UPPCS Mains- 2018 answer writing practice
Discuss the contribution of Buddhism to the the art and architecture of ancient India. (200 words)
प्राचीन भारत की कला और वास्तुकला में बौद्ध धर्म के योगदान पर चर्चा करें। (200 शब्द)
Buddhism left a strong mark on art and architecture of ancient India such as:
· The great Buddhist Emperor Ashoka installed monolithic pillars of sandstone crowned by animal
figures like the bull, lion and elephant, and had them inscribed with the Buddhist concepts of
morality, humanity and piety. Famous Ashokan pillars are from Lauriya Nandangarh in Bihar, Sanchi
and Sarnath. The monolithic lion-capital at Sarnath, is the Emblem of the Government of India.
· Stupas: Stupas were built of stones or bricks to commemorate important events or mark important
places associated with Buddhism or to house important relics of Buddha. Examples: Amaravati,
Sanchi, Barhut and Gaya.
· Chaityas and Viharas: Chaitya grihas or halls of worship were built all over the country either of brick
or excavated from rocks. Viharas or monasteries constructed with brick or excavated from rocks are
found in different parts of India. Examples, Viharas at Ajanta, Ellora. Nasik, Karle, Kanheri, Bagh and
· The Vinayapithak, a Buddhist text of circa 3rd – 4th century B.C. refers in many places to the pleasure
houses containing picture halls which were adorned with painted figures and decorative patterns.
· Before the Christian era, Buddha’s spirituality was considered too abstract and was represented by
symbols like the Bodhi tree under which he attained enlightenment, the wheel of law, his foot prints,
the royal umbrella, the stupa and an empty throne, etc. Buddhist human images began to be first
made by the Mathura School of Art.
· In cave temples of Ajanta (executed during 2nd century B.C. to 7th century A.D.), the theme of
paintings is almost exclusively Buddhist, except decorative patterns on the ceilings and the pillars.
They are mostly associated with the Jatakas, (collection of stories, recording the previous births of
the Buddha). The painting of Bodhisatva Padmapani from cave-I is one of the masterpieces of Ajanta
· Wall paintings at Ellora also have Buddhist paintings excavated between the 8th and 10th centuries
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