the abaci of the capitals and the front half of the representation of an elephant carved out in the round from a live rock at Dhauli.Mahajan V.D. (1960, reprint 2007). Ancient India, New Delhi: S.Chand, New Delhi, ISBN 81 219 0887 6, p.348

Coomaraswmy argued that the Mauryan art may be said to exhibit three main phases. The first phase was the continuation of the Pre-Mauryan tradition, which is found in some instances to the representation of the Vedic deities (the most significant examples are the reliefs of Surya and Indra at the Bhaja Caves.) The second phase was the court art of Ashoka, typically found in the...
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