Pillar from Bodh Gaya, Sunga Period, Calcutta, Indian Museum

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Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham

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Chronologically, this pillar, carved with a Yaksha figure, dates between the Sanchi Stupa No. 2 and the Stupa of Bharhut or to about the 2nd Century B.C. It was one of 64 such pillars erected by Kurangi, queen of King Indragnimitra, and Magadeva, Queen of Brahmamitra: rulers of the later Sunga dynasties, Bodh Gaya was the site of the Buddha's Enlightenment and thus had several monuments built there including the original one commemorating the Enlightenment built by King Asoka, A palisade was later constructed over the remains of this first monument: this comprised of the 64 pillars including our example, We have another case of a Yaksha in attendant's role with fly-whisk held over his right shoulder, The god stands jauntily, awaiting his calling, his feet resting on a camel provided as his vehicle, As far as pillar decoration goes, this one is stylistically more refined and technically more advanced than those appearing on Stupa No. 2 (see slide 11), for the relief is higher, handled practically in the round, and more harmoniously arranged within its confined space,

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Bodh Gaya, architecture, stone sculpture, mounted transparency set

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This image is provided for research purposes only and must not be reproduced without the prior permission of the Archives Program, Australian National University.

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