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Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


Figure from Cave XVII, Ajanla 
(Griffiths, Ajanld, Vol I, PI 55) 











191 1 






The purpose of this book is to give for the first time a chronological, descriptive 
History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon from the third century B.C. to the present 
day, with criticism of the aesthetic merits of the works described. The art history 
is treated throughout in close connexion with political and religious revolutions. In 
criticism the judgements of experts have been utilized as far as possible. Necessary 
limitations of space forbid elaborate explanations of the mythological or historical 
significance of individual works. 

Ceylon is included because the art of the island is almost wholly Indian, and some 
readers may find the sections dealing with the artistic productions of Ceylon among 
the most novel and interesting portions of the work. A summary notice of the 
remarkable mediaeval development of purely Indian art in remote Java appears 
to be essential to a right presentation of the story, and a similarly slight account 
of recent discoveries in Chinese Turkistan is equally indispensable. But neither 
of those two large subjects can be treated in detail. No attempt is made to pursue 
the ramifications of Indian art in Burma and the Far East, where it is profoundly 
modified by Chinese ideas. Materials have been collected for a supplementary 
chapter on European Art and Artists in India, but want of space compels me to omit 
that subject. The book, as it stands, is much more bulky than it was originally 
intended to be, and I confess that the amount of matter available has surprised 
me. The objects noticed have been carefully selected to the best of my taste 
and ability, but I cannot expect everybody to agree with my choice. The com- 
pletion of a comprehensive review of the whole field of Indian Art has necessarily 
involved the revision of opinions expressed in earlier publications and based on more 
imperfect knowledge. 

The roueh distinction drawn between Fine Art and the Industrial Arts, and the 
question of the existence of Fine Art in India, which some critics deny, are discussed 
in the Introduction. The main topics dealt with in this volume are Sculpture and 
Painting. Architecture is a subject too big for full treatment in a general history 
of Fine Art. Students who wish to pursue the investigation of Indian Architecture 
must still read special treatises, especially Fergusson's classical work in the new 
edition. In Chapters II and XII merely outline sketches of the leading Hindu and 
Muhammadan styles respectively are offered. Chapters III-VII give a continuous 
and tolerably full history of Hindu sculpture — the term Hindu including Jain and 


Buddhist. Muhammadan sculpture, chiefly decorative, is discussed in Chapter XIII. 
Chapters VIII, IX, aud XIV, if read together, present a history of Indian Painting 
in considerable detail. A selection of specially artistic Hindu minor works, which 
cannot be ranged under the heads of Sculpture or Painting, is described in Chapter X. 
I have found it convenient to treat Foreign Influences on Hindu Art separately 
in Chapter XI. 

The illustrations, mostly from photographs, include a large number never before 
published, many which have appeared only in publications of very limited circulation, 
and some which are necessarily hackneyed. Bibliographical Notes are inserted 
as required, and a comprehensive Index has been prepared. It has not appeared 
desirable to cumber the text with diacritical marks, but long vowels are marked where 
necessary as a guide to pronunciation. Consonants may be pronounced as in English. 
Short a with stress is pronounced like u in btit, e. g. Chandra is pronounced CImndra ; 
the short a without stress being an indistinct vowel like the A in America. Other 
vowels are to be pronounced as in Italian ; e. g. Mir is pronounced Mcer, and Yilsuf 
is pronounced Yoosuf. if and o are long, whether marked or not. Aii, is pronounced 
ow, as in Kanauj = Kdiioiuj. 

My obligations for help of many kinds are numerous. 

For liberty to reproduce official photographs, drawings, and illustrations I have 
to thank the Secretary of State for India, the Governments of Madras and Ceylon, 
and the Controller of H.M. Stationery Ofiice. My special gratitude is due to the 
Government of Ceylon for the gift of a valuable set of archaeological publications and 
an abundant supply of photographs selected by Mr. H. C. P. Bell, Archaeological 
Commissioner, who has taken much trouble in the matter. The Government of 
Madras has placed original drawings and photographs at my disposal through 
Mr. A. Rea, Superintendent of Archaeology. Dr. A. Willey, F.R.S., late Director of 
the Colombo Museum, and Mr. Joseph, Acting Director, have kindly supplied material 
under their control, and I am similarly indebted to the Superintendent of the Central 
Museum, Madras, and to the Principal of the Madras School of Art. The Councils 
of the Royal Asiatic Society, of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and of the Royal 
Institute of British Architects, the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, 
the Delegates of the Clarendon Press, Messrs. Griggs and Son, Sir Richard Temple, 
and Dr. Stein, CLE., have been good enough to permit the reproduction of copyright 
photographs or illustrations. 

Acknowledgements for similar help are owed to Mr. Henry Balfour, Curator of 
the Pitt-Rivers Museum ; Mr. A. Beardsell of Madras ; Dr. A. K. Coomaraswamy ; 
the Collector of Trichinopoly ; Prof. GrLinwedel ; Mr. R. Narasimhachar, Director of 
the Archaeological Survey, Mysore ; and Mr. Whitworth Walks, Curator of the 
Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham. Prof. A. A. Macdonell has given me the 
free use of his large collection of photographs. 


H.H. the Maharaja of Benares has kindly supplied, through the Commissioner of 
Benares, a set of photographs of selected pictures in his illustrated MS. of the poem 
of Tulsl Das. Mr. E. J. Marshall, Director-General of Archaeology in India, 
Dr. Vogel, Actinq--Director, and Mr. D. R. Bhandarkar of the Archaeolog-ical 
Department have taken qiuch trouble to procure photographs for me. Mr. G. A. 
Wathen, Curator of the Lahore Museum, was kind enough to select and supply 
a representative set of photographs of Kangra pictures. 

M. A. Foucher performed a similar service in selecting specimens of Nepalese 
and Tibetan pictures in the library of the Institut de France, and has given valuable 
personal aid. Sir George Watt, K.C.I.E., C.S.I., has generously lent negatives 
of illustrations in Indian Art at Delhi. Col. Hanna, Col. Hendley, CLE., Dr. C. H. 
Read, and Mrs. Jopling Rowe have permitted me to inspect their collections of 
Indo-Persian paintings, and Col. Hendley has lent some specimens for reproduction. 
Mrs. Herringham has communicated information about the Ajanta paintings. At the 
British Museum I received all possible assistance from Prof Barnett, Dr. C. H. Read, 
and Messrs. John Allan, Lawrence Binyon, O. Dalton, and Reginald Smith. At the 
India Office similar liberal help was given by Messrs. F. W. Thomas, A. G. Ellis, 
and W. Foster. The resources of the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, 
were placed at my disposal by the Board of Education and Messrs. Stanley Clarke, 
Edward Strange, and G. H. Palmer. I am indebted for friendly criticism to Mr. W. 
Crooke, Prof Percy Gardner, and Dr. Stein, CLE., and for references to 
Dr. Grierson, CLE., Messrs. W. Crooke, E. B. Havell, and W. Irvine, and to 
Don Zilva Wickremasinghe. 

If any acknowledgement due has been overlooked, I trust that the omission will 
be ascribed to inadvertence and not to ingratitude. It has not been possible always 
to use the permission granted to reproduce illustrations. 









Section i. 

Section 2. 

Section 3. 

Section 4. 


Bibliographical Note .... 

The Hindu Styles of Architecture 

Sculpture of tpie Early Period . 
Section i. The Age of Asoka 
Section a. Post-Asokan Sculpture . 
Bibliographical Note .... 

The Hellenistic Sculpture of Gandhara 
Section i. Introductory Observations 
Section 2. Description of the Sculptures 
Section 3. Criticism .... 

Bibliographical Note .... 

Sculpture of the Kushan Period, other than the 
General Observations 
Mathura and Sarnath 
Danavulapad (Jain) 
Bibliographical Note 

Sculpture of the Gupta Period 
Section i. General Observations 
Section 2. Northern India 
Section 3. Western and Southern India 

Mediaeval and Modern Sculpture 
Section i. General Observations 
North-Eastern India 
Tibet and Nepal . 
North-Western India and Rajputana 
Western India 
Southern India 

A. Stone . 

B. Bronzes and Brasses 
Ceylon .... 

A. Stone . 

B. Bronzes 
Java . . 

Bibliographical Note ..... 
Section 9. Jain (all India) 

The Early Schools of Hindu Painting 
Section i. General Observations 
Section 2. Ramgarh Hill, Orissa . 
Section 3. Ajanta ..... 

■ b 

Section 2. 
Section 3. 
Section 4. 
Section 5. 
Section 6. 

Section 7. 

Section 8. 

Gandhara School 












24 r 







Section 4. 

Section 5. Ceylon 

Bibliographical Note .... 

IX. Hindu Painting, Mediaeval and Modern 
Section i. General Observations 
Section 2. Chinese Turkistan . 
Bibliographical Note .... 

Section 3. Tibet and Nepal . 
Bibliographical Note .... 

Section 4. Kangra ..... 

Section 5. Eighteenth-Century Painting, chiefly Mythological 
Section 6. Southern India .... 

Section 7. Ceylon ...... 

Section 8. Modern Schools .... 

I. Pictures in European Style . 
II. The Bengali Nationalist School 

X. Hindu Minor Arts 

Section i. Coinage ...... 

Section 2. Gems, Seals, and Jade . 

Section 3. Jewellery ..... 

Section 4. Reliquaries and Gold Images 

Section 5. Silver Paterae and Bowls 

Section 6. Copper Vessels .... 

Section 7. Wood-carving .... 

Section 8. Ivories ...... 

Section 9. Terra-cottas and Clay Figures 
XI. The Foreign Influences on Hindu Art 
XII. The Indo-Muhammadan Styles of Architecture 
Bibliographical Note 

XIII. Indo-Muiiammadan Decorative and Minor Arts 

Section i. General Observations 

Section 2. Coins, Gems, and Seals . 

Section 3. Figure Sculpture .... 

Section 4. Calligraphy and Decorative Reliefs 
Section 5. Lattices ...... 

Section 6. Inlay and Mosaic .... 

Section 7. Enamelled Tiles .... 

Bibliographical Note ..... 

XIV. Indo-Persian or Mughal Painting . 

Section i. Origin, History, and Technique 

Section 2. The Artists and their Works 

Section 3. Criticism 

Bibliographical Note 

Appendix . 
Addenda .... 
























Frontispiece. Figure from Cave XVII, Ajanta. 
Fig. I. The great sitcpa, Sanchi, as restored 
Pl. I. The great stupa, Sanchi, east side, 

before restoration 
Fig. 2. Elevation of railing 

3. Plan of Buddhist church . 

4. Fa9ade of rock-cut church at Nasik, 

circa b. c. 150 . 

5. Fa9ade of Lomas Rishi Cave, Bara- 

bar Hills, Gaya .... 
Pl. II. Asoka inscribed Pillar at Lauriya- 

Nandangarh .... 
Fig. 6. Jain column at Rludabidri, S. Kanara 

7. Sketch of processional car 

8. Muktesvara temple, Bhuvanesvar, 

Orissa ..... 

9. Details of Rajaiani temple, Bhuvane- 

svar ...... 

Pl. III. Aryavaria style, Great Temple, 

Bhuvanesvar .... 
IV. Temple of the Sun, Konarak, Orissa, 

as excavated. .... 
Fig. 10. Temple in Bengali style, Dinajpur . 
Pl. V. Aryavarta(Indo-Aryan) style; temple 

of Visvanath at Khajuraho . 
VI. Part of ceiling of Temple of Vima- 

lasaha, Wt. Abu, a. d. 1031 
VII. Pillars of upper hall of Tejpal's 

Temple, Mt. Abij, a.d. 1230 
VIII. Temple of the Sun at Osia, Jodhpur 

State, Rajputana 
Fig. II. Ganesa (Ganesh) Ratha, Mamalla- 

puram ..... 

Pl. IX. Dravidian style ; Temple of Subrah- 

manya, Tanjore .... 
Fig. 12. Muktesvara Temple, KanchI, from 

the souih-west .... 

13. Madura Temple, general view 

14. Somnathpur triple, stellate temple, 

Mysore, a. d. 1268 
Pl. X. Deccan style ; temple, Nuggehalli, 
Mysore, a.d. 1249 
Fig. 15. The Council Hall, Vijayanagar 



















Pl. XL Hoysalesvara Temple, Halebid; sculp- 
tures on east end 

Fig. 16. Plan of ceiling in Suryanarayana- 
swami Temple at Magala . 
17. Details oftemple of Martand, Kashmir 

Pl. XII. Temple at Bhatgaon, a.d. 1703 

Fig. 18. Stone railing at Anuradhapura, as 
restored ..... 

19. Siva temple No. i, at Polonnaruwa, 

west wall ..... 

20. Stucco reliefs on porch of the Ileta- 

dage, Polonnaruwa 

2 1 . Circular shrine (ivala-dd-ge) at Polon- 

naruwa ; part of north-eastern quad- 
rant ...... 

22. The same ; western stairs 

23. Circular shrine {wala-dd-ge) at IMedi- 

rigiriya, N.C.P. .... 

24. Capital at AbhayagiriVihare, Anura- 

dhapura ..... 

25. Capital at Abhayagiri Vihare, Anura- 

dhapura ..... 

26. Column at Galapata vihare, Bentota, 


27. Column in Ruwanveli area, Anura- 

dhapura, with extra fillets ; 9 ft. 4 in. 


E'lG. 28. Capital of Sankisa pillar . 

Pl. XIII. Capital of inscribed Asoka pillar at 

Sarnath ..... 
Fig. 29. Asoka pillar at Bakhira, Muzaffarpur 

District ..... 
Pl. XR'. Colossal female statue froniBesnagar 
Fig. 30. The Heliodoros pillar, Besnagar 

31. Fan-palm capital, Besnagar 

32. Part of coping and pillar, Bodh-Gaya 


Part of coping and pillar, Bodh-Ga) a 
sacred tree, &c. .... 
Winged lion ..... 
Winged ox .... . 
Centaur ..... 







37- Coping: fish-tailed monsters 









Pl. XV. Bharhut.innerview of eastern gateway 69 
Fig. 38. Horse-headed female ... 70 

39. Buffalo . . . . . -71 

40. Man and woman . . . .71 

41. Bharhut; comic scene . . -72 

42. Bharhut; elephant and monkeys . 72 

43. Bharhut ; jalaka scene on coping . 73 

44. Sudarsana YakshI, Bharhut . . 74 

45. A Yakshi, Batanmara, near Bharhut 74 
Pl. XVI. Eastern gateway of great slfipa, 

Sanchi, back view . . -75 
XVII. Sanchi sculptures. A. West gate, 

back; B. South gate, pillar . 77 

Fig. 46. Bracket figure, &c. ; eastern gateway, 

Sanchi . . . . -79 

47. Naga shrine, &c. ; eastern gateway, 

Sanchi . .... 80 

48. Three men in a boat, &c. ; the inunda- 

tion miracle ; eastern gateway, 

Sanchi ..... 80 
Pl. XVIII. Processional scenes, Mathura ; in 

a /orana arch . . . .81 

Fig. 49. Part of frieze on toraiia beam, j\Ia- 

thura ; worship of a 5//7/W . . 82 

50. Fragments in Bharhut style, j\Iathura 

JMuseum ..... 

51. Vibit of Indra to Buddha, jMathura 

i\Iuseum ..... 

52. Female statue, Jayavijaya cave, Uda- 

yagiri, Orissa, ? 2nd cent. b. c. 
Pl. XIX. Portion of frieze in Rani Gumpha 
Cave, Udayagiri, Orissa, .? 2nd 
cent. B. c. . 
Fig. 53. IMan and boy, AmaravatI 
Pl. XX. Sculptured stelae at Abhayagiri dd- 
gaba, Anuradhapura. A. East 
stele of south chapel ; B, The same 
stele, and a Naga ; C. East stele 
of north chapel .... 
XXI. Stelae, Abhayagiri and Ruwanveli. 
A. North siele, east chapel, Abha- 
yagiri ; B. Naga door-keeper, Ru- 
wanveli vilidrc .... 
XXII. Ancient grotesque figures, Anura- 
dhajiura. A. Dwarf door-keeper, 
Ruwanveli dagaha ; B. Dwarf 
right-handed door-keeper of south 
porch of west chapel of Jetawana- 
rama ; C. Part of dado, Ruwanveli 
dagdUi, vihdrc . . . .91 





Pl. XXIII. Kapila relief, Isurumuniya, Anu- 
radhapura ..... 

Fig. 54. Seated Buddha, 5 ft. 9 in. high; in 
situ at Toluvila, Anuradhapura ; 
now in Colombo Museum ; proba- 
bly of early date ; a native seated 
at side ..... 


Fig. 55. Head of Bodhisattva 

56. Head of old man . . . . 

57. Perso-Ionic capital of IVIaurya age, 

Sarnath . . . . . 

58. Modillions . . . . . 
Pl. XXIV. Buddha, &c. ; slab from Muham- 
mad Nari ..... 

XXV. INIodified Corinthian capitals from 
Gandhara . . . . . 

Fig. 59. Buddha attended by Vajrapani, from 
Yusufzai, Dames Collection, Berlin 

Pl. XXVI. Seated Buddha, Berlin Museum . 

Fig. Go. Visit of Indra to Buddha in Indrasaila 
Cave ...... 

61. Gautama as emaciated ascetic (Sikri) 

Pl. XXVII. Various Buddhas. A. Buddha 
with fire and water issuing from 
him ; B. Buddha seated under 
tree ; C. Buddha seated, early 
style ; D. Buddha on lotus-seat, 
with attendants . 

Fig. 62. Bodhisattva, Lahore Museum , 

63. Bodhisattva from Y5sufzai(L. Dames 
Berlin) .... 

Pl. XXVIII. Kuvera in form of Zeus . 

Fig. 64. Kuvera and HaritI; from Sahrl-Bahlol 

65. HaritI; from Sikrl . 

66. Pallas Athene ; Lahore Museum 

67. Woman and tree, from Yusufzai (L, 

Dames, Berlin) . 

68. Woman holding mirror, from Yusufzai 

(L. Dames, Berlin) 

69. !!Man playing lyre (z'zwj), from Yusufzai 

(L. Dames, Berlin) 

70. Garuda and the Nagini, from Sanghao 
70 a. Same subject 

71. A'atican Rape of Ganymede 

72. Bo)s armed as soldiers . 

73. Old man, '{ Hindu ascetic 










1 12 

1 12 









Fig. So. 


Fig. 74. The Great Renunciation ; Chandaka 
leading out the horse Kanthaka . 
75. Gautama riding away; Lahore Mu- 
seum ...... 

Pl. XXIX. The Nativity of Buddha, from Yu- 

sufzai (L. Dames, Berlin) . 
Fig. 76. Worship of /n'sfil symbol by monks 
Pl. XXX. Procession of maskers and soldiers 
Fig. 77. Frieze of marine deities ; British Mu- 
seum ...... 

78. Four-armed image, from Momand 
Frontier ..... 


Fig. 79. Herakles and the Nemean lion, from 


Pl. XXXI. Bacchanalian scene ; front group 
of the Stacy block, Mathura 
Pall Khera block, front group 
Bacchanalian image, ? Kuvera, from 
Huvishka's monastery, Jamalpur 
mound ..... 
Bacchanalian statuette . 

83. Bacchanalian Naga, from Kiikar- 
grama ..... 

84. Naga statue, with inscription of Hu- 
vishka's reign, from Chhargaon 

85. Yakshi on dwarf; Mathura Museum 

86. Two Yakshis (.?); Indian Museum . 

87. Female, half-back view ; Mathura 
Museum ..... 

88. Female with right arm bent ; Mathura 
Museum ..... 

89. Female with right leg bent ; Mathura 
Museum ..... 

90. Female and child ; Malhura i\Iuseum 

91. A soldier; JMathuia INIuseum . 
Lion and rider ; Indian Museum 
A Bodhisattva, from the Katra ; 

Mathuia Museum 
Bodhisattva from Mathura 
95. Nude female on Jain railing pillar, 
Mathuia ..... 
Pl. XXXII. Tablet with relief sculpture of a 

Jain s/apa ; Mathura Museum 
Fig. 96. Draped bracket figure . 

97. Fish-tailed elephant 

98. Bull .... 

99. Shell .... 
100. Modified vine-leaf . 

















Pl. XXXIII. Slab with representation of a 
s/i/pa, &c., from the base of the 
great s/f/pa, AmaravatI . . 149 

Fig. ioi. Slab with representation of a s/upa, 

from votive j//7/(7, Amaravati . 151 

102. Basal medallion on pillar of rail, 

with plinth . . . .152 

103. Undulating roll motive on coping of 

rail, AmaravatI . 

104. Pilaster, AmaravatI 

105. Lotus forms 

106. Lotus and j/iaiara 

107. A pond 

108. Marble Buddhas . 

109. Sculptured and inscribed pedestal, 

2-1 feet high, in front of Jain shrine 
at Danavulapad, Cuddapah Dis- 

no. Jain Til thankara and Yakshi; near 
Danavulapad, Cuddapah District 


Fig. III. River goddess; Udayagiri, Bhopal 

112. The Ganges goddess, Besnagar 
Pl. XXXIV. Siva as an ascetic (rnahdyogi) ; 
Deogarh temple 
XXXV. Vishnu on Ananta ; Deogarh 
temple ..... 
Fig. 113. Female image, Rajgir , 
Pl. XXXVI. Krishna and his mother; Patharl 
Fig. 114. Buddhist pillar, front; Garhwa 
115. Buddhist pillar, side ; Garhwa 
Pl. XXXVII. Decoration of Dharaekh stupa. 

A. Tiringi ialai pattern, Ceylon ; 

B. Dhamekh slupa ; decoration 
on west face, right-hand half; C 
Decoration south-east side . 

Fig. 116. Pilaster; Sarnath . 

Pl. XXXVIII. Seated Buddha, Sarnath 

Fig. 1 1 7. Buddha ; Mathura ]\Iuseum . 

118. Colossal copper statue of Buddha, 

Sultanganj ; Birmingham Museum 1 7 1 

119. The JNIankuwiir Buddha . . 173 

120. Brass Buddha from Kangia District 173 

121. Budhagupta pillar; Eran, Sagar 

District . . . . .174 

122. Manjusri ; from Sarnath . . 175 
Pl. XXXIX. The Temptation of Buddha, 

Cave XXVI, Ajanta . . -177 






. 167 

. 168 





Fig. 12.:;. Buddha, &c., Cave IX, Ajama 

124. ?tlale and female busts; Cave III, 

Aurangabad . . . . 

125. Bronze Buddha, ? 6ih cent.; from 

Buddhavani, Kistna District ; 
B. :\i 

126. Bronze forearm in three positions ; 

? 6th cent. ; from Buddhavani, 
Kistna District ; B. :M. 


Fig. 127. Avalokitesvara ; .' 8th cent., from 

near Gaya ; Lucknow JMuseum . 

128. Buddha from Kurkihar ; Lucknow 

i\Iuseum ..... 

Pl. XL. Srir3'a, the Sun, driven in 7-horsed 

lotus-car by the legless Aruna, 

the Dawn .... 

Fig. 129. Marich), goddess of Dawn; from 

Kurkihar; Lucknow Museum 

130. Buddha; from near Rajgir; ? 12th 

cent. .... 

13!, Scroll on Paraiuramesvara temple 

132. Scroll wiih birds, &c., Rajaran 

temple, Bhuvanesvar . 

133. Antelope frieze, IMuktesvara temple, 

Bhuvanesvar ... 

134. Panel on tower of Great Temple 


135. Dancing girl on Baital Dewal, Bhu 

vanesvar .... 

136. BhagavatI, Great Temple, Bhuva- 

nesvar .... 

137. ;\Iother and child; temple of Jagan- 

nath. Pur! ... 

138. Awheel; Konarak 

139. Two horses; Konarak. 

140. A colossal horse ; Konarak . 

141. Colossal elephant ; Koniirak . 

142. Vishnu; Konarak 

143. Bala-Krishna ; Konarak 

144. TheApostleof the Mongols; bronze 

in Ukhtomskij Collection . 

145. Gilt bronze statuette of Tsong-kapa 

about 5 inches high. . 
Pl. XLI. Bronze images of Tibetan deities 
and saints. A. A teacher, gilt 
bronze, about 4 inches high, Pitt- 










Rivers Museum ; B. The Bodhi- 
sattva Manjusrl, patinated bronze, 
about 6 inches high, Pitt-Rivers 
Museum ; C. The goddess Sa- 
rasvatl, LTkhtomskij Collection . 
Fig. 146. Sculptures on a wall of Mokalji's 
temple, Chitor .... 

147. Elephant-fight frieze from same tem- 

ple . 

148. Face in wall of temple, Vasantgarh 

149. Kuvera ; Temple No. 9, Osia 

150. Statuette of Vishnu ; Mathura Mu- 

seum ..... 

151. Portrait bust ; Bijolia, Mewar 

Pl. XLII. Deities in Vaishnava cave, BadamI 

XLIII. Bhairava ; Dasavatar Cave, Elura 

Fig. 152. Siva dancing; in Lankesvara-Kailas 

temple ..... 

Pl. XLIV. Rescue of Markandeya by Siva. 

A. Das Avatar Cave, Eliira, cir. 

700 A.D. ; B. Kailas temple, 

Elura, cir. 775 a. D. . 

Fig. 153. Vishnu taking the third stride ; Cave 

16, Elura ..... 

154. i\Iarriage of Siva and Parvati ; Ele- 

phanta ..... 

155- Siva as the Great Ascetic: E!le- 

phanta ..... 

1,56. Bracket statuette ; Karvati temple . 

157. Brahma and Sarasvatl ; Amarnath . 

Pl. XLV. Durga and Alahishasura relief, Ma- 

mallapuram .... 

XLVI. Rock-sculpture, 'Arjuna's Penance' 

(right side), atMamallapur, Ching- 

leput District .... 

Fig. 158. Sculpture of Pallava period (.' 7th 

cent.) at Trichinopoly 

159. Siva dancing ; on north wall of great 

temple at Gangaikonda-Cholapu- 
ram ...... 

1 60. God and goddess (Siva and Parvati); 

on north wall of great temple at 
Gangaikonda-Cholapuram . 

161. Siva and Parvati; on north wall of 

great temple at Gangaikonda- 
Cholapuram, Trichinopoly Dis- 

162. ' Ravana's Penance ' ; on temple at 

Darasuram, Tanjore District 

163. Bracket figure over capital of east 





2 16 






door of Malikarjuna temple, Kuiu- 

vatti, Bellary District . 
Pl. XLVII. Ramayana reliefs, Vija3anagar. 

A. Part of relief sculpture ; 

Hazara Rama temple, Vija3a- 

nac;ar ; B. Ditto 
Fig. 164. Scroll, Hariharesvara temple, Be\- 

lary District .... 

165. j}/a/;ara /orana (arch), Malikarjuna 

temple, Kuruvatli 

166. Part of jamb of N. gopiira, Tiirpatri 

temple, Ananiapur District 

167. YCili, or rampant lion, in Vijayana- 

gar style, at Virinchipuram 

168. Female figure at Jinji (Gingee), 

S. Arcot, cir. a. d. i 500 

169. Sculptures in hall of Udaiyar-palai- 

yam palace 

170. Siva supplicating ; Tirumal Naik's 

choultry, at Madura . 

171. Woman and baby ; Great Temple, 

Madura District 

172. ^4 ja;-(z (demon) and monkeys ; Ra- 

mesvaram temple, JMadura Dis- 
trict ...... 

173. Female carrying male deity; en- 

trance corridor, Ramesvaram 
temple ..... 

Pl. XLVIII. Brass portrait images of Krish- 
naraya of Vijayanagar (a. d. 
1510-29) and his Queens ; in 
the Sii Nivasa Perumal temple 
on the hill of Tirumalai near 
Tirupati, N. Arcot District 

Fig. 174. Siva Nataraja ; from Tanjore 
District, preserved in local 
treasury ..... 

175. Parvali ; property of W. A. Beard- 

sell, Esq., Madras ; about 20 in. 

176. Bronze statuette, ii§" high, of Ra- 

machandra bearded ; V. and A. 
Museum ..... 

177. Bronze cast; copy of sculpture on 

Choultry of Tirumal Naik (17th 
cent.), at Madura ; V. and A. 
Museum ..... 

178. Seated Buddha, 6 ft. 9 in. high; at 

Pankuliya Vihare, Anuradhapura; 
? loih cent. .... 
















Fig. 179. Seated Buddha; limestone, about 

3 feet high; from Vihara, No. 2, 

Polonnaruwa ; now in Colombo 

Museum . . . . .241 

180. Colossal Buddha at Awkana, 

N. C. P. . . . . . 242 

Pl. XLIX. Colossal statue of ' Ananda ', Po- 
lonnaruwa .... 243 

Fig. 181. The Dying Buddha, 38 feet long; 

at Tantri-malai .... 244 

182. The ' stone-book ', Polonnaruwa . 244 

183. Stele from Vihaie, No. 2, Polon- 

naruwa . . . . .245 

184. Parvatl, from Siva temple, No. i, 

Polonnaruwa .... 245 

185. ]\[akara-torana, Vija^arama monas- 

tery ...... 246 

Pl. L. Brass (or pale bronze) statue of Pat- 
tini Devi, goddess of chastity, 
Ceylon, in British Museum . 247 

Fig. 186. Bronze panel from Anuradhapura, 
No. 96 in ' List of finds ', Co- 
lombo Museum . . .249 
187. Bronze statuette, .? of a Bodhisattva, 
from Anuradhapura ; No. 97, 
' List of finds ', Colombo Museum 250 
Pl. LL Bronze Siva Nataraja, 3 feet high, 
No. I, from Polonnaruwa (Co- 
lombo IMuseum) . . . 251 

Fig. 188. Siva Nataraja ; No. 15, from Polon- 
naruwa, 2 feet high . . .253 

189. Siva in j^woyya/^rZ/j dance ; height 

I ft. I o-| in. ; No. 1 2 , from 
PoIonnaruwa(Colonibo Museum) 254 

190. Surya, the Sun-god; height i ft. 

S"! in.; No. 18, from Polon- 
naruwa (Colombo Museum) . 254 

191. Piirvati ; height i ft. 8 in. ; No. 23, 

from Polonnaruwa (Colombo 
Museum) . . . . .255 

192. Parvatl; height i ft. s,\ in. ; No. 20, 

from Polonnaruwa (Colombo 
Museum) . . . . .255 

193. Sundara-murti Swami, Tamil saint; 

height I ft. 8 in. ; No. 16, from 
Polonnaruwa (Colombo Museum) 256 

194. Bronze statuette of monk; from Uru- 

lewa, N. C. P 256 

195. Avalokitesvara, or Padmapani; from 

Ceylon ..... 257 



Fig. 196. Jambhala, or Kuvera, god of riches; 
from Ceylon .... 

197. Bronze seated Buddha (Colombo 

Museum) ..... 

198. Offerings to a Bodhisattva 

199. Sarasvatl enthroned; from Jogyo- 

kaita, Java .... 

200. Prajiia-Paramita .... 
Pl. LII. Stone Buddha .... 

Fig. 201. ? :\fanjubrl; Raffles Coll., B. M. ; 
6i| inches high 

Pl. LIU. Jain colossus at Karkala, South 
Kanara, Madras 
LIV. Jain sculpture and ornament on 
north face of Jinanathpur BaslJ, 
near Sravana, Belgola, ? I2lh 
cent. ..... 

Fig. 202. Figures in spandril of central ceiling 

panel, Cave I, Ajanta 
Pl. LV. Small panels from ceiling of Cave I, 

Ajanta ..... 
Fig. 203. Figure from early painting H, 

Cave IX, Ajanta 
Pl. LVI. Bulls fighting ; from bracket capital, 

Cave I, Ajanta . . . 

Fig. 204. Early sketch of elephant in Cave X, 


Pl. evil Raja and women, early painting. 

Cave X, Ajanta. 
Fig. 205. A Pjuddlia on pillar. Cave X, Ajanta 

206. Eong-tailed monkeys, Cave XVII, 

Ajanta ..... 

207. Woman carrying child, Cave XVII, 

Ajanta ..... 

208. ]\Iothcr and child making an offering 

to Pjuddha, Cave XIX, Ajanta . 

209. Voman standing, Cave II, Ajanta . 

210. Noble Persian {> Khusru Parviz) 

and Eady ; from ceiling of Cave I, 


Pl. emu. Sigiri3a frescoes ; ' Pocket B ', 

Figs- 3> 4 

EIX. Sigiriva frescoes ; ' Pocket B ' 

Figs.'y. 8. . . . : 

EX. Sfgiriya frescoes ; ' Pocket B ', 

Figs. 11,12 
Fig. 211. Kinnara and lotuses: Ruwanweli, 

Anuradhapura .... 



















Fig. 212. Dwarf: Ruwanweli, Anuradhapura 301 
213. Cave painting at Tamankaduwa 

(Pulligoda galkanda) . . . 302 


Pl. EXE Persian Bodhisattva; rev. of wooden 
panel, D. vii, 6, from Dandan- 

Fig. 214. JMounted princes or saints; wooden 
panel from Dandan-Uiliq . 

215. Water-sprite, &c.; fresco at Dandan- 


216. Chinese princess ; fresco at Dandan- 


217. Bactrian camel ; Indian-ink drawing 

on paper from Endere 
Pl. EXII. Buddha, with worshippers on earth 
and in clouds .... 
EXIII. Portrait of young Eama, Tibetan 
School ..... 
EXIV. Portrait of a Eama evoking a de- 
mon ; Tibetan School 
Fk;. 218. 'The White-bearded Old Man ' ; 
the Mongolian tutelary deity of 
the earth; Indian Aj/^///))(7/?' 

219. The Repentant Monster 

220. A migic circle, Nepalese School . 

221. Jambhala of Ceylon; min. No. 18 

of MS. Add. 1643, Camb. 

222. Ramdayal, &c., goldsmiths of 

Kangra, at work (black and white) 

223. Snake-charmer, by Kapur Singh of 

Amritsar (ochre-coloured gar- 
ments) ..... 

224. A Kanphata ('split-ear') JogT, or 

Muliammadan fakir, by KapUr 
Singh of Amritsar (black robe, 
yellow head-dress widi peacock 
feailiers) ..... 

Pl. EXV. Damayanii choosing Nala as her 

husband; from ]il\^wx Razmndma. 

EXVI. Dhanasaii RaginT, b)' Mohan Singh, 

1 8th cent 

Fig. 225. Dharmiaja on black bull. 

Pl. EXVII. Uma worshipping Siva 

Fig. 226. Byas (Vyasa) ]\Iuni 

Pl. EXVIII. Yama, god of Death, on buffalo 

LXIX. From Benares MS. of RCimcharil- 

mdnas : TulsT Das ; his guru ; 

Kamadhenu, the magic cow ; the 











hill of Chitrakut, with Rama, 
Lachlman, and Sita, &c. . 
Pl. LXX. Rama's childhood ; photo, from the 
Maharaja of Benares' MS. 
LXXI. The court of Ajodhya; from 
Benares MS. o^ Ramchafil-mdnas 
Fig. 227. Falcon; copied by a modern artist 
from old Jaipur painting . 
228. Vase of flowers; copied by a modern 
artist from an old Jaipur painting 
Maharaja Man Singh of Jodhpur ; 
by jTwan (a. d. 18 18); copied by 
Chhaju Lai (1893) ■ 
Tigers ; from Alwar Guh'stan 
Black buck; from Alwar Gulis/dn 
Pl. LXXII. The exiled Yaksha, by Abanin- 
dro Nath Tagore 


Pl. LXXIII. Hindu Coins and Seals in British 

Museum, and jewellery 
LXXIV. Jade and gold objects. A. 
Ancient Jade Tortoise, British 
Museum ; B. Bimaran gold re- 
liquary, British Museum; C. Gold 
Buddha, British Museum . 
LXXV. Kanishka's casket; ctr. a. d. 100. 

A. Buddha and two Bodhisattvas 
on lid ; B. One Bodhisattva only 
on lid, Kanishka standing below. 

LXXVI. The Badakshan patera, ' Triumph 
of Bacchus "... 

LXXVII. Silver articles. A. The Tan 
silver patera ; ? a Yaksha ; B 
Indo-Persian bowl 

LXXVni. Wood-carving; ? Siva dancing; 

B. M., from Kashmir-Smats cave, 
YiJsufzai ..... 

LXXIX. Wood-carving ; subject unknown ; 
B. M., from Kashmlr-Smats cave, 
Yiisufzai ..... 

LXXX. Wood-carving on ceiling of Mir- 
kula (Udaypur) temple of Kali, 
Chamba State .... 

LXXXI. Descent from the Cross ; wooden 
panel in R.-C. church, Tranque- 
bar, Tanjore District, Madras 
LXXXII. Sandalwood carvings, Mysore and 
Travancore. A. Krishna and the 
Gopis ; a panel in the new palace 











at Mysore ; B. Forest scene^ 
Travancore .... 

Pl. LXXXIII. Orissan ivories by Gobind 
Ratan. A. Tortoise ; B. Krishna 

LXXXIV. Ancient terra-cottas from Northern 
India. A. Classical head of 
Maurya period from Sarnath ; B. 
Ornament from Mathura, 14" 
x8"; C. Ditto from Newal, 
Cawnpore District, i^"x'j^"; 
D. Panel, Vishnu, &c., from Bhi- 
targaon, Cawnpore District, 
I9"x9i" . . . . 

LXXXV. Famine ; clay figures by Bhagwan 
Singh of Lucknow 


Pl. LXXXVI. Hellenistic motives : the ' Wo- 
man and Tree '. A. 'Bacchus', 
on left size of Aachen pulpit; B. 
' Woman and Tree ', as caryatid, 
from Upper IMonastery, Nathu, 
Gandhara ; C. ' Woman and 
Tree ', from Katra, Mathura 

LXXXVII. Hellenistic motives : the roll or 
garland. A. From Sanghao, 
Yusufzai, age of Kanishka; B. 
From Lower Monastery, Nathu, 
Yusufzai ; C. From Mathura . 

LXXXVIII. Hellenistic motives, apparently 
Pergamene and Roman. A, B 
Atlantes from Jamalgarai ; C 
' Gigantomachia ' from same ; D. 
Garland from Sarnath 

LXXXIX. The vine in Indian sculpture. A 
Hellenistic frieze from Upper 
Monastery, Nathu, Yiisufzai ; B. 
Door-jamb from Kankali Mound, 
Mathura ..... 
XC. Plant forms. A. Vase and plant, 
from Ghantasala ; B. Pinnate 
foliage, Mathura ; C. Lotuses 
growing, ]\Iathura ; D. Ditto, 
from Gandhara, Lahore Museum, 
No. 0251 (Prof. Macdonell) 










Pl. XCI. Great arch in Mosque at Ajmer . 393 
Fig. 232. Smaller arches of the Kutb ]\Iosque, 

and the Iron Pillar . . . 394 




Pl. XCII. The Kutb Minar, built by lyaltimish 

cir. A. D. 1232 . 
Fig. 233. Gateway of Ala-ud-dln KhaljT, Delhi 
234. Tomb of Tughlak Shah, Tughla- 

kabad, Old Delhi 
Pl. XCIII. ^lain entrance of Aiala devi 

IMosque, Jaunpur 
Fig. 235. Gatewayof SmallGolden(Eunuch's) 

]Mosque, Gaur .... 

236. Tomb of Abij Turab, Ahmadabad . 

237. Tomb in Golkonda style atBijapur 
Pl. XCIV. IMosque of Mahafiz Khan, Ahma- 
dabad ..... 

Fig. 238. Ibrahim Rauza, Bijapur; front view 
239. GolGumbaz, or tomb of Muhammad 

Adil Shah, Bijapur, front view . 
Pl. XC^'. Tomb of Sher Shah at Sahasram, 

Shahabad District, Bengal . 
Fig. 240. Tomb of HumayQn, cir. a. n. 1560 
Pl. XCVI. Tlie ' Buland Darwaza ' of jam'i 

Mosque, Fathpur-SlkrI 
Fig. 241. Tomb of Itiniad-ud-daula, near Agra 
Pl. XCVII. The Taj :Mahall 
Fig. 242. The ]\Ioti Masjid, Agra 

243. Dlwan-i-khas of Delhi Palace 

244. Shrine of Sayyid Salar, Bahraich . 


Pl. XCVIII. Indo-Muhammadan Coins, i. 
jMuhammad b. Tughlak ; 2-5. 
Akbar ; 6-10. jahanglr 
XCIX. Decorative Inscriptions. A. From 
Kadam Rasijl Mosque, Gaur, 
a. D. 1480; B. From Jam'i 
Masjid, Falhpur-Slkri ; C. South 
end {jalla jalalahii) of Akbar's 
cenotaph ..... 
C. Inscribed principal Mihrab, jam'i 

Mosque, Fathpur-SikrI 

CI. Vase motive panel, east false gate of 

Akbar's tomb .... 

CII. Relief carvings. A. Panel in dado 

of ' false mosque ' ( jaivdU) at the 

Taj, Agra ; B, C. Panels from 

Sarangpur Mosque, Ahmadabad, 

cir. A. D. 1500 .... 

cm. Windows in Sidi Sayyid's IMosque, 

Ahmadabad, f/;-. A. D. 1,500. A. 

Geometiical; B. Tree motive . 

CIV. Jfarble verandah screen, tomb of 















Pl. CV. 


Fig. 245. 

Pl. CVI. 

















Sallm Chishti, Fathpur-Slkrl, a.d. 


Marble screen round the cenotaph 
of the Taj .... 

Geometrical repeat 
Upper part of a corner turret, 
Itimad-ud-daulah's tomb, Agra, 
showing pietra dura inlay and 
marble mosaic .... 
Pietra dura inlay on the cenotaph 
of the Taj .... 

Minaret of Wazlr Khan's Mosque . 
Chini-ka-Rauza .... 
Tile from the wall of Lahore Fort 
'^reproduced in colour by W. Griggs 
&= Son) . . . .to face 446 

A. Glazed earthenware tile from 
Panjab, seventeenth cent. ; g^" 
sq.; green ground. B. Enamelled 
earthenware tile from Delhi ; ? six- 
teenth cent.; ii"xio^" sq. ; 
dark blue, red, black, and green on 
3'ellow ground ; humped bull and 
flowers. C. F^namelled earthen- 
ware tile from Lahore ; seventeenth 
cent. ; antelopes and flowers on 
yellow ground ; 8|" x SJ" sq. . 
A. Wall-tile of grey silicious earthen- 
ware, enamelled on white slip ; 
wounded antelope yellow, horse 
white ; from Lahore, seventeenth 
cent.; io"x9^" sq. B. Ena- 
melled earthenware tile from 
Lahore, seventeenth cent. ; red, 
yellow, andgreen flowers on green 
ground ; 9^-" x 9|". C. Similar 
tile from Lahore, seventeenth 
cent. ; flowers of various colours 
on red ground ; 


9r «q- 

Pl. CXIII. Illustration of the Darahmmalr 
by Bihzad and Abdul Samad 
CXIV. Wall-painting: eightmeninaboat ; in 
Akbar's bedroom, Fathpur-Slkri 
CXV. GrisailleGoodShepherd; anonymous 
CXVI. Europeanized scene, by Muham- 
mad Zaman .... 
CXVI I. The Raja and the Frog Princess, 
by Basawan and Bhawani . 









Fig. 246. Peacocks, by Jagannath . -472 
Pl. CXVIII. The Banquet, by Tiriyya, cir. 

A. D. 1600 .... 473 

Fig. 247. Wild Buffalo, by Sarwan, cir. a. d. 

1600 ..... 474 

248. Acacia, by Sarwan, cir. a. b. 1600. 475 

249. Cock, by Mansur . . -475 

250. Quail, by Mansur . . . 476 
Pl. CXIX. Jahangir as Prince Salim ; anony- 
mous (reproduced in colour by 

H. Stone IS-' Son, Ltd^ . lo face 476 
CXX. Brown bird; anonymous . . 477 
Fig. 251. Brown hawk . . . .478 

Pl. CXXI. Wild duck; anonymous {reproduced 
in colour byH. Stone &= Son, Ltd.) 

to face 478 
CXXII. Akbar leaning on his sword; 

anonymous . . . .479 
Fig. 252. Camels, grisaille .... 480 
Pl. CXXIII. Reception of Persian embassy ; 
Jahangir in centre of lower panel ; 
anonymous . . . .481 




Fig. 253. Sketch portrait of Hakim-Masih- 
uz-zaman, by Mir Hashim . 

Pl. CXXIV. Portraits of Sher Muhammad 
Nawal, Jahangir, and Shahjahan, 
by Muhammad Nadir of Samar- 
kand .... 
CXXV. Dilpasand, charger of Dara Shukoh, 
by Manohar 

CXXVI. Cat ; anonymous . 

CXXVII. Lady and sunlight effect, by Rao 
Gobind Singh {reproducedin colour 
by H. Stone 6-= Son, Ltd.) to face 486 

CXXVIII. Marble building, &c., by Muham- 
mad Faklrullah Khan [reproduced 
in colour by H. Stone & Son, Ltd.) 

back of Pl. CXXVII 
CXXIX. Reading the Koran ; anonymous . 487 
CXXX. The Emperor Aurangzeb reading ; 

anonymous . . . .489 

CXXXI. Nawab Shayista Khan, by Ustad 

Cyan Chand . . . -491 

CXXXII. Muhsin Khan, by Mir Muhammad 493 


A. S. Archaeological Survey. 
A. S. B. Asiatic Society of Bengal. 

B. E. F. E. 0. Bulletin de T Ecole Frangaise d' Extreme-Orient. 

B. M. British Museum. 

Ep. Ind. Epigraphia Indica. 

I. M. Indian Museum, Calcutta. 
Ind. Ant. Indian Antiquary, Bombay. 

I. O. India Office. 

J. A. S. B. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 

J. Bo. Br. R. A. S. Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 

J. I. A. I. Journal of Indian Art and Industry. 

J. R. A. S. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 

N. C. P. North-Central Province. 

S. P. Southern Province. 

W. I. Western India. 



The title of this book may reasonably suggest two criticisms — one, that the Two prob- 

implied distinction between Fine Art and the Industrial or Applied Arts is unreal ; ^^^^ ^""' 

i i ' cisms. 

the other, that, according to well-known authorities, Fine Art does not exist in 


The admission may be freely made that no absolute line of demarcation can Demarca- 

be drawn between Fine Art and the Industrial Arts in any country, and further, that tion between 
Tj- ij--- 11 • 1 11 1 r 1-1 Fine Art and 

ni India such distmction as really exists tends to be obscured more often than m other industrial 

lands. Nevertheless, in the greater part of this book I have not experienced much Art. 

practical difficulty in drawing the line. The guiding idea in my mind has been 

to discriminate between work showing creative power in a greater or lesser degree 

and that which is merely the outcome of skilled hereditary craftsmanship ; or more 

briefly, to distinguish the productions of the artist from those of the artisan. 

In the Muhammadan decorative designs treated in Chapter XIII the distinction Muhamma- 

usually vanishes, and strict log-ic mig-ht demand the exclusion of such works. But '^'^^ ^'''• 
. ' . . . mostly 

most readers would feel that a book on Indian Art which refused to take notice industrial. 

of the beautiful decoration of the Mughal period was incomplete, and it is practically 
impossible to ignore the subject. It is, however, true that nearly all the Muhammadan 
decorative work can be reproduced perfectly by sufficiently skilled artisans to any 
extent desired, whereas a copy of a work of genuine Fine Art is never quite equal to 
the original. Perhaps the copying test might be accepted as the criterion to dis- 
tinguish between Fine Art and Industrial Art; but, without insisting on the applica- 
tion of any precise formula, I am convinced that there is a real distinction between 
the two things, and that, even in India, it can be demarcated with sufficient precision 
in both Sculpture and Painting, the two arts which form my main subject. 

Tradition is a factor of such commanding power in Indian art, as, indeed, in all Distinction 
Indian institutions, that it is peculiarly difficult to feel assured that a given sculpture '""strated 
or painting in India is rightly classed as an example of Fine Art and not merely ofDancino- 
as a product of the skilled craftsman's workshop. All that can be done is to select Siva. 
the works that on the face of them display creative power, more or less. The bronze 
images of the Dancing Siva (Nataraja) discussed in Chapter VII, Sections 6 is and 7 b, 
offer an excellent illustration of the way in which the distinction may be drawn. 
All of them are constructed to an authorized pattern prescribed by written rule 
and sketched in traditional outline drawings, but within the limits so laid down the 
artistic treatment may vary infinitely. The best examples are unquestionably works 
of art, while the worst are merely the trade products of coppersmiths executing the 
orders of customers. 


So much explanation may be enough to indicate the principles on which the dis- 
crimination between Fine Art and the Industrial Arts has been attempted. In 
carrying out those principles I have sought for the best examples, calling expert 
opinion to the aid of my personal preference so far as possible. It only remains to 
add that no book of reasonable dimensions could include along with Fine Art all 
those industries which Goethe called the 'half-arts'. Readers specially interested in 
the charming art industries of India will find ample information on the subject in the 
works of Sir George Birdwood, Sir George Watt, and many other authors. But the 
task of writing a history and criticism of Indian Fine Art is now undertaken for 
the first time. 

The question of the propriety of discriminating between Fine Art and the 
Industrial Arts is of no interest if it be true, as affirmed by authors of repute, that 
India does not now possess, and never has possessed, anything deserving the name 
of Fine Art. Sir George Birdwood, the eminent authority on the Industrial Arts, 
emphatically declares that 'sculpture and painting are unknown as fine arts in India'. 
That opinion, expressed thirty years ago, has been reaffirmed recently by the 
declaration that during a lifedong experience he has not found in India any examples 
of ' this " Fine Art ", the unfettered and impassioned realization of the ideals kindled 
within us by the things without us'. A photograph of the Java Buddha [post, 
Chap. VII, Sec. 8), exhibited at the Royal Society of Arts as a favourable specimen 
of Indian religious fine art, drew from Sir George Birdwood the criticism that 'the 
senseless similitude, by its immemorial fixed pose, is nothing more than an uninspired 
brazen image, vacuously squinting down its nose to its thumbs, knees, and toes. 
A boiled suet pudding would serve equally well as a symbol of passionate purity 
and serenity of soul.'^ 

The vigour of Sir George Birdwood's language makes it almost superfluous 
to quote other more or less equivalent expressions of opinion by recognized 
authorities. But, desiring to face squarely the issue thus raised and to put the 
case against Indian art with absolute frankness, I cite two more authors. 
Dr. Anderson, who was for years in charge of the extensive Calcutta collections, 
came to the conclusion concerning sculpture that ' the artists of India have never 
risen in this section of art beyond the most feeble mediocrity '.= Professor West- 
macott, author of the well-known Handbook of Sculpture^ disposes of the subject by 
the observations that — 

'There is no temptation to dwell at length on the sculpture of Hindustan. It 
affords no assistance in tracing the history of art, and its debased quality deprives 
It of all interest as a phase of Fine Art, the point of view from which it woidd have 
to be considered. It must be admitted, however, that the works existing have 
sufficient character to stamp their nationality, and although they possess no properties 

ludinlrial Arts of India (1880), p. 125: /. (1883), Part i, p. 175. But Dr. Anderson sub- 

Roy. Sue. of Arts, Feb. 4, 1910. The 'brazen' sequently (ibid., ii. 221) expressed a much more 

image is really stone. favourable opinion of Orissan decorative sculptures 

' Catalogue of Archaeol. Coll., I. il/, Calcutta as being ' extremely pleasing pieces of art '. 


that can make them useful for the student, they offer very curious subjects of enquiry 
to the scholar and archaeologist. The sculptures found in various parts of India, 
at Ellora, Elephanta, and other places, are of a strictly symbolical or mythological 
character. They usually consist of monstrous combinations of human and brute 
forms, repulsive from their ugliness and outrageous defiance of rule and even 
possibility.' ^ 

Like sentiments, which might be collected from many other writers of authority 
on the history of art, are still widely accepted throughout Europe, and even In India 
by natives of the country educated on European lines. 

But a change of opinion is in progress. Indian art is only one manifestation Recent 
of Asiatic art, and European critics are slowly learning to admit that in Asia genuine „ 'jj^i°„ 
art, quite independent of the Hellenic tradition, has existed for ages and still lives. 

'New worlds of art,' Mr. Fry writes, have been revealed, and 'a vast mass of 
new aesthetic experience lies open'.^ ' It used to happen,' said Goethe, 'and still 
happens to me to take no pleasure in a work of art at the first sight of it, because it 
is too much for me ; but if I suspect any merit In it, I try to get at It ; and then 
I never fail to make the most gratifying discoveries — to find new qualities In the work 
itself and new faculties In myself.' ^ 

Not many years have elapsed since Europe began to 'suspect any merit' in Asiatic art. 
Japanese art. Now, the stage of ' gratifying discoveries' in that domain has been 
reached, while the equally strange arts of China and Persia have begun to receive 
their share of recognition. ' The European mind,' to quote Mr. Fry again, has been 
'gradually prepared to accept the methods of Oriental design, and with that prepara- 
tion has come an immense Increase in Its accessibility.' Numerous exhibitions and 
the discourses of many recent critics, English and foreign, have established firmly the 
claims of Japanese, Chinese, and Persian art to serious consideration on Its aesthetic 
merits, and not merely as raw material for the lucubrations of the 'scholar and 

The turn of Indian art has been a little slower in coming, but the writings 
of Mr. Havell, Dr. Coomaraswamy, Mr. Marshall, and other students have already 
done something to compel public attention to the subject, and to discredit the 
attitude of mere contempt expressed In the extracts from the works of older authors 
quoted above. 

Before proceeding to argue more fully the case on behalf of Indian Fine Art, Improve- 
I hasten to make the admission that the hostile critics were justified In large measure ™^|g,.°^i ^^^ 
by the miserable quality of the material at their command. There can be no doubt study. 
that most of the everyday modern attempts at art to be seen on Indian buildings are 
contemptible, and that nearly all the reproductions to be found in the older and still 
current books on Hindu mythology are undeserving of attention as representations 
of works of art. 

' Bandiooi 0/ Sc-ulp/ure (Edinhmgh, 1864), p. 51. ' The Maxims ami Reflections of Goethe, transl. 

2 'Oriental Art' {Quart. Rev., Jan. 1910). Bailey Saunders (1893), No. 116. 

B 2 


But recent research has opened up rich stores of material immensely superior in 
quality, while modern scientific facilities render possible and easy the presentation 
of fairly adequate reproductions. The claims of Indian art must be judged upon the 
new evidence thus called, and if the illustrations to this book at all fulfil their purpose 
tlie)' will establish directly and without argument the long-continued existence of Fine 
Art in India and Ceylon. Critics are invited to shift their point of view and to make 
an effort to appreciate whatever of good there may be in Indian art, as they have 
already done for that of other Asiatic schools. 

The magnitude of the change of opinion now in progress may be estimated from 
the language of the protest signed by thirteen aesthetic experts and published in the 
Times on P'ebruary 28, 19 10, as a counterblast to Sir George Birdwood's outburst at 
the Royal Society of Arts ' : — 

' We the undersigned artists, critics, and students of art . . . find in the best art 
of India a lofty and adequate expression of the religious emotion of the people and of 
their deepest thoughts on the subject of the divine. We recognize in the Buddha 
type of sacred figure one of the great artistic inspirations of the world. We hold that 
the existence of a distinct, a potent, and a living tradition of art is a possession of price- 
less value to the Indian people, and one which they, and all who admire and respect 
their achievements in this field, ought to guard with the utmost reverence and love. 
While opposed to the mechanical stereotj^ping of particular traditional forms, we con- 
sider that it is only in organic development from the national art of the past that the 
path of true progress is to be found. Confident that we here speak for a very laro-e 
body of qualified European opinion, we wish to assure our brother craftsmen and 
students in India that the school of national art in that country, which is still showin'J- 
its vitality and its capacity for the interpretation of Indian life and thought, will never 
fail to command our admiration and sympathy so long as it remains true to itself 
We trust that, while not disdaining to accept whatever can be wholesomely assimilated 
from foreign sources, it will jealously preserve the individual character which is an out- 
growth of the history and physical conditions of the country, as well as of those ancient 
and profound religious conceptions which are the glory of India and of all the Eastern 

The sentiments thus expressed have my general concurrence and, while unable 
to accept extreme views as to the superiority of Hindu art, I am convinced that India 
has produced at various periods not a few works of Fine Art in both Sculpture and 
Painting, which are entitled to take high rank on their aesthetic merits, and not merely 
as historical documents or archaeological curiosities. 

^ The term ' Indian' is ambiguous. In a geographical sense all art produced on 
Indian soil is Indian. That use of the term, however, is unfruitful and fallacious. 
Much of the art work produced on Indian soil is of alien origin, and should be con- 
sidered historically as a local development of the styles of certain foreign schools. Most 
people in England, if they think of Indian art at all, probably think first of the 

^ The signatories are (i) Fred. Brown, (2) Waller (10) George W. Russell (A. E.), (11) W. Reynolds 

Crane, (3) George Frampion, (4) Laurence Hous- Stephens, (12) Charles Wald.tein and (i^\ Emerv' 

man, (.5)E. Lanteri, (6) W. R. Lethaby, (7)Halsey Walker. ' ^ "" _ ' 

Ricardo, (8) T. W. Rolleston, (9) W. Rothenstein, 


luxurious buildings and decorations executed for the lavish Mughal court during the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. But, except in the geographical sense, most of 
the Mughal art is no more Indian than is Government House, Calcutta. The Taj 
and Government House are alike in so far as both were built by the hands of Indian 
masons for foreign masters to foreign designs. The architect of the Taj, as we shall 
see in Chapter XII, was either a Venetian or a Turk. Nobody pretends that he 
was an Indian, and the whole composition, although, like Government House, erected 
by Indian workmen, is essentially foreign, that is to say, Persian. All the characteris- 
tically Muslim art in India is equally alien, modelled on styles prevalent in Mecca, 
Isfahan, or Constantinople, and not evolved from Indian types. The Indo-Muham- 
madan art of the Mughal period is substantially Persian, and on rigorous logical 
principles should be discussed in an appendix to a treatise on Persian art, rather than 
as a branch of the art of India. 

Hindu art, including Jain and Buddhist in that comprehensive term, is the real The real 
Indian art. We can trace its development by the testimony of existing remains from ?"^^" ^'"'• 
the third century before Christ, and are assured that it had gone through a long 
process of unrecorded evolution for ages previous to the date of the earliest extant 
monument. The considerable intrinsic merits of Indo-Persian Muhammadan art 
being generally recognized, the controversy concerning the claims of India to possess 
real Fine Art must be concerned with the Hindu art discussed in Chapters II to XI 
of this work. 

The hieh achievement of the semi-foreign sculptors of Asoka's reio-n and of the The merits 
best artists of the Gandharan school is so deeply tinged by foreign influences that it g(,y]p\'J,|.e 
may be left out of consideration in this connexion. In sculpture the artistic success 
of India should be judged from her performance during those periods when elements 
of foreign origin were a negligible quantity. It is difficult to understand how any 
unprejudiced critic can refuse the name of fine art to the best sculpture of Saiichi, 
Bharhut, Mathura, the Gupta period, and other categories of early date illustrated in 
the following pages. The widest divergence of opinion relates to the vast mass of 
sculptures executed from the seventh century to the present day, and grouped together 
as Mediaeval and Modern in the seventh chapter. 

The sentiments of the older critics are expressed in the passage from Professor 
Westmacott's Handbook quoted above ; those of the new school, as enunciated by 
Mr. Havell, credit the same sculptures with ' a depth and spirituality which never 
entered into the soul of Greece', with sublime imagination and the loftiest idealism. 

Who Is right ? Answers to that question presumably will continue to differ. 
So much, perhaps, may be conceded by all parties, that the newer criticism has suc- 
ceeded In proving that the history of Indian sculpture after the third century of the 
Christian era Is not uniformly 'written in decay', and that mediaeval art at Its best 
possesses qualities entitling it to respectful consideration on artistic grounds. Oppor- 
tunities for further discussion of the aesthetic merits of the mediaeval work will occur 
in subsequent chapters. 

In paintincr, including drawing, it Is little short of unreasonable to affirm that 


India has produced no works of fine art. The frescoes of Ajanta and Sigiriya bear 
eloquent testimony to the contrary, and expert opinion fully recognizes the high 
qualities of the I ndo- Persian school, which, in some of its branches, includes distincdy 
Indian or Hindu elements. The Rd^-?udld, or 'musical mode', pictures especially, 
while largely Persian in technique, are purely Indian in sentiment and often of 
remarkable beaut)'. 

The brilliant success attained by Hindu art, both plastic and pictorial, in the 
treatment of plant motives and the representation of indigenous animals is unsur- 
passed, and amply attested by many of the illustrations in this book. 

Most of my readers, perhaps, will find no difficulty in accepting the proposition 
that India has produced numerous works of creative fine art in both sculpture and 
painting, worthy of study as such, and not merely on account of their historical and 
antiquarian interest. 

Hindu sculpture is commonly reproached for the faults of ignoring anatomical 
detail in the repr(^sentation of the human form, and modelling the body and limbs 
with a rounded, unnaturally smooth surface. It is true that the Indian sculptor, as 
a rule, and particularly in the mediaeval period, does not attempt to model realistically 
all muscular details. But his omission to do so is not due to incapacity. Dr. Cooma- 
raswamyhas shown conclusively that it is intentional and essential to the Hindu ideal 
as prescribed by the scriptures. The capacity of Hindu artists for correct modelling 
is demonstrated by their successful treatment of hands, which in many cases is admir- 
ably expressive. Numerous proofs of this statement will be found in the illustrations. 
The Indian generalized treatment of the body and limbs is not such a violent depar- 
ture from the facts of nature as might be supposed by a European critic, because the 
Hindu body is ordinarily much more smooth and rounded than that of Europeans. 
If the reader will compare the Toluvila Buddha with the Sinhalese native seated 
beside the image in the same posture, as seen in the photograph (Chap. Ill), it will 
be apparent that the conventional generalization has not to be carried very far. 

Another familiar and more serious depreciatory^ criticism is based on the frequent 
introduction into Hindu art of monstrous and impossible forms, often grotesque, and 
not rarely hideous. To my mind it appears impossible to defend the representation 
of such forms on artistic grounds. The spirited Polonnaruwa bronzes of the dancing- 
Siva (Chap. VII, § 71;) are grievously marred as works of art by the hideous extra 
arm brought across the chest. The symbolical significance of additional arms, heads, 
and so forth to a devout worshipper is not to the purpose. But the defenders of 
such monstrosities as being legitimate in art allege the emotional and intellectual 
value of the symbolism as the one reason for tolerating their presence. The argu- 
ment is fallacious in mixing up two totally distinct things — edification and art— and, 
if accepted, would justify the description of crude woodcuts in old Bibles as works of 
art. Dr. Coomaraswamy quotes with approval the following rhetorical passage from 
the writings of Lafcadio Hearn, the enthusiastic admirer of things Japanese : — 

' Perhaps to uninitiated eyes,' Hearn writes, ' these many-headed, many-handed 
gods at first may seem— as they seem always in the sight of Christian bigotry— only 


monstrous. But when the knowledge of their meaning comes to one who feels the 
divine in all religions, then they will be found to make appeal to the higher aestheti- 
cism, to the sense of moral beauty, with a force never to be divined by minds 
knowing nothing of the Orient and its thought ... as they multiply before research, 
they vary and change : less multiform, less complex, less elusive the moving of 
waters, than the visions of this Oriental faith . . . The stranger, peering into its 
deeps, finds himself, as in the fale of Undine, contemplating a flood in whose every 
surge rises and vanishes a face— weird or beautiful or terrible — a most ancient shore- 
less sea of forms incomprehensibly interchanging and intermingling, but symbolizing 
the protean magic of that infinite unknown that shapes and reshapes for ever all 
cosmic being".' 

I do not profess to understand the ' higher aestheticism ', and am thoroughly con- 
vinced that sculpture and painting which sacrifice aesthetic essentials to symbolism 
in so far abandon their claims to be regarded as works of art. A composition 
including misshapen, monstrous, unbalanced forms may still in virtue of its quality 
as a whole compel the admission of its right to a place, even to a high place, in the 
kingdom of art, but if it succeeds in doing so, the success is won in despite not in 
virtue of the inartistic conceptions which deface it. 

It would be futile to attempt to fix in a scale of precedence the relative rank of Relative 
the art of India as compared with that of other countries in Asia, not to speak of ^Indu 
Europe. Each has its merits and defects. So much may be affirmed with con- 
fidence, that Indian art does not deserve all the scorn heaped upon it by Professor 
Westmacott or all the praise lavished upon it by Mr. Havell. Truth, as usual, lies 
som.ewhere between the extremes. Sir C. Purdon Clarke was not far wrong 
when he wrote : ' I, whilst giving Indian art a good place among the arts of the 
world, do not place it in the first rank, except for its eminent suitability to its country 
and people.' ^ 

The judgement of M. Le Bon, that Indian art is distinguished by 'striking Oi-iginality 
originality', may, I think, be accepted. Notv/ithstanding the endless diversity of ° " 

races, creeds, customs, and languages, India as a whole has a character of her own 
which is reflected in her art. A peculiar people necessarily produces a peculiar and 
essentially original art. India, of course, has borrowed many things from abroad 
during the long course of the ages, but it is a trite observation, easily proved by 
many instances, that she always so transmutes her borrowings as to make them her 
own. Such transmutation is equivalent to originality. 

The originality of Indian art is, perhaps, most conspicuous in architecture. Originality 
a subject treated only cursorily in these pages. No evidence apparently exists to ofarchitec- 
suggest the foreign origin of any of the main types of Indian buildings prior to the 
Muhammadan conquest. The effect of that conquest upon architecture was lasting 
because the Muhammadan government endured for centuries and set the fashion to 
its subjects. But all the old Hindu styles seem to be indigenous, evolved ultimately 
from wooden and bamboo structures, with brick as an intermediate stage. The forms 

'J.I.A. I., 1890, p. 526. 


of column and capital, borrowed from Persia freely, and from Greece to a more 
limited extent, were always used merely as decorative details of buildings, which 
continued to be essentially Indian in plan and elevation. 

Sculpture, too, if the serni-foreign styles of Asoka's reign and the Gandharan 
region be excluded, owes little to foreign models. The strono- effort continued for 
several centuries on the north-western frontier to acclimatize Greek forms and 
technique failed in the end, and the alien style was swamped by the native. The 
lineal descendants of the Gandhara school must be sought in the Far East, not in 
India. Greek artistic canons and rules of proportion never succeeded in making 
headway against the strong current of ancient Indian tradition. Hindu sculpture, 
whatever may be thought of its intrinsic quality, continued to be Indian on the whole, 
guided by Indian not Greek principles. The foreign influences, Assyrian, Persian, 
or Greek, had merely superficial effect, chiefly traceable in decorative details. 

The fragmentary nature of the record of painting makes it more difficiflt to 
judge how far the Indian forms of that art are original. We may suspect foreign, 
and especially Persian, elements in the art of Ajanta and Sigiriya, but suspicion is far 
removed from proof, and proof is lacking. The close relation between the sculptures 
and the paintings of the Western Caves supports the view that the paintings are 
indieenous, but no definite conclusion can be formulated because materials for tracing 
the antecedents of the early Indian and Ceylonese paintings do not apparently exist. 
Perhaps detailed study of the recent discoveries in Chinese Turkistan may throw 
more light on the obscure question of the origin of Indian painting. 

Indian art, on the whole, is the slave of religious tradition, and it is this 
undeniable fact which gives plausibility to the thesis that India is destitute of fine art. 
Works of fine art in that country may be considered as by-products of religious 
emotion, the creations of men whose genius was strong enough to mould traditional 
forms into an expression of itself. Art for its own sake did not, and does not now, 
interest the Hindu. The enormous mass of Indian literature, whether in Sanskrit 
or any other language, does not contain, I believe, a single treatise on the aesthetics 
of plastic and pictorial art, and thus presents a marked contrast to the literature 
of China, which is rich in ancient works dealing with aesthetic criticism. A few pages 
written by Abul Fazl, a Muhammadan author of the sixteenth century, dealing with 
the introduction of Indo-Persian painting by Akbar, and some confused notes on 
Buddhist image-makers by Taranath, a Tibetan historian of the seventeenth century, 
constitute the whole of India's contributions to the literature of art. The Hindu 
Silpa-sctstras are primarily codes of ritual rules, supposed to be revelations from 
heaven, designed to ensure the construction of buildings with due regard to relioious 
and astrological requirements, and to prevent irreverent representations of the gods. 
Their use as guides to aesthetically correct construction and composition is secondary 
and incidental. The Hindus always present an aesthetic principle in the guise 
of a religious precept. 

But, although nearly all Indian art is religious, it is a mistake to suppose that 
style was dependent on creed. Fergusson's classical History of Indian Archiiccture 


is grievously marred by the erroneous assumption that distinct Buddhist, Jain, and place, not of 

Hindu styles existed. Style, which M. Le Bon regards as an affair of race, is more ^re'^'^'- 

conveniently considered as a function of time and place, varying according to the 

date and locality of the work. There is no such thing, for example, as a Jain style 

of architecture. The stupas of the Jains were indistinguishable in form from those 

of the Buddhists, and a jain curvilinear steeple is identical in outline with that of 

a Brahmanical temple. Works of art, including architecture, should be classified 

with regard to their age and geographical position, not according to the creed for 

the service of which they were designed. The arrangement of the following chapters 

is based on that principle, a small exception being made in the case of the monotonous 

mediaeval Jain sculptures, which for convenience are treated together without 

distinction of age and place. 

The varying practical requirements of the cult of each religion, of course, had Limited 

an effect on the nature of the buildings required for particular purposes. For '^^^^\ o' 

r nil- 1 creed on 

instance, the church or ' chaitya-hall ' was of use to Buddhists only, and consequently art forms. 

is a purely Buddhist form. But any given church would be built in the style of its 

age and country. Similarly each religion had its own fashion of representing deities, 

but a Buddhist Bodhisattva, say, of the twelfth century would be modelled in the 

same style as a Brahmanist Vishnu from the same region. 

The connexion between art and religion in India being so close, and the The three 

references to the three principal Indian religions — Buddhism, Jainism, and Brah- Indian reh- 

. G'lons. 

manical Hinduism — being necessarily frequent in the course of this work, readers 

not versed in the history and peculiarities of Indian religions may welcome a few 

words of explanation concerning them in their relation to art. The last-named 

religion — Hinduism — really is the oldest of the three, sending down some of its roots 

into the Vedas, while others penetrate deeply into hidden strata of aboriginal belief. 

Historically, both Buddhism and Jainism, which, as systems known to us, both date 

from 500 B. c. in round numbers, may be regarded as offshoots or sects of Hinduism. 

The earliest monuments of art, however, happen to be Buddhist, and so Buddhism 

has the first claim to our attention. 

Gautama, the Sage of the Sakyas, the founder of historical Buddhism, as Buddh 
a philosopher accepted the current Indian ideas concerning rebirth, laying special 
stress upon the miseries inseparable from the continuance of the chain of existence. 
As a moralist he taught a sj^stem of lofty ethics. His teaching, doctrinal and ethical, 
was entrusted to an Order of begging friars and nuns, which developed quickly into 
a highly organized and powerful Society or Church, full of missionary zeal, whose 
operations extended in due course as far west as Epirus and Cyrene, and as far 
east as Japan. From the third century before to the fourth century after Christ 
Buddhism was the predominant, although never the sole, Indian religion, in possession 
of enormous Influence exercised by a disciplined hierarchy and supported by the 
immense wealth of innumerable monastic foundations. 

Those institutions, comparable in riches and dignity with the greatest abbeys 
of mediaeval Christendom, became active centres of learning and art, enlisting 

915 C 

ism : 


the services of artists of all kinds for the worthy decoration of the sacred buildings 
and the celebration of worship with becoming splendour. 

The most prominent external feature of the Buddhist cult being the veneration 
of relics, multitudes of domed cupolas (variously called slnpas, dagabas, chortens, 
or ' topes ') were erected for the safe custody of the relics, and surrounded with 
accessory structures upon which all the resources of art were lavished without stint. 
The monasteries and churches, whether excavated in the rock or structural, were 
equally ornate. All classes of Buddhist buildings have yielded a rich harvest of 
Avorks of art. 

In early times Buddhist artists abstained deliberately from attempting to model 
or depict the likeness of the founder of their religion, but about the beginning of the 
Christian era his effio-v was brouoht into common use, and soon became the leading 
feature of Buddhist decoration. The later Buddhism of the 'Great Vehicle' kind, 
which delighted in the multiplication of countless images, differed fundamentally 
In many ways from the earlier or ' Little Vehicle ' schools.^ But all schools alike 
agreed in venerating the memory of Gautama, the Buddha, or Enlightened One. 
The personal enthusiastic devotion thus roused converted a system of cold philosophical 
and ethical doctrine into a religion cherished with passionate fervour. The greater 
part of the remains of Buddhist art is the work of votaries of the 'Great Vehicle', 
and is mainly concerned with the expression of devotion to the person of Buddha, 
to his Law, and to his Church. The development and diffusion of that art were 
effected by the monastic Order. 

The philosophical doctrines of Gautama might be thought to involve inevitably 
a religion of unhappy gloom and despairing pessimism as cheerless as the austerest 
form of Calvinism. But in practice they never had that effect, nor have they now 
in Burma, where the Buddhist population is reputed to be the happiest people upon 
earth. It would take too long to explain the why and the wherefore, but the fact 
is certain. Every scene in the relief sculptures of Bharhut or Sanchl and in the 
paintings of Ajanta is full of the joy of life, and proves that the Buddhist Indians 
ot the olden time knew the preciousness of happiness. Popular Buddhism then, 
as now, was not exactly the same thing as the Buddhism of the scriptures. The 
worship of the Yaksha sprites, the Naga water-spirits, and their female consorts, 
played in ancient Indian Buddhism a part similar to that played by the Vv'orship 
of the Nats in Burma at this day. For the full understandino- of Indian Buddhism 
the works of art are authorities as important and essential as the writings. 

The cognate and yet fundamentally distinct religion of the Jains may be more 
briefly dismissed." The saint named Mahavira occupies in Jain estimation a position 
similar to that which Gautama Buddha holds among the Buddhists, and was 
contemporary with him for some years. Mahavira, however, does not seem to have 

' 'A'eliicle' (Skr. ydna, Gk. ox')l'-"-) originally The word also meant a cart, 
meant a boat or raft to cany the worshipper across '" Jain, not the Sanskrit 'Jaina', is the vernacular 

the sea of phenomenal existence to the haven of and English form of the word, 
salvation, variously figured as nirvana, vwksha, &c. 


1 1 

exercised personal magnetism equal to that of his rival. Jain veneration Is still 
shared by Mahavira with his predecessors, whereas Buddhists have long ceased 
to trouble themselves about the ' former Buddhas '. Like the Buddhists, the Jains 
had a monastic organization, but It never attained power equal to that of the 
Buddhist Order. The Jains, who still number considerably more than a million 
In India, belong for the most part to the mercantile castes and reside chiefly in 
Rajputana and the Western provinces. Their religion has thus shown more tenacious 
vitality within the limits of India than Buddhism, which died out In the land of Its 
birth many centuries ago. On the other hand, the Jains have exhibited little 
missionary zeal, and their creed never made any considerable conquests outside of 
India. In the early centuries of the Christian era they were far more influential than 
they are now, and in the South their religion appears to have been at one time, 
perhaps even predominant. In ancient times they venerated relics and erected 
slilpas for their custody exactly In the same way as the Buddhists did, and we know 
accurately from the Mathura relief sculptures what their sliipas were like, but, so far 
as I am aware, no monument of that class now standing has been recognized as Jain. 

In the domain of art the most notable achievements of the Jains are the exquisite Jain art. 
marble temples of Mount Abu, built In the local 'Gujarat' style. The Jain temples 
In Mysore are almost equally ornate In a different fashion. Illustrations of both will 
be found on subsequent pages. A peculiarity of Jain architecture Is the massing 
of an enormous crowd of temples into a confined space, as at Palltana In Kathiawar 
and other places. The individual buildings are in the style of their age and locality. 
Jain figure-sculpture is enslaved by ritual tradition so completely as to leave hardly 
any scope to the genius of the Individual artist, and is much the same at all times and 
places. It would, consequently, be difficult to specify even one Jain Image as 
obviously deserving to rank as a work of creative fine art. The gigantic colossi 
of Sravana Beigola and Kanara are, perhaps, the most artistic specimens of Jain 
sculpture. The extant Jain statues, being usually those dedicated by members of the 
Digambara sect, who affected nudity, are naked and unashamed. The Jain monastic 
institutions, although not Indifferent to learning, never became centres of art-teaching 
like those of their Buddhist rivals. 

Hinduism, from one point of view the religion and from another the complex Hinduism, 
social system taught and regulated by the Brahman caste, is of Immemorial antiquity. 
Ever in a state of incessant movement and change, like the ocean it yet remains 
the same, ready and able to engulf the creeds, customs, and rituals of weaker systems. 
Buddhism and Jainism, both heretic sects as regarded from the orthodox Brahman 
standpoint, struggled against their destiny for long ages and In the end succumbed. The 
beginning of the marked Hindu revival may be dated In the fourth century after 
Christ. From that time until the closing years of the twelfth century, when the 
fierce Muslim raiders quenched in blood the light of Buddhism In Its last Magadhan 
stronghold, the teaching of the Brahmans steadily gained ground, so that Buddhism 
In Its later stages became almost Indistinguishable from Hinduism, more especially 
in its Saiva form. 

C 2 




Brahmanical Hindus, having no use for stnpas and churches, did not erect 
buildings of those classes. Each Hindu goes to a temple on his own account, and 
makes his offering for himself, not ' for the welfare and happiness of all beings ', 
as in the Buddhist formula. There may be a vast crowd round and in a Hindu 
temple, but there never is a congregation worshipping in unison, Hinduism knows 
no founder, and recognizes no dominating human personality like Gautama Buddha, 
or even Mahavlra. The Hindu, although obliged to utilize the services of Brahmans 
for ceremonial purposes, deals with his gods directly, not through any prophet. 

Hence Hindu sacred buildings (and only sacred edifices have survived from 
ancient times) are all temples, and the decorative art of those temples concerns itself 
with the gods, not at all with men. The human sympathy evoked by the veneration 
offered to a great human teacher is wanting, and the art expressive of the worshipper's 
devotion loses all touch with the facts of this mortal life. 

It would be easy to extend this introductory essay by the discussion of many 
topics which have been left unnoticed, but it Is better to allow the Illustrations In the 
following chapters to speak for themselves and gradually effect their purpose of 
eliciting an instructed opinion on the meaning and value of Fine Art In India and 
Ceylon. During the last few years Indian-born students have become keenly alive 
to the Interest of the ancient political history of the land of their birth, and have 
proved their capacity for scientific historical research. Perhaps this book may do 
something to arouse like Interest in the story and achievements of Indian art, and 
may Induce my Indian readers to agree with the London artists whose eloquent 
protest has been quoted, that 'the existence of a distinct, a potent, and a llvino- 
tradition of art Is a priceless possession to the Indian people, and one which they, 
and all who admire and respect their achievements In this field, oueht to o-uard with 
the utmost reverence and love'. 


JMaindron, Maukice — L' Aii Indien (8vo, 314 
pp., Paris, 189S), a small, wrctchedl}' illustrated 
handbook, is the only ^yol■k professing to deal with 
Indian Art as a whole. It essa)'S to treat of archi- 
tecture and the industrial arts, as well as painting 
and sculpture. Le Bon, Gustave — Les Rlonumenls 
de I' Inde (large 4to, Paris, 1893) is a splendidly 
illustrated work, containing acute general criticism. 
The novel views on the subject are voiced by 
Havell, E. B. — Indian Sculpture and Painting 
(large 8vo, London, IMurra}', igoS), a well-written 
polemical work of great interest, with illuslralions of 

remarkable excellence; Essays on Indian Art, In- 
dustry, and Education (Madras, Natesan & Co,, N. D,, 
.' 1909), reprinted from sundry magazines ; and by 
CooMARASwAMY, Dr. A. K. — in numerous scattered 
essays and pamphlets, which include The Aims of 
Indian A rt and Tlie Influence of Greek on Indian 
Art (l)oth issued from Essex House Press, 1908). 
The same author's valuable treatise, Mediaeval 
Sinhalese Art (4to, Essex House Press, 1908), in- 
cludes some general criticism. Fergusson's works 
and other special treatises will be cited in subsequent 


The imperial palace at Pataliputra, the modern Patna, the capital of Chandra- Early 


gupta Maurya, the first emperor of India at the close of the fourth century before the 
Christian era, is described by Greek and Roman authors as excelling in splendour the mre'. 
royal residences of Susa and Ekbatana. Although no vestige of such a building, 
except, perhaps, some brick foundations, has survived, there is no reason to doubt the 
statements of the historians. Abundant evidence establishes the fact that Indian 
architects before the time of Asoka built their superstructures chiefly of timber, using 
brick almost exclusively for foundations and plinths. No deficiency in dignity or 
grandeur was involved by the use of the more perishable material ; on the contrary, 
the employment of timber enables wide spaces to be roofed with ease which could not 
be spanned by masonry, especially when, as in India, the radiating arch was not 
ordinarily employed for structural purposes.^ 

Notwithstanding the superiority of timber in certain respects, Chandragupta's Stone build- 
grandson, Asoka Maurya, evidently influenced by foreign example, preferred masonry. i"gs of 
It is on record that during his reign of about forty-one years (273 to 232 B.C.) he 
replaced the wooden walls and buildings of his capital by permanent works in masonry, 
and caused hundreds of fine edifices in both brick and stone to be erected throughout 
the empire. So astonishing was his activity as a builder that people in after ages 
could not believe his constructions to be the work of human agency, and felt con- 
strained to regard them as wrought by familiar spirits forced to obey the behests 
of the imperial magician. No building in India or Ceylon with any pretensions to be 
considered an example of architecture can be assigned certainly to a time earlier than 
that of Asoka, with whom the history of Indian architecture, as of the other arts, 

After the death of Asoka the empire broke to pieces, but his Maurya descendants Architecture 

continued to rule the home provinces for about half a century, at the end of wdiich of Maurya 

„ , . , , , and bunga 

{circa 184 B.C.) they were superseded by the Sunga kuigs who governed parts of periods. 

Northern India for seventy-two years, until about 112 b.c. But the style of archi- 
tecture, decoration, and sculpture which first assumed a permanent form under the 

■ During the early centuries of the Christian era ningham, A. S. Rep., xi. 43). An arch so con- 

the Hindus knew the principle of the true arch, and structed was very weak. As a rule, Indian builders 

■occasionally built one with brick voussoirs set end to preferred the false or corbelled arch, constructed 

= end, not face to face. The best example of such with horizontal courses of brick or stone gradually 

arches is seen in the temple at Bhuargaon in the meeting at the top. They evidently disliked facing 

■Cawnpore District, possibly of Gupta, or even the difficulty caused by the thrust of the true arch 

-Kushan age, but other instances are known (Cun- which 'never sleeps'. 


Asoka continued in use up to about the close of the 
L. Although Buddhism during that period, approxima 
.D. lOO, was b)' no means the only religion in India, it 
the result of the great Buddhist emperor's propagai 
early monuments are almost all Buddhist. Very 
:an be ascribed to the reign of Asoka. The huge 
)wn as the great sti'tpa of Sanchi, with its plain stone 
)ssibly some other similar structures maybe as early, 
e name of architecture as yet discovered seems to be 

Fig. I. The great slupa, Sanchi, as restored. 
(Photo., supplied by Prof. Macdonell.) 

icient civil buildings have all perished utterly, and 
can be traced only by means of religious edifices, 
chitectural compositions were stfipas, with their appu 
lonasteries, and churches, the ' chaitya-halls ' of Fergi 
:hurches include both rock-cut and structural exampl 
equently set up. 

or ' topes ', the ' dagabas ' of Ceylon — solid cupola 
/ere constructed either for the safe custody of relics 1 
je, or to mark a spot associated with an event sacred 
itil a fcAV years ago the siupa was universally believ 
ut it is now matter of common knowledge that the 
ical in form and accessories with those of the rival 














CO " 





no specimen of a Jain stilpa is now standing, and our attention may be confined 
to the Buddhist series/ The early examples were of a hemispherical form. The 
great slnpa of Sanchl as it appeared before restoration is shown in Plate I, and 
as repaired by the Archaeological Survey in Fig. i. As time went on the height of 
the dome was raised, and by a series of gradual modifications the ancient model was 
transformed into a lofty tower, and ultimately into the Chinese pagoda. 

The most ancient stilpas were very plain. They were often surrounded by 
a stone railing, which marked off a procession path for the use of worshippers and 
served as a defence against evil spirits." The early examples of such railings, as 
at Sanchl, are perfectly unadorned copies of wooden post and rail fences. The bars 

d^WjfT'V-l^i-tir'i.^J; iQ 


Fig. 2. 
(From Bhilsa Topes, PI. IX, Fig. i.) 

of the railing were commonly, though not always, lenticular in section, inserted in the 
posts, as shown in Fig. 2. 

In the time of the Sunga dynasty the slupas and their appurtenances became 
more ornate. Sculpture was freely applied to every member of the railing — to the 
posts, rails, and coping. The standard example of such a sculptured railing of early 
date is that at Bharhut. Late in the second century of the Christian era, at Amara- 
vatl, the railing was transformed into a screen covered with stone pictures in com- 
paratively low relief. The sculpture of such highly ornate rails will be discussed 
in subsequent chapters, and we shall see that various ornamental designs were applied 

^ Jain stiipas are now represented by samosaranas, 
small structures in four diminishing tiers {Hisl. of 
Ind. and E. ArcJiil., 2nd ed. (1910), vol. ii, p. 34 

note). For an ancient example see Jaiii Stupa of 
Malhurd, PL LXXXI, i, back. 
^ Parker, Anciefit Ceylon, p. 270. 


also to the decoration of the sti'ipas themselves. The openings giving access to the 
procession path inside the railing were dignified by the erection of lofty gateways 
{torana), copied from wooden models, and covered with a profusion of sculpture. The 
best examples of such gateways are those at Sanchi, 

Slfipas. not to speak of miniature votive models, varied greatly in size. The Size of 
very ancient specimen at 'Piprawa on the Nepalese frontier,' which may possibly ''''^'"■ 
be earlier than Asoka, has a diameter of 116 feet at ground level, and stands only 
about 22 feet high. The diameter of the great Sanchi monument at the plinth is 
I2ii feet, the height about 77^ feet, and the stone railing is a massive structure 
1 1 feet high. Several monuments in Northern India, some of which were ascribed to 
Asoka, are recorded to have attained a height of from 200 to 400 feet ; and to this 
day the summit of the Jetawanarama dagaba in Ceylon towers 251 feet above the 
level of the ground.'^ The larger monuments afforded infinite scope to the decorative 

All writers on Indian architecture have assumed that the domical stiipa must be Origin of 
a development of the earthen sepulchral tumulus, the form of a tomb being naturally *e domical 
utilized for a structure frequently intended to conserve bodily relics. But this assump- ^'"^"'^' 
tion fails to explain the facts. The natural shape assumed by an earthen tumulus is 
that of a cone or pyramid, and as a matter of fact the earthen tumuli in the Champaran 
District and the Egyptian stone pyramids are conical, whereas a stfipa is invariably 
domical. Moreover, many stfipas, including some of the most famous, had nothing to 
do with bodily relics, being simply enduring monuments marking sacred spots. The 
current assumption implies both that stilpas intended for the reception of relics pre- 
ceded those designed merely as memorials commemorating religious events, and that 
the form of a sepulchral monument was transferred to a building which had nothing to 
do with sepulture. Neither of these propositions is entitled to acceptance without 
proof, and no proof is forthcoming.'"^ 

The true explanation seems to be that the domical form of the masonry slupci 
(probably built first in brick, not stone) is derived from the curved roof of bamboos 
built over a primitive circular hut-shrine constructed of perishable materials. Circular 
shrines with conical roofs still exist among the Todas, and such a structure, if fitted 
with a domical roof would be a slfipa. The solid interior of the stiipa may or may 
not have been suggested by the tumulus. My argument applies only to the exterior 
domical form. 

Curved roofs, as Fergusson observed, while very rare in the rest of the world, are Origin of 

common in India. We have not only the dome of the siilpa, but the barrel roof of the ^" Indian 

"^ curved 

^ i. e. the Jetawana as ordinarily understood. between the domed stf/pa and somewhat similar loofs. 

]\Ir. Parker shows good reason for believing that the Phoenician tombs, as at Amrith (Perrot and Chipiez, 

so-called Jetawana is reall)' the Abhayagiri, which Hi'sf. de I'Art, Phe'iikie, fig. 94,95; Ancient Ceylon, 

stood to the north of Anuradhapura, and that the p. 261). The late Dr. Bloch, who opened some of 

true Jetawana is the building to the east of the Sela the tumuli near Nandangarh in the Champaran 

chaitya {Ancient Ceylon, p. 300). District, believed them to be royal tombs of the 


Like everybody else, I formerly accepted the seventh or eighth century b.c. {Ann. Rep. A. S., 

current theor}-. Mr. Parker suggests a connexion Eastern Circle, 1908-9, p. 3). 



' chaitya-hall ' or church, the Bengal cornice, and the curvilinear steeple of the ' Indo- 
Aryan ' or Aryavarta style of temple. Every form of curved roof used in India can, 
I venture to think, be explained by assuming its derivation from a prototype con- 
structed with elastic bamboos. The late Mr. William Simpson, who successfully 
applied this explanation to the Bengal cornice, the barrel roof of the ' chaitya-hall ', 
and the ' Indo-Aryan' steeple, truly remarked that the claims of bamboo to supply 
a theory of origins for Indian architecture had been insufficiently considered, but did 
not proceed to apply his theory to the case of the stilpa} Fergusson's belief in the 
sepulchral descent of the domed stilpa alone prevented him from definitely recognizing 
the true origin of the external form. ' If one can fancy,' he wrote, ' a circular chamber 
with a domical roof — not in stone, of course — as the original receptacle of the relic, we 
may imagine that the form was derived from this' ; and he proceeds to cite from the 
Bharhut sculptures an instance of 'just such a domical roof." In the Sanchi reliefs 
(/ciif Chap. Ill) we actually find a shrine with a domical roof represented on one 
pillar along with a stilpa of the same form. 

Although monastic institutions were not peculiar to Buddhism, having been 
adopted earlier by both Jains and Brahmanical Hindus, the Buddhist Oxoi^x {sangJia), 
including both monks and nuns, attained (as pointed out in the Introduction) a height 
of power to which the monastic communities of the other religions never aspired ; and, 
in consequence, the buildings dedicated to the use of the Order were frequently 
designed on a scale of the utmost magnificence. The essential feature in a monastery 
is the provision of residential cells, arranged usually round a courtyard or quadrangle. 
When such a quadrangle became multiple, with the addition of chapels, stfipas, 
refectories, halls, churches, storehouses, and other buildings, the greater monasteries 
covered an enormous area, and offered to the architect, sculptor, and painter endless 
opportunities for the display of art in every form. Although no very early monas- 
tery has survived in a condition at all complete, the ground-plans of many such 
establishments have been clearly traced, and near Peshawar considerable remains 
of superstructures crowded with statuary have been disclosed. Recorded descriptions 
and extant remains amply attest the splendour of the more considerable monasteries, 
each of which was a centre of secular as well as of religious education, and also 
a school of art in which men were trained in all the crafts needed for the adornment 
of the holy places. 

The architectural style employed in the monastic buildings varied, of course, 
according to time and place. In Western India many monasteries were excavated in 
the solid rock, but in other parts of the country they were largely constructed of timber 
resting upon massive brick foundations. Our knowledge of ancient Indian art depends 

' W. Simpson, 'Origin and Mutation in Indian dhiqiie du Gand/iara, p. loo; fig. 38-41). 
and Eastern Arcliitecture '; an admirable essay in ^ Hist, of Ind. and Eastern Arcliitcctiire (1910), 

Trans. Hoy. Institute of Brit. Arctiitccts, vol. vii, p. 66. The suggestion has been made in Ceylon 

N. S. (1891), 225-76, with numerous illustrations. that the domical form was adopted as being the best 

Compare the stone circular domed shrines (vitidra) fitted to resist weather and the damage caused by 

of the north-western frontier (Foucher, E Art baud- vegetation. 




much on the study of the remains of the monasteries, both rock-cut and structural, and 
the extant examples of the early schools of painting occur almost exclusively In the 
rock-cut monasteries and their connected halls In the west. 

The church, or ' chaltya-hall ' of Fergusson, was a form of architecture peculiar Buddhist 
to Buddhism, not being suitable for the ritual of either Jains or orthodox Hindus, churches. 
The best structural example still standing is that at Ter, probably the ancient Tagara, 
in the Sholapur District, Bombay, which has escaped destruction by being built into 

1 II f 

Fig. 3. 

Fig. 4. Fagade of rock-cut church at Nasik, circa b. c. 150. 
(From a photo.) 

a Brahmanlcal temple. It is a long chamber, constructed of brick, 26 feet in length 
and 12 In width on the inside, with walls 3I feet thick, an apsldal end, and a wagon- 
vaulted ridge roof. The bricks, laid in mud cement, with exceedingly fine joints, are of 
huge size, measuring 17x9x3 Inches.^ 

Four or five similar buildings have been traced in plan at other localities, but the 
superstructures have almost wholly disappeared, except in two cases. The ground- 
plan of one in the Godavarl District Is shown in Fig. 3.^ 

When side-aisles are added, the form of the Buddhist church becomes almost 
identical with that of the early Christian basilica, a stfipa or dagaba usually taking the 

' Ann. Rep. A. S. /., 1902-3, p. 197, pi. XXIX, 
with plan and fiont and side elevations. 

^ Other examples are known at SanchI and three 
localities in the Guntur and Krishna Kistna) Dis- 
tricts, Madras. The one at Chezaria in the latter 

District {G. O. Madras, Public 382, dated 30 April, 
1889) has its barrel roof standing, like that at Ter. 
The eaily Progress Reports of the ]\fadras Archaeo- 
logical Survey, it may be explained, were published 
in Government Orders. 



CHAP. 11 

place assigned to the altar in the apse of the basilica. The celebrated cave at Karli, 
between Bombay and Poona, is designed on that plan, consisting of a nave and side- 
aisles, terminating in an apse or semi-dome, round which the aisle is carried. The 
oeneral form of the facade is that of the Nasik rock-cut example of the second century 
K.c, but of course details vary according to date and locality. The most ancient 
example of such a facade is the Lomas Rishi Cave in the Barabar Hills near Gaya, 
dating from Asoka's time, about 257 i;.c. (Fig. 5), which is an exact copy of wooden 
construction. The frieze of elephants is well carved. Many of the later facades are 
crowded widi figures of Buddha and other sculptures. 

Fig. 3. Facade of Lomas Rislii Cave, Barabar Flills, Gaya. 
(Arch. S. photo., supplied by Prof. Macdonell.) 

Isolated pillars, or columns, usually associated with other buildings, and frequently 
surmounted by a human figure, animal sculpture, or sacred symbol, continued to 
be erected during many centuries by adherents of all the three leading Indian 
religions. The oldest are the monolithic pillars of Asoka, who set up at least thirty 
such monuments, of which many, more or less perfect, survive.'' Ten of those known 
bear his inscriptions. The Lauriya-Nandangarh monument, inscribed with tlie first 
six Pillar Edicts, and practically uninjured, is shown in Plate II. The shaft of 
polished sandstone, 32 feet g\ inches in height, diminishes from a base diameter 
of 35I inches to a diameter of only 22| inches at the top — proportions which render it 

' See the author's paper on the subject in Z. D. M. G. for 191 

Plate II. Asoka inscribed Pillar at Lau.iya-Nandangarh. 
(Photo. 26 a, I. M. List) 




the most graceful of all the Asoka columns. The uninscribed pillar at Bakhira in the 
Muzaffarpar District, in perfect preservation, and presumably of earlier date, is more 
massive, and consequently less elegant. The fabrication, conveyance, and erection of 
monoliths of such enormous size — the heaviest weighing about fifty tons — are proofs 
that the engineers and stone-cutters of Asoka's age were not inferior in skill and 
resource to those of any time or country. The sculp- 
ture on the Asoka pillars will be discussed in the 
next chapter. 

In Kanara the Jains erected many detached 
columns of remarkably pleasing design. 

A particularly elegant example, 52^ feet in height, 
which faces a Jain temple at Mudabidri in South 
Kanara, not far from Mangalore, is shown in Fig. 6. 
The material is granite, and the design is of singular 
grace. The work may be assigned to the eleventh 
or twelfth century, but I do not know its exact date. 
About twenty of these pillars exist in the South 
Kanara District. As Mr. Walhouse truly remarks : 
' The whole capital and canopy are a wonder of 
light, elegant, highly decorated stone-work ; and 
nothing can surpass the stately grace of these beauti- 
ful pillars, whose proportions and adaptations to sur- 
rounding scenery are always perfect, and whose 
richness of decoration never offends.' ^ In the whole 
range of Indian art there is nothing, perhaps, equal to 
these Kanara pillars for good taste. 

Excepting the Buddhist cave-temples and edifices 
discussed above, few buildings now existing in India 
or Ceylon can be positively dated earlier than the 
sixth century of the Christian era. The oldest 
Brahmanical temple known in India is one at Ram- y,Q g. 
nagar, the ancient Ahichhatra, in die Bareli District, 
Agra Provinces, which may be ascribed eidier to the ^^^°"''' ^'"'^" ^'"'Z^"'^" (1810), pi. 77.) 
first century before, or the first century after, Christ. It was dedicated to 
Siva, and was adorned with carved bricks and terra-cottas, said to represent in- 
cidents in the legend of Siva; but no detailed description of this notable dis- 
covery is on record, and it is impossible to make out what the temple was like.- 

' i ' ' ■ ' J. ' ■ ■ ' A ' ' ' ■ .t A. 

Jain column ai Mudabidri, S. 

' I/id. Aiil. V. (1876), p. 39, with a good plate of 
a beautiful cxam|.ile at Yeniii'. 

- Fiihrer, Prcgr. Rep. E[)igr. and A rchil. Braiuhvs, 
K. W. P. and Oiidh, 1891-2, p. 2. The assign- 
ment of date is chiefly based on the find of so-called 
']Mitra' coins in the lower terrace of the temple. 

When that report was written, Dr. Fiihrer had not 
begun the career of forgery wliich resulted in his re- 
signation. The deeply-incised patterns on the 
bricks of ancient buildings were cut in the clay 
before iirin";. 


The brick temple at Bhitargaon in the Cawnpore District, with an ' Indo-Aryan' 
curvilinear steeple, may possibly go back to the fourth century ; ^ and certain minute 
shrines in the so-called ' Gupta style' may not be much later. But throughout India, 
except Buddhist remains, there is hardly anything standing which can be dated 
earlier than a.d. 550. No early examples of civil architecture exist, and after the 
date named Buddhist structures become scarce. The styles of Indian architecture 
from the sixth century to the present day, therefore, must be deduced from 
Brahmanical and Jain temples, and the numerous examples testifying to the skill and 
taste of Indo-Muhammadan builders. The Miihammadan styles will be dealt with in 
a later chapter; at present our concern is only with Jain and Brahmanical religious 

The variety of styles which may be distinguished depends, as already observed, Styles based 
not on differences of creed, but on date and locality. At Khajuraho, for instance, on date and 
Jain and Brahmanical temples alike are built in the 'Indo-Aryan' style, and the °'^^'^' 
building at Delhi, which Fergusson cites as a typical example of the 'modern Jaina 
style', is merely an ordinary specimen of late architecture in the 'composite' style 
usual since the eighteenth century. 

All authors who treat of Indian architecture notice, and are embarrassed by the Early stages 

fact, that each style when it first comes to our knowledo-e is fuU-rrrown and complete. °' ^""^'^^ 
. . . o & L Styles lost. 

The earliest specimens betray no signs of tentative effort, and in no case is it possible 

to trace the progressive evolution of a given style from rude beginnings. The exten- 
sive destruction of ancient monuments, especially those built of brick, no doubt supplies 
a partial, though not adequate, explanation. I ain convinced that the more funda- 
mental explanation is to be found in the assumption that all the Indian styles are 
derived from prototypes constructed in timber, bamboos, and other perishable materials. 
We have seen how easily the Indian curvilinear roofs and the stflpa railings can be 
accounted for in this way, and by the extension of the theory an adequate reason for 
the non-existence of the missing links in the chain of architectural evolution is supplied. 
In the essay previously cited, Mr. Simpson has quoted from the ancient work entitled 
the Satapatha Brahmaiia [S B.E., vols, xii, xxvi) a long description of an early 
Brahmanical temple as constructed some five or six or seven hundred years before the 
Christian era. That temple consisted simply of two sheds, which were ' merely formed 
of posts and beams, covered with reeds and mats, and could only be described as 
belonging to the " thatch period " in architecture '. From such an edifice to the temples 
of Mount Abu and Tanjore the distance is great, but there seems to be little reason 
to doubt that the intervening stages were worked out for the most part by experiments 
with evanescent materials. Brick, the intermediate stage between the ' thatch period' 
and the 'stone period', offers such a ready prey to the spoiler that it may be reckoned 
as only 'semi-permanent' material.- Whatever be the validity of this theory, we 

' Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. -xi, pp. 40-6, pi. in brick. At Aunda we find a small one built alinost 

XIV-XVII; Vogel, Ann. Rep. A. S. Northern Circle, entirely of that material, while the star-shaped plan 

1907-8, p. 31. and shaip crisp mouldings are maintained as v.'ell 

^ ' The earlier temples, I believe, were built wholly almost as if built in stone. Remains of some of 



must take the styles ready-made as we find them, and briefly consider their several 

peculiarities, so far as may be necessary for the intelligent appreciation of the ancillary 

fine arts, which form the main subject of this work. 
Essentials 111 an ordinary Hindu temple the essential part is the rectangular cell or shrine 

of a temple, containing the image or symbol of the god, and such a plain cell constitutes the 

simplest form of temple. Dignity is 

gained by the addition of a high roof, 

which may grow into a steeple, by pre- 
fixing a porch, which may grow into a 

nave, and be further ainplified by aisles, 

transepts, and subsidiary steeples, until 

an architectural composition of extreme 

complexity is evolved. 

Another type, built frequently by 

Jains and occasionall)' by Brahmanists, 

is a modification of the monastery, the 

monks' cells round the quadrangle being 

replaced by niches enshrining images. 

The modifications of both ground-plan 

and superstructure are, indeed, endless.' 

All forms offer abundant opportunity 

for artistic decoration. 

In the crowd of varieties two lead- 
ing styles of temple architecture — the 

Northern or Indo-Aryan of Fergusson, 

and the Southern or Dravidian — may be 

readily distinguished.^ If it be possible 

to amend the nomenclature so long 

established by Fergusson's authority, it 

would be preferable to give territorial 

names to all styles, calling the Indo- 
Aryan style that of Aryavarta or Hindustan, the great plain between the Himalayas 

and the Narbada.' The term Dravidian is free from objection, Dravida being 

the ancient name of peninsular India. 


Fig. 7. Sketch of processional car. 
(From a drawing by Mr. Simpson.) 

these early brick temples are found in North GQjarut, 
and the foundations and platforms on which the 
older stone ones are erected are frequently con- 
structed with a brick core. Brick was, without 
doubt, the prevalent building material before stone 
came into general use, and probably immediately 
succeeded the more primitive wooden structures 
whose [j/f] forms are reproduced in many of the 
earliest caves' (Cousens, Progr. Rep. A. S. IC. /., 
1894-5, p. 6). In some regions where Gtone was 

abundant the brick stage may not have intervened. 
For N. Gujarat see Burgess, vol. ix. A, S. W. /., 
vol. x.x.xii of New Imperial Series. 

^ At Aihole, Bijapur District, Bomb.i.y, 'we have 
an unbroken sequence in the styles from the fifth to 
the fourteenth century — from the early cave to the 
latest mediaeval temple ' (Cousens, Progr. Rep. 
A. S. W. /., 1908-0, p. 35). 

- This classification does not apply to Ceylon. 

' The term Indo-Aryan implies a disputable theory. 




The Aryavarta, or Indo-Aryan style, examples of which to the south of the Arjavarta 
Narbada are rare, is characterized by the bulgfing^ steeple with curvilinear vertical ribs, °J Indo- 
placed over the sanctuary, and frequently reproduced on other parts of the building. 
Miniature repetitions of the form are often used with good effect as decorations of the 
steeples themselves. Mr. Simpson proved, as already observed {ante, p. 18), that 
this type of roof is derived from the bamboo framework used to cover processional 
cars (Fig. 7). 

The best early examples are found at Bhuvanesvar in the Puri District, Orissa, Temples at 
where the temples, numbering several hundreds, illustrate the history of the style ^^^r^^^"^'^' 
from the ninth or tenth to the thirteenth century. The earliest specimens have 
steeples comparatively low and squat, but pleasing to an eye which has become 

Fig. 8. Muktesvara temple, Bhuvanesvar, Orissa. 
(Photo. 280 a, I. M.Zis/.) 

accustomed to the strange design. The porch is a walled chamber with a low, 
massive roof, and internal pillars are \vholly wanting. The combination of vertical 
and horizontal lines is skilfully arranged so as to give dignity to buildings of moderate 
height. This early astylar form of temple is best illustrated by the Muktesvara 
shrine, which Fergusson called ' the gem of Orissan art' (Fig. 8). 

A second, and later, variety of the style is adequately represented by the Great The Great 
Temple, which has a high steeple tower, with sides vertical for the most part, and Temple. 
curving only near the top. The roof of the porch has considerable elevation, and in 
many details the design differs from that of the earlier variety. Sculptures of 
remarkable merit, which will be illustrated in a later chapter, are introduced in panels 
on the basement and elsewhere (Plate III). 

The third, or ' decorated ', variety of the Bhuvanesvar style, in which columns The Raja- 
become prominent, dates from the twelfth or thirteenth century. The most charming lam temple. 




example is the Rajarani temple. Some exquisite details of this building are Illustrated 

in Fig. 9. 

The most renowned achievement of the vigorous Orissan school of architects is 
the temple of the Sun at Konarak {vitlj^o ' Kanaruc ') on the coast, known to sailors 
as the Black Pagoda, in order to distinguish it from the White Pagoda, or temple of 
Jagannath at Purl. The remains of the main steeple, never completed, which had 
been overwhelmed long ago by the drifting sand, have been lately exposed by excava- 
tion. The porch, which stands practically perfect, is covered by a beautifully designed 

Fig. 9. Details of RajaianT temple, Bhuvanesvar. 
(Photo. 299 a, I. M. List.) 

pyramidal roof, justly praised by Fergusson, and described by the Workmans as the 
most perfectly proportioned structure which they had seen in the course of years of 
study devoted to Indian temples. The temple, when in better condition than it now 
is, was admired enthusiastically by Abul Fazl, the minister and historian of Akbar in 
the sixteenth century. Considering its exceptional excellence, it is strangely late in 
date, having been built by King Narasimha, who reigned between a.d. 1240 and 1280, 
a time when high-class work was not often produced. A large book might be 
devoted to the description and illustration of this building and its sculptures, which 

Plate III. Aryavarta style, Great Temple, Bhuvanesvar. 
(Photo 251 a, I. M. List.) 


will be illustrated by select examples in Chapter VI 1. 1 Plate IV, from a photo- 
graph kindly supplied by the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey, shows 
the recently excavated remains of the steeple, as well as the porch, seen from the 

The Bhuvanesvar group of temples stands first in importance among the examples 
of the Aryavarta style by reason of the immense number of buildings, usually in fairly 
good condition, and their variety, which marks the stages in the history of the style 
for at least three centuries. The group next in importance, situated at Khajuraho in 
the Chhatarpur State, Bundelkhand, although far inferior in both numbers and variety, 
includes some admirable buildings designed on a grand scale and richly adorned with 
sculpture. The temples, in more or less satisfactory preservation, numbering between 
twenty and thirty, were all erected by order of the Chandel kings within a century 
before and after a.d. iooo. They are built of hard gneiss, an intractable material, 
unfavourable to the application of the exuberant ornament dear to Indian taste. 
Many of the details are executed in sandstone, which offers greater facilities to the 
sculptor. Several of the domes, constructed in the Indian manner with horizontal 
overlapping courses of stone, are remarkable achievements, the largest being 22 feet 
in diameter. The cusps hanging from the centre of some of the domes are beautiful, 
although, of course, not so elaborately carved as the similar works executed in more 
manageable marble at Mount Abu. Plate V gives a good notion of one of the 
best of the Khajuraho temples, which I had the pleasure of inspecting more than thirty 
years ago. The steeple is nearly 100 feet high. 

Northern India is full of examples of the style, ancient, mediaeval, and modern, 
mostly in stone, but occasionally in brick. The oldest brick specimen in preservation 
sufficiently good to allow of the recognition of the style is that at Bhitargaon in the 
Cawnpore District {ante, p. 23), now believed to be of early date, possibly of the 
fourth century. Another well-preserved ancient brick temple, referred doubtfully to 
the eighth century, stands at Konch in S. Bihar.- There is reason to believe (as 
already observed, ante, p. 23) that the transition from wooden to stone architecture 
was often made through brick, and that the scarcity of old brick buildings is due to 
the facility with which the material could be utilized for other constructions. The 
decorations of brick buildings were carried out in terra-cotta and carved, not merely 
stamped, bricks. Such bricks of good design are often seen built into later structures. 
The art of carving brick appears to be extinct. 

The Bengal variety is characterized by the use of the bent cornice, obviously 
copied from the bamboo eaves of an ordinary Bengal hut, and by a peculiar arrangement 

' Konarak = A'o;M-|-(7r/((7, i.e. the sun (arka) of Survey at Konarak. 

Konakona, the name of the place. The date, which ^ Cunningliam described and illustrated both 

Fergusson hesitated to accept, has been definitely temples : Bhitargaon, A. S. Rep., vol. xi, pp. 40-4, 

settled by copper-plate inscriptions. See Ann. Rep. PI. XIV-XVII ; and K5nch, ibid., vol. viii, p. 54, 

A. S., India, 1902-3, pp. 46-50; ibid., 1903-4, PI. VI ; vol. xvi, pp. 50-58, PI. XVI-XVIII. But 

pp. 46-8; Progr. Rep. E. Circle, 1908-9, p. 18. the Bhitargaon temple is now believed to be older 

I agree with Dr. Burgess in thinking that mistakes than he supposed it to be. 
were made in the work done by the Archaeological 












"•— ^ 








CHAP, n 


The Gupta 

of the curvilinear steeples ; one lofty steeple placed over the centre being surrounded 
by four, e"ght, or sixteen smaller towers of the same form. Figure lo illustrates 
a seventeen-towered temple in the Dinajpur District. Some of the details are 
Muhammadan. Fergusson has described a large similar temple at Kantonagar in 
the same District, finished In 1722, and decorated with applied terra-cottas of slight 
artistic merit. This variety ot the 

Aryavarta style Is peculiar to "" 

Bengal.' The only example re- 
corded outside that province Is one 
at Bllhari, Central Provinces, built 
to the order of a Bengali immi- 

In the modern temples of 
Northern India the tendency is to 
reduce the curvature of the steeple, 
and to make the form approximate 
to that of an English slender spire. 
The effect is sometimes pleasing, 
but lacking in the massive dignity 
of the best designs at Bhuvanesvar 
and Khajuraho. The contemptible 
sculptured and painted decorations 
of the modern buildings testify 
plainly to the general lack of 
artistic feeling. 

Numerous recent buildings, 
sacred and secular, combine the 
Muhammadan dome with the Ben- 
gall cornice, omitting the steeple. 
Such buildings are erected freely 
by Hindus for purely Hindu pur- 
poses, as, for instance, the elegant 
mausoleum built at Benares to the 
memory of the lately deceased 
saint, Swanii Bhaskaranand, which 
looks like a Muslim building. An example will be illustrated in Chapter XII. 

Hardly anything remains standing of the larger temples, which must have been 
erected in many places during the rule of the great Gupta monarchs of the fourth and 
fifth centuries. The surviving buildings of that time are chiefly tiny shrines resembling 
the cave temples, and sittiated in out-of-the-way places. Cunningham treated those 

Fig. 10. Temple in Bengali style, Dinajpur. 

' Manmohan Chakravarli, 'Bengali Temples and their General Characteristics' (_/. A. S. B., vol. v, 
New Ser. (1909)). 


little edifices as examples of the ' Gupta style', and enumerated seven characteristics 
of that style, namely, (i) flat roofs, without steeples of any kind ; (2) prolongation of 
the head of the doorway beyond the jambs ; (3) statues of the personified Ganges and 
Jumna guarding the entrance ; (4) pillars with a massive square capital, surmounted 
by two lions back to back, often with a tree between them ; (5) bosses over the 
capitals, and peculiar friezes ; (6) continuation of the architrave of the portico as 
a moulding round the building ; and (7) deviation of the plan from the cardinal points. 
A characteristic example exists at Tigawa in the Jabalpur District, Central Provinces, 
but is hardly worth illustration.^ 

A beautiful variation of the Aryavarta or Indo-Aryan style, found in Rajputana 
and Gujarat, is characterized by a free use of columns carved with all imaginable 
richness, strut brackets, and exquisite marble ceilings with cusped pendants, at least 
equal to the best Tudor work of the kind. By an unfortunate error Fergusson 
described this Western or GujaratI style as the ' Jain style'. In reality it has no con- 
cern with any special kind of religion, and is Jain merely because Jains were numerous 
and wealthy in Western India long ago as they are still. When power passed into 
Muslim hands the so-called Jain style, that is to say the local style, was applied 
with the necessary modifications to the needs of Muhammadan worship {posl, 
Chap. XII). 
1 Two temples at Mount Abu, built wholly of white marble, are famous as unsur- 

■ passed models of this wonderful style. The earlier, dedicated to Adinath, was built 
by a minister or governor named Vimala in a. d. 1031 ; the later was consecrated by 
Tejpal two centuries afterwards, in a. d. 1230. Notwithstanding the considerable 
difference in age both temples are similar in style. I give illustrations showing half 
of the ceiling in Vimala Saha's temple (Plate VI) and some of the columns in the 
upper hall of Tejpal's temple (Plate VII). It is needless to comment on the beauty 
and delicacy of the carving and the richness of the design in both cases. 

It would be easy to fill many pages with more or less similar specimens of work 
of cloying richness to be found in Rajputana and Gujarat, but the two choice illustra- 
tions selected must suffice. I am tempted, however, to add an unpublished photo- 
graph (Plate VIII) of a charming temple of the Sun at Osia in the Jodhpur State,. 
Rajputana, lately brought to notice by Mr. D. R. Bhandarkar, and treated in a much 
simpler fashion. Osia possesses no less than twelve large ancient temples, some Jain 
and some Brahmanical, and all, apparently, dating from the eighth century. The 
residents of the town show their appreciation of these works of art by using them 
as public latrines.' 

The Dravidian or Southern style is sharply distinguished from that of Aryavarta 
by its straight-lined tower divided into stories by horizontal bands, and surmounted by 
either a barrel-roofed ridge or a small dome. The central shrine, except in the 
earliest examples, is invariably surrounded by an immense walled quadrangle, usually 

' Cunningham, .4. .S. y?^/'., ix. 42 ; photo. 1440, preached by a four-pillared portico wiih all the 

I. 'SI. Lis/. The temple is a rectangular cell ap- characteristics described. 

2 Frogr. Ri'p. A. S. W. I., 1906-7, p. 36. 

Plate VI. Part of ceiling of Temple of Yimalasaha, IMt. Abu, a.d. 103 i. 

(A. S. photo.) 

Plate \U. Pillars of upper hall of Tejpal's Temple, INIt. Abu, a.d. 1230. 

(A. S. photo.) 

Plate VIII. Temple of the Sun at Osia, Jodhpur State, Rajpuiana. 
(Photo. 2825, A. S.W.I.) 


CHAP, ir 

including numerous subsidiary temples, tanks, and sculptured halls or cloisters. The 
quadrangle is entered by lofty gateways {gopuram), which ordinarily overtop the 
central shrine, and so spoil the effect of the architectural composition. But the great 
temple of Tanjore, its smaller replica at Gangaikondapuram, and some of the earlier 
temples at Conjeeveram (Kanchi) are designed on correct principles, with the central 
mass dominating the composition. Sometimes there are several quadrangles, one 
within the other. 

The history of the style begins in the seventh century with the Dharmaraja 
Ratha, the earliest of the rock-cut rathas at Mamallapuram, thirty-five miles south 
of Madras, commonly known as the 
Seven Pagodas, which were excavated 
in the reisfn of Narasimha-varman, 
surnamed Mahamalla, the Pallava king 
who defeated Pulakesin II Chalukya 
in A. D. 642. All the Seven Pagodas 
are the work of one Pallava king or 
another during the seventh century. 
I crive an illustration of the Ganesa 


Ratha {cir. a. d. 680), with a ridge 
roof (Fig. 11). Some of the others 
are crowned by domes. 

The next stage in the develop- 
ment of the style is marked by the 
structural temples at Conjeeveram 
(Kanchi), the Pallava capital, which 
became known only a few years ago, 
and have been recently described in 
detail by Mr. A. Rea. Six temples of 
the Pallava period exist in or close to 
the town.^ Inscriptions prove that the 
two principal edifices, the Kailasanatha 

and the Vaikuntha-Perumal, were erected by the sons of King Rajasimha, great- 
grandson of Narasimha-varman. The Muktesvara temple of about the same date, 
say A.D. 700 to A. D. 750, with a domical roof, is a typical example. Mr. Rea is 
mistaken in believing the structural temples to antedate the rock-cut examples.'-' 

Further development was effected under the patronage of the powerful Chola 
kings, Rajaraja and his son Raiendra (985 to 1035), the builders respectively of the 
Great Temple at Tanjore and its fellow at Gangaikondapuram in the Trichinopoly 

FlG. II. 

Ganesa (Ganesh) Ratha, Mamallapuram. 
(Photo. 1953, I. M. Lis/.) 

' Rea, Pallava Archileclure, 4I0, Madras, 1909, 
being vol. .x.xxiv of Archaeol. S. Rep., India, New 
Imp. Series, and vol. xi of the Southern India 

* The correct history is given by Mr. Venkayya 
in • The Pallavas ' (^Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1906-7, 
pp. 226-35), and Dr. Hultzsch (Ep. Ltd., vol. x, 
pp. I -1 4). 


"^ i-i 
a „ 

<U CO 






District. A representative illustration of the Chola buildings is afforded by the 
relatively small temple of Subrahmanya or Kartikeya at Tanjore, nearly con- 
temporary with the Great Temple, and considered by Fergusson to be ' as ex- 
quisite a piece of decorative architecture as is to be found in the south of India ' 
(Plate IX). 

The gigantic South-Indian temples, with vast quadrangular enclosures and lofty 
^opiirams overtopping the central shrine, extend in date from the seventeenth century 

Fig. 12. Muktesvara Temple, Kanchi, from the soulh-wesl. 
(Rea, Pallava Archiiecture, PL XVIII.) 

to the present day. Fergusson states that he was personally acquainted with ' upwards 
of thirty great Dravidian temples, or groups of temples, any one of which must have 
cost as much to build as an English cathedral — some a great deal more'. Several 
such edifices, at Ramesvaram, Tinnevelly, Madura, and other places, are described 
in his book. The buildings at Madura are of special interest because they can 
be dated closely, having been erected by Tirumal Naik, a local chieftain, who reigned 
from 1623 to 1659. Fig. 13 gives a general view of the Madura temple, a typical 
example. The corridors or cloisters connected with such temples are of wonderfully 




large dimensions — those of Ramesvaram, for instance, aggregating nearly 4,000 feet 
in length — and are filled with weird, fantastic sculpture. The sculpture will be illus- 
trated in due course in a later chapter. The architecture, which resembles that of the 
earlier temples in its general lines, need not be further discussed for the purposes of 
this work. The most marvellous of all Dravidian temples is the well-known rock-cut 
Kailas temple at Elura, excavated from a hill-side by a Rashtrakuta king in the eighth 
century. Some of the sculptures will be noticed subsequently. 

.Fig. 13. Madura Temple, general view. 
(A. S. photo., supplied by Prof. Macdonell.) 

The immense ruins of the city of Vijayanagar, dating from, the fifteenth and The Vijaya- 
sixteenth centuries, now represented by Hampi and other villages in the Bellary "^S^'' style- 
District, Madras, present numerous examples of a special local variety of Dravidian 
architecture. There is room for only one illustration (Fig. 15). 

The style intermediate in both locality and character between the Northern and TheDeccan 
Southern styles is that which received from Fergusson the inappropriate name of P"^, ^ "," 
Chalukyan. It is true that the Chalukya clan supplied one of the leading royal 
families of the Deccan from the middle of the sixth to the middle of the eighth 




century, and again from a. d. 973 to the Muhammadan conquest, but the tj'pical 
examples of the style are the work of Hoysala, not Chalukya kings ; and, if a dynastic 
designation be given, the style should be named Hoysala rather than Chalukya. 
Territorial designations are, however, preferable to dynastic, and if it be practicable 
to modify Fergusson's established nomenclature, the style may be better described 
either as that of the Deccan, or that of Mysore, in which province the finest specimens 
occur, at Halebld, the ancient capital, Belur, and many other localities less known to 

Fig. 14. Somnathpur uiple, stellate temple, Mysore, a.d. 1268. 
(Photo, supplied by Prof. Macclonell. See Ann. Rep. A.S., Mysore, 1909-10, p. 9.) 

The style, whatever name be bestowed upon it, is characterized by a richly 
carved base or plinth, supporting the temple, which is polygonal, star-shaped in plan, 
and roofed b)' a low pyramidal tower, surmounted by a vase-like ornament. The 
temple of Vishnu in the village of Nuggehalli, in the Tiplur Taluk, Mysore, as shown 
in Plate X, from an unpublished photograph, gives a good notion of this extra- 
ordinarily ornate style. The stellate plan appears clearly in the view of the Somnathpur 
temple (Fig. 14). The Belur temple is known to have been erected in a.d. hi 7 
by a Hoysala king named Bettiga, converted from Jainism to faith in Vishnu. The 
more magnificent temples at Halebld, the Hoysalesvara and Kedaresvara, are some- 
what later in date, and necessarily must have been under construction for many years. 

















^ e^H 




Not long ago the disintegrating action of the roots of a banyan tree unfortunately 
reduced the Kedaresvara to a heap of ruins. ^ 

Plate XI, showing a small portion of the sculptures on the eastern end of the 
Hoysalesvara temple, will give the reader a faint notion of ' one of the most marvellous 
exhibitions of human labour to be found even in the patient East'. The architectural 
framework, it vv'ill be observed, is used mainly as a background for the display of an 

Fig. 15. The Council Hall, Vijayanagar. 
(Photo, supplied b)- Prof. Macdonell.) 

infinity of superb decoration, which leaves no space uncovered and gives the eye 
no rest. 

' The building,' Fergusson writes, ' stands on a terrace ranging from 5 to 6 feet 
in height, and paved with large slabs. On this stands a frieze of elephants, following 
all the sinuosities of the plan and extending to some 710 feet in length, and containing 
not less than two thousand elephants, most of them with riders and trappings, sculp- 
tured as only an Oriental can represent the wisest of brutes. Above these is a frieze 
of sdrdiilas, or conventional lions — the emiblems of the Hoysala Ballalas who built 
the temple.2 Then comes a scroll of infinite beauty and variety of design ; over this 

' The principal temples in this stjle range in date ch. v, with many excellent illustrations, 
between a. d. 1117 and 1268 (Rice, Mysore and '' The lions are there, not as the emblem of the 

Coorg from the Inscriptions. Qor\%\.'ih\t, 1909, p. 194). Hoysala kings, but as part of the canonical scheme 

See Workman, Through Toivn and Jungle (1904), of decoration — elephants, lions, horses, men. 

Plate XI. Hojsalesvara Temple, Halebid ; sculptures on east end. 
(Photo. 1550, I. O. Lis/.) 

G 2 


a frieze of horsemen and another scroll ; over which is a bas-relief of scenes from the 
Rdniayana, representing the conquest of Ceylon and all the varied incidents of that 
epic. This, like the otlier, is about 700 feet long. (The frieze of the Parthenon is 
less than 550 feet.) Then some celestial beasts and celestial birds, and all along the 
east front a frieze of groups from human life, and then a cornice, with a rail, divided 
into panels, each containing two figures [only a single figure in the part photographed]. 
Over this are windows of pierced slabs, like those of Belur, though not so rich or 

The Hoysalesvara and several other buildings of its class are twin temples con- 
sisting of two distinct shrines set side by side and joined together. The beautiful 
building at Somnathpur {ante, Fig. 14) is a triple temple. A special feature of 
interest in these Mysore temples is the record of the names of the Kanarese artists, 
who executed individual statues. At Belur there are tw^elve such signatures, and at 
the Hoysalesvara fourteen, all different. Eight signatures on the Somnathpur temple 
have been noted, among them that of Mallitamma, who executed forty images.^ 

Certain temples near the Tungabhadra river situated in the western part of the 
Ballari (Bellary) District, Madras, wedged in between Mysore territory on the south 
and the Nizam's Dominions on the north, form the subject of an excellent monograph 
by Mr. Rea, entitled Chahikyaii Architectttre. The title is so far justified that the 
buildings were erected to the order of Chalukya kings in the twelfth century. But the 
style Is a modification of the Dravidian or Southern, not of the Deccan or Mysore 
st)le called Chalukyan by Mr. Fergusson. The plans are rectangular, not star- 
shaped, and the towers are distinctly Dravidian in design. The buildings, as Mr. Rea 
correctly observes, ' exhibit a preponderance of Dravidian forms. They might best 
be described as an embodiment of Chalukvan details engrafted on a Dravidian build- 
Ing.' Although the statues, individually regarded, are not of high merit, and present 
much of the grotesqueness of commonplace Hindu sculpture, the ornament, considered 
as a whole. Is superb. It Is Impossible, we are assured, to describe the exquisite 
finish of the greenstone or hornblende pillars, or to exaggerate the marvellous intricacy 
and artistic finish of the decoration in even the minutest details. The ornament 
Is generally completely undercut, and Is sometimes attached to the solid masonry by 
the most slender of stalks, producing the effect of an Incrustation of foliage on the 
wall. Both the Intricate geometrical patterns of the ceilings and the foliated work 
covering every other part of the building exhibit the greatest possible exuberance of 
varied forms boldly designed and executed with consummate mastery of technical 
details. No chased work in gold or silver could possibly be finer, and the patterns to 
this day are copied by goldsmiths, who take casts and moulds from them, although 
unable to reproduce the sharpness and finish of the originals. 

Opinions may differ as to the propriety of employing such jewellers' work 
as architectural decoration, but concerning the beauty of the result and the high 
standard of executive skill no two opinions are possible. The annexed plan of 

In Epigraphia Carnalica, vol. v, Part I, pp. several temples. See also Ann. Rep. Archaeol. S., 

xxxvi, xxxviii, Mr. Rice describes and illustrates Mysore, 1909-10, para. 25. 



a ceiling in the Suryanarayanaswami temple at Magala may suffice to give some notion 
of the exquisite carving characteristic of the Ballari variety of the Dravidian style, as 
favoured by Chalukya Kings. 

The peculiar styles of architecture prevalent in the Himalayan kingdoms of The Kash- 
Kashmlr and Nepal demand brief notice. ™ir style. 

The Kashmir style proper is restricted to the Valley, although a modification of 
it is found in the Salt Range region of the Panjab. The temples in this style, 
varying in date from about a. d. 750 to 1200, are all of small size, but in some cases 
the dignity of magnitude is attained by the addition of a walled quadrangle of 
imposing dimensions. 

Fig. 16. Plan of ceiling in Suryanarayanaswami Temple at Magala. 
(Rea, Chalukyan Architecture, PI. XX, Fig. i.)^ 

The best-known example is the temple of Martanda or Martand — a local name 
of Vishnu as the Sun-god — which was erected about the middle of the eighth century 
by Lalitaditya (a. d. 724-60), the most powerful sovereign of Kashmir. This building, 
although the largest of its kind, is of modest dimensions, being a rectangle measuring 
60 feet long by 38 feet wide. The width of the fagade, however, is increased to 
60 feet by the addition of wings, and the walled enclosure measures internally 220 by 
142 feet. The colonnade lining the wall is composed of eighty-four pillars, with 
intervening niches surmounted by the trefoil arches and triangular pediments or 
gables characteristic of the style. The cell, or chapel, which occupied the centre 
of each face of the enclosure, originally reached a height of about 30 feet. All 
the roofs have disappeared completely, so that it is uncertain whether they were 
of wood or stone. 

^ Mr. Rea's volume is No. XXI in the New Imperial Series ot the Archaeological Survey of India 
(Madras, Govt. Press, 1896). 




Fig. 17 clearly illustrates most of the peculiarities of the architecture, which may- 
be summed up as consisting of pyramidal roofs, gables, trefoil arches, quasi-Doric 
columns, and dentil ornaments. 

The temple at Bilniar (Bhaniyar), of uncertain date, which resembles that of 
Martand in being surrounded by a colonnade, differs by being of smaller dimensions 
and in almost perfect preservation. The central shrine is now covered with wooden 
shingles, which may or may not have been the original form of roof. 

The more ornate temples at Vantpar (Avantipura) were erected during the 
reign of Avantivarman (a. d. 855-83). The well-known little shrine at Payer, which 

Fig. 17. Details of temple of Martand, Kashmir. 
(From a drawing by W. Simpson, by kind permission of the Council of the Roy. Inst, of Brit. Architects.) 

Fergusson assigned to the thirteenth century, is older than he supposed, and 
probably dates from the tenth century.^ The notion, started by Cunningham and 
accepted by certain other authors, that the quadrangles of the more important temples 
were designed to be filled with water, so that the shrines might be placed more 
immediately under the protection of the Nagas, or water-sprites, is absolutely 

Two peculiarities of Kashmir architecture — the trefoil arch and the quasi-Doric 
columns — have given rise to much discussion. The trefoil arch recurs in certain 
temples at Malot, Katas, and other places in the Salt Range, which was subject 

' Miscalled Payech by Vigne and many subse- 
quent authors (Stein, transl. Rajaiarangini, vol. ii, 

P- 47.3)- 

' Ibid., Bk. iv, v. 192 note. 

Plate XII. Temple at Bhatgaon, a.d. 1703. 
(Wright, Hist. 0/ Nepal, PI. Ill ; by permission of the S3'ndics of the Cambridge Univ. Press.) 


to the crown of Kashmir in the seventh century ; ^ and when employed structurally, 
appears to be derived from the similar form frequently used as a canopy to 
a statue. - 

The columns of the Kashmir temples are usually described as Indo-Doric on the 
assumption that their design is derived ultimately from Greek models. Mr. Tavenor 
Perry has thrown doubt upon this assumption because the Kashmir columns have 
sixteen flutes and are associated with very unclassical gables and trefoil arches.^ 
But, on the whole, it appears that the term Indo-Doric may be justified, the Kashmir 
column most probably having been derived from the Greek through Sassanian 
intermediaries. As usual in India, the stages of the evolution of the Kashmir style 
cannot be traced in detail. It is possible that the Salt Range temples alluded to, 
and others at Gop, Sutrapada, and Kadwar in Kathiawar, which resemble the 
Kashmir buildings in certain respects, may be older than those in the Valley, but no 
clear evidence on the subject is available.* 

The small valley of Nepal proper, measuring about 20 miles by 15, is said 
to contain more than two thousand temples. Most of them are designed in a style 
differing but slightly from the familiar Chinese pattern, in which the roof is the main 
element, the walls being mere screens set between pillars. An excellent illustration 
of this style is afforded by a temple built at Bhatgaon in 1703 (Plate XII).* 

The arrangement of the statuary on the stairs, which recurs at other shrines in the 
town, deserves notice. The two seated figures at the bottom are locally supposed to 
represent two Nepalese champions named Jayamalla and Phatta. Elephants come 
next, and are succeeded by griffins {sdrdfils), the topmost figures being two fierce 
goddesses named Tigress [Bydghn'ni) and Lioness {Singhrinf). In Northern India 
legend connects the names of Jayamalla and Phatta with the siege of Chitor {post, 
Chap. XIII). 

Certain temples and tombs of Jain priests in the South Kanara District on the 
western coast of the Madras Presidency, built in a style obviously derived from 
wooden originals, possess a surprising and unexplained resemblance to the buildings 
in distant Nepal. ° 

The history of architecture in Ceylon remains to be written, the discussion of 
the subject in Fergusson's work, even in the new edition, being of little value. The 
chapter devoted to it in General de Beylie's treatise also is slight.'' The materials 
for such a history not being fully accessible at present, it is impossible for me to 
do more than indicate some of the more notable achievements of the island architects 

' Fergusson, Hist. Ltd. and E. Architecture, 2nd ^ For the Kathiawar temples see A. S. W. India, 

ed., i. 270 ; Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. v, pp. 85- vol. ii, p. 187, PI. LI-LIII ; Cousens, Progr. Rep. 

92, PI. XXV^XXVII; vol. .xiv, p. 35, PI. XV; Beal, A. S. W. I., 1898-9, pp. 14-18. 
Buddhist Records, i. 143; Walters, On Yuan " Illustrations of other styles used in Nepal will be 

Chwangs Travels, i. 249. found in Le Bon, Les Moniwients de V hide. 

- It is so used at Konarak in Orissa {A?m. Rep. « Fergusson, Bist. Ind. and E. Archil., 2nd ed., 

A. S., India, 1903-4, PI. XXII a). figs. 303, 304, 307. 

^ Trans. Roy. Inst. British Architects, 3rd Ser,, ' E Architecture hindoue en Extreme-0rient,Y2Ci\i, 

vol. i, p. 158. 1907, Chap. vi. 



and specify the more conspicuous peculiarities which differentiate Ceylonese from 
Indian buildings, to which they are closely related. 

The principal remains are found at the two most notable of the ancient capitals, The two 
namely, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, both situated in the North Central '^'^P'^'^'^- 
Province. The former city, a royal residence for more than a thousand years, was 
superseded in the eighth 'century by Polonnaruwa, the glory of which lasted, with 
interruptions, until the early years of the thirteenth century. The antiquities, 
therefore, belong to two widely separated series. Those at Anuradhapura go back 
to the time of Asoka, but mostly date from the earliest centuries of the Christian era ; 
whereas the most important buildings at Polonnaruwa were constructed during the 
second half of the twelfth century (a. d. 1153-97) in the reigns of Parakrama Bahu 
the Great and Kirti Nissanka Malla.^ 

Anuradhapura, when in its prime, was a city of colossal proportions, ' une Anuradha- 
veritable Rome bouddhique,' at least 8 miles in diameter, and crowded with P"''^' 
magnificent buildings. After the removal of the court everything went to ruin, 
but many edifices were repaired and restored by Parakrama Bahu, to whose energy 
the splendours of Polonnaruwa also are largely due. After his death the ancient 
capital again became desolate, and remained buried in dense forest until recent times. 
During the last forty years the ruins have been systematically and efficiently explored, 
with the result that the principal remains have been exposed, mapped, and more 
or less completely described. 

The most conspicuous structures are the great Buddhist dd'rabas {siiipas), far Dagabas. 

exceeding in dimensions anything of the kind now standing in India. That 

commonly called the Jetawanarama, still 251 feet high, stands on a stone platform 

nearly 8 acres in extent, while the space included within the walled enclosure 

measures nearly 14 acres. The Abhayagiri dagaba, almost equal in mass, was 

originally erected in the first century b. c. The earliest, the Thuparama, built in the 

days of Asoka, has been covered up in recent times, like most of the others, by later 


The dagabas^ huge masses of masonry, wonderful as stupendous monuments of Oiher sacred 


^ Polonnaruwa, alias Kalingapura, or Pulastipura. lished by order of the Ceylon Government (Atlas 

the modern Topavewa or Topawa, represents a folio, N. D.). The drawings, finished in 1877, '■^'6''s 

much more ancient city, Wijitapura, of which some not published until 1894. I am indebted to the 

remains seem to be traceable (Parker, Ancient dylon, liberality of the Government of Ceylon for a copy of 

pp. 239-41). For the dates of the mediaeval this splendid work. An immense amount of further 

kings see Epigraphia Zeylanica, vol. i, p. 156. Tlie research has been done since. Seven Reports by 

traditional dale for the foundation of Anuriidhapura IMr. H.C. P. Bell, Archaeological Commissioner, deal 

is 457 B.C. The sites of other capitals are discussed exclusively with Anuradhapura, which is largely 

by Mr. Parker. Polonnaruwa was abandoned finally treated also in his Annual Reports from 1890 to 

in A.D. 1240. 1907- The latest received is that for 1907, printed 

" '$>tii Architectural Remains, Anuradhapura, Cey- as Sessional Paper Vof 1911. Mr. Parker {Ancient 

Ion : comprising the Dagabas and certain other Ruined Ceylon, p. 300) gives good reasons for believing that 

Structures. IMeasured, drawn, and described by the real Abhayagiri is now miscalled the Jetavana. 

James G. Smither, F.R.I.B.A., late Architect to the The true Jetavana, according to him, stands to the 

Government of Ceylon. Sixty-seven Plates. Pub- east of the Sela Chaitya. 




laborious engineering, are not in themselves interesting as examples of architectural 
art. The work of the artist must be sought in the numerous and splendid associated 
buildings. The stone railing never attained in Ceylon the development which in 
India made it the vehicle for much of the highest art of the country. The only 
considerable example in the island, situated at Anuradhapura, and discovered and 
rebuilt by Mr. Bell, was a well-designed structure of uncertain date, perfectly plain, 
as at Sanchi, except for sculptured guard-posts at the entrance. It surrounded 
a rectangular pillared hall, not a dagaba (Fig. I'S)} The monasteries and temples 
connected with the dagabas included every variety of edifice needful for the accom- 
modation of thousands of monks and for the ritual of a highly ceremonial religion. 

Fig. 1 8. Stone railing at Anuradhapura, as restored. 
(Photo. C. 1009, A. S., Ceylon.) 

Mr. Bell's description of the Vijayarama at Anuradhapura, erected in or about 
the eighth century for the use of a community of Tantric Mahayanist Buddhists, 
will serve to give a notion of the form and extent of an early monastic establishment 
of the more important kind in Ceylon. 

'Here existed,' he writes, 'a typical sangharama, or Buddhist establishment, 
perfect in itself, with its shrines and meeting-hall, its priestly residences, bath-house, 
store-rooms, ponds, &c. 

Broadly, the monastery consisted of a raised quadrangle, 288 feet north and 
south by 268 feet east and west, walled, with entrances at the cardinal points, 
enclosing a dagaba \stupa\ and three vihctres [temples], and having an open hall 
attached to the north. Outside this temenos was first a walk, then twelve annexes, 
evenly grouped, surrounded by a moat, with the chief pansala [monks' residences], 
a bathing-house, and a few other buildings on the south and west ; the whole 
covering an area of \2\ acres, bounded by a quadrangular wall of stone, 200 yards 

' Full details in Ann. Rep. A. S., Ceylo?t, for 1892 
(xx.xvii, 1904), p. I. As a decorative pattern the 

railing \vas familiar in the island (see Anc. Ceylon, 
p. 278). 


by 300 yards, traces of which may still be seen. From the lodae (m?era-^e) a broad 
street led straight to the inner quadrangle.' ' ^ v ., / 

It would be difficult to point out the ruins of an Indian monastery equally 
extensive. The unlimited field for the exercise of the painter's and sculptor's arts 
presented by such a mass^of buildings was sedulously cultivated. 

The Buddhist temples 'in Ceylon, differing widely from Indian models, ordinarily Temples 
were rectangular buildings of either brick or stone, approached through a vestibule, 
and sometimes with only a single entrance, but often with four entrances facino- the 

Fig. 19. Siva temple No. i, at Polonnaruwa, west wall. 
(Photo. A. 248, A. S., Ceylon.) 

cardinal points. They were frequently arranged qiiincjtnx fashion in groups of five, 
four small shrines being placed symmetrically round a larger central one. 

Shrines of the Hindu gods find honoured places among the Buddhist buildings, 
Vishnu, for instance, being regarded as the protector of Ceylon, and worshipped in 
subordination to Buddha. Hindu temples intended for Brahmanical worship, as 
practised by the Tamil invaders, also exist. One illustration of such a temple at 
Polonnaruwa, dedicated to Siva, and dating probably from the eleventh or twelfth 
century, may be given to show how far the Ceylonese Hindu buildings resemble the 
South Indian Chola types.- The Tivanka Vihare at Polonnaruwa, built by Parakrama 

^ Ann. Rep. A. S., Ceylon, for i8gi (xxxvi, 1904), 
p. 4. The existence of Tantric JNIahavanist Bud- 
dhism in Ceylon deserves special notice. 

^ Fully described and illustrated va Ann. Rep. A. S., 
Cy/(7«, 1907, pp. 17-24, 36, Pl.XVI-XIX, andplan. 
This purely Brahmanical building is locally miscalled 

the Daladd Maligait'a, or ' Shrine of the Tooth Relic '. 
The fine Hindu bronzes described post, chap, vii, 
sec. 7 b, were found by digging a trench outside 
a southern extension of the eastern wall of the 
enclosure of this temple, to which they evidently 

H 2 




Bahu, and generally miscalled the Thuparama, has a high pyramidal roof in Dravidian 
style, and, generally speaking, the Polonnaruwa buildings have a distinctly Dravidian 
character, but the huge Dravidian gateways {gopurain) are unknown in Ceylon. 

The basements are sometimes adorned with relief figures in stucco of some 
merit (Fig. 2c). 

Circular temples or shrines, of which three notable examples are known, are the 
most original and peculiar of Ceylonese buildings.^ That at Polonnaruwa, erected by 
King Nissanka Malla at the close of the twelfth century, is considered by Mr. Bell to 
be ' the most beautiful specimen of Buddhistic stone architecture existing in Ceylon '. 
He declares that 'no photographs or drawings can adequately reproduce, nor can 
words but faintly outline, the inexpressible charm ' of the inner platform. The 

Fig. 20. Stucco reliefs on porch of the Hetadage, Polonnaruwa. 
(Photo. A. 288, A. S., Ceylon.) 

Structure, about So feet in diameter, is circular, standing on a terrace, also circular, 
and 125 yards in diameter. It was intended for the reception of the tooth-relic. 
The centre was occupied by a small ddgaba surrounded by sixteen statues, and two 
concentric circles of granite columns, twent)' and sixteen in number respectively. 
The entrance was through a portico on the north-east. The elaborate decoration 
was lavished chiefly on the stylobate of the inner platform and on the staircase. 
A portion of the exterior is shown in Fig. 21, and the western stairs in Fig. 22." 

A second and earlier building of the same class has been discovered at a place 
called Medirigiriya in the Tamankaduwa District, North Central Province, hidden 
in the heart of the forest, six miles from the nearest village. It stands on the highest 
point of a mass of rock, and like its fellow at Polonnaruwa is surrounded by a slab 
wall, carved with surface ornament. There are 

' three concentric rows of graceful columns (sixty-eight in all) of the type seen at 
Thuparama and Lankarama, Anuradhapura. The inner and second row[s] of pillars 

' Except the circular form, they have nothing in 
common with the four circular temples recorded in 
India (Cunningham, A. S. Rep., ix. 74). 

^ The building is fullv described and illustrated 

by half-tone blocks in Mr. Bell's Ann. Rep. for 1903, 
1904, and 1907 (Sess. Papers LXV, LXVI of 1908, 
and V of 1 9 II ). It has been extensively restored by 
the replacing of fallen members. 


bear single lions and pilasters on their capitals, the outermost [bears] posturing ganas 
(dwarfs). In height this row of columns is but 9 ft. 9 in., while the two inner rows 
reach 16 ft. All are octagonal, and all are unbroken, save four; but several have 
lost their spreading capitals. Within the circle of pillars, seated on an amnaya, is 
a Buddha in stone; probably one of four cardinally placed, with their backs ' to 
a small central dagaba. The design on the stone slab wall encircling the ddo-aba 
and columns is the "Buddhist railing" pattern, in this differing from the flowered 
ornamentation of the Polonnaruwa " Wala-dd-o-e" \ 

Fig. 21. Circular shrine [waia-da-ge) at Polonnaruwa; part of north-eastern quadrant. 

(Piioto. A. 409, A. S., Ce3lon.) 

An inscribed pillar close by was erected in the third year of King Kasyapa V 
(929-39), which may be taken as the date of the building.^ Fig. 23 shows the best- 
preserved part of the enclosure. 

The third example, discovered in 1894, to the north of the great Toluvila The Tolu- 
monastery at Anuradhapura, is of small size, with an enclosure 37 feet in diameter, nrnnl '^" 
surrounding a miniature ddgaba with a diameter of only 8 feet, and two concentric 
rings of slender columns. - 

^ Bell, Ann. Rep. for 1897, p. 7; for 1907, PI. 
X.XVIII, XXIX (Sess. Papers XLII, 1904; V, 

- Ann. Rep. A. S, Cg/on, 1904, p. 2 (Sess. 
Paper LXVI of 1908). In Ann. Rip. A. S., Cej/on, 

1907, p. 3, Mr. Bell notes the e.xistence of six small 
circular brick shrines (7.c'a/a-geva/)at the Vessagiriya 
Monastery, Anuradhapura, besides one at the Abha- 
yagirija and one at the Toluvila. These seem to 
be different from the wala-dd-ge type described in 
the text. 



CHAP. 11 

Such concentric circles of detached, slender, monolithic columns are a characteristic 
feature of Ceylonese architecture. They occur, in addition to the examples already 
ited, at the Thuparama and Lankarama ddgadas of Anuradhapura, as well as at the 


Fig. 22. The same ; western stairs 
(Photo. A. 408, A. S., Ceylon.) 

I'^iG. 23, Circular shrine {wala-da-ge) at Mcdirigiriya, N.C.P. 
(Photo. C. i6go, A. S., Ce}'lon.) 

Ambusthala dagaba of Mihintale, distant eight miles from the early capital. Their 
purpose has been much discussed. Mi". Smither has demonstrated to my satisfaction 
that those at the Thuparama could not have carried a roof of any kind.^ It is 

' General de Beyli^ maintains that the ThOparama superposes' {L' Archilecture hindoue en Exli'hu- 

columns supported ' un toit a I'indienne, a etages Orient, Paris, 1907, p. 361). 


possible that in some cases they may have been used to support sacred Buddhist 
symbols, but ordinarily, as Mr. Parker argues, those round the large buildings appear 
to have been intended primarily as a barrier against evil spirits, and secondarily to 
support festoons of lamps suspended on great occasions. At the ivata-dd-ge shrines, 
according to Mr. Bell, the piUars were intended to ' hold up a roof to shelter the 
small stfipa and worshippers at the shrine '.^ 

The forms of shaft and capital, differing widely from Indian types, are illustrated Shafts and 
on a larger scale in Figs. 24 and 25. In Fig. 26 a more complex, later kind of ^oh ""'' °^ 
column is exemplified. But it is impossible to go into detail here, or to discuss the '^° ™"^' 

Fig. 24. Photo. A. 287, A. S., Ceylon. Fig. 25. Photo. A. 288, A. S., Ceylon. 

Capitals at Abhayagiri Vihare, Anuradhapura. 

age and evolution of the various types. Mr. Parker supposes the Thuparama 

columns to date from the period between 100 b. c. and 100 a. d." 

This necessarily slight notice of architecture in Ceylon may be concluded by Sat Mahal 

mention of a unique building at Polonnaruwa known as the Sat Mahal Prasadaya, Prasadaya. 

a seven-storied square brick tower, built in diminishing stages, and rising from a low 

basement, which measures 39 feet 2 inches each way at ground level. The 
I I brickwork was covered with fine lime plaster, probably once coloured, and twenty 
ii isii niches contained as many stucco statues, eleven of which still exist. The edifice was 
li 1^ erected by order of King Nissanka Malla a little before a. d. 1200, in imitation of 

' Ana'eiilCiylo:!,^. 289; Ann. Rep. A. S., Ceylon, 1904, p. 2. ^ Ancient Ceylon, p. 268. 


iiijj^ iij.i'* 

Cambodian models, and probably for the use of the Cambodian mercenaries i 
in the service of the Ceylonese monarch. ^ 


Fig. 26. Column at Galapata vihaie, 

Bentota, S.P. 

(Photo. Z. 17, A. S, Ceylon.) 

' Ana. ]\c[i. A. S., Ciyhm, 1903, pp. 14-16, PI. 
XIII-XV (Sess. Paper LXV of 1908). The ' Pot- 

FiG. 27. Column in Ruwanveli area, Anuradl 
with extra fillets ; 9 ft. 4 in. high. 
(Photo. C. 406, A. S., Ceylon.) 

gul Vehera ' monastery to the south of Polon: 
also displa)s Cambodian features {Ann. Rep. 
p. 17), 


Section 1. The Age of Asoka. 

A SHORT time after the death of Alexander in 323 b. c, the throne of Magadha, TheMaurya 
or South Bihar, then the premier kingdom of Northern Lidia, was seized by Chandra- ■'-'■>'"'^^'>'- 
gupta, surnamed the Maurya, known as Sandrokottos to Greek authors. In the 
course of a victorious reign of twenty-four years this able prince made himself master 
of all India, at least as far south as the river Narbada, and acquired from Seleukos 
Nikator, first his enemy and then his ally, the valuable provinces lying between the 
Indus and the Hindu Kush mountains which now constitute the major part of the 
kins^dom of Afghanistan. 

Chandragupta was succeeded by his son Bindusara, who, in or about 273 b. c, 
transmitted the imperial sceptre to his son, Asoka, the third and most renowned 
sovereign of the Maurya dynasty. For forty-one years (273-232 b. c.) Asoka ruled 
his immense empire with great power and might, maintaining friendly relations with 
his neighbours, the Tamil states of the extreme south, and also with the island kine- 
dom of Ceylon, and the more remote Greek monarchies of Macedonia, Epirus, 
Western Asia, Egypt, and Cyrene. 

Early in life the emperor became a convert to the Buddhist religion, and as the Asoka's 
years rolled on his zeal increased, so that his energies and riches were devoted almost patronage 
exclusively to the work of honouring and propagating the teaching of his Master, dhism. 
Gautama Buddha, the sage of the Sakyas. With one exception, he abstained from 
wars of conquest, and was thus free to concentrate his attention upon the task to which 
his life was consecrated.^ 

As explained in Chapter II, the earliest extant examples of architecture, as History of 

distinofuished from mere eng-ineering, and of the other fine arts, date from the days of }^°^^^ ^\^ 

. I- 1 r 1 11- 11-1 begins with 

Asoka. Nothing deserving the name of a work of art has yet been discovered which Asoka. 

can be referred with confidence to an earlier time. His mighty father and grand- 
father must surely have built palaces, public offices, and temples suitable to the 
dignity of a powerful empire and proportionate to the wealth of rich provinces, but of 
such structures not a trace seems to survive. The best explanation of this fact is the 
hypothesis already discussed [aji^e, p. 23), that the early works of Indian architecture 
and art were mainly constructed of timber and other perishable materials ill fitted to 

^ For full discussion of the history of Asoka see dhist early in life, though not yet universally accepted, 

the author's works -Earfy History 0/ India, 2nd ed., is supported by the authority of M. Senart and 

1908, and Asoka, the Buddhist Emperor of Lidia, Mr. F. W. Thomas, and confirmed by the latest 

2nd ed., 1909. The view that he became a Bud- researches. 



Earlier an. 

withstand the ravenous tooth of time. Whatever be the true explanation, the fact 
remains that the history of Indian art begins with Asoka. ' But,' as Professor Percy 
Gardner observes, 'there can be no doubt that Indian art had an earHer history. 
The art of Asoka is a mature art : in some respects more mature than the Greek art 
of the time, though, of course, far inferior to it, at least in our eyes.' ^ With that 
mature art we must be content to begin our story, acknowledging the impossibility of 
tracing in detail the stages of its growth. 

We can, however, affirm with certainty that many forms of Asokan architecture 

and plastic decoration were descended from wooden prototypes, and may also discern 

traces of the influence of lost works in metal, ivory, terra-cotta, and painting.^ We 

may, moreover, feel some confidence in assuming that the sudden general adoption of 

stone as the material for both architecture and sculpture was in large measure the 

result of foreign and especially of Persian example. The fuller consideration of the 

foreign influences affecting Indian art will be more conveniently deferred and made 

the subject of a separate chapter (Chap. XI). 

Personal But whether we concede much or little importance to the foreign elements 

initiative of of ancient Indian art, great weight must be allowed for the personal initiative of Asoka, 

■ ^°'^' a man of marked originality of mind, capable of forming large designs and executing 

them with imperial thoroughness. The direction taken by Indian art, like the 

diffusion of Buddhism, was determined in its main lines by the will of a resolute and 

intelligent autocrat. 

Early art I now proceed to a summary description of the principal works of art surviving 

nearly all j,^ India and Ceylon from the times of Asoka and his successors down to about 

A. D. loo. The buildings having been already noticed, and the art of painting being 

reserved for another chapter, this chapter Avill be confined to sculpture. Most of the 

extant works were executed in honour of Buddhism, which became the State religion 

in the empire of Asoka and was introduced during his reign into independent Ceylon. 

Although we know that both Jainism and Brahmanical Hinduism continued to attract 

multitudes of adherents during the IVIaurya period, hardly any material remains 

of works then dedicated to the service of those religions have survived. 

Frank The art of the times dealt with in this chapter is characterized by frank naturalism. 

It is thoroughl)' human, a mirror of the social and religious life of ancient India, 

apparently a much pleasanter and merrier life than that of the India of later ages 

when the Brahmans had reasserted their superiority and imposed their ideas upon art 

and upon every branch of Hindu civilization. The early sculptures, while full of the 

creatures of gay fanc)-, are free from the gloom and horror of the conceptions of the 

mediaeval artists. The Buddhism with which nearly all of them are concerned was, 

' Trans, ^rd Julcni. Congress for the Nisi, of a pier of the southern gate at SanchI was actually 

Religions (Oxford, 1908), vol. ii, p. 8r. executed by the ivory carvers of the neighbouring 

- The pictorial character of the ancient Indian town of Vedisa (Bhilsa) {I^p. Ind., ii, pp. 92, 378, 
relief?, 'histoires sans paroles', is obvious, and the inscr. No. 200 of Tope I = C. 189). Cunningham 
affinity of much of the decorative work with the was unable to read this significant record, the inter- 
jeweller's art is equally plain. The sculpture on pretaiion of which is due to Buhler. 



as already observed in the Introduction, the popular creed of men and women living 
a natural life in the world, seeking happiness, and able to enjoy themselves. The 
recent critics of the ' nationalist ' school, in their anxiety to secure adequate recognition 
for the merits of the mediaeval Brahmanical art, sometimes appear to believe that it 
alone truly expresses Indian thought. It is well to remember that for several cen- 
turies Indian thought was cctntent to find its artistic utterance in a fashion much more 
human and cheerful. 

The known existing monuments of art dating from Asoka's reign are not very Inscriptions, 

numerous, but it is not improbable that more may be discovered. His buildings coumns, 

' . '^ ■' . . y and sculp- 

having perished, our direct knowledge of the art strictly contemporary with him tures. 

is derived from his inscriptions, the carvings and sculptures on his monolithic columns, 

and some independent statuary. The inscriptions are mentioned on account of their 

beautiful execution. The most faultless example is the brief record on the Rum- 

mindel Pillar, which is as perfect as on the day it was incised ; ' but, almost without 

exception, all are models of careful and accurate stone-cutting. The craft of the 

skilled mason and stone-cutter, so closely akin to fine art, reached perfection in 

the days of Asoka, as appears from every detail of the work, and especially from 

examination of the beautifully polished surface of the monoliths and the interior of the 

cave dwellings dedicated by him and his grandson in the hills of Bihar. 

The best evidence of the state of the art of sculpture, both in relief and in the Capitals of 
round, during the reign of the great emperor is afforded by the capitals of the numerous I^J^J^^'j'g^'^ 
monolithic columns erected between 250 B.C. and the end of the reign in 232 B.C., 
as briefly described and illustrated in Chapter II {an/e, p. 20, Plate II). The 
capital of each pillar, like the shaft, was monolithic, comprising three principal 
members, namely, a Persepolitan bell, abacus, and crowning sculpture in the round. 
The junction between the shaft and the abacus was marked by a necking, the edge 
of the abacus was decorated with bas-relief designs, and the crowning sculpture was 
occasionally a sacred symbol, such as a wheel, or more commonly a symbolical animal, 
or group of animals. Sometimes the inanimate and animal symbols were combined. 

Within the limits thus determined the artists enjoyed considerable latitude, and Forms of 
in consequence the surviving capitals vary widely in detail. The abacus might ^^^™^- 
be either rectangular or circular so as to suit the form of the sculpture above. The 
edge of the abacus of the beautiful Lauriya-Nandangarh pillar is decorated by a row 
of flying sacred geese in quite low relief. The abaci of the pillars at Allahabad and 
Sankisa (Fig. 28) and the newly discovered bull pillar at Rampurwa exhibit elegant 
designs composed of the lotus and palmette or honeysuckle. Whatever the device 
selected, it is invariably well executed, and ' chiselled with that extraordinary precision 
and accuracy ' which characterize the workmanship of the Maurya age, and have never 
been surpassed in Athens or elsewhere. ^ 

The topmost sculpture in the round was most often one or other of the four Animal 
animals symbolizing respectively the four quarters of the world— namely, the elephant, symbolism. 

' Aso/{a, the Buddhist Emperor of India, PI. II. 
^ E. J. Marshall, in Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1906-7, p. 89. 

I 2 



CHAP. Ill 


the guardian of the east ; the horse, of the south ; the bull, of the west ; and the lion, 
of the north. All these animals, except the horse, are actually found on extant 
capitals, and it is recorded that a horse once crowned the pillar at Rummindel, the 
Lumbini garden. On the sides of the abacus of the Sarnath capital all the four 
creatures are carved in relief, evidently signifying that the monument, although 
specially connected with the north by its position and the symbolical lions, was 
desioned to commemorate the proclamation of the 
Good Law to the Church of the four quarters.' 

The elephant of the Sankisa capital is well 
modelled, but unhappily badly mutilated. The two 
pillars at Rampurwa bear respectively the bull 
and lion, guardians of the west and north." Monas- 
teries occupied by western and northern communi- 
ties may have existed in the neighbourhood. 

TheSarnaih The magnificent Sarnath capital discovered in 

capital. jgQ^^ unquestionably the best extant specimen of 

Asokan sculpture, was executed late in the reign 
between 242 and 232 i;. c. (Plate XIII). The column 
was erected to mark the spot where Gautama Buddha 
first ' turned the wheel of the law ', or in plain 
English, publicly preached his doctrine. The sym- 
bolism of the figures, whether in the round or in 
relief, all refers to the commemoration of that event 
for the benefit of the Church Universal. The four 
lions standing back to back on the abacus once sup- 
ported a stone wheel, two feet nine inches in diameter, 
of which only fragments remain." 

It Avould be difficult to find in any country 
an example of ancient animal sculpture superior 
or even equal to this beautiful work of art, which successfully combines realistic 
modelling wqth ideal dignity, and is finished in every detail with perfect accuracy. 
The bas-reliefs on the abacus are as good in their way as the noble lions in the 
round. The design, while obviously reminiscent of Assyrian and Persian prototypes, 
is modified by Indian sentiment, the bas-reliefs being purely Indian. Mr. Marshall's 
conjecture that the composition may be the w-ork of an Asiatic Greek is not supported 
by the style of the relief figures. The ability of an Asiatic Greek to represent 
Indian animals so well may be doubted. 

Fig. 28. Capital of Sankisa pillar. 
(Photo. 680, I. M. ZnL) 

' This explanation of the symbolism was sug- 
gested by the discovery of rude symbolical bronze 
figures of the four animals in Ceylon {pos/, chap, 
vii, sec. 7). See the author's paper ' The Monolithic 
Pillars of Asoka ' in Z. D. M. G., 191 1. The lion 
was also regarded as a symbol of Buddha himself. 

' / R. A. S.. 1908, p. 1085, PI. I. 

' Discovered by Mr. F. O. Oertel and described 
by him in Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1904-5, pp. 68- 
70, PI. XX. His account of the excavations has 
been reprinted in a separate volume entitled Buddhist 
Rums 0/ Sarnath near Benares, 1904-5. 

I I I 
i i i 

f f f 

f; t t 
I I I 

Plate XIII. Capital of inscribed Asoka pillar at Sarnath. 
(A. S. photo.) 



CHAP, in 








The onl)' rival to the artistic supremacy of the Sarnath capital is the replica which 
once crowned the detached pillar at SanchI engraved with a copy of the Sarnath edict 
denounclno- schism. So far as can be judged from Maisey's drawing, the Sanchl 
capital is httle inferior to that at Sarnath, and it is possible that both works may pro- 
ceed from the hands of a single 
artist.' A century or so later, when 
an inferior sculptor attempted to 
model similar lions on the pillars 
of the southern gateway at Sanchl, 
he failed utterly, and his failure sup- 
ports the theory that the Sarnath 
capital must have been wrought by 
a foreigner. Certainly no later sculp- 
ture in India attained such high ex- 

The perfection of the Sanchl and 
Sarnath lions on the edict-pillars must 
have been the result of much pro- 
gressive eftbrt. The uninscribed 
pillar at Bakhira (Fig. 29) seems to 
be one of the earlier experiments of 
Asoka's artists. The clumsy propor- 
tions of the shaft contrast unfavour- 
ably with the graceful design of the 
Lauriya-Nandangarh column {ante, 
Plate II), which bears a copy of the 
Pillar Edicts, and may be dated in 
242 or 241 V,. c, while the seated 
lion on the summit is by no means 
equal to the animals on the edict- 
pillars of Sarnath and Sanchl erected 
between 242 and 232 1;. c. I am dis- 
posed to think that the Bakhira 
column was set up soon after 25 7 b. c, 
the date of the earliest Rock Edicts. 

An uninscribed colossal statue 
of a female, 6 feet 7 inches in height, and found near Besnagar adjoining Bhilsa in 
the Gwalior State, Central India, a locality associated by tradition with Asoka, is 
attributed to his reign on account of the style and costume. The image, now illus- 
trated for the first time (Plate XIV), has suffered so severely from violence and 
exposure that it is difficult to estimate its aesthetic quality, but, so far as can be 


29. Asoka pillar at Bakhira, Muzafifarpur District. 
(A. S. photo, supplied by Prof. Macdonell.) 

' Maisey, Sdiicld and its Remains, PI. XIX, 2. I have not seen a photograph. 

Plate XIV. Colossal female statue from Besnagar. 
(Photo. 1304, I. M. List.) 



CHAP. Ill 

colossal fe- 
male statue. 

Torso from 

The Par- 
kham Yak- 

A SanchI 

iudged from what is left, the statue was a good naturaHstic figure, probably intended 
for a Yakshi, or minor deity.^ 

A second colossal female statne, 7 feet high, locally known as the Telin, or 
Oil-woman, exists within the w^alls of Besnagar. I do not quite understand Cunning- 
hams description, and therefore abstain from quoting it or from attempting to fix the 
age of the work.= It is desirable that this image should be re-examined and photo- 
graphed. Cunningham mentions the existence in his time at Besnagar of several 
other remarkable sculptures apparently of Maurj^a age, including a polished sandstone 
elephant with rider, which seem to merit careful illustration. No site appears 
to equal Besnagar in the number of sculptures dating from the Maurya period. 

The Indian Section of the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington 

o ^ 

exhibits the torso of a male statue about 3 feet in height, lent by Major-General 
Kincaid, which is labelled as having ' formerly crowned one of the several detached 
columns erected by Asoka ', and as having been found in front of the western gate- 
way at SanchI. The material is highly polished reddish Udayagiri sandstone. The 
figure wears a sash across the breast, a rich collar, and an elaborate belt, all of which 
are finished with exc^uisite care and minuteness. This notable work appears to be 
correctly ascribed to the Asokan age." The figure looks like that of a Bodhisattva. 

A mutilated colossal standing statue of a male, perhaps representing the Yaksha 
demi-god Kuvera, god of wealth, found at Parkham in the Mathura District, and now 
in the Mathura Museum, is proved by its inscription to date from the Maurya age. 
The material is polished grey sandstone similar to that used for the Asoka pillars. 
The height, including pedestal, is 8 feet 8 inches, and the breadth across the shoulders 
is 2 feet 8 inches. The excessively bulky body is clothed in a waistcloth (dholi) 
held round the loins by means of a flat girdle tied in a knot in front. A second flat 
girdle is bound round the chest. The ornaments are a necklace and a torque from 
which four tassels hang down on the back. The clumsiness of the modelling suggests 
that the prototype must have been a figure carved from a log of wood. Some praise 
may be given to the treatment of the drapery.* 

A broken statue of a man which once crowned one of the detached columns 
at SanchI was regarded by Cunningham as a singularly successful effort of Indian art. 
The figure, which is nude save for a scanty waistcloth and has a small nimbus round 
the head, appears to be that of some Buddhist saint. Cunningham thought that 
It might be an effigy of Asoka himself, who was and is venerated as a saint. But 
Asoka, if represented as a religious person, would be clothed in a monastic robe, not 

' It is now in the Indian Museum, Calcutta. It 
was found on the bank of the Betwa, to the north-east 
of the town site (Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. x, 
p. 44). It is not included in Anderson's Catalogue. 
Several works of reference erroneously place Bhilsa 
(Bhelsa) in the Bhopal State. 

^ Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. x, p. 40. 

= Publ. as full-page Plate 142, vol. xiii,/ I. A. I., 

in order to illustrate the rich jeweller}-. 

* Cunningham, A. S. Rep., \o\. xx, p. 40, PI. VI, 
back and front views ; Sten Konow Ind. Ant., 
xxxviii {1909), p. 14S; Vogel, Catal. Archaeol. 
Museum, Mathura (Allahabad, 1910), p. 83, PI. 
XII. The inscription, which is imperfect, appears 
to state that the statue was made by Bhadapugarin 
and [dedicated] by Gomitra, pupil of Kunika. 




in a waistcloth. Moreover, it is doubtful if the nimbus was used in India in his time. 
The statue, although of early date, probably is considerably later than Asoka's age. 
The published sketches are hardly sufficient to justify a judgement on the aesthetic 
merits of the work.^ 


'■Ntfi': 1 


•^' i^&"^::: 






1 wi^- 

-,.;j»-^'.r,' ..H 

V^ ■?;Sfc-'---.' ^>;_ 

Fig. 30. The Heliodoros pillar, Besiiagar. 
(A. S. photo.) 

Fig. 31. Fan-palm capital, Besnagar. 
(Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. x, PI. XIV, Fig. i.) 

Section II. Post-Asokan Sculpture. 

A detached pillar standing to the north-east of Besnagar has been invested with The Helio- 
^ " .. , 1 1 • • ^' J.1 -L o cioros pillar. 

special interest by the recent discovery of a long-concealed mscription on the base,- 

which records the erection of the monument in honour of Vishnu by Heliodoros, son of 

Dion, envoy from the great King Antalkidas of Taxila to a local prince. Antalkidas 

' Maisey, Sanchi, PL XXXII, i ; Cunningham, 
Bhilsa Topes (1854), p. 197, PI. X. 

'^ Concerning the inscription, see Marshall, Fleet, 
and Barnett in/. R. A.S., 1909, pp. 1053-6, 1087, 

and 1093 ; also D. R. Bhandarkar m J. Bo. Br. R. 
A. S., 1909, art. xiv. Dr. Fleet clearly is right in 
maintaining that the record ends with a date. 



is supposed to have reigned about 170 B.C. The inscription states that the column 
was crowned by an image of Garuda, the monstrous bird sacred to the god, but no 
such image is now visible. Cunningham found, lying close by, a square pinnacle, 
2 feet 7 inches in height, formed in the shape of a fan-palm, which he supposed to 
belong to the column. If it does, the fan-palm capital must be of later, perhaps 
Gupta date, and substituted for the original Garuda capital. It is known that in the 
fourteenth century Sultan Firoz Tughlak replaced the sculptures crowning the Asoka 
columns which he moved by ornaments of his own design, and earlier Hindu kings 
may have done likewise. The fan-palm capital, whatever be its age, is unique. It is 

railing at 

Fig. 32. Part of coping and pillar, Bodh-Gaya. 
(Photo. 56, I. M. List) 

Fig. .^3. Part of coping and pillar, 
Bodh-Gaya sacred tree, &c. 
(Photo. 58, I. M. List) 

reproduced from Cunningham's drawing in Fig. 31, and the pillar, as it stands, is 
shown in Fig. 30, from a photograph. The shaft is 17 feet 11 inches in height. 

Most of the examples of early post-Asokan sculpture are found on the decorated 
stone railings which became fashionable in the time of the Sunga dynasty within the 
century after Asoka's death, or on the gateways which were inserted into the openings 
of the plain railing at SancliL Besnagar offers an excellent example of a sculptured 
railing certainly not later than 100 b. c, and perhaps as early as 200 B.C., which once 
surrounded a small stiipa. The coping-stone is adorned with a frieze representing 
a religious procession, with elephants, horses, &c., divided into compartments by the 
graceful sinuosities of a lotus stem. The pillars exhibited scenes of Buddhist legend 
in panels, and on the cross-rails elegant lotuses are carved.' 

' Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. x, p. 38, PI. XIII. 




A better-known example is the often described railing at Bodh-Gaya, which used Sculptured 

to be called ' the Asoka railing ', but has been proved "to date from' Sunga times. 
Thirty pieces have been found, evidently belonging to two distinct structures, some 
pieces being of granite (? gneiss), and others of sandstone. All are similar in style, 
irrespective of material, and may be dated about a century after Asoka's death, more 
or less. 

Most of the subjects are treated in low relief. Those on the coping are purely 
fanciful ; those on the panels and medallions include weird centaurs, winged beasts, 
domestic animals, sacred trees, and sundry scenes of human life, all no doubt significant 
and readily intelligible to ancient Buddhists versed in the legends of their scriptures 
and traditions, but now difficult of interpretation. Most of the more interestino- 
sculptures have been published more than once ; a few are here reproduced from photo- 
graphs. They are simply pictures in stone, and should be criticized as drawings slightly 
in relief rather than from the point of view of a sculptor. They exhibit a lively fancy, 

railing at 

Fig. 34. Winged lion. 
(Photo. 56, I. M. ZisL) 

Fig. 35. Winged ox. 
(Photo. 56, I. M. L/s/.) 

considerable skill in drawing, and much neatness of execution ; but whenever the 
subjects agree with those of the Gandhara reliefs, the technique of the latter is superior. 

In Fig. 32 is shown a part of an animal frieze on the coping, very similar to Specimens 
what we shall meet later at Amaravati. The pillar panel gives an interesting picture of Bodh- 
of an early Buddhist chapel enshrining the symbol of the preaching of the Law. tures. 
Images of Buddha do not occur at this period. The fa9ade, with its curved roof, 
originally derived from a bamboo form, illustrates the architecture of the western cave- 
temples, and the origin of curved roofs. 

The next illustration (Fig. 33) is equally instructive concerning the practice 
of early Buddhist cult. The railing round the sacred tree is perfectly plain. The 
fact that the railing is drawn in sufficiently correct linear perspective deserves notice. 

The figures following (Figs. 34, 35) give specimens of the winged animals, 
borrowed from Western Asiatic, or perhaps Hellenistic art. Similar figures occur in 
the earliest of the western cave-temples, but are not to be found, I think, after the 
Christian era. They are used freely for decorative purposes, and if they had any 
definite symbolical meaning I do not know what it was. 

Another medallion (Pig. 36) gives the Indian form of centaur, a conception 

K 2 



CHAP. Ill 

familiar in variant shapes to Asiatic art from very remote times. A frieze on the 
coping pictures queer fish-tailed monsters, which recall many forms in Hellenistic art, 
and like them came from Western Asia (Fig. 37). 

Another piece of coping exhibits more strange beasts, and one of the Sunga 
inscriptions which fix the approximate date of the monument. The medallion below 
gives a picture of a more specially Indian fantasy, the kinnara, or horse-headed 
female (Fig. 38). A similar sculpture has been found near Patna. 

The series of illustrations may be closed by two purely naturalistic pictures— an 
excellent buffalo (Fig. 39), and a husband and wife seated together (Fig. 40). 

Fig. 36. Centaur. 
(Photo. 58, I. M. List) 

The slupa 
of Bharhut. 

Fig. 37. Coping: fish-tailed monsters. 
(Photo. 57, I. M. List) 

Every form, however outlandish, is Indianized by its close association with the lotus, 
the most characteristic and universal of all Indian art motives. Infinite variety in the 
treatment of the conventionalized flower is exhibited in the minute details both at 
Bodh-Gaya and elsewhere.' 

In 1873 Cunningham discovered at Bharhut (more accurately ' Barhut', 24° 37' N., 
80° 53' E.), about midway between Allahabad and Jabalpur, the remains of a Buddhist 
slupa, surrounded by a stone railing adorned with sculptures of surprising richness 
and interest. The stupa had then been almost wholly carried off by greedy villagers 
in search of bricks, who treated the sculptures with equal ruthlessness, and were 

' For numerous drawings of the sculptures on the 
Bodh-Gaja railing, see Cunningham, A. S. Rep-, 

vol. i, Plates VIII to XI ; vol. iii, Plates XXVI-XXX : 
and Mahahodlii ; also Rajendralala Mitra, Buddha 

Plate XV. Bharhut, inner view of eastern gatewa}'. 
(Photo. 1070, I. O. Z?'i-/= Cunningham, PI. XII.) 

The railing. 


CHAP. Ill 

prevented from destroying them all only by the great weight of the stones. Durincr 
the following years to 1S76, Cunningham and his assistant uncovered the ruins and 
saved a large number of the sculptured stones by sending them to Calcutta, where 
they now form one of the chief treasures of the Indian Museum.' Everything left 
on the site was taken away by the country people and converted to their base uses. 

The railing, constructed after the usual pattern, in a highly developed form, was 
extremely massive, the pillars being 7 feet i inch in height, and each of the copino- 
stones about the same in length. The sculptures of the coping were devoted mainly 
to the representation of incidents in the jalakas, or tales of the previous births of the 

Fig. 38. Horse-headed female. 
(Photo. 57, I. M. J.isl.) 

Buddha. The carvings on the rails, pillars, and gateways, all treating of Buddhist 
legends, were exceedingly varied in subject and treatment. The general appearance 
of the structure will be understood from Plate XV. The composite pillar of the 
gateway, made up of four clustered columns crowned by a modified Persepolitan 
capital, is worthy of special notice. An inscription records that the eastern gateway 
with the adjoining masonry was erected during the rule of the Sunga dynasty (185-173 
B.C.), but it is not possible to determine the date of the monument with greater 
precision. The execution of work so costly and elaborate must have extended over 
many years. Certain masons' marks in the Kharoshthi character of the north-western 
frontier prove that foreign artists were called in to teach and assist local talent. The 

Anderson, Catalogue, Part I, pp. xiii-x.x, 1-120. 




railing exhibits a great mass of sculptures of a high order of excellence. The subjects 
and style are described by Cunningham as follows : — 

_ 'The subjects represented in the Bharhut sculptures are both numerous and Subjectsand 
varied, and many of them are of the highest interest and importance for the study of style of the 
Indian history. Thus we have more than a score of illustrations of the legendary sculptures. 
Jalakas, and some half-dozen illustrations of historical scenes connected with the life 
of Buddha, which are quite invaluable for the history of Buddhism. Their value is 
chiefly due to the inscribed labels that are attached to many of them, and which make 
their identification absolutely certain. Amongst the historical scenes the most 
interesting are the processions of the Rajas Ajatasatru and Prasenajita on their visits 
to Buddha ; the former on his elephant, the latter in his chariot, e.xactly as they are 
described in the Buddhist chronicles. 

Another invaluable sculpture is the representation of the famous Jetavana 
monastery at Sravasti — with its mango tree and temples, and the rich banker 

Fig. 39. Buffalo. 
(Photo, 59, I. M. List) 

Fig. 40. Man and woman. 
(Photo. 59, I. M. Lis!) 

Anathapinda in the foreground emptying a cartful of gold pieces to pave the surface 
of the garden. 

But besides these scenes, which are so intimately connected with the history of 
Buddhism, there are several bas-reliefs, which seem to represent portions of the history 
of Rama during his exile. There are also a few scenes of broad humour in which 
monkeys are the chief actors. 

Of large figures there are upwards of thirty alto-rilievo statues of Yakshas and 
Yakshinis [Yakshis], Devatas, and Naga Rajas, one half of which are inscribed with 
their names. We thus see that the guardianship of the north gate was entrusted to 
Kuvera, King of the Yakshas, agreeably to the teaching of the Buddhist and 
Brahmanical cosmogonies. And similarly we find that the other gates were confided 
to the Devas and the Nagas. 

The representations of animals and trees are also very numerous, and some of 
them are particularly spirited and characteristic. Of other objects there are boats, 
horse-chariots, and bullock-carts, besides several kinds of musical instruments, and 
a great variety of flags, standards, and other symbols of royalty. 

About one half of the full medallions of the rail-bars and the whole of the half- 
medallions of the pillars are filled with flowered ornaments of singular beauty and 
delicacy of execution.' ' 

^ The Sliipa o/Bharhul {i%'jc,),Y>- I?,. 



CHAP. Ill 

The medallions on the rail-bars and the half-medallions on the pillars are filled 
with a wonderful variety of bas-relief subjects. The comic monkey scenes collected 
in Cunningham's Plate XXXIII display a lively sense of humour, freedom of fancy, 
and clever drawing. They must, of course, like all the early bas-reliefs, be judged as 
pictures drawn on stone, rather than as sculpture. The rollicking humour and liberty 
of fancy unchecked by rigid canons, while alien to the transcendental philosophy and 
ascetic ideals of the Brahmans, are thoroughly in accordance with the spirit of 
Buddhism, which, as a practical religion, makes human and animal happiness its 
avowed object. Everything seems to indicate that India was a much happier land in 


Fig. 42. Bharhut; elephant and monkeys. 
(Photo. 1034, I. O. Lis/.) 

Fig. 41. Bharhut ; comic scene. 
(Photo. 1034, I. O. List ^^ Cunningham, 

the days when Buddhism flourished than it has ever been since. The first medallion 
selected for illustration is a very funny picture of a tooth being extracted from a mans 
jaws by an elephant pulling a gigantic forceps ; and the second (Fig. 42) is nearly 
equally humorous. The stories alluded to are presumably traceable somewhere in a 

Figure 43 gives a characteristic and well-preserved specimen of the bas-reliefs on 
the coping. The large fruit is that of the jack (Artocarpus integrifolid), and the 
deer are the spotted hog-deer kind [Axis porcinjis). The artists who could design and 
execute such pictures in hard sandstone had no small skill. In general appearance 
they are not altogether unlike the much later reliefs from Boro-Budur in Java. 




The large alto-rilievo images of minor deities on the pillars vary much in quality. Alto-rilievo 
Some, as for instance the image of Sirima (Cunningham, PI. XXIII, i), are ill images. 
designed, with the attenuated waist and exaggerated hips which disfigure so many 
Indian sculptures. Others are thoroughly natural, life-like representations of women, 
admirably modelled, skilfully executed, and pleasing but for the ugly snub-nosed faces, 
apparently representing people like Tibetans. The statue of Chukaloka (Cunningham, 
PI. XXIII, 3), not reproduced, is specially interesting as the earliest extant example 
of the ' Woman and Tree ' motive, common in Alexandrian art and a great favourite 
in India, which will be discussed in Chapter XI. One of the best statues is that 
of the Yakshi Sudarsana (Fig. 44), which exhibits a good knowledge of the human 
form and marked skill in the modelling of the hips in a difficult position. Mr. Havell 
observes that the technique is that of a wood-carver.^ 

Fig. 43. Bharhut; jataka scene on coping. 
(Photo. 1072, I. O. List.) 

Equally good is the image of the nameless Yakshi on a pillar removed from the 
stilpa, and found by Cunningham at Batanmara, a village near Bharhut. I am not 
sure that this is not the best of the series. The modelling would do credit to any 
sculptor, and the execution of all details is perfect. At Sanchi the reliefs are more 
refined than those of Bharhut, but I doubt if any of the larger sculptures are as good 
as the best Bharhut Yakshis. 

The Bharhut sculptures, having escaped the destructive zeal of Muhammadan 
iconoclasts by reason of their situation in an out-of-the-way region, lay safely hidden 
under a thick veil of jungle until a century ago, when the establishment of general peace 
and the spread of cultivation stimulated the local rustics to construct substantial houses 
from the spoils of the old monuments for which they cared nothing. The extensive 
group of early Buddhist buildings at and near Sanchi in the Bhopal State similarly 
evaded demolition because it lay out of the path of the armies of Islam. Although 
the monuments of Sanchi have not suffered as much as those of Bharhut from the 
ravages of the village builder, they have not wholly escaped injury. During the first 

1 The forms Yakshi and Yakshini bolh occur. 

91S I^ 

The remains 
at Sanchi. 



CHAP. Ill 

The four 

half of the nineteenth century much damage was done by the ill-advised curiosity of 
amateur archaeologists. Now, however, the authorities concerned are fully alive to 
their responsibility, and everything possible is being done to conserve the local 
memorials of India's ancient greatness. 

The importance of Sanchi in the history of Indian art rests chiefly upon the four 
wonderful gateways forming the entrances to the procession path between the sttipa 


,V ■ /, 

Fig. 44. Sudarsana Yakshi, Bharhut. Fjg. 45. A Yakshi, Batanmara, near Bharhut. 

(Photo. 1067, I. 0. Lhl= Cunningham, PI. XXIII, 2.) (Photo. 1090, I. O. Z;.f/= Cunningham, PL XXI, 2.) 

(Plate I and Fig. i) and the surrounding railing. The stone railing itself is a perfectly 
plain copy of a wooden post and rail fence, dating probably from the time of Asoka. 
The four gateways, a century later, more or less, are covered with masses of sculpture 
so intricate as almost to defy description in detail. The most ancient portal, the 
southern, was already prostrate when visited by Captain Fell in 18 19; the western 
one came down between 1850 and i860; while the northern and eastern gateways 
have never fallen. All have undergone thorough repairs during recent years, 
and are now erect. The work on the sculpture, which must have continued for 
many years, may be assigned approximately to the period between 150 and 100 B.C. 

Plate XVI. Eastern gateway of great stupa, Sanchi, back view. 
(I. O. Photo.) 


Gateways of this kind, derived from temporary structures erected on the occasions 
of festivities, are the prototypes of the Chinese pailus, to which they have a general 

Construe- The Sanchi gateways, or toranas, stand 34 feet high, and are all substantially 

Skwlvl''' alike, while differing much in detail. 

' Two massive square pillars, one on either side, 14 feet high, forming as it were 
the gate-posts, support an ornamental superstructure of three slightly arched stone 
bearns or architraves placed horizontally, one above the other, with spaces between 
them. The topmost beam of each gate was surmounted by the sacred wheel flanked 
by attendants and the trisnla emblem. 

The faces, back and front, of the beams and pillars are crowded with panels of 
sculpture in bas-relief representing scenes in the life of Buddha, domestic and silvan 
scenes, processions, sieges, adoration of trees and topes, and groups of ordinary and 
extraordinary animals, among which are winged bulls and lions of a Persepolitan type 
and horned animals with human faces.' ^ 

Extent of Plate XVI, representing the eastern gateway, will enable the reader to 

the seulp- appreciate the wealth of ornament lavished on the four monuments. The same gate- 
tures. ' . . . . . . 

way may be further studied by the aid of full-sized casts supplied to the Victoria and 

Albert Museum, South Kensington, and other institutions, some of which, however, do 

not exhibit the casts. Numerous illustrations, more or less accurate and satisfactory, 

will be found in the works of Fergusson, Maisey, Cunningham, and other writers on 

Indian archaeology, but nothing approaching a complete description of the sculptures 

exists. In January and February, 1901, Mr. H. Cousens succeeded in photographing 

the whole mass of sculptures on 225 negatives to a uniform scale of one-eighth, but so 

far little use has been made of the huge supply of material thus accumulated.^ The 

preparation of a descriptive and critical monograph would be an arduous undertaking, 

and the work would probably fill several large quartos. It is not likely to be written 

just yet. In this chapter a few illustrations must suffice. 

Capitals All critics are agreed that the southern gateway is the earliest of the four. One 

sout^hern ^^'""^ pillars is shown in Plate XVII, Fig. B. The capitals of its gate-posts are formed 

gate-posts, by four lions seated back to back, ' indifferently carved,' and evidently Intended as 

imitations of those on Asoka's inscribed pillar already noticed {ante, p. 60). The 

marked decline in skill demonstrated by the contrast between the lions on the gate-post 

and those on the inscribed pillar is surprising considering the shortness of the Interval 

of time, about a century, between the two compositions. The decadence is most easily 

verified by comparing the treatment of the lions' paws on the gate-post capital (Maisey, 

Cousens, Progr. Rep. A. S., Wcslcrn India, for Buddhist heavens, and other sections represent tiie 

year eneiing June 30, 1900, para. 9. leading incidents of Buddha's life, told by ingenious 

■ A brilliant lecture by M. A. Fouclier, entitled symbolical contrivances, ihe effigy of the Master 

La Porte orientale du Sliipa de Sanchi (Moulage du being rigorously excluded. The most surprising 

Musde Guimet), Paris, Leroux, 19 10, throws much discovery made by M. Foucher is that incidents in 

light on the meaning of the sculptures, and is illus- the history or legend of Asoka are shown on both 

trated from the new photographs. The right or the southern and eastern gates {op. cit., pp. 76, 77). 
northern pier of the southern gate depicts six of the 





i'*^*-, '^ 











































CHAP. Ill 

Animals in 
Oriental art. 


Subjects all 

Worship b}' 
the whole 

Plate XIX) and of the same members on the capital of the inscribed pillar, or the 
similar Sarnath pillar {ante, Plate XIII). The paws of the early Asokan sculptures 
are correctly modelled with four large front claws and one small hind claw, the muscles 
also being realistically reproduced. In the later work five large claws, all in front, 
are given to the paws, and the muscles are carelessly indicated by some straight 
channels running up and down. 

The change does not correspond with a deliberate resolve to substitute a general- 
ized ideal for a realistic form. It simply indicates a decline of skill in animal 
sculpture in the round. The case does not support the theory of Dr. Coomaraswamy 
that the animals represented in Oriental decorative art need not resemble any beast on 
the face of the earth, and are the better for their lack of likeness. According to his 
view, 'the sculptured lions of Egypt, Assyria, or India are true works of art ; for in 
them we see, not any lion that could to-day be shot or photographed in a desert, but 
the lion as he existed in the minds of a people, a lion that tells us something of the 
people who represents him.' ^ The theory thus enunciated certainly does not apply to 
elephants and monkeys, which notoriously are represented in Indian art, both plastic 
and pictorial, with the utmost fidelity to nature and the fullest understanding of the 
character of both animals, as may be seen from many examples in this book. It is 
not easy to perceive why a bad lion should be extolled in preference to a good elephant. 
Probably the critic cited was anxious to justify the fearsome beasts so common in 
Ceylonese art, which certainly could not be found in any desert. But the theory does 
not fit the case even of lions, because nobody can deny that the best lions in Indian 
sculpture are those of Asoka's time, which are by far the most naturalistic. 

The capitals of the gate-posts of the northern gateway, the next in date, exhibit 
four elephants standing back to back, and carrying riders. Those of the eastern gate- 
way (Plate XVI) are similar. On the capitals of the latest gateway, the western, 
four hideous dwarfs, clumsily sculptured, take the place of the elephants or lions 
(Plate XVII, Fig. A).^ 

All the Sanchi sculptures, like the Ajanta paintings, deal with Buddhist subjects. 
If a composition seems in our eyes to be purely secular, that is only because we do 
not understand its meaning. Genre pictures, whether in paint or bas-relief, do not 
exist in the ancient art of India. The main object of the artist was to illustrate his 
Bible, and if, perchance, the illustration could be made into a pretty picture, so much 
the better ; but anyhow, the sacred story must be told. 

In addition to his desire to tell edifying stories in a manner readily intelligible to 
the eyes of the faithful, the old artist clearly was dominated by the feeling that he 
was bound to impress on all beholders the lesson that the dead Teacher, the last and 
greatest of the long line of Buddhas, had won and continually received the willing 
homage of the whole creation — of men, women, and children, of the host of heaven, 
the water-sprites, and the demons — nay, even of the monsters of romance and the 

' The Aims of Indian Art (Essex House Press, 
[go8), p. 14. 
' Compare the frequent occurrence of similar 

dwarfs in the sculpture of Ceylon. I do not under- 
stand the symbolism. 

Sect, ii 



dumb animals. And so, in all the ancient Buddhist art, whether at Sanchi or else- 
where,_ weird winged figures hovering in the air, snake-headed or fish-tailed monsters 
emergmg from their caverns or haunting the deep, offer their silent homage to the 

Lord of all, and the monkeys bow down in adora- 
tion before the Master who had turned the wheel 
of the Law and set it rolling througrh the world. 
The early artists did not dare to portray his bodily 
form, which had for ever vanished, beingr content 
to attest his spiritual presence by silent symbols— the 
footprints, the empty chair, and so forth.^ But, 
whether the Master was imaged or symbolized, 
the notion of his adoration by all creation was con- 
tinually present in the minds of the artists and 
influenced their selection of decorative motives. 
Although concerned in the main with thoughts of 
religion and worship they were not unmindful of 
beauty, which they often succeeded in attaining in 
no small deeree. 

In the early works, like those of Sanchi and 
Bharhut, the absence of images of Buddha has the 
advantage of saving the stone pictures from the 
formal symmetrical arrangements grouped round 
the central figure which often weary by their mono- 
tonous iteration in Gandhara and at Amaravatl. 

In a general way, the style of the Sanchi 
reliefs resembles that of those at Bharhut, but is 
rather more refined and delicate. If we have no 
Yakshi statues as at Bharhut, compensation may be 
found in the elegant bracket figures, practically 
statues in the round, which are a specially pleasing 
feature of Sanchi art. A good example of such 
a figure is shown in Fig. 46. It is a form of the 
Woman and Tree motive. The beautiful decorative 
details of the pillar are worthy of careful study. 
No nation has surpassed the Indians in the variety and delicacy of the floral designs 
enriching their sculpture and pictures. 

Two more photographs must conclude the illustration of the Sanchi sculptures. 

Davids, Dialogues of the Buddha, p. 54). The ab- 
sence of images of Buddha from early Indian art 
does not imply that images of the Hindu gods were 
then unknown. They were certainly in use as early 
as the fourth century b. c. (Ind. Ant., xxxviii (1909), 
PP- 145-9)- 

Fig. 46. 

Bracket figure, &c. ; eastern 
gateway, Sanchi. 
(I. O. photo.) 

^ ' The outward form, Brethren, of him who has 
won the truth {Tathdgata) stands before you, but 
that which binds it to rebirth is cut in twain. So 
long as his body shall last, so long do gods and 
men behold him. On the dissolution of the body, 
beyond the end of his life, neither gods nor men 
shall see him' ('Brahmajala Sutta,' transl. Rhys 

figure, &c. 

Naga wor- 
ship, &c. 



CHAP. Ill 

In the upper panel of Fig. 47 we see the worship of a Naga spirit represented 
by an image of the hooded cobra housed in a shrine with a domical roof.' Such 

Fig. 47. Naga shrine, &c. ; eastern gateway, 


(I. 0. photo.) 

luG. 48. Three men in a boat, &c. ; the inundation 
miracle ; eastern gateway, Sanchl. 
(I. O. photo.) 

' It is possible that the object of worship may be 
Buddha himself sheltered by the hoods of Muchalinda, 

the Snake King. The Real Presence of Buddha in 
these sculptures is always indicated symbolically. 

Plate XVIII. Processional scenes, Mathuia; in a iorana arch. 
(Photo, by Dr. FUhrer = Jain Sthpa, PI. XIX.) 




CHAP. Ill 

Three men 
in aboat.&c. 

a temple roof, I think {ante, p. 17), was the origin of the domed sliipa as seen 
in the central panel. The figure of the guardian deity in the lowest panel is a good 
sample of Sanchi sculpture on the larger scale, and may be compared with the door- 
keepers on stelae at Anuradhapura in Ceylon {post, PI. XXI). 

The scenes represented in Fig. 48 are not less interesting for their subjects and 
dainty ivory-like carving, and each might supply material for lengthy comment. The 
most curious panel is the central one with three men in a boat, the record of a miracle 
on the occasion of an inundation of the Niranjana river. The lowest panel, 
M. Foucher informs me, appears to represent the visit of Bimbisara to Buddha. 
The men and trees on land will assume their proper relative places if we imagine the 
figures to be on hinges and set up standing. This substitute for perspective con- 
tinued to be used in Hindu pictures many centuries later in date, as w^e shall see 
in due course. 

Fig. 49. Pari of frieze on iorana beam, Matliura ; worship of a stupa. 
(Photo, by Dr. Fiihrer -Jain Stupa, PI. XV, 2.) 

Rehefs at 

Certain early bas-reliefs, dating probably from the first century b. c, discovered in 
the Kankall mound near Mathura, and apparently associated with the very ancient 
Jain stfipa which once existed there, are extremely curious for various reasons, and 
present remarkable forms not found elsewhere. As art they are far inferior in 
delicacy and definition to the work at Sanchi, the trees especially being sketched quite 
roughly. Fig. 49 represents the adoration paid to a stupa, presumably Jain, by 
fabulous creatures, suparnas, or harpies, and kinnaras, or centaurs. 

The form of the stfipa, with two procession-paths and railings round the dome, 
in addition to the path and railing on the ground level, is unusual. No other 
example is known of a leaf being used to mask the junction between the human and 
equine bodies in the centaurs. 

The larger fragment (Plate XVIII), apparently from the same building, offers 
many points of interest. The abnormal elongation of the principal worshipper in 
the spandrel is due seemingly to the necessity for filling the space. The garland 
bearers of the middle concentric band are depicted in an unusual manner. The oxen 
are fairly well drawn, but the horse is atrocious, and the floral patterns are feeble. 




Two fragments (F,g. 50) in the Mathura Museum, of uncertain origin, are very Reliefs ir 
like the Bharhut sculptures. The modelling and execution are good (Mathura Museum Bharhut 
Nos. I, 15, 18 ; Catalog2ie (1910), PI. XXI). The fragments are i foot 3 inches, and ''^''■ 
I foot 4 inches in height respectively. 

Fig. 50. Fragments in Bharhut style, Mathura Museum. 
(Photo., A. S., No. 45 of 1908-9.) 

Fig. 51. Visit of Indra to Buddha, Mathura Museum. 
(Photo. No. 40 of 1907-8.) 

A relief of unknown origin in the local Mathura Museum (Fig. 51) depicts in Visit of 
a strangely stiff and archaic wooden style the famous visit of Indra to Buddha seated ^"dra. 
in a cave. It should be contrasted with the very different treatment of the same 
subject by the Gandhara school {post, Fig. 60). I hesitate to assign a date to the 

M 2 



CHAP. Ill 

Jain bas- 
reliefs in 



ALithura version. The relief seems to be a direct copy of work in wood, and may be 
compared with the frieze from Chamba (Chap. X, Sec. T,posl). Dr. Vogel regards 
this ^vork as a ' clumsy imitation ' of Gandharan art. The height is i toot 6 inches 
(Mathura jMuseum, No. ii, Catalogue, pp. 3i> i3o)- 

The sandstone hills known as Khandagiri, Udayagiri, and Nllagin, situated 
in the Purr District, Orissa, a few miles from the Bhuvanesvara temples {ante, p. 25), 
are honeycombed with Jain caves of various 
dates, the oldest of which date from the second 
century 1;. c. The local worship appears to 
have been devoted chiefly to the early Tirthan- 
kara, Parsvanath, who lived some centuries 
before Mahavira, usually regarded as the founder 
of lainism. The elaborate, but ugly, and semi- 
barbaric sculptures in the Rani Gumpha, or 
Queen's Cave, are interpreted as representing 
a procession in honour of Parsvanath. Plate 
XIX is a good illustration of the style, which 
shows no trace of foreign influence, so far as I can 


At the Jayavija)-a cave on Udayagiri a 
female statue (Fig. 52), about 6 feet high, and 
almost in the round, seems to be of early date 
and to possess considerable merit. The goddess, 
or whoever the personage may be, is represented 
as leaning her weight on the right leg, the left 
foot being bent in behind the right, so that only 
the toes touch the ground. In her right hand 
she holds up an object, presumably a flower, 
while the left forearm is bent horizontally across 
her waist. She apparently wears drawers, and 
is nude above the waist, in accordance with the 
fashion of ancient India, maintained In the south until recent days. The head-dress 
is a peculiar ribbed cap with long lappets. The features have been destroyed. The 
form is naturalistic and the pose easy. 

The sculpture in the most ancient cave-temples of Western India, at Bhaja and 
Bedsa (Poona District), Pitalkhora (Khandesh District), and Kondane (Kolaba 
District) offers little of aesthetic interest. The small five-celled hermitage at Bhaja, 

Fig. 52. Female statue, Jayavijaya cave, 

Udayagiri, Orissa, 1 2nd cent. b. c. 

(Photo. 407, I. M. Lhi) 

' 66 caves, viz. 44 on Udayagiri, 19 on Khanda- 
giri, and 3 on Nllagiri. The inscription of King 
Kharavela in the HathI Gumpha, or Elephant Cave, 
is of the second century B.C., but not precisely 
dated, as formerly supposed (Fleet, J. R. A. S., 
19 10, p. 242). See Imp. Gaz. (1908), j. v. Khanda- 

giri; All?!. Rep. A. S., India, 1902-3, pp. 40-2. 
The best account of the caves is that by Babir Mon- 
mohan Chakravarti in Gaz. Purl District (1908). 
See also Fergusson, Hist. 0/ Indian and Eastern 
Architecture, 2nd ed. (1910), vol. ii, pp. 9-18. 















1— H 




















PMfe''''r i 










dating probably from the second century B. c, is supposed to be the most ancient. 
The cornice is supported by male figures used as caryatids, wearing waistcloths, large 
turbans, and much jewellery. The statues of the armed door-keepers are similarly 
clothed. The earl)' date of the Pitalkhora church cave is attested by two short 
inscriptions in script of the Maurya age or a little later. Two ugly little winged 
sphinxes on the back wall may be compared with the winged horse at Bhaja and 
similar creatures at Bodh-Gaya {ante, p. 67). At Bhaja the Persepolitan bell- 
capitals are surmounted by groups of queer sphinx-like figures without wings, having 
male or female busts with the bodies of oxen. At Kondane, a statue labelled in 
characters of about the Maurya period as ' made by Baluka, the pupil of Kanha 
(Krishna) ', is supposed to have been intended for a portrait of the excavator, but is so 
much mutilated that the skill of the sculptor can be judged only by the elaborate 
head-dress, most carefully chiselled.'' The most interesting early sculptures of the 
western caves are the capitals of the two pillars in front of the Bedsa cave, which are 
surmounted by ' horses and elephants bearing men and women of bold and free 
execution '.- 
Southern I'l Southern India the amount of early sculpture as yet discovered is extremely 

India. small. The Bhattiprolu sifipa in the Guntur District, Madras, dating from about 

200 B. c, and utterly destroyed in recent times, is known to have been once surrounded 
by a marble screen and decorated with accessory sculpture. But all is gone, and 
when Mr. Rea explored the site, his researches, although rewarded by important 
inscriptions, disclosed no sculpture worth mentioning.' 

At Jaggayapeta, or Betavolu, in the same District, a little has been saved from 
the wreck of another richly adorned stiipa, dating from either the later Maurya or the 
Sunga period. The original construction of the Amaravati slilpa goes back to the 
same times, and a few examples of the ancient sculptures survive, obviously related to 
the art of Bharhut and the earliest cave-temples of the west, and in some cases 
showing affinity with that of Mathura. The best is the slab from Amaravati, of 
uncertain date, representing a man with his hand on the head of a boy (Fig. 53), which 
is crood work. 


Ceylonese Ceylon is rich in sculpture of many kinds, beginning probably, as in India, from 

abundant ^^'^ third century before Christ. Fergusson's belief that the 'almost total absence of 
sculpture ' was one of the most striking peculiarities of Ceylonese art has been dis- 
proved abundantly by the fruitful researches of the Archaeological Commissioner and 
his staff.* But it is extremely difficult to affix dates, even approximate, to the 
numerous specimens of the Ceylonese sculptors' skill. Dated dedicatory inscriptions, 
so common in India, are rare in the island, and the principal monuments have been 

' A. S., Western India, vol. iv, p. 9, Fig. 9. The ^ Rt:i, Sou/h Lidian Buddhisl Anliquilies {JsiaAm, 

founders of temples often inserted portrait statues of 1894). 

themselves and their wives (^ra. i?f/). ^. 5'., /«(//(7, * The London collections do not include any 

1905-6, p. 149). Ceylonese sculpture deserving of notice, except a few 

- Fergusson, Hisl. nf Ind. and E. Archil., 2nd examples in metal, 
ed. (1910), p. 138, fig. 64 = photo. 987, I. O. List. 


subject to such extensive alterations at various times that it is almost impossible to 
distinguish the sculptures of different periods. It is possible that when systematic 
study shall be applied to the local styles of art closer discrimination will be feasible, 

Fig. 53. Man and bo}', Amaravatl. 
(Burgess, Aviaravali, V\. LI, 2, reduced.) 

but in the present state of knowledge anything like accurate chronological classifica- 
tion of the sculptures of Ceylon is unattainable. The brief discussion of the subject 
which limits of space permit me will be arranged under two headings, Early and 
Mediaeval ; the former comprising everything up to about a. d. 700, and the latter 

Inferior in 


everything later. Ceylon has not produced any noticeable modern sculpture. 
Although the Early sculpture will be treated in this chapter for convenience, very 
little of it can be assigned with any confidence to the chronological limits of the Indian 
works described above. 

Mr. H. C. P. Bell, Archaeological Commissioner, acting under instructions from 

quality to ^]-^^ Government of Ceylon, has liberally supplied me with a collection of considerably 
more than a hundred photographs, from which I have selected a few. The general 
impression on my mind is that, with the exception of some of the colossal statues, the 
bronzes, which are very good, but may have been cast in India, and a few other 
works, the production of the island sculptors is by no means equal to that of the 
best artists on the mainland. The style is Indian, with a difference. We must 
remember that many of the Ceylonese images were originally plastered and coloured, 
and that tlie rough, weather-worn blocks now visible do not produce the effect 
designed by the artists. I have endeavoured to select typical examples. 

Sielae. The highly decorated stelae at the entrances to chapels connected with the 

great ddgabas are characteristic of Ceylonese art. The examples chosen from the 
Abhayagiri dagaba at Anuradhapura may be assigned with considerable probability to 
the time of King Gajabahu I, in the second century of the Christian era, but it is 
possible that they may be later, or even earlier. The floral patterns differ widely 
from those used in the mediaeval stelae of Polonnaruwa. The devices springing 
from vases (Plate XX, Fig. C) recall many examples of the same motive in Alexan- 
drian and Indian art. 

The human figures in panels (Plates XX-XXII) have a general resemblance to 
those at Sanchi {ante, Fig. 47), but are not so finely executed. The dwarf in 
the Atlas pose may be noticed in Plate XXI, Fig. A. The seven-headed Naga 
or cobra shown in Plate XX, Fig. B, is a good example of an art form extremely 
common in Ceylon, and usually well sculptured ; the number of heads varies, nine 
being the maximum. 

Door- Door-keepers intended to ward off the attacks of evil spirits were deemed essential 

keepers. fgj- jj^^g^ Ceylonese buildings. The Naga at Ruwanveli (Plate XXI, Fig. B) is 
a good example of, I think, an early type, but it is not easy to be certain. I should 
be inclined to assign it to the early centuries of the Christian era. 

Ugly dwarfs were regarded as very effective janitors. The specimens from the 
Ruwanveli and Jetawanarama ddgabas (Plate XXII, Figs. A, B) are typical. They 
may be compared with the somewhat similar figures on the capitals of the western 
gateway at Sanchi. 

Grotesques. Fig. C in the same plate is a characteristic example of the small grotesque 

figures used decoratively in early Ceylonese art. Like Gothic gargoyles, they are 
cleverly done, though ugly. 

I^'T"'"l ^ Portrait statues supposed to be those of ancient kings are a speciality of Ceylonese 

art. Mr. Smither has described two battered examples which seem to be of high 
antiquity. One of these, traditionally believed to represent King Devanampiya Tissa, 
the contemporary and friend of Asoka, which was found near the Ambusthala dagak 

statues of 

A. East stele of south chapel. 
(Photo. A. 461.) 

B. The same stele, and a Naga. 
(Photo. A. 463.) 

C. East stele of north chapel. 
(Photo. A. 443, A. S., Ceylon.) 

Plate XX. Sculptured stelae at Abhayagiri dagaba, Anuradhapura. 


B. Naga door-keeper, Ruwanveli vihdre. 
(Photo. A. 465.) 

A. North stele, east chapel, Abliayagiri. 
(Photo. C. 288.) 

Plate XXI. Stelae, Abhayagiri and Ruwanveli. 

A. Dwarf door-keeper, Ruwanveli (/(7^(Z&7. 
(Photo. A. 468.) 

B. Dwarf right-handed door-keeper of south porch 

of west chapel of Jetawanaiama. 

(Photo. C. 302.) 

C. Part of dado, Ruwanveli dagaba, vihare. 
(Photo. A. 466.) 

Plate XXII. Ancient grotesque figures, Anuradhapura. 

N 2 


at Mihintale, eight miles from Anuradhapura, may be correctly attributed by the 
popular voice. It is described as follows : — 

' The stone was in four pieces, but these have been put together and the statue 
placed erect on its circular base. The figure, which is 6 feet 5 inches in height, 
originally stood facing the dagaba, and doubtless in a devotional attitude ; the arms, 
however, are broken off close to the shoulders and cannot be found. The king is 
clothed in the "dhoti", or waist-cloth wrapped round the loins and falling to the 
ankles, the upper part of the body being uncovered. The head-dress consists of 
a plain and slightly elevated pear-shaped cap, encircled by a jewelled band, or 
diadem ; the ears are adorned with pendant ear-rings, and the neck with 2. jewelled 
neck-piece. The base is carved to represent an expanded lotus-flower, and is precisely 
similar in design to that found at the ThOparama dagaba. Both statue and base are 
much weather-worn, although originally sheltered beneath a covered structure of 
which three stone octagonal pillars, formerly surmounted by capitals, are the only 

The second example is the reputed portrait of King Bhatika Abhaya (Batiya 
Tissa), who reigned during the first century of the Christian era. It was found near 
the Ruwanveli dagaba, and has been set up, after undergoing repair. The material is 
hard dolomite, much weather-worn, and the height is about 8 feet. The dress of the 
figure resembles that of another statue commonly believed to represent King Duttha- 
gamini, which stands on the terrace of the Ruwanveli dagaba, and has been published 
by Mr. Havell. It seems probable that these works represent saints or religious 
teachers rather than kings. Both are old, but it is difficult to find reasons for more 
exact determination of their age.- 

A curious collection of eight life-size images on the embankment of a tank at 
Minneriya, N.C.P., is popularly believed to represent King Mahasena (cir. a.d. 300) 
with his wives and courtiers. The images obviously are ancient, but too much 
injured for appraisement as works of art.'' 
Buddhas. Large and often colossal images of Buddha, seated, standing, or recumbent, are 

numerous in the island, some of which undoubtedly must be very ancient. One of the 
oldest, probably, is a battered seated figure at Tantrimalai, which wears a conical cap, 
and is believed by Mr. Parker to date from about the beginning of the Christian era.* 

One of the best Buddhas of early age is the now well-known image from the 
Toluvila ruins, Anuradhapura, represented in situ in Fig. 54, with a native seated 
beside it in exactly the same attitude. The photograph helps the European reader 
to realize the facts on which the forms of the canonical imaws are based. 


' '$>VL\\i\\tx, Anuradhapura, -p. w. * Parker, Ancient Ceylon, pp. 219, 244; Bell, 

' Smilher, op. cil., p. 1 1 ; Havell, Indian Sculp- A. S. Rep., 1896, p. 8; photo. A. 183, not suitable 

lure and Painli7ig,Y\.YA\; Fd.tker, Ancieni Cejyion, for reproduction. The other great image at the 

Fig. •j2. The dates of early kings of Ceylon are un- same place (photos. A. 181, 182), with a Siamese 

certain; Bhatika Abhaya is assigned to a.d. 42-70, look, appears to be many centuries later. Mr. Bell 

and Dutthagamini to 106-84 b.c dates the Tantrimalai figures about a.d. 1200 {A. S. 

^ Ann. Rep. A. S., Ceylon, 1893, P- 1°; photos . Rep., 1907, p. 34). He does not distinguish the 

■^- 344-7. C. 806. one which seems to be ancient. 

Plate XXIII. Kapila relief, Isui-umuniya, Anuradhapura. 
(From a photo, by Dr. Coomaraswamy.) 


The Kapila 


I think that I am ri^ht in including among the early works a fine sculpture of 
uncertain date, proved by Dr. Coomaraswamy to represent Kapila, a legendary sage 
(Plate XXIIl). It is cut in rather high relief on the face of the rock on the right- 
hand side of the Isurumuniva Vihara at Anuradhapura, where many other notable 
works of sculpture exist. They appear to be of various ages and to deserve more 
attention than they have received. 

Fig. 54. Seated Buddha, 5 ft. 9 in. high; /;; situ at Toluvila, Anuradhapura; now in Colombo 

^Museum ; probably of early date ; a native seated at side. 

(Photo. C. 2, A. S., Ceylon.) 

The subject is a man curled up in the attitude technically described as 'kingly 
ease' [luahdraja lila), with his left hand resting on the seat, and his right hand 
extended over the raised knee, holding the halter of a horse, the head of which 
appears on the rock, but is not included in the photograph. The man's head, covered 
with thick hair, is partly turned towards the proper left and averted from the horse, 




which he seems to ignore. The expression is that of calm and abstracted but not 
unconscious dignity, while the difficult pose is modelled with consummate skill and 
yet with perfect simplicity. The work may be of early date, perhaps the close of the 
fifth century, when the parricide king, Kasyapa I, the builder of Sigiriya, is recorded 
to have made many images at Isurumuniya, in the vain attempt to cleanse his soul 
from the guilt of the murder of his father.^ 

The legend, as told in the Ramayana, may be briefly summarized as follows : — 

Sagara, King of Ajodhya, had by his queen Sumati 60,000 sons, whose impiety 
was such that the gods complained to Vishnu and the sage Kapila. King Sagara, 
having undertaken to perform the rite of the horse sacrifice {asvamedhd) in token of 
his universal sovereignty, deputed the duty of guarding the intended victim to his 
60,000 sons, who failed in the trust committed to their charge, and allowed the animal 
to be carried off to the nether regions [Patala). Their father having directed them 
to recover the horse, they dug down and down until they found him grazing in Hades, 
with the sage Kapila seated close by, and engaged in deep meditation. The princes 
menaced him with their weapons, but were reduced to ashes by the flames which 
darted from his person, when he turned his glance upon them. 

This relief seems to me to be one of the most remarkable productions of Indian 
art, whether on the mainland or in the island of Ceylon.^ 

The ' moonstone ', a semicircular slab placed at the foot of a staircase and carved < Moon- 
elaborately in low relief, is specially characteristic of, although not absolutely peculiar stones.' 
to, Ceylonese art. The design is always based on the open lotus flower, the pattern 
being arranged in concentric circles. At Anuradhapura, where some specimens may 
be very ancient, the standard arrangement is that of an outermost circle with the 
' cobra pattern ', resembling acanthus leaves in effect ; then a procession of quadrupeds 
in a fixed order moving from left to right — horse, elephant, humped bull, and lion ; 
next, a belt of graceful foliage, which is followed by a row of sacred geese, while the 
centra:l circles represent the lotus in bud, leaf, and flower. The animal symbolism is 
the same as that of the Asoka pillars, explained above {ante, p. 59).'' In later ages the 
pattern was modified. 

1 Bell, A. S. Rep., 1906, p. 8, Neither Mr. Bell 
nor Mr. Cave mentions the Kapila relief, the merit 
of which was first recognized by Dr. Coomaraswamy. 
The critical opinion expressed in the text is con- 
firmed by Mr. Lawrence Binyon, who holds that 
' the rock-carved "Kapila" in Ceylon is a tremendous 
work, impossible to forget when once seen' (Sal. 
Rev., Feb. 18, 191 1). 

* For the identification, see Coomaraswamy in 
Spolia Zeylanica, vol. vi (1909), p. 132. The legend 

is given in Dowson, Classical Did. of Hindu Mytho- 
logy, S.7'. Sagara. Some description of the shrines 
of Isurumuniya is given in Cave, The Ruined Cities 
of Ceylon, pp. 47-9. But the term 'grotesque' 
which he applies to the sculptures collectively is not 
applicable to the Kapila. 

■' A good early example from the Dalada Mali- 
gawa in Smither, PI. LVII. See also Tennent, 
Ceylon, 2nd ed., p. 6r9. 





CuNXiNCHAM, Sir \.—BIn7sa Topes (1854); The 
Slf/pa of Bliarliul (1877); Mahabodhi (1892); 
Archdiol. S. Rip. (1862-84): Fergusson, J.— T/'cc 
and Sirpiiit Worship, 2nd ed. (1873) ; JJi'sl. of nd. 
and E. Archiholurc, 2nd ed. (19 10): Fercusson 
AXD Burgess. — The Cave Temples of India (1880) : 
FoiTHEK, A. — Ta Porle orieniak du Slupa de 
Sdnehi (Paris, Leroux, 1910): Grunwedel and 
BiRGESS. — Biiddhisl Avl in India (1901) : J\Iaisev. 
— Sdnehi and its Remains (1892): ;\Iitra, Rajen- 

DRAL.\t.A. — Buddha Gaja (iS'jS): Smith, Vincent 
A. — Genera! Index to Cunning haju's A. S. Reports 
(1887); The fain Slupa and other Antiquities of 
DIathurd (1901). There are 27 autotype photo- 
graphs of Sanchl in Griffin, Sir Lefel, Famous 
JMonuments of Central India (1886). Numerous 
photographs in Burgess, Ancient I\Ionu?nents, S^c. 
(f India, Part I (1897). For other references see 
footnotes and works on Indian archaeology too 
numerous to mention. 



Section I. Introductory Observations. 

If Indian art as a whole may complain of undeserved depreciation and neglect, 
one branch of it, the Hellenistic sculpture of the regions on the north-western frontier, 
anciently known as Gandhara, has received its full share of attention in Europe and 
been the subject of voluminous discussion. The existence of an Indo-Hellenic school 
of sculpture was not recognized generally until 1870, when the late Dr. Leitner brought 
to England a considerable collection of specimens, to which he gave the name of 
Graeco-Buddhlst. But so far back as 1833 Dr. Gerard had disinterred the first known 
example, a circular relief of Buddha, from the chamber of a ruined stupa near Kabul. ^ 
In 1836 James Prinsep published his account of the so-called ' Silenus ' discovered by 
Colonel Stacy at Mathura, which will be discussed in the next chapter; and in 1848 
Cunningham examined the ruins of Jamalgarai to the north-east of Peshawar. His 
observations, however, were not published until many years later. The first description 
of a selection of the Jamalgarai sculptures was that printed by Sir E. C. Bayley in the 
Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal for 1852,^ with illustrations so miserably rude 
that they gave little notion of the aesthetic value of the objects described. The 
sculptures thus imperfectly illustrated, having been subsequently brought to England, 
perished In the fire at the Crystal Palace which also destroyed Major Gill's copies of 
the Ajanta frescoes. Thus it happened that, as already observed. Dr. Leitner is 
entitled to the credit of having first convinced the learned world of the fact that during 
the early centuries of the Christian era North-Western India was the home of a school 
of Hellenistic sculpture of considerable artistic merit. 

The fact was so novel and surprising that one distinguished antiquary, Mr. \V. I 
Vaux, F.R.S., was bold enough to dispute it, and to declare his Inability to perceive J] 
any manifest traces of Greek art on the sculptures procured by Dr. Leitner and other 
collectors in the neighbourhood of Peshawar. In a short time, however, evidence 
accumulated so rapidly that no possibility of doubt remained, and Professor Curtius 
was able to announce that the discoveries opened ' a new page In the history of Greek 
art'. That is the explanation of the keen Interest taken in them by European 
scholars, who are eager to follow out in its most minute details the story of Greek art, 
on which that of modern Europe is based, while they usually remain Indifferent, or 
even contemptuous, towards manifestations of artistic power in the nations of the East 
developed independently of the Hellenic tradition. 

' K. I of Indian Museum; Anderson, CataL, ' Jamalgarai is the correct Pushto form (Vogel). 

Part I, p. 261. Tlie name is also written Jamalgiri or Jamalgarhi. 


Abundance During the last forty years thousands of Indo-Hellenic sculptures have come to 

ol examples, \\g\■^t, while considerable numbers, including most of the choicest specimens, have been 

catalogued, described, and photographed. The number, indeed, is so great that it is 

difficult to make a small selection thoroughly representative. Most of the examples 

chosen to illustrate this chapter have been selected in virtue of their conspicuous 

aesthetic merits, and may be regarded as evidence of the highest attainment of 

a school of artists working on Indian soil, and applying more or less modified Greek 

methods of composition and technique to Indian subjects. A few of the figures mark 

the gradual disappearance of the Hellenic tradition and the progressive Indianization 

of the treatment. 

The Gan- The country from which comes this wonderful wealth of semi-foreign sculpture 

dhara tern- rnav be described in general terms as the North- Western Frontier. It includes the 

modern District of Peshawar, the valley of the Kabul river, Swat, Buner, and other 

tribal territories, as well as the western portion of the Panjab between the Indus and 

the Jihlam (Jhelum). The kingdom of which Peshawar (Purushapura) was the capital 

having been known in ancient times as Gandhara, the sculptures are most conveniendy 

described by that territorial name. 

The richest sites as yet explored are those crowded together in the Yusufzai 

country to the north and north-east of Peshawar, comprising Jamalgarai, Sahri-Bahlol, 

Takht-i-Bahai, and many more which it would be tedious to enumerate. Some of the 

best sculptures come from Suwat (Swat), but the hostility of the wild tribes prevents 

systematic exploration of the antiquities beyond the British frontier. 

Arrange- Even within the frontier most of the exploration done until recently has been the 

nient by work of amateurs, conducted in a haphazard fashion, without the formation or preser- 
siibjecis . . ^ . . '■ 

alone possi- vation of adequate detailed record.^ Consequently, many buildings have been utterly 

^^^- destroyed, and the value of the large collections of sculptures found by many public 

institutions and private persons is seriously impaired by the lack of information con- 
cerning the provenance of the specimens. M. Foucher, the most learned and authori- 
tative commentator on the sculptures, declares that it is impossible in the present state 
of knowledge to arrange them in chronological order. As a general rule, no doubt, 
the most Greek may be considered the oldest, and the most Indianized the latest, but 
the practical application of this principle presents many difficulties. Arrangement 
by localities is equally impracticable, because nobody knows where many of the 
best examples were found, and also because there is no distinct evidence of local 
variations in style. The general style over the whole region is fairly uniform. The 
result is that the only practicable arrangement is one by subjects. In this chapter it 
will not be possible to illustrate more than a few of the multifarious subjects treated by 
the artists, and students who wish to examine the whole field must be referred to 
special treatises. It is hoped, however, that the specimens reproduced will suffice to 
enable the reader to judge of the aesthetic qualities of the sculptures, and to place 
them in their due relation to Greek art on the one hand and to indigenous Indian art 
on the other, subject to a certain amount of vagueness in the chronology of the school. 
' Research is now conducted by Mr. Marshall and his assistants on scientific lines, with excellent results. 



Whenever the date of Kanishka, the celebrated king of Gandhara, shall be ( 
determined, that of the best period of the Hellenistic sculpture will also be known. 
Many of them undoubtedly are contemporary with him, though some are earlier and 
others later. Without going into complicated antiquarian discussions, it may suffice to 
say here that none of the sculptures are later than a. d. 600, few, if any, later than 
A.D. 400, and that in all probability extremely few are earlier than the Christian era. 
The culmination of the art of the school may be dated from about a.u. 50 to a.d. 150 
or 200. It is quite safe to affirm that the works of good quality belong to the first 
three centuries of the Christian era.^ Thus the best productions of the Gandhara 
Indo-Hellenistic school nearly synchronize with the art of the Flavian and Antonine 
periods in Western Asia and Europe, and in India with the reliefs on the great rail at 
Amaravati in the Deccan, as well as with many sculptures at Mathura on the Jumna, 
both of which will be discussed in the next chapter. 

Without exception, all the sculptures come from Buddhist sites and were executed in j 
the service of the Buddhist religion, so far as is known. No trace of works dedicated ^ 
to either Jainism or Brahmanical Hinduism has been discovered. Moreover, the subjects 
treated are not only Buddhist, but purely Indian. Buddha may appear in the guise of 
Apollo, the god Brahma in that of St. Peter, or a door-keeper in that of Pallas Athene, 
but however Greek may be the form, the personages and incidents are all Indian, 
and centre round the person of Buddha, whose image dominates the compositions. 

Herein lies the most obvious, and at the same time, perhaps, the most important 1 
difference between the ancient schools of interior India at Sanchi, Bharhut, or Bodh- ! 
Gaya, and the school of Gandhara, with the cognate branches at Mathura and ; 
Amaravati. In Gandhara art, as M. Foucher observes, Buddha is everywhere ; and 
whatever be the form which he assumes, as Prince Charming, emaciated ascetic, or 
ideal monk, or by whatever name he may be called, whether it be Siddhartha, Sramana 
Gautama, or Buddha Sakyamuni, he dominates almost every composition, so that the 
preparation of a full list of the sculptors' subjects is equivalent to writing an illustrated 
life of the Master. The early schools of Indian art, as we have seen, were content to 
indicate his supposed presence by mere symbols, and did not presume to imagine his 
bodily likeness. 

The material of the sculptures is usually a blue clay-slate, also described as ' horn- 
blende-schist '. The stone was frequently finished with fine plaster, like the rock 
sculptures of Ajanta and many other localities in India and Ceylon, and the effect was 
heightened by the free use of colour and gilding, traces of which are still occasionally 

' Certain facts may be brought together which Huvishka in good condition at Ahlnposh stiipa, 

connect the sculptures at several localities with the along with coins of Sabina, &c. {Proc. A. S. B., 

Kushan kings : (i) coins of Kanishka in foundation 1879, p. 209) ; (5) some of the Mathura sculptures 

deposit of Sanghao monastery (Cole, Second Report, in Gandhara style bear Kushan inscriptions. For 

p. cxx); (2) coin of Huvishka with a panel of best reasons to be stated in the next chapter, I now take 

style at Takht-i-Bahai (/. R. A. S., 1899, p. 422); the most probable date of the accession of Kanishka 

(3) seven coins of Vasudeva with Jamalgarai sculp- to be a.d. 78. 
tures (Cunningham, Reports, v. 194); (4) coin of 




Great numbers of detached heads, made sometimes of stucco and sometimes of 
terra-cotta have been found, varying in dimensions from tiny objects two or three inches 
hicrh to life size. These heads, as various in character as m dmiensions, are often of 
hiah artistic merit. One mode of their use is explained by an observation of Masson, 
who noted that at Hidda, near Jalalabad, in the upper Kabul valley, 
' idols in o-reat numbers are found. They are small, of one and the same kind, about 
six or ei'ht inches in height, and consist of a strong cast head fixed on a body of 
earth ^^ hence the heads only can be brought away They are seated and clothed m 
folds of draperv and the hair is woven into rows of curls. The bodies are sometimes 
painted with red lead, and rarely covered with leaf-gold ; ^they appear to have been 
interred in apartments, of which fragments are also found. ' 

Fig. 55. Head of Bodhisattva. 
{T/ic Ganiihora Sailpliires, PI. XXV, 6.) 

Fig. ,56. Head of old man. 
{r/ie Gandhara Sculptures, PI. XXV, 14.) 

Buddhists consider the multiplication of sacred images an act of merit, and the practice 
of making the bodies cheaply with clay enabled the pious donor to accumulate a credit 
balance of numerous good works without undue expense. Mr. J. P. Rawlins, who was 
stationed for a considerable time in the Hazara District, now in the North-Western 
Frontier Province, informs me that in that country he has seen numbers of perfect 
plaster casts, ' for the most part only of heads, of all sizes and descriptions, fastened to 
the walls in appropriate groupings or singly. Many of them seem to be portraits of 
living people at the time, full of expression, and with many and varied head-dresses. 
My informant believed the practice to have 'come down from Greek times'. The age 
of the heads actually seen by Mr. Rawlins does not appear, but, whatever it may be, 
the practice referred to by him proves that the ancient stucco and terra-cotta heads 
might have been used to fix on walls as well as on clay images. When objects of this 

' Ariana Aniiqua, p. 113. 


class were exhibited before the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Sir J. B. Phear remarked 
that similar heads from the neighbourhood of Peshawar preserved in the Indian 
Museum, Calcutta, 

' obviously had been attached to masonry, and no doubt formed part of a subject 
worked out in high relief upou the frieze of some building. It was also remarkable 
that every one of them was unsymmetrical, i. e. compressed or flattened either on the 
right side or on the left side. The purpose of this must have been to adapt them to 
beino- seen with the greater artistic effect from a particular point of view ; and it 
indicated considerable advance in knowledge of the peculiar conditions necessary for 
the success of sculptural ornament.' ^ 

The British Museum possesses about forty such detached heads, mostly from Examples. 
the Peshawar District, purchased in 1861, fifteen of which have been published by 
Dr. Burgess. Two of those are here reproduced (Figs. 55 and 56). Terra-cotta heads, 
more or less similar in character, but not quite so well executed, were found in 
excavations at Saheth-Maheth in Oudh, supposed to be the site of Sravasti.^ The 
late Dr. Leitner pointed out the resemblance between these Indian heads and those 
from Cyprus to be seen in various museums. 

No trace of the existence of Greek architecture in either India proper or the No Greek 
borderland has ever been found, that is to say, no building yet examined was designed f,^'^jn(j^ia."'^^ 
on a Greek plan, or with an elevation exhibiting one or other of the Greek orders, 
Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian. But the Indo-Hellenic architects freely used certain 
Greek architectural forms — columns, pilasters, and capitals — for decorative purposes, 
much in the same way as English architects of a century ago often applied a Greek 
pediment to the front of an English dwelling-house. The Doric column is found 
only in the late Kashmir style, if there, for the matter seems to be open to some 
doubt (ante, p. 48). The Ionic column has been found in two temples on the site 
of Taxila, associated in one case with coins of Azes I, who is supposed to have 
reio-ned between 90 and 40 b. c.^ Growse noted the occurrence of a ' niche supported 
by columns with Ionic capitals' on a fragment of sculpture at Mathura,* and Simpson 
found the plaster fragment of a capital with corner volutes of the RomanoTonic kind 
in the Ahlnposh stupa near Jalalabad in the valley of the Kabul river. =* Those four 
cases exhaust the list of undoubted Ionic forms known in India. More recently two 
more quasi-Ionic capitals have been discovered, one at Patna and the other at 
Sarnath (Fig. 57), both of Asokan age, and said to resemble the capitals of the 
temple of Apollo Didymaeus at Miletus.'' 

The abundance of modified Corinthian columns, pilasters, and capitals in the art I^ido- 
of Gandhara contrasts strongly with the total lack of Doric and the extreme rarity of de^corath'^" 


1 Proc. A. S. B., 1870, p. 217. pp. 69, 72, 190; vol. xiv, p. 9, PI. VII: Early Hist. 

' /. A. S. B., Part I, vol. Ixi (1892), extra No,, of India, 2nd ed., p. 227. 

PI. XXVIII. For other Gandhara stucco heads ■* Maihura, A District Memoir, 3rd ed., p. 171. 

from Sahri Bahlol see Ann. Rep. A. S., India, '- Proc. A. S. B., 1879, P- 209. P'- ^I- 

1906-7, p. 107, Fig- 2 and PI. XXXV. " Hut. Ind. and E. Archit., 2nd ed. (1910), 

' Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. ii, p. 129 ; vol. v, vol. i, p. 207, note and woodcut. 



Ionic forms. Most of the Gandharan friezes exhibit representations of columns 
or pilasters with capitals more or less related to those of the Corinthian order, and 
which may be fairly called Indo-Corinthian. The shafts, whether round or square, 
are never fluted, and resemble those of the second or third century after Christ 
at Palmyra and Baalbec. The bases of structural pillars have been found at 
Jamalgarai only, and show that the shaft might be either cylindrical or square. The 
conviction of the architects that the form of column used concerned merely the 
decoration of a facade is well illustrated by the often-published slab from Muhammad 
Nari, on which Persepolitan columns are mixed up with Indo-Corinthian pilasters 
(Plate XXIV). 

Fig. 57. Perso-Ionic capital of Maurya age, Sarnath. 
(Arch. S. photo., siippHed by Prof. Wacdonell; publ. in/. R. A. S., 1907, PL III.) 

The Indo-Corinthian capitals vary widely in detail, but all may be described as 
agreeing generally with the luxuriant cosmopolitan style in vogue throughout the 

Roman Empire during the early centuries of the Christian 

era. Six good specimens, believed to be from Jamalgarai, 
are grouped together in Plate XXV. The introduction of 
figures of Buddha in two cases may be illustrated from 
Graeco-Roman art of the time of Augustus, and again, 
two centuries later, at the Baths of Caracalla. The shell 
canopy is found in the art of both Alexandria and Asia 
Minor. Even the modillions of a cornice are sometimes 
made in the form of miniature Corinthian pilasters (Fig. 58). A\\ capitals of the 
Indo-Corinthian class seem to be post-Christian, and their introduction appears 
to have been associated with the Kushan or Indo-Scythian conquest of Kabul and 
the Panjab during the first century of the Christian era. 


Fig. 58. Modillion?. 
(Photo. 1013, I. I\I. Lisl.) 

Plate XXIV. Buddha, &c. ; slab from Muhammad Nari. 
(Photo, by Griggs.) 


Decorative The more purely decorative motives commonly used by the Gandhara school, 

motives. g^^j,|.j ^g |.j^g long garland carried by Erotes, the vine pattern, the hippocamps and 
other monsters, and the Atlantes, will be noticed in Chapter XL dealing with 
foreign influence on Lidian art, and need not be described here. 
Two classes The figure sculptures, as distinguished from detached heads and from merely 

sculpture decorative motives, may be grouped in two classes, as detached statues or small 
groups, often completely or nearly completely in the round, and relief pictures 
illustrating sacred stories in successive scenes. The reliefs, commonly spoken of 
as ' bas-reliefs ', are, as a matter of fact, more often in high relief. 
Infinite The Statues and small groups represent Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, or saints on the 

subT^i^ ^^'^y ^*^ become Buddhas, besides minor deities of the populous Buddhist pantheon. 
The stone pictures, like the later painted pictures at Ajanta, deal with the infinite 
variety of subjects presented by the scriptures, legends, and traditions of the developed 
system of Buddhism, known as the Mahayana, or ' Great Vehicle '. That system 
practically deified Gautama the Buddha, as well as other Buddhas, and surrounded 
them with a crowd of attendant deities, including Indra or Sakra, Brahma, and other 
members of the Brahmanical heavenly host, besides a multitude of attendant sprites, 
male and female, of diverse kinds and varying rank, in addition to human worshippers. 
All the elements making up this motley retinue appear in the reliefs, and offer 
infinite opportunities for the exercise of fancy by the artists, who did not feel bound 
by strict rules, such as those of the Silpa-sastras. Although the accessible sculptures 
amount to only a small fraction of those which once existed, or even of those knoivn 
to exist, they are thousands in number, and so varied in subject and treatment that 
several bulky volumes would be required for their adequate description and illustration. 
\\\ this work it is not possible to give more than a small selection, representative 
so far as practicable. 
Historical The Gandhara sculptures suggest problems and speculations of many kinds. 

interest of Regarded as an authentic expression of early religious tradition, they control and 
lures. illustrate the testimony of the Buddhist scriptures, throwing much fresh light upon the 

beliefs and practices of the early followers of the Great Vehicle. Viewed as a collec- 
tion of sacred efligies they serve as a guide to the iconography of Buddhism, an aspect 
of the study specially attractive to Dr. Burgess and M. Foucher, which must be 
alinost ignored in this volume. 

Considered as pictures of human life, they present as in a mirror a vivid image 
of almost every phase of the life of Northern Lidia, lay and clerical, during several 
centuries. The artists cause to pass before our eyes landscapes, towns, domestic 
interiors, streets, fields, trees, and animals, with unlimited realistic detail. All the 
material objects of the civilization of the times — furniture, vehicles, arms, tools, and 
the rest, are depicted as they were used by the ancients, and numberless illustrations 
of the manners and customs of the times bring clearly before our imagination the way 
in which those ancients passed their days. Every class of the population from prince 
to pariah is represented, and, in short, no subject of human interest was regarded 
as material unsuitable for the sculptor's chisel. There can be no question concerning 

Plate XXV. Modified Corinthian capitals from Gandhara. 
(Photo, by Griggs.) 



the high value of the Gandhara sculptures as documents of religious and social 
history, but detailed discussion of them from that point of view is foreign to the 
purpose of this work, which is concerned only with their worth as expressions of 
artistic power and technical skill. General observations on the merits and demerits 
of the sculptures as fine art will be deferred more conveniently until a selection of 
representative specimens of the best statues and reliefs shall have been reviewed. 

ment of 

with mou- 

The Thun- 



Section II. Description of tpie Sculptures. 

Just as the sculptures and paintings of the Catacombs and the writings of the 
early Christian Fathers prove that no trustworthy tradition concerning the person of 
Jesus survived in the Church, and that artists 
for several centuries felt themselves at liberty 
to give free scope to their fancy in delineating 
His imacre, even so, durine the first two or 
three centuries of the Christian era, Buddhist 
sculptors had not arrived at any settled con- 
vention as to the correct way of representing 
the effigy of Gautama the Buddha, whose real 
appearance in the flesh had been utterly forgotten. 
A long course of e.xperiment was needed before 
Buddhist orthodoxy, guided by the later sculp- 
tors of the Gandhara school, settled down to 
the monotonous and insipid conventionality of 
the figures of Buddha now manufactured by the 
thousand, and adopted, with rare exceptions, in 
all Buddhist lands. Ultimately the conception 
of the Indian yogi ascetic as worked out in 
Gandhara became dominant, and passed through 
Khotan to the Far East. 

A Buddha with long hair and moustaches, 
although not unknown even now in Japan, 
Avould seem strange and improper to most modern 
Buddhists. In Gandhara such a presentation of 

the Master long continued to be legitimate, and the legend of the cutting of his 
locks when he dismissed the charioteer, although not absolutely unfamiliar, was 
usually ignored in sculpture. 

The relief panel from the Dames Collection, now in Berlin (Fig. 59), offers one 
of the most notable examples of the Buddha standing, with long hair and moustaches. 
His attitude is exceptional, and in his left hand he holds a palm-leaf book and 
gathers up his robe. The work, although evidently early, is not of the best artistic 

The remarkable attendant figure in this sculpture, which recurs frequently 

Fig. 59. Buddha attended by Vajrapani, from 

Yusufzai, Dames Collection, Berlin. 

(Photo. 27844, V. and A. Museum.) 

Plate XXVI. Seated Buddha, Berlin Museum. 

(Photo, by Griggs.) 

P 2 


in variant forms, requires explanation. His characteristic attribute is the thunderbolt 
(Sanskrit vajra^ Tibetan dorje) held in his left hand. In this case he holds a yak-tail 
fly-whisk in his right hand, as a personal attendant on the princely Bodhisattva, that is 
to say, Buddha before his 'enlightenment', yet, nevertheless, regarded as a holy 
personage even at that stage of his career. The exaggerated development of the 
attendant's muscles sugo-ests foreio-n influence akin to that of the school of Pergamum. 
The older writers on Buddhism wrongly identified the Thunderbolt-Bearer as 
Devadatta, the heresiarch enemy of Gautama Buddha ; or as Mara, the Buddhist 
Satan; or as the god Sakra, the Indra of Brahmanical mythology. Dr. Vogel has 
recently started a fourth theory, ingenious but not proved, that he should be regarded 
as a personification of Dharma, the Law. The best-supported hypothesis is that 
which treats him as a Yaksha, or attendant sprite, inseparable from the person of the 
Buddha. Probably the sculptors intended that he should be considered invisible 
to spectators, in accordance with a well-understood convention. The figure occurs on 
one relief of the Mathura school, a fragment of a stele found to the south of the city 
of Mathura (Catal. Archaeol. Museum, Mathura, No. H. 5, p. 127). 

A seated Buddha in the Berlin Museum (Plate XXVI) is one of the finest 
examples of the early Buddha type, Avith coiled hair, moustaches, and the robe falling 
over the feet. 
The visit One of the most elaborate and beautiful products of Gandhara art is the relief 

of Indra. panel from Loriyan Tangai in Swat (3 feet 10 inches x 2 feet 8 inches), representing 
the visit of the god Sakra (Indra) to Buddha while seated in a cave near Bodh-Gaya 
(Fig. 60), which should be contrasted with the totally different presentation of the 
same subject in the archaic sculpture in the Mathura Museum {ante, Fig. 51). Here 
the central figure has sweet, calm dignity, while the numerous subordinate figures and 
the scenery are rendered with much grace and beauty. The device of exhibiting wild 
beasts looking out from their dens as a conventional indication that the scene is laid 
in a wild mountain country is not uncommon in early Indian art, and occurs more than 
once in sculptures of Gupta age. 

The meaning of the composition is explained by Grunwedel : — 

' The Swat sculpture represents the visit of Sakra and his retinue, with the 
Gandharva harper Panchasika, to the Buddha while he was living in the Indrasaila- 
g2iha, a cave near Bodh-Gaya. The entrance of the cave is surrounded by flames to 
represent the glory of the Teacher, " resplendent with a halo of many colours, extend- 
ing to a fathom's length all round his person." Above and below, the birds, beasts, 
and trees indicate the isolation of the place. Indra appears as a royal personage on 
the right, doing reverence to the ascetic, with his parasol-bearer close behind, and the 
Devas [minor deities] of his train beyond on both sides. His peculiar crown or head- 
dress is very similar to what we find also in the Mathura sculpture. The figure 
of the Gandharva musician on the other side has been much damaged by the fracture 
of the stone, but his harp is still visible.' ^ 

Sundry Four various representations of Buddha are shown in Plate XXVTI. In Fitr. A 

Buddhas. ^ =" 


Griinwedel-Burges?, Buddhist Art, p. 14: 




the Master is depicted with flames issuing from his head and the water of life from his 
feet. A remarkable parallel occurs in the Catacombs of Rome, where we find similar 
representations of the water of life streaming from the feet of Christ.^ Fig. B shows 

Fig. 60. Visit of Indra to Buddha in Indrasaila Cave. 
(Photo. 1058, I. M. Lht.) 

Buddha seated under a tree in a manner not usual. The features and drapery are of 
an early type. Fig. C is a good specimen of Buddha seated on the ' d---^ throne 
closely resembling the Berlin figure seated on a 'lion throne (^«/., Plate XXVI). 
The remaining figure D is interesting as a later and more Hinduized Buddha type, on 
' Roller, Les Calacombes de Rome (188 1), vol. ii, p. 291, PI. LXXXVII, figs. 2, 3. 4- 






a ' lotas throne ', and with the soles of the feet tnrnecl up in yo^-i fashion. The right 
shoulder is bared. The suppliants at the foot of the throne may be the donors of the 
sculpture. . 

It is impossible to omit notice of the remarkable sculpture, 2 feet 8i inches high, 
representing the Emaciated Buddha, or, more accuratel)^ Bodhisattva, in the Lahore 

Fig. 61. Gautama as emaciated ascetic (Silcii). 
(Photo, by Griggs.) 

Museum, excavated from the ruins of a monastery at Sikri in 1889, which is the most 
notable known example of the treatment of a repulsive subject. It depicts the Master 
as he sat at Bodh-Gaya making the vain attempt to attain by the severest austerity 
that supreme knowledge which did not come to him, according to the story, until 
he abandoned the practice of self-torture (Fig. 61).^ The subject is sometimes 
treated by Chinese and Japanese artists in another fashion, as may be seen in the 
South Kensington Museum and the Musee Guimet. The Brahmanical parallel is 

' Lahore JMuseum Guide, PI. V; Senart, 'Notes d'Epigraphie Indienne,' iii, PI. II {Journal As., 1890). 

A, Buddha with fire and water issuing from him. 

B. Buddha seated under tree. 

C. Buddha seated, early style. 

D. Buddha on lotus-seat, with attendants. 

Plate XXVJI. Various Buddhas. 
(Photo, by Griggs.) 

I 12 


Bhringi, an attendant of Siva, who ' was a model ascetic, and fasted so continuously 
that he became not only emaciated, but a living skeleton. He is so represented in the 
sculptures of the caves of Elephanta near Bombay.' ' 

Fig. 63. Bodhisattva from Yusufzai 

(L. Dames, Berlin.) 
(Photo. 27847, V. and A. Museum.) 


Fig. 62. Bodhisattva, Lahore Museum. 
(A. S. photo., supplied by Prof. Macdonell.) 

We cannot linger over the Buddha figures, or attempt to follow the personal 
history of Gautama from his conception and infancy to the funeral pyre and the 

1 Monier Williams, Religious Thought and Life, 
in India, p. 441. ' A viuniox sage — perhaps Bringi 
[sic] — very lean, with a long beard, and an offering 

in his left hand' (Burgess, The Rock Temples of 
Elephanta or Gharapuri, Bombay (187 1), p. 23). 

Plate XXVIII. Kuvera in form of Zeus. 
(Photo, b)' Griggs.) 



distribution of his relics, as depicted in a long series of reliefs ; but must pass on to 
another class of images, formerly described as ' kings ' or ' royal personages ', but now 
reco.-nized as Bodhisattvas, or saints destined to become Buddhas. All considerable 
collections include specimens, and many have been published. The general character 
of the class is well illustrated by the fine statue in the Dames collection at Berlin 
(Fig. 63), which is one of the masterpieces of Gandharan art, and appears to me to 


Fig. 64. Kuvera and Haiit! ; from Sahri-Bahlol. 
(A. S. photo., No. 85 of 1906-7.) 

be a worthy presentation of the ideal lay saint. All the details are exquisitely wrought, 
and the drapery is admirable. 

Another image in the Lahore Museum (No. 0239), in a different style and with 
finely sculptured drapery of another kind, is a beautiful work, of equal or possibly 
superior merit (Fig. 62). The small relief on the pedestal follows the tradition of the 
Early School in the interior by abstaining from all attempt to image the dead Master, 
his presence being symbolized by the empty seat. I should think that this charming 
sculpture must be of early date. 

A larger statuette found near Peshawar, and generally regarded as the most 
striking piece in the large collection of sculptures in the Central Museum, Lahore, 




represents a royal personage seated in European fashion on a throne, with his left 
foot on a footstool and his left hand grasping a spear, his attitude being obviously 
reminiscent of that of the Zeus of Phidias (Plate XXVIII). This notable figure, at 
one dme believed to be the portrait of an Indo-Scythian monarch, is now recognised 
as Kuvera or Vaisravana^ god of riches and king of the Yakshas, who played a very 

Fig. 65. HaiuT; from Sikri. 
(Photo, by Griggs.) 

important part in Indian Buddhism, and will be met with again in mediaeval times. 
The image is free from the tinge of effeminacy which mars some of the best finished 
works of the school, and must always command admiration for its virility and dignity.^ 

The recent excavations at Sahrl-Bahlol have yielded another figure of the Kuvera and 
throned Kuvera with the goddess Harlti as his consort seated beside him (Fig. 64), ^"''' 

^ Found at Tahkal on the old road from Peshawar 
to the Khj'ber Pass. A cast is in the Indian Section of 
the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington. 
f.A.S. B., Part I, vol. Iviii (1889), p. i 22, PI. VIII ; 

Lahore Museum Guide, PI. Ill; Vogel, 'Note sur 
une Statue du Gandhara conservde au Musde de 
Lahore' {B. E. F. E. 0., Avril-Juin, 1903). 

Q 2 




which is one of the most delicately modelled works of the Gandhara school, and is 
presumably of early date. Harlti, in one of her aspects, was the protector of children 
from the dangers of epidemics. A standing figure from Sikri (Fig. 65) presents 
her in the same aspect of her character, but posed in quite another fashion. The 
clever and unusual treatment of the drapery may be noted. 

One of the most interestingr statuettes is the well-known image of Pallas Athene 
in the Lahore Museum (Fig. 66). The goddess is represented standing, facing front, 
wearing Greek costume, chiton and himation, and holding a spear across her body. Both 

Fig. 66. Pallas Athene; 

Lahore Museum. 

(Photo, by Griggs.) 

Fig. 67. Woman and tree, from Fig. 68. Woman holding mirror, 
Yusufzai (L. Dames, Berlin). from Yflsufzai (L. Dames, Berlin). 

(Photo. 27849, V. and A. INIuseum,) (Photo. 27843, V. and A. Museum.) 

hands have been lost. Probably the right hand grasping the spear was raised to her head, 
as was the right hand in the Pallas type of the coins of Azes I (? first century B.C.), 
while the left hand held the aegis. The late Dr. Bloch seems to have been right in 
interpreting the image as that of a foreign female guard set over the women's apart- 
ments of a palace, and forming part of a court scene. It is possible that the figure 
may be as old as the time of Azes, and so contemporary with the Ionic temple at 
Taxila, but it may be of later date. Although the type is clearly that of Pallas 
Athene, it has been completely Indianized.^ 

' A cast is in the Indian Section of the Victoria and 
Albert Museum, South Kensington. For the coin of 
Azes referred to see Gardner, B. M. Calal., Coins ot 
Greek and Scythic Kings, PI. XVIII, 4. The statuette 

has been published in/. A. S. B., Part I, vol. Iviii 
(1889), p. 12 1, PI. VII; iLuA Lahore iVuseum Guide, 
I'l. W. For Bloch's remark see No. 1 195 in Indian 
Museum List of Negatives. 




^ A panel from Mr. Dames's collection, now in Berlin (Fig. 67), is an uncommon Panels from 
variant of the 'Woman and Tree' motive, which will be discussed in Chapter XI. James's 
The panel seems to be part of a larger composition, and is apparently of tolerably ^°"''*'°"- 
early date, although the figure is very Indian. 

Another of Mr. Dame^s sculptures, representing a woman arranging her hair with 
the help of a hand-mirror, and standing under a tree (Fig. 68), makes a very pretty 
picture. The drapery is treated with such freedom and skill that the work may be 

Fig. 69. Man playing lyre (zifwd), Fig. 70. Garuda and the NaginI, 
from Ytjsufzai (L. Dames, Berlin). from Sanghao. 

(Photo. 27848, V. and A. (Photo, by Griggs.) 


Fig. 70 (7. 
(Photo, by Griggs.) 

assigned to an early date. It may be regarded as a companion picture to the last. 
Both panels have a reel and bead border. 

Fig. 69, also from Mr. Dames's collection, is not equal in merit to the two 
preceding, the drapery being treated in a more formal and commonplace manner. A 
man stands under a tree playing the vinct, or Indian lyre. These three figures 
apparently formed parts of larger compositions, but I cannot offer any explanation of 
their meaning. The trees, necessarily treated conventionally in order to bring them 
within the limits of the panels, have a fine decorative effect. 

One Hellenistic group, known from at least five or six specimens, is of special 
interest as being demonstrably adapted from a masterpiece of Leochares, a famous 

of the Rape 
of Gany- 



Attic artist of the fourth century before Christ (372-330 B.C.). His bronze work, 
praised by Pliny (d. a. d. 79), but long since lost, inspired many later copyists, who 
translated the theme into marble, with variations. One of the marble copies, or 
imitations, is in the British Museum, another at Thessalonica, a third at Venice, and 
the fourth and finest is in the Museo Pio Clementine at the Vatican. The subject is 
the carrying off of the beautiful boy Ganymede by an eagle, represented sometimes 
as the messenger of Zeus, and sometimes as the god himself transformed. In the 

Fig. 71. Vatican Rape of Ganymede. 
(From a cast in the University Galleries, O.xford). 

Vatican copy the eagle is shown as supported by the trunk of a tree in the background, 
with wings expanded and neck stretched upwards, grasping with tender firmness the 
nude youth, whose feet have just ceased to touch the receding earth. His robe, dis- 
closing the nude figure, is so disposed as to protect his back from injury caused by the 
bird's talons. A dog, seated below, howls piteously for his vanishing master, as described 
by Vergil. 1 Nobody can look at Fig. 70, reproducing the best of the Buddhist adapta- 

' ' Puer . . . quern praepes ab Ida Longaevi palmas nequiquam ad sidera tendunt 

Sublimem pedibus rapuit lovis armiger uncis ; Custodes, saevitque canum latratus in auras.' 

{Aen. V. 252-7.) 




tions, obtained from the monastery at Sanghao in the Yusufzai country, and compare it 
with Fig. 71, representing the Vatican copy of the Attic artist's composition, without 
perceiving that the composition is essentially the same as that of Leochares, made 
familiar to the Hellenistic world in marble replicas. A variant is shown in Fig. joa. 
All the Buddhist adaptations omit the dog, and so agree with the groups preserved 
at Venice, Thessalonica, and in the British Museum, while in the pose of the eagle 






















-^ \ 



-1 ^ 


■ A 





* .■ ■- -J . " "■'■■" 


Fig. 72. Boys armed as soldiers. 
(Photo, by Griggs.) 

Fig. 73. Old man, ? Hindu ascetic. 
(Photo, by Griggs.) 

and the introduction of the trunk of the tree they resemble the Vatican example. 
The subject, although retaining the essentials of the Greek myth, has been thoroughly 
Indianized, both in general treatment and by the substitution of a heavily draped 
female for the nude boy. The notion once held that the woman should be regarded 
as Maya, the mother of Buddha, is erroneous. The better opinion is that the group 
was intended to represent to Indian minds the carrying off of a female Naga, or snake 
sprite, by a monstrous Garuda, the implacable enemy of the snake tribe. As in all 

The Na- 


the Gandhara sculptures, the subject is absolutely Indian, no matter how foreign the 
presentation of it may be in outward form.^ 

Fig. 72 is a remarkable panel in the Lahore Museum {Catal, PI. VII, 3), probably 
of very'^early date, showing two boys of Greek appearance armed with the old Indian 
broadsword, as described by Megasthenes and represented in the Bharhut and Sanchi 
sculptures. The work is artistic and attractive, and, as Professor Gardner reminds me, 
recalls the Pergamene style. The old bearded man of Fig. 73 is, I think, unique. 
Grunwedel calls him a Brahman. 

1 now proceed to illustrate a few representative relief scenic pictures of high 
quality, beginning with Mr. Dames's specimen of the Nativity, unpublished, and 

Fig. 74. Tlie Great Renunciation ; 
Chandaka leading out the horse 


(Photo, by Griggs.) 

Fig. 75. Gautama riding awa)' ; Lahore Museum. 
(Arch. S. photo., supplied by Prof. Macdonell.) 

the finest example known to me of that favourite subject (Plate XXIX). According to 
the legend, Gautama Buddha was born in a pure fashion by springing from his 
mother's side as she stood under a tree in the Lumbini Garden, the modern Rummin- 
del, to the east of Kapilavastu. The composition is arranged in a perfectly sym- 
metrical manner. On the left of the picture the god Indra, or Sakra, with his 
characteristic high head-dress, receives the child, behind him stands Brahma, and two 
other unnamed gods complete the divine party. The woman who supports the 
mother is her sister, and three attendants balance the gods on the other side. The 

' Full references to the marble groups will be Pio-Clementino, vol. iii, p. 149, in the histories of 

found in/. A. S. B., Part I, vol. Iviii (1889), p. 134. sculpture by Winckelmann, Liibke, and Perry, and 

The Vatican group is reproduced in Visconti, JMiiseo Encyd. Brit., i iih ed. ' Greek Art ', PI. I, Fig. 53- 


T3 K> 


•r 9 





The ' Great 
tion '. 


Maskers and 

figures are thoroughly naturalistic men and women, cleverly modelled, and ingeniously 
arranged so as not to interfere one with the other. The draperies are treated with 
freedom and variety. On the whole, I am disposed to regard this group as the finest 
of the more complex stone pictures produced by the school of Gandhara. 

The story of the ' Great Renunciation ' of domestic joys and the splendours 
of princely life by the young Gautama or Siddhartha when he went forth from 
his father's palace to take up the career of an ascetic, as told in both the books 
and the sculptures, comprises many incidents, which were treated in art with much 
freedom and variety of detail. Some aspects of the artistic presentation will be 
discussed in Chapter XI. Here I select for reproduction a rare representation 
of the groom Chandaka leading out the horse 
Kanthaka ready saddled for his master's use 
(Fig. 74). The modelling of the horse is 
better than that of the animal in Indian sculp- 
ture generally, which often fails with the 
horse, while almost alwa)s successful with the 
elephant. This minor incident is intended 
to serve as a symbol of the whole story. 
Another rendering, a relief in the Lahore 
Museum (No. 122), is shown in Fig. 75. The 
earth-spirits holding up the feet of the horse, 
who often appear, are wanting in this case. 

Fig. 76 represents the worship, by shaven 
monks, of the frisil/ symho\, signifying Buddha, 
the Law, and the Church. It closely re- 
sembles the representation of the adoration 
of the labar2im in the Catacombs.^ 

The well-known uniqtie relief representin 
faces attended by three soldiers (Plate XXX) has puzzled the interpreters, who usually 
assume the demons to be a part of the host by which Buddha was assailed in the 
Temptation. But that explanation takes no account of the soldiers. I do not 
believe that the picture has anything to do with the Temptation. I think it was 
Dr. Leitner who perceived that the so-called demons are simply monks wearing 
masks for a ' devil dance ', such as those now worn by Tibetan Lamas. The soldiers 
are merely the escort of the performers' procession. The equipment of the soldiers 
has been described sometimes as Greek and sometimes as Roman. But it is neither. 
The men evidently belong to the Himalayan region, and wear the dress and armour 
used in that region about the time of Kanishka, say a.d. 100. The arrangement of 
the scales of the armour, probably made of either leather or horn, with the curved 
ends uppermost, is explained by Dr. Stein's discoveries of similar scales at Dandan- 
Uiliq in Khotan, and by a suit of Tibetan mail preserved in the British Museum. 

Fig. 76. 

Worship of Irisul E3'mbol by monks. 
(Photo, by Griggs.) 

a group of figures with demoniac 

' Roller, La Catacomhcs de Rome, PI. 
certainlv much later than the Indian. 

LXXXVII. The Christian work, assigned to the fifth century, 

Plate XXX. Procession of maskers and soldiers. 
(Photo, by Griggs.) 

R 2 



Frieze of 


The scales found by Dr. Stein date from the seventh or eighth century, but there is no 
difficulty in believing that the fashion of armour may have remained unchanged 
for ages.^ 

An imperfect frieze in the British Museum, about i6 inches long by 6| inches 
high (Fig. 77), which puzzled Dr. Burgess, has been convincingly interpreted by 
M. Foucher as a representation of marine deities in a quasi-Greek fashion. The 
character of the personages as tritons or marine deities of some kind is established by 
the paddles which they carry and their kilts of fins cut in the shape of vine-leaves. 
The object borne in the right hand of the figure the second from the right end 
appears to be a dolphin, indicating that the holder was intended for Poseidon. The 

Fig. 77. Frieze of marine deities: B. M. 
(Burgess, The Gandhdra Sculptures, Pi. 15, Fig. i.) 


figure on the extreme left is in the familiar pose of Herakles. The Corinthian pillar 
on the right is in the style of Palmyrene work of the second or third century. The 
modelling of the forms would deserve praise but for the disfiguring exaggeration of the 
abdominal muscles. The bearded faces resemble that of an unmistakable triton, 
also in the British Museum, who has a fin and a curly tail (Foucher, Fig. 123).^ 

A striking, and at present unique, illustration of the progressive Indianization 
of the foreign types is afforded by the recent discovery, near Shabkadar on the 
Momand frontier, of a standing headless female figure, with four arms, executed more 
or less in Gandhara style, with drapery described by Dr. Spooner as being especially 
Greek In character. The upper arms have been lost ; the two lower ones hold 
respectively a spear and a wheel (Fig. 78).' The drapery seems to me to be 
treated in an extremely formal manner, and I think the work Is of late date. 

' Stein, Ancient Khotan,}^-^. 252, 411, PI. II, and 
Addenda, p. xvi. The stucco relief statue of a warrior 
in similar scale armour shown in Plate II may be as 
old as the second or third centur_v, and approximately 

contemporary with the Gandhara relief. 

^ Foucher, L' Art gr/co-botiddhtque du Gandhdra, 
p. 244, Fig. 126. 

" Ann. Rep. A. S., Frontier Circle, 1908-9, p. 4- 




The British Museum (Gem Room) possesses a deep silver bowl, about five 
inches in diameter, said to come from Sogdiana, to the north of the Oxus, adorned 
with the figure of a four-armed goddess. It is supposed to date from Sassanian 
times, subsequent to a.d. 226.1 I am disposed to think that the stone sculpture is not 

Section III. Criticism. 

The productions of the Gandhara school. Limit of 
good, bad, and indifferent, are so numerous that 'lustration. 
it Avould be easy to fill the whole of this volume 
with interesting illustrations of them, without ex- 
hausting the material available ; but it is hoped 
that the reproductions in this chapter may be 
considered sufficient to give an adequate notion 
of the best work of the school, and to indicate 
the steps in the process of gradual Indianization 
of the style. Students who desire to follow out 
in detail the evolution of the Buddha type, or any 
of the many other fascinating problems suggested 
by these strangely composite works — so Greek or 
Graeco-Roman from one point of view, and so 
Indian from another— will find abundant material 
for reflection and discussion in the collections of 
numerous museums and the publications devoted 
to the exposition of different aspects of the many- 
sided subject. 

We now pass on from description to critical 
and historical comment, as brief as possible. 

The general impression produced by study Apartness 
of the Gandhara sculptures is that they form a class "' 

Fig. 78. Four-armed image, from 

Momand Frontier. 

(Arch. S. photo. No. 397.) 

Standing to a considerable extent apart from the 
main current of the evolution of art within the 
limits of India. M. Foucher has succeeded, I think, 
in demonstrating that the Gandhara school has no direct filial relations with the 
earlier art of Maurya and Sunga times dealt with in Chapter III of this work, 
notwithstanding the appearance in both of certain elements common to the Hellenistic 
art of Western Asia. The artists of the north-west, who were masters of the 
technique of Asia Minor, had no need to copy tritons, centaurs, and so forth, from the 
works of their humbler predecessors in the interior. The true view seems to be that, 
whatever may be the sources and extent of foreign influence on the work of early 

dharan art. 

' Described by Aspelin, Antiquiie's dii Nord Finno-Ougricn, p. 147. 

with the 
d\ nast\'. 



Indian sculptors, the rapid development of the Gandhara school during the first 
centur)- of the Christian era was the direct result of a fresh importation into the 
frontier regions, by accomplished artists introduced from outside, of Hellenistic ideas 
expressed in the forms then current throughout the Roman Empire. 

Such importation of artists and ideas appears to have been closely associated 
with and dependent on the extension of the foreign Kushan or Indo-Scythian 
empire, as it gradually advanced its borders from the Oxus to the Ganges, and 
possibly as far as the Narbada/ Unfortunately, as already observed, the chronology 
of those times is uncertain ; and until the chronological question, summed up as the 
problem of the date of Kanishka, shall be definitely solved, the exact relations of the 
art of Gandhara with that of the Graeco-Roman world and India proper cannot 
be elucidated with all the precision desirable. 

It is, however, safe to affirm both that the Kushan kings had become lords 
of Kabul, with at all events part of the Panjab, before a.b. 100, and that by that date 
the character of the Gandhara style was already fixed. Much of the better sculpture 
of the Gandhara school undoubtedly was produced during the reigns of Kanishka and 
his colleague and successor, Huvishka. 

Early Indo- No doubt, Hellenistic work adapted to Indian requirements had been done on the 

frontier in earlier times. The execution of such work during the reign of Azes I at some 
time in the first century b.c. is established by the Bimaran casket {pos^, Chap. X, Sec. 4), 
the Ionic temples of Taxila (««/^, p. 10 1), and the Pallas Athene statuette (an^e,p. 116, 
Fig. 66). Although, so far as I know, it is not possible at present to refer any given 
work in the Gandhara style to an earlier period, there is no apparent reason why 
Indo-Hellenlstic sculpture should not have been produced from at least the age 
of Demetrius, ' King of the Indians ', at the beginning of the second century b.c.,^ and 
It Is possible that certain extant examples may be as early. But the admission of the 
probable existence of Indo-Hellenistic sculpture from about 200 B.C. does not involve 
an admission that the origin of the Gandhara school long preceded the Christian era. 
The earlier Hellenistic works differed from it In style. The Ionic temples of Taxlla 
apparently had no successors, and the Bimaran casket, while agreeing with the 
Gandhara sculptures in the arrangement of the figures in compartments separated by 
pilasters with sunken panels, differs in the form of the arches and the absence of 
Corinthian capitals. The Pallas Athene, too, Is more distinctly Greek than the true 
Gandhara work. The characteristic of that work Is the modified Corinthian capital, 
similar in style to the capitals fashionable throughout the Roman empire in the early 
centuries of the Christian era. 

Origin of The appearance In sculpture of that specially Graeco-Roman form coincides with 

the Gan- the Introduction of the Kushan oold coinage, aereeine in weieht with the Roman aureus, 

dhara . & ' t> & o 

school though somewhat debased in standard."^ All the evidence, In my judgement, leads to 

the inference that the rapid development and extension of the distinct Gandhara 

' This was the view taken by Sir A. Cunningham, ^ jEarly Hist, of India, 2nd ed., p. 210. 

which I hesitated to accept at one time, but now ' For details see Cunningham, Coins of Medianal 

admit to be correct. India, p. 16. 



school, with its characteristic Indo-Corinthian capitals, were effected under the 
patronage of the great Kushan kings, who must have imported foreign artists and 
through their agency have carried the application of Hellenistic technique to Indian 
subjects much farther than had ever been done before. Such foreign artists, accredited 
by royal authority and the fashion of the court, would have been readily accepted as 
teachers by the local Indian sculptors, who, after their accustomed manner, would 
have proceeded to adapt the new methods to their own purposes, sometimes, perhaps, 
bettering the instructions of their masters. 

The sudden introduction of the Persian style of painting Into India by order of Parallel case 
Akbar m the sixteenth century, and the immediate development of a prolific Indo- 0^1"^°- 
Persian school, surpassing its prototype In certain respects, while inferior In others, paiming 
offer an almost exact parallel to the events which happened, as I believe, in the 
kingdom of Gandhara during the first century of the Christian era. The parallel 
fails in so far that the Persian style of painting, being congenial to Indian taste, 
readily admitted of certain modifications which may be reasonably regarded as 
improvements, whereas the ultimate models of the Gandhara sculptors having 
been the masterpieces of Attic and Ionic art, alien in spirit to the art of India, were 
usually susceptible of modification by Indian craftsmen only in the direction of 

^ It is obvious that the foreign elements in the art of Gandhara tended to diminish Indianiza- 
as time went on, and that, generally speaking, the sculptures with most clearly marked ''°'^ ^^ ^ 
Greek character should be considered early, and those most Indianized as compara- '^^'^^^^e- 
tively late. But, as already pointed out {ante, p. 98), this criterion affords no Infal- 
lible test of age. Some of the best finished works in Hellenistic style may have been 
executed by clever Indian imitators long after the Introduction of the style, just as 
among the Mughal paintings we find close imitations of Persian models side by side 
and contemporary with paintings profoundly Indianized. 

Most European critics, rightly convinced of the unapproachable excellence of the Decadence 
highest type of Greek art, the model of the less excellent Hellenistic art, see in the '^'' imp'ove- 
process of gradual Indlanization a decadence. But the critics of the new ' nationalist ' ™^"'^' 
school are persuaded that this view Is erroneous, and that the process of Indlanization 
is in itself an artistic improvement. Mr. Havell, in general agreement with Dr. 
Coomaraswamy, teaches that the earliest Gandhara sculptors were no better than 
mechanical craftsmen, hirelings following more or less impure Hellenistic traditions, 
engaged by the frontier kings in the manufacture of inferior objects of handicraft, 
which are mere ' soulless puppets, debased types of the Greek and Roman pantheon 
posing uncomfortably in the attitudes of Indian asceticism ', and tarred with the vices of 
commercialism, Insincerity, and want of spirituality, most conspicuous in the earliest 
examples. The indictment continues : — 

' The insincerity and want of spirituality typical of nearly all the art of Gandhara are, 
as I have said, most conspicuous in the earliest examples, or those which are attributed 
to the first century of our era, when the Roman influence was strongest. Two centuries 
later, in the sculptures of the Loriyan Tangai Monaster)-, which Professor Gri'mwedel 


describes as belonging to the best period of Gandhara,^ the art has become more 
Indian, more national, and more spiritual, but it has not yet achieved the true ideal of 
Indian art. Since, however, it is Indian influence, Indian thought, which has so far 
perfected the style, it is surely incorrect to say that the ideal of Indian Buddhist art 
has been created by foreigners. Foreign hands may have held the tools, but the 
influences which have dominated the art have been throughout Indian. . . . The 
perfected ideal of Indian art is as far in advance of the Gandharan type as the art of 
the Parthenon surpasses the art of Gandhara. Neither artistically nor technically is 
it possible to place the best Gandharan sculpture in the same plane with that of 
Borobodur, Elephanta, or Ellora, or even with the best modern Nepalese metal-work, 
such as the Buddha in Plate VI.' ° 

Alleged The critic then proceeds to liken Gandharan art to ' cheap, modern Italian plaster 

■^" '^' work ', and to extol the later mediaeval sculpture and bronzes as exhibiting ' quiet 

restrained dignity, calm conviction, and effacement of physical detail . . . the embodi- 
ment of a great national tradition, a synthesis of Eastern philosophy and religious art '. 
We are further told that the Brahmanical art of the eighth and ninth centuries expresses 
' the true Indian conception of divinity in a superhuman, spiritualized body', or, as 
elsewhere phrased, ' the idea of a purified, transcendental body formed by the practice of 
Dhyana [meditation] and Yoga [ascetic restraint].' So Dr. Coomaraswamy declares that 

'just as through all Indian schools of thought there runs like a golden thread the 
fundamental idealism of the Upanishads — the Vedanta — so in all Indian art there is 
a unit}' that underlies all its bewildering variety. This unifjnng principle is here also 
Idealism, and this must of necessity have been so, for the synthesis of Indian thought 
is one, not many '.'" 

The spirit The substance of these criticisms seems to mean that all high-class Indian 

Buddhist sculpture must be an expression of Brahmanical metaphysics, nothing else being truly 
art. Indian or national. But the Gandhara artists, who certainly did not worry about 

a 'superhuman, transcendental body', or take any interest in the Upanishads, agreed 
in those respects \\ ith the artists of all the early Buddhist schools, who were, neverthe- 
less, just as Indian and national as any ninth-century Brahman could be. Although 
the technique of Gandhara differed widely from that of Bharhut, SanchI, and the rest, 
all the early Buddhist schools alike, that of Gandhara included, were animated by the 
Buddhist kindly humanistic spirit, as different as possible from the Tantric notions 
dominating mediaeval art, both Brahinanical and Buddhist, but equally Indian. We 
are not entitled to denounce Gandharan art as ' lacking in spirituality ', and so forth, 
merely because it does not express the ideas of Elura and Elephanta. As a matter of 
fact, many of the good Gandhara sculptures may be fairly held to express with 
admirable feeling and sincerity the ideal of a saintly Indian man, and to be not lacking 
in ' restrained dignity '. For instance, the beautiful Berlin Bodhisattva {ante, Y\g. 63) is 
very far from being a ' soulless puppet ' ; the Lahore Museum Kuvera (Plate XXVIII) 

' Now in the Indian ;Museum, Calcutta. See ^ I7idia7i Sculpture and Painting, pp. 4.5-50. 

ante, p. 109, Fig. 60, the visit of Indra to Buddha. ' Tfie Aims of Indian ^r/ (Essex House Press), 

The date of the sculptures is not by any means 190S. 



has a good share of ' restrained dignity ' ; and many of the Buddhas are quite equal to 
any of the Javanese or Ceylonese images. Much credit is given by the new school of 
critics to the achievements of mediaeval sculptors in the representation of gesture and 
strenuous action ; but, without depreciating their work, it is permissible to insist on 
the similar merits of the Gandharan heads and Atlantes {ante, p. 100 ; post. Chap. XI). 

The best works of the Gandhara school are deserving of high commendation for Merits of 
their aesthetic, technical, and phonetic qualities, to use Fergusson's terminology ; or, in Gandharan 
other words, because they are intrinsically beautiful, skilfully executed, and well ^^^' 
adapted to express both the ideal of the artist and the religious sentiment of his 
patrons. The great defect of the later mediaeval sculpture is that it is so often ugly 
and repulsive, even when entitled to praise for power, technical skill, or vigorous 
expression — or even for all those three qualities. The Gandharan work is rarely either 
ugly or repulsive, and that in India is no small merit. 

A Japanese author has come to the strange conclusions that ' a deeper and more Alleged 
informed study of the works of Gandhara itself will reveal a greater prominence of Chinese in- 
Chinese than of so-called Greek influence ', and that the sculptures ' follow in the main, 
so far as we know, the Hang [/. e. Han dynasty of China] style in features, drapery, 
and decoration '. No evidence is adduced in support of these bold propositions, which 
are demonstrably opposed to the facts. The two Han dynasties were comprised 
between the years 206 B.C. and 220 a.d., during which period no considerable peaceful 
intercourse between India and China is recorded, nor is there reason to believe that 
any such unrecorded intercourse worth mentioning took place. It is impossible to 
imagine how Chinese art could have influenced India at that time. Sculptures of the 
Han period are very rare, being nearly confined to two localities In the province of 
Shantung, and ascribed, some to the first century before, and others to the first century 
after Christ. The ten specimens reproduced by Dr. Bushell have not the remotest 
resemblance to the work of the Gandharan or any Indian school. How, then, can the 
sculptures of Gandhara follow the ' Han style in features, drapery, and decoration' ? 
No painting of the Han period is known to exist. The most ancient Chinese painting 
extant is the now well-known picture executed by Ku K'ai-chih in the fourth century 
and preserved in the British Museum. It does not show the slightest trace of any 
connexion with Indian art. What does Mr. Okakura mean by referring to the 'so- 
called Greek influence ' on the art of Gandhara ? Innuendo is not argument, and the 
palpable fact of the Hellenistic origin of the Gandharan sculptures, so far as their form 
and technique are concerned, is not affected by dubbing it ' so-called '. It would not 
be worth while to notice Mr. Okakura's rash assertions, but for the attention that his 
book has received in certain quarters for its attempted vindication of the claims of 
Asiatic as against European art ideals.^ 

Within the limits of India the art of Gandhara was not widely propagated. 

' Kakasu Okakura, The Ideals of Ihe East, with Iron Pillar of Delhi is a work of Asoka's time, calling 

special reference to the Art of f apart {M\iua.y, 1903), it 'the lofty iron pillar of Asoka at Delhi— strange 

pp. 78, 92. The author, with equal disregard of marvel of casting!', and further (p. 5) that Asoka's 

easily ascertainable facts, declares (p. 76) that the edicts 'dictated terms to the sovereigns of Antioch 

915 S 


Restricted Perhaps the only places where its influence can be traced clearly are Mathura, Amara- 

influence of ^^^^-^^ ^,-,j Ajanta. The Buddhas on the pillars in Cave X of Ajanta (/'6'5/, Chap. VIII, 

wUn^Indil. Sec. -,) are clearly related in type to Gandhara work. Political conditions seem to have 

been responsible to a great extent for the failure of the art of the north-western frontier 

to penetrate deeply into the interior. The Kushan empire apparently broke up in 

the time of Vasudeva I, the successor of Huvishka, and w^as followed probably by 

a time of unrecorded anarchy. The next empire, that of the Guptas, who completed 

the conquest of the Gangetic valley about the middle of the fourth century, did not 

include the Panjab, and so was separated from Gandhara by foreign territory. 

Gandhaia But outside India the Gandhara school achieved a grand success by becoming 

the parent ^j^^ parent of the Buddhist art of Eastern or Chinese Turkistan, Mongolia, China, 

of Buddhist i . . , , , , _ 

art in the Korea, and Japan. The stages of the transmission ot the style to the ta.r East have 

Far East. been clearly disclosed by the abundant discoveries of sculptures and paintings in the 

manner of Gandhara throughout Chinese Turkistan, both to the north and south 

of the Taklamakan (Gobi) Desert. Through China the imported forms of Buddhist 

art passed to Korea, and thence to Japan. Pious pilgrims, like Fa-hien and Hluen 

Tsano-, played a large part in determining the course of Buddhist art in China 

by bringing back from the Indian Holy Land multitudes of images and pictures 

which became the authoritative models for Chinese monastic artists. The Indian 

influence, it must be clearly understood, affected the art of China and Japan only 

in Its application to Buddhist uses. In other departments Chinese art, and its 

daughter In Japan, developed independently of Indian teaching. 

The pursuit of the eastern ramifications of Indian Buddhist art lies beyond the 

scope of this work, but a slight sketch In outline of the process by which the 

Gandhara style became the basis of the art devoted to the service of Buddhism 

in the Far East is an almost indispensable supplement to an account of the Gandhara 

school, and may be presented In few words. 

The pro- Communications between China and the western countries were first opened 

gress ot j^^p (;iuj-;|-,g t;he time of the Early Han Dynasty (226 b.c, to a.d. 25) ^ by means of the 

Buddhist mission of Chang-KIen, who was sent as envoy to the Oxus region, and died about 

114 B.C. That mission resulted in the establishment of regular intercourse between 

China and the Scythian powers, but did not involve contact with India. In the year 

A.D. 8 the official relations of the Chinese government with the western states came 

to an end, and when the first Han dynasty ceased to exist in a.d. 25 Chinese Influence 

in those countries had vanished. But in a.d. 73 a great general named Pan-chao 

reduced the King of Khotan to subjection, and from that date continued his victorious 

and .Alexandria '. This latter statement could hardly Jan. r904, or the same author's Painting i)i the Far 

be made by anybody who had read the edicts. The East; or Giles's An Introduction to the History of 

Iron Pillar was erected early in the fifth century after Chinese Pictorial Art (Shanghai, 1905), p. 16 and 

Christ, about six centuries and a half after Asoka's Plate. I have seen the original painting in the 

death (/. R. A. S., 1897, pp. 1-18). For the Flan Print Room of the British Museum, 

sculptures, see Bushell, Chinese Art, figures 8-17. ' Chinese dynastic dates are given according to 

For Ku-K'ai-chih's picture, see Fig. r 25 in the same Tchang, le Pere Mathias — Synchronismes chinois 

work, or Mr. Binyon's article in BurlingtonI\lagazine, (Chang-hai, 1 905). 

art east- 

SECT. Ill 



career until his death in a.d. 102, when the power of China attained its greatest 
western extension. In the last decade of the first century Pan-chao inflicted a severe 
defeat on the Kushan king of Kabul somewhere beyond the Pamirs in the Yarkand 
or Kashgar country. Most probably that king was Kanishka. After Pan-chao's death 
the Kushan king retrieved his defeat and occupied Khotan, at some time between 
A.D. 102 and 123. To th'at Indo-Scythian conquest of Khotan I would attribute 
the rapid spread of Indian languages, scripts, religion, and art in Chinese Turkistan, 
as disclosed by the discoveries of recent years. I do not mean that Indian influence 
then first began to be felt, for there is reason to believe that it crossed the passes 
more than three hundred years earlier, in the age of Asoka, but its great extension 
appears not to go back further than the first quarter of the second century of the 
Christian era, the very time when the art of Gandhara was at its best. Kanishka's 
defeat of the Chinese and conquest of Khotan afford an adequate explanation of the 
archaeological facts. Probably the Indo-Scythian occupation of Khotan did not last 
very long, but no documentary evidence on the subject has yet been discovered. 
During the third century Buddhism effected considerable progress in China, and 
from the beginning of the fifth century to the eighth a constant stream of learned 
pilgrims devoted themselves to the task of saturating Chinese Buddhism with Indian 
ideas and Indian art. Early in the seventh century Bajna and his son, Wei-tschu 
I-song, distinguished painters from Khotan, visited the Chinese court, and founded an 
Indo-Chinese school of painting. China transmitted the Indian forms of Buddhist art 
to Korea, whence they passed to Japan. That is the outline of the facts.^ During 
all the centuries mentioned there is no indication of a reflex action of Chinese 
on Indian art, the supposed Chinese influence on the Ajanta paintings a little before 
or after a.d. 600 being very doubtful. 

The fact that the prevalent existing forms of Buddhist art in the Far East 
originated in Gandhara has been fully proved in detail by Professor Grlinwedel and 
other authors, whose finding on that point is generally accepted. 


The leading authority is Toucher, A. — L'Arl 
gy^co-bouddhique du Gandhara, Paris, 1905, tome I 
(Tome II is in preparation). Other valuable works 
by the same author are : — 'Notes sur^la geographic 
ancienne du Gmdhara' {Bull, de I' Ecok frangaise 
d'Exlreme-Orunl, Hanoi, 1902); ' Les Bas-reliefs du 
Stupa de Sikri {G:\.nA\a.xA)' {Journal Asiatiqtie,i()0'^); 
and Elude sur I' Iconographie houddhique de TInde, 
Paris, 1900, 1905. The next in importance is 
Grunwedel, Prof, k.— Buddhist Art in India, 
translated by Agnes C. Gibson, revised and enlarged 
by BuKGESs, J. (Quaritch, 1901). This indispensable 

' Hirth, F. — Ueher fremde Einflusse in der chine- 
sischen Kunst (Munchen und Leipzig, 1896), p. 83. 
For art of Gandhara style in Turkistan, see Dr. 
Stein's works, and the German publications giving 

work gives a full bibliography up to the date of publi- 
cation. See also several articles in Marshall, J. — 
Annual Reports of Arch. Survey, India, from 1902-3 
to date : and other references in footnotes. Plates 
Nos. 69-154 in Burgess,]. — The Ancient Monuments, 
Temples and Sculptures 0/ India (Griggs, 1897), are 
devoted to the Gandhara school. Another good set 
of plates is in the same author's articles entitled 
'The Gandhara Sculptures' (/. Ind. Art and 
Industry, April, July, 1898; Jan. 1900), of which 
the two earlier were reprinted by Griggs in 1899. 

the results of the first German expedition to Turfan, 
as enumerated by Dr. v. Le Coq in /. R. A. S , 
1909, p. 301. 

S 2 




Section L General Observations. 

Subject of In Chapter IV our attention was confined to the proHfic Hellenistic school of 

this chapter, sculpture which flourished during the first three centuries of the Christian era in the 
regions of the north-western frontier constituting the home provinces of the Kushan 
empire, and known by the name of Gandhara.^ In this chapter we propose to study 
certain schools of sculpture, partially contemporary with the Gandhara school, and to 
some extent related to it, but distinct in style, and located in interior India. 
The Kushan As I have occasion to observe more than once, the chronology of the Kushan 

ynast). dynasty is still unsettled, and decisive proof is lacking for any one of the many rival 
theories on the subject. Six sovereigns of the dynasty are of importance for the 
history of India and of Indian art. The first two are most conveniently cited as Kad- 
phises I and II. The next four kings, Kanishka, Vasishka, Huvishka, and Vasudeva I, 
certainly reigned in that order for a century in round numbers.- As a working 
hypothesis I revert to Professor Oldenberg's old theory, and assume that Kanishka 
came to the throne in a.d. 78. Thus the first and second centuries after Christ are 
approximately filled by the rule of the leading kings of the dynasty, the name of 
which may be given to the period up to about a. d. 300, because the next principal 
dynasty, the Gupta, did not begin until a. d. 320. The sculpture at Amaravati, 
although in a southern locality, is closely related to that of the north, and may be 
conveniently treated under a classification based on the reigns of a northern dynasty. 
From the far south we have no certain sculpture of the period, and there is little, if 
any, in Ceylon which can be assigned to it. I have doubtfully inserted the Jain 
images from the Cuddapah District, Madras, in this chapter. 
Three The art of the sculptors of the Kushan period, as thus defined, may be sufficiendy 

localitL illustrated by study of the remains in three notable localities, namely Mathura (Muttra) 
on the Jumna, Sarnath, near Benares, and Amaravati on the bank of the Krishna 
(Kistna) river, in the Guntur District, Madras. Of course, contemporary sculptures 
occur elsewhere, but it is not necessary for the purposes of this history to consider 
the remains in minor localities. 

' The name is written Kmhaiia in the Kharoshthi dated in 24th year (Mathura Museum, Q 13, Catal, 

script, which ordinarily does not mark long vowels ; p. i8g). In India the reigns of Kanishka, Vasishka, 

but the long a is justified by Chinese transcriptions and Huvishka overlap. Probably Vasishka reigned 

and the legends of certain Sassanian coins. in India only, and Huvishka succeeded to the whole 

2 Inscribed pillar of Maharaja Shahi Vasishka empire on Kanishka's death about a.d. 123. 


In the early centuries of the Christian era Mathura on the Jumna (27° 30' N., Mathura. 
77° 41' E.), a city of immemorial antiquity, and prosperous to this day in spite of 
many disasters, was sacred in the eyes of the adherents of all the three indigenous 
Indian religions— Jainism, Buddhism, and Brahmanical Hinduism. The abundant 
supply of excellent red sandstone at Rupbas and other quarries in the neighbourhood 
favoured the development of an active school of sculptors, whose workshops supplied 
all parts of Northern India with idols, much as Jaipur does now. The craftsmen, of 
course, were prepared to supply whatever was wanted by their patrons of any religion. 
The character of the local stone is so distinct that the products of the Mathura studios 
are easily recognized wherever they may be found. Wealthy worshippers did not 
hesitate to undertake the cost of transporting heavy, even colossal, statues for 
hundreds of miles. For instance, unmistakable Mathura images of larfe size occur at 
Sarnath, some four hundred miles distant. 

Geographically Mathura occupies a central position intermediate between 
Gandhara to the north-west, AmaravatI to the south-east, and Sarnath to the east. 
It is therefore not surprising that the local school of art should display intermediate 
characters, linking it on the one hand with the Hellenistic art of Gandhara, and on 
the other with the more purely Indian schools of the interior. At one time I believed 
the Hellenizing sculptures of Mathura to be earlier than those of Gandhara, but that 
view has been proved to be erroneous. The Mathura sculptors continued to turn 
out creditable work during the Gupta period, as will appear in the next chapter. 

Sarnath, like Mathura, was holy ground to the Jains as well as the Buddhists. Sainaih. 
The richly adorned buildings of both religions, crowded with sculpture, were involved 
in common ruin by the violence of the fierce hosts of Islam at the close of the twelfth 
century. The Brahmanical Hindus lavished their devotion on the neighbouring city 
of Benares, and shared the misfortunes of their rivals. The sculptors of Sarnath 
ordinarily used the excellent pale sandstone from the quarries of Chanar (Chunar) in 
the Mirzapur District, which had supplied the blocks for Asoka's pillars. But, as 
already observed, wealthy donors sometimes preferred to import red sandstone images 
from Mathura. During^the last few years much progress has been made in unearthing 
the buried treasures of Sarnath, but much more remains to be found. 

Far away to the east of south the ruins of a vanished Buddhist stupa at Amara- AmaravatI. 
vati (16° 35' N,, 80° 24' E.) have furnished a multitude of marble sculptures in relief, 
certainly assignable to the Kushan age, and of such excellence that competent cri.tics 
have held them to mark the culminating point of Indian art. Their style connects 
them in certain respects with both Mathura and Gandhara. While Indian elements 
predominate, traces of Hellenistic or Western Asiatic influence may be recognized 
without difficulty. 

I now proceed to discuss characteristic examples of the three chief localities. 


and the 

ian' images. 

Section H. i\L\THURA and Sarnath. 

The most distinctly Hellenistic sculpture from Mathura is the mutilated group, 
2 feet s inches high, known as ' Herakles (Hercules) and the Nemean lion ', discovered 
by Cunningham serving a lowly purpose as the side of a cattle-trough, and now in the 
Indian Museum, Calcutta (Fig. 79). 

The hero grasps the beast with his left arm, and presumably threatened it with 
a club in the missing right hand. He is nude, except for a skin hung behind his 
back, and fastened by the paws round his neck. He is fairly well modelled in a way 

that suggests Greek reminiscences, but the lion, so far as can 
be seen, is a poor, feeble creature. 

The only other Lidian Avork of art resembling this 
group is a corroded bronze or copper statuette, 2i feet high, 
treating of the same subject, which was discovered in 
a mound at Ouetta in Baluchistan. 

The motive is of great antiquity, going back to 
Assyrian art, which represented Gistubar, the ' Assyrian 
Hercules', clubbing and strangling a lion in the same way. 
India, however, probably borrowed the idea from some 
Hellenistic work of Asia Minor. The Mathura group was 
believed by Sir A. Cunningham, whose skilled judgement 
on the point may be accepted, to date from the time of 
either Kanishka or Huvishka. But his notion that the 
sculpture might have been executed on behalf of a hypo- 
thetical Greek colony at Mathura may be dismissed as 
fanciful, although at present it is not possible to explain 
the meaning of the group from an Indian point of view. 
The popular Buddhism of Mathura indulged in some queer 
manifestations, and most likely the composition should be classed as Buddhist. The 
Indian version of the story called by the Greeks the struggle of Herakles with the 
Nemean lion may turn up somewhere.'' 

Certain groups and statuettes from Mathura or the neighbourhood, all dealing 
with strong drink and intoxication, which may be classed together as ' Bacchanalian', 
have excited much interest and discussion, in spite of which their interpretation is still 
far from clear. The supposed Greek character of the composition first discovered 
was much exaggerated by the early commentators, and some of the connected 
sculptures have nothing Hellenistic about them. All of them, like the Gandhara 

Fig. 7g. Ilerakles and the 

Nemean lion, from Mathura. 

(Photo. 8.^2, I. M. IJsl.) 

' The I\Iathura group is M. 17 in Indian Museum, 
Calcutta : Anderson, Catal., Part I, p. 1 90 ; Cunning- 
ham, A. S. Rip., vol. xvii, p. 139, PI. XXX. For 
the ' Assyrian Hercules ' see Bonomi, Nineveh and 
its Palaces, 2nd ed., p. 136, Fig. 36 ; Maspdro, 
Ancient Egypt and Assyria, transl. Morton (London, 

1892), p. 302, Fig. 152. The Quelta statuette is 
described xnJ.A.S. B., Part I, vol. Ivi, p. 163, PI. X; 
and vol. Iviii (1889), p. 141. It seems to be more 
ancient than the Mathura group, and the treatment 

Plate XXXI. Bacchanalian scene ; front group of the Stacy block, Mathura. 
(/. A. S. B., xliv, PI. XII, Group i.) 

» » » 


figures, demand explanation as representations of Indian, not Greek subjects, even 
thougli certain details maj' be foreign. 
The Stacy The block discovered in 1836 by Colonel Stacy, somewhere at Mathura, and 

'Silenus'. ^Qyj marked M. i in the Indian Museum, Calcutta, was at first supposed to represent 
Silenus, and so became known as the ' Stacy Silenus '. But everybody now acknow- 
ledges that the subject is Indian, although the sculptor was influenced by the Silenus 
model. The stone is 3 feet 8 inches high, 3 feet broad, and i foot 4 inches thick, 
with a circular basin on the top 16 inches in diameter and 8 in depth, seemingly 
intended to serve as the socket for a column. Both this block and its replica, to be 
described presently, w-ere carved on back as well as front, and were evidently designed 
to be viewed from both directions. Apparently they were the bases of columns, which 
may have stood at an entrance, or entrances, the proper position for Yakshas. But 
the difference of dimensions suggests that the two blocks may have belonged to 
distinct buildings. 

The front group (Plate XXXI) comprises four persons in two pairs, each con- 
sisting of a man and woman standing under an asoka tree in flower. The stout man 
on the right has his left arm round the waist of his female companion, who holds his 
right hand in hers, thus giving him the support rendered necessary by his intoxicated 
condition, due to the liquor, pots of which stand on the ground. The couple on the 
left stand facing, in attitudes apparently indifferent, but their countenances have been 
destroyed, so that their expression is lost. Traces of chaplets may be discerned on 
the heads of all. 

The reeling man wears nothing except a pair of short bathing-drawers, and a scarf 
or cloak (? chlamys) hanging behind his back and fastened round his neck by a knot. 
The slighter and perfectly sober man on the left is decently dressed in long drawers 
extending to his ankles, and a close-fitting tunic reaching below his knees. Both of 
the women are clad in a short tunic coming down a little below the waist, and possibly 
also m a long skirt. Each holds a piece of loose drapery across her legs. The woman 
on the left has it thrown over her left arm in the fashion adopted by some of the 
Gandhara Bodhisattvas. Both women are adorned with heavy Indian anklets, armlets, 
and collars. 

The reverse group, much mutilated, comprises five figures, of whom the principal 
is a fat elderly man sitting on a stone seat with his left leg tucked up, and so drunk 
that he has to be supported on his left side by a man and a boy, and on his right by 
a woman dressed like the females in the front group. The drunkard does not wear 
drawers like the merry fellow in that composition, but has a waistcloth loosely 
fastened. In style both reliefs are similar, the modelling being life-like, and the 
action clearly expressed. 

Ki,g,.^^'^ ' T he companion block of nearly the same dimensions, but somewhat larger, was 

block' discovered many years later by the late Mr. F. S. Growse at Pall Khera, a suburb 

of modern Mathura included within the limits of the ancient city. The reverse group, 

exhibiting the effects of deep potations, being almost identical with the reverse of the 

Stacy block, need not be further described. The front group, however, differs from 




its companion. Five figures under an asoka tree again appear. The principal is 
a fat man, seemingly nude, seated on a low stool made of stones laid in courses, 
with his left leg tucked up. The stone seat apparently is intended as a symbol of 
Mount Kailas, the abode of Kuvera. He is drinking from a noggin, apparently of 
wood, which a male attendant is ready to replenish. The proceedings are watched 
by another man, a woman, and a small boy (Fig. 80). 

Two other Bacchanalian groups, found among the sculptures in the Mathura Bacchana- 
Museum by Dr. Vogel and described by him, throw welcome light upon the date and " " 
meaning of the earlier discoveries described above. One of these groups, i foot 
2 inches high (Fig. 81), represents a corpulent, coarse-looking man, apparently nude, 

lian Kuvera. 

Fig. 80. Pall Khera block, front group. 
(Photo. 227, I. M. List: Mathura Museum, C. 2, Catal., p. 83, PI. XIII.) 

squatted, and holding in his right hand a cup, which a female attendant is about to fill 
from a jar. His left hand grasps a long object, presumed to be a money-bag. This 
last attribute and the physique of the obese drinker permit of little doubt that the 
personage represented is Kuvera, the god of riches, whose podgy form has become 
familiar from the many images collected of late years in connexion with Buddhist 
monasteries from the Panjab to Ceylon. Kuvera (also called Vaisravana and Jambhala) 
was king of the Yaksha demi-gods or sprites, and forms of his effigy are closely related 
to certain images from Gandhara, such as Fig. i in PI. XI of The Gandhara Sculptitres. 
Dr. Vogel probably is right in associating all the Bacchanalian sculptures of Mathura 
with Yaksha worship.^ But the exact meaning of the Stacy and Pali Khera reliefs is 
' 'Etudes de Sculpture bouddhique' {Bull, de Mathura School of Sculpture,' pp. 137-60. The 

r Ecole/ran(aised' Exireme Or., i.\m {igo?>),'i>lo5. 2, second group in the Mathura Museum differs little 

4, Fig. 2); A?in. Hep. A. S., India, 1906-7, 'The from the one figured. 

915 T 


far from clear. Whatever it may be, those sculptures have considerable merits as 

■works ot art. 
Statuette of Mr. Growse published a Mathura statuette in his collection, 2 feet 8 inches in 

th drink- i^gjgi-,^ representing a pot-bellied youth with both hands raised, the right holding 

a bunch of grapes and the left grasping a goblet of calabash shape (Fig. 82). 
Naga youth The same scholar also published a mutilated statue, 3 feet i inch high, lying at 

drinking. Kukargrama in the Saadabad pargana of the Mathura District (Fig. 83) — a singularly 

f^raceful figure of a Naga youth with a canopy of seven cobra heads, holding his right 


Fig. 81. Bacchanalian image, ? Kuvera, from Huvishka's monaster}', Jamalpur mound. 
(A. S. photo., No. 33 : Mathura Museum, C. 5, Catal, p. 85.) 

hand above his head, while his left grasps a cup similar in shape to that seen on 
the Pali Khera block, but apparendy without the curved handle. A garland of wild 
flowers is twined round his body, and he wears a high head-dress of ancient pattern. 
The pose of the youth is essentially the same as that of the female in the Woman 
and Tree motive, the garland taking the place of the stem of the tree. The worship 
of the Nagas, the spirits of the waters, was much favoured by the ancient inhabitants 
of the Mathura region. 
Naga statue. The drinking Naga is related to another fine life-size statue of a Naga water- 

sprite from Chhargaon, near Mathura, now in the Mathura Museum, the approximate 


mathurA and SARNATH 


date of which is fixed by an inscription on the back, recorded in the fortieth year 
during the reign of Huvishka. According to the chronology provisionally adopted in 
this work, the statue (Fig. 84), which is 5 feet high, may be ascribed to the year a. d. 
117 or 118. The modelling is good. The arrangement of the waistcloth in a twisted 
roll is found in other cases. The broken left hand probably held a cup.^ 

These so-called ' BaccTianalian ' sculptures of Mathura cannot be at all under- 
stood if considered by themselves. They evidently belong to a large class of Buddhist 
works of art, represented by the 'scenes bacchiques ' of Gandhara, which fill two 
plates of M. Foucher's book,'^ several reliefs on railing pillars at Mathura, the ' Indian 

' Bacchana- 
lian ' Budd- 

Fig. 82. Bacchanalian statuette. ^ 

(/. A. S. B., Part I, vol. xliv, PL XIV, 2 : 
Mathura Museum, C. 6, Catal, p. 87.) Fig. 83. Bacchanalian Naga, from Kukargiama. 

(/. A. S. B., Part I, vol. xliv, PI. XIV, i : 
Mathura Museum, C. 15, Cnlal., p. 90.) 

Bacchus' of the Tank silver dish {post, Chap. X, Sec. 5), and the festive scenes 
depicted in the Aurangabad and Bagh Caves. All such works appear to be expressive, 
as Mr. Growse suggested, of a little understood sensual form of popular Buddhism, not 
indicated by literature until a time seemingly much later than the second century. But 
when the true history of Indian Buddhism comes to be written it must be based on 
the evidence of the sculptures and pictures as much as on the books. M. Roller's 
question, addressed to Christian ecclesiastical archaeologists with reference to the art 
of the Catacombs, may be repeated to Indianists : ' La pierre ne servirait-elle pas 
a controler le manuscrit ? ' " 

' Vogel in Prog. Rep. A. S., N. Circle, 1907-8, 
p. 38; /• ^- A. S., 1910, p. 1313 note. 

* Yo\ic!niiX, L' Art gre'co-bouddhique du Gandhara, 
Figs. 127-33-^. 

' Les Catacombes de Rome (1881), Preface, p. ii. 

T 2 


on railiiiKS. 

The excavations at Mathura have yielded numerous specimens of pillars of stone 
railino's associated with siilpas, both Jain and Buddhist. Most of the Buddhist ones 
were, I think, found on the site of Huvishka's monastery in the Old Jail or Jamalpur 
mound, now entirely removed. The Jain specimens came from the Kankali mound, 
which included the remains of an early siilpa and two temples belonging to the Jains. 
The pillars have high-relief statuettes, usually of females, on the front, and other 

Fig. 84. Naga stalue, with inscription of Huvishka's 

reign, from Chhargaon. 
(A. S. photo., No. 47 : ^lathura 3Iuseum, C. 13, 
Cahi/., p. 88.) 

Fig. 85. Yakshi on dwarf; Mathura 
(A. S. photo., No. 47, 1908-9.) 

panelled scenes, one above the other, or floral patterns on the back. The style of 
art is much the same, whether the work was intended for Jain or Buddhist use. 

The rather immodest females adorning many of the pillars were supposed by 
Cunningham to be dancing-girls, an opinion certainly erroneous. They appear rather, 
as argued by Dr. Vogel, to belong to the Yakshi class, like the somewhat siinilar 
figures of the Bharhut rail [ante, p. 74). Some of the figures are really meant to be 
naked, but in others the apparent nudity is merely an artistic convention. The female 




Fig. 86. Two Yakshls (?) ; Indian Museum. 
(Photo. 835, I. M. List) 

Fig. 87. Female, half-back view; 

Mathura Museum. 

(A. S. photo,, No. 47, 1908-9.) 

Fig. 88. Female with right arm bent ; 

Mathura Museum. 

(Photo., No. 47. A. S.) 

Fig. 89. Female with right leg 

bent ; Mathura Museum. 

(Photo., No. 47, A. S.) 


Sundr_v ex- 

is frequently posed in what I call the Woman and Tree arrangement. A few examples 
may be given. RLmy more have been published by Cunningham and other authors. 

Fig. 85 represents a variant of the common Woman and Tree motive. The 
female stands on a prostrate dwarf, a male Yaksha. The pose, as in many other 
cases, is easy and graceful. Here the lady is draped. 

A sculpture in Calcutta shows two females together, unmistakably nude, but for 
the bead girdle (Fig. 86). 

A pillar in the Mathura Museum (Fig. 8j) presents a half-back view of a female 
with singular want of success. The difficulties of the pose seem to have been too 
much for the sculptor. 

Fig. 90. Female and child ; Mathura 


(Photo., No. 47, A. S.) 

Fig. 92. Lion and rider; Indian Museum. 
(Photo. 844, I. M. Lis/.) 

Fig. 91. A soldier; Mathura Museum. 
(Photo., No. 47, A. S.) 

The unusual attitudes shown in Figs. 88 and 89 are treated much more skilfully. 

A child is introduced into Fig. 90. 

The male figure, seemingly of a soldier, in Fig. 91 is quite exceptional and 
effectively designed. 

A well-executed sculpture in the Indian Museum (Fig. 92) represents a youth 
riding a conventional lion, and may be of earlier date. 

Dr. Vogel describes a mutilated statue (height 3 feet 10 inches or i m. 17) of 
a male deity standing with his left hand resting on his hip (Mathura Museum, E. 12, 
Catai, p. 108), which evidently had three heads, of which that on the proper right 


has been lost. The style indicates that the image belongs to the Kushan period 
It IS ot interest as the only polycephalic image which can be attributed to that epoch ' 
Another sculpture in the Mathura Museum (J. 7, Catal., p. 143 p] XXII) 2 feet 
1\ mches high, described by the same author, seems to date ' from the iime of 
Kanishka. The subject of the alto-rilievo, which is on the front of a railing pillar is 
' a male figure of Faun-like appearance with elaborate turban, necklace of beads and 
other ornaments. He is standing under a mango-tree in blossom, with his right hand 
raised to his lips, and with his left placed against his thigh.' This is a very artistic 
and well-modelled composition. 

Fig. 93. A Bodhisattva, from the Katra ; Mathura Museum. 

(A. S. photo., No. 37 of 1908-9 : Mathura Museum, A. i, Catal.. 

p. 47, PI- VII.) 

Fig. 94. Bodhisattva from 

(Photo. 843, I. M. List) 

A seated Bodhisattva (Fig. 93) in the Mathura Museum, bearing a dedicatory A Bodhi- 
inscription, ' for the welfare and happiness of all beings,' incised in script not later than sattva. 
the first or second century after Christ, is of special interest as exhibiting at that early 
date the saint seated in the traditional ji'^^f attittide, which became general subsequently, 
and with his right shoulder bare. But for the inscription the principal figure might well 
be supposed to be of much later date. His drapery is excessively formal in its folds. 
The attendant figures are more ancient in appearance and well modelled. The simple 
foliage decoration is in good taste, and the flying spirits above are fairly successful. 
' Palaeographical evidence,' Dr. Vogel observes, ' points to the sculpture belonging to 


Relief of 
Jain slupa. 



the early Kushana period. It is, with the Buddha image of Anyor (No. A 2), the 
oldest image of Sakyamuni of which the date can approximately be fixed by an 
inscription, and must be one of the first Buddhist images made in Mathura. On 
account of its artistic merit and excellent preservation also, 
this Bodhisattva is one of the most remarkable sculptures pre- 
served in the Museum.' It is called a Bodhisattva in the in- 
scription, and must represent Gautama Sakyamuni before he 
became a Buddha, because the tree shown over the image is 
'^\(t plpal {Fiais reliowsa), the tree of Gautama. 

A Bodhisattva in the Indian Museum, Calcutta (Fig. 94), is 
a good sample of the more usual Mathura type of the Buddhist 
saint, akin to the ' royal personages ' of Gandhara art, and very 
different in spirit from the seated image. It is almost a dupli- 
cate of an image found at Sarnath.-^ No attempt is made to 
idealize the human form, which is treated naturalistically and 
without exao"creration. 

A 'tablet of homage' (Plate XXXII), with a relief sculpture 
of a Jain shlpa (2 feet 4 inches high, i foot gf in. wide), now in the 
Mathura Museum, was found embedded in a wall near the Holi 
gate, but is said to have come from a field near the village 
of MaholT. It was dedicated by a certain courtesan named 
Lonasobhika to the Arahat Vardhamana or Mahavira, and 
gives a good picture of an ancient Jain shlpa, which was con- 
structed and decorated on exactly the same lines as the Buddhist 
editices of a similar kind. In this case the building depicted 
stood on a high plinth, and was approached by nine steps, 
leading to a torana gateway of the Sanchi type, with a garland 
hanging from it. The stupa was surrounded by a plain railini^, 
and two similar railings were carried round the drum. The 
posturing females are unmistakably nude. The side columns 
are modified Persepolitan of poor design. The script of the 
inscription is of about the first century y,.c? 

One example of the nude female, or Yakshi, on the 
pillar of an actual Jain railing, may be given (Fig. 95). She 
holds a weapon, which may be a broadsword of the old Indian 

A draped bracket figure for the side of a torana (Fig. 96) may be compared with 
the similar, but superior, figure at Sanchi {ante. Fig. 46). 

The cleverly drawn and executed bas-reliefs on the medallions of railing bars, 
probably Jain, representing animals, real or mythical, and other objects, may be com- 





Fig. 95. Nude female on 
Jain railing pillar, Mathura. 
{Jain Stupa,V\. LXII, front,) 

' Ann. R,p. A. S., India, 1904-5, PI. XXVI c. 

^ Some of the details in/,/;/ S/u/.a, p. 61, based on Mr. Mukharji's information, are erroneous. 

Plate XXXII. Tablet with relief sculpture of a Jain stupa. 
(Mathuia Museum, Q. 2, Calal., p. 184, PI. V. A. S. photo., No. 35 of 1908-9 = PI. CIII o{ Jain Stupa.) 


at Sarnath. 

pared with the more or less similar designs at Bharhut, Sanchi, and Bodh-Gaya {anle, 

Chap. III). Four specimens will suffice (Figs. 97-100). 

Other decorative motives are illustrated and discussed in Chapter XL 

More than forty years ago Cunningham formed the opinion that it would not be 

advisable to undertake any further excavations at Sarnath.^ But happily the opinion 

Fig. 96. Draped bracket figure. 
{/am Stupa, PL XXXV, front.) 

f ^!|'''i|!!'t|!ii!ili| 

Fig. 97. Fish-tailed elephant. 
{Jain Stupa, PI. LXXIII, i.) 

expressed by so high an authority has not deterred Mr. Oertel and Mr. Marshall 
from fruitful explorations, which have proved the superficial character of the earlier 
researches, and have revealed an astonishing wealth of sculptures extending from the 
age of Asoka to the twelfth century. During that long period of aboirt fourteen 

' A. S. Rep. \. 129. 


centuries, Sarnath, the scene of the first preaching of the Law, continued to be 
regarded by Buddhists as one of the four most sacred spots in the world and to be 
visited by myriads of pilgrims. Pious kings and monks lavished their wealth and 
devotion on the adornment of the numerous buildings which sprang up on the holy 

Fig. 98. Bull. 
{Jain Stupa, PI. LXXV, 3, front.) 

Fig. 99. Shell. 
{Jain Stiipa, PI. LXXI, 7. 

Fig. 100. Modified vine-leaf. 
{Jain Sapa, PI. LXXI, 3.) 

ground, and from age to age renewed or replaced the monuments fallen to decay. 
When the armies of the idol-hating Muslims sacked Benares in the closing years of 
the twelfth century, the rich and splendid establishments at Sarnath were ruthlessly 
burnt and reduced to irretrievable ruin. But in these latter days the pick of the 
patient excavator has brought to light the remains of the ancient monasteries, temples, 

u 2 

sattvas and 


and statuary in such abundance that the history of Indian sculpture from Asoka to 
the Muhammadan conquest might be ilhistrated with fair completeness from the finds 
at Sarnath alone. 

The discoveries include many works of art dating from the Kushan period, 
all e.xecutcd in sandstone, generally of the Chanar kind, but often of the red variety 
imported from IMathura and Avrought in the st)le favoured by the sculptors of that 
city. Several statues of Bodhisattvas, executed in the round on a large scale, are 
almost identical with the Mathura specimen reproduced above (Fig. 94), and one of 
these is dated in the third year of the reign of Kanishka, which may be regarded 
provisionally as equivalent to a. d. 80. The Kushan age of such works is thus 
definitel)- determined. Halos, when present, are plain, not highly decorated as in the 
Gupta period. 

A finely executed bas-relief, which once decorated a doorway and exhibits 
artistic lotus and vine patterns, besides a picture of an elephant worshipping a sifipa, 
is quite in the Mathura style, and may be assigned with some confidence to the first 
century of the Christian era.^ The style of the Sarnath works is so closely related to 
that of Mathura that illustrations may be dispensed with. 

.Section HL AmaravatI. 

The sculptures from the stupa of AmaravatI and its surrounding railing or screen 
sculptures of marble may claim the distinction of being the best known specimens of early Indian 
•no\Mi. ^^^ j^,^ visitor to the British Museum, however indifferent to Indian curiosities, can 
help seeing the spoils of the slflpa and railing displayed on the walls of the grand 
staircase, and everybody at all interested in Indian antiquities is more or less familiar 
with Fergusson's Tree and Serpent Worship and other works treating of the sculptures. 
Objects so comparatively hackneyed and familiar do not call for prolonged discussion 
or extensive illustration in this volume. 
Desiruction The small town of AmaravatI (i6°35'N., 80'24'E.) on the south bank of the 

of tlie j/;//'!?. Ki-Jshna (Kistna) river, in the Guntur District, Madras, represents a more important 
ancient city called Dharanikota, a place of considerable note from at least 200 "B.C. 
A richh' decorated slfipa, known to have been in good repair and still venerated in 
the twelfth century, continued to exist to the south of the town up to the close of the. 
eighteenth or the beginning of the nineteenth century, when it was utterly destroyed 
by a greedy local landholder, eager to obtain cheap building material and convinced 
that marble slabs, plain or carved, formed excellent food for a lime-kiln. About 
a centur)' ago Colonel Mackenzie visited the place and had drawings made of 
numerous slabs, now no longer in existence. Various archaeological explorers have 
salved remnants of the sculptures, which are now mostly housed in either the British 
Museum or the Central Museum, Madras. Our knowledge of the extraordinary 
richness of the decoration of the stfpa and its railing is derived from the poor 

' Forthese sculptures see 'Plxcavationsai Sarnath,' illustrations, especially PI. XXVI a, and XXVII, and 

Anil. Rep. A. S., India, pp. 59-104, with numerous text illustration. Fig. 12. 


Plate XXXIII. Slab with represenlation of a stiipa, &c., from the base of the great sfi'ipn, Amaravaii. 

(Photo. 743, I- O. Lis/.) 


remnants thus rescued and Colonel Mackenzie's drawings, which have been published 
fully by INIr. Fergusson and Dr. Burgess. 

])ate of the The slupa in its earliest form was of high antiquity, dating, as inscriptions prove 

principal from about 200 B.C., and some fragments of sculpture perhaps as old still survive. 
But the great mass ot the sculpture is much later, and belongs to the Kushan period. 
The authority of the Kushan kings, however, did not extend as far south as Amara- 
vatl, which was then within the dominions of the powerful Andhra dynasty of tlie 
Deccan. By the help of two inscriptions mentioning Andhra kings, the testimony of 
Taranath the historian of Buddhism, and other evidence of various kinds, the con- 
struction of the great railing may be assigned to the half-century between 150 and 
200 after Christ. The highly ornate slabs which cased the stilpa itself may be a little 
later. We are almost certainly safe in saying that all the sculptures of the railino- 
and casing fall within the hundred years between a.d. 150 and 250. Until quite 
recently ever) body believed that there used to be two railings, and all the printed 
descriptions give details of an 'outer' and an 'inner' railing. But Dr. Burgess now 
states that he and everybody else were mistaken, the fact being that no more than 
one railing, the so-called ' outer ' one, ever existed. The slabs supposed to have 
belonged to an ' inner ' railing really formed a casing applied to the body of the stfipa} 

The railing. 1 he railing, by far the most magnificent known example of such structures, was 

192 feet in diameter, about 600 in circumference, and stood 13 or 14 feet hio-h above 
the pavement. It was constructed of upright slabs connected by three cross-bars 
between each pair of uprights, which stood upon a plinth and supported a coping 
about 2 feet 9 inches in height. On the outer face each upright was adorned with 
a full disk in the centre and a half-disk at top and bottom, minor sculptures fillino- 
the interspaces (Fig. 102). Similar but ever-varying disks decorated the cross-bars, 
and the coping was ornamented with a long wavy flower-roll carried by men, numerous 
figures being inserted in the open spaces (Fig. 103). The plinth exhibited a frieze of 
animals and boys, often in comic or ludicrous attitudes. The decorations on the 
inner face were even more elaborate ; the coping presenting a continued series of bas- 
reliefs, and the central disks being filled with delicate sculptures, treating every topic of 
Buddhist legend. Thus every part of the structure, with a surface of about 16,800 
square feet (600 x 2 x 14), was covered with sculptured reliefs. 

The casing. The slabs forming the casing of the lower part of the shUa, 162^ feet in diameter, 
were carved more richly even than the inner face of the railing, if that be possible. 
Apparently there were twelve in each quadrant, the principal object depicted on each 
slab being a highly decorated stiipa with its railing, the rest of the surface being 
covered with an infinite variety of sculptures. Study of Plate XXXHL reproducing 
the best preserved of such slabs, will dispense with the necessity for detailed description, 
and at the same time give a good notion of what the appearance of the Amaravati 
stnpa must have been in the days of its glory. When fresh and perfect the structure 
must have produced an effect unrivalled in the world. However much severe taste 

' Feigusson, Hut. of Ltd. and E. Archil., 2nd ed. (1910), vol. i, p. 119. 

SECT. Ill 



may condemn the characteristic Indian lavishness of decoration which scorned to 
leave an inch of plain surface, the vast expanse of sculpture in white marble gleaming 
in the brilliant sunshine of India by day, or the light of myriads of lamps fixed on the 
surface of the dome by night, cannot have failed to exhibit a scene of unequalled 

While abstaining from mtnute description of Plate XXXIII, which serves as a 
synopsis of the sculptures generally, I may invite the attention of the reader to a few 
points. In the relief picture the sculptured decoration is carried high up the dome, but 
the extant slabs seem to have been attached only to the lower part of the Amaravati 


Fig. ioi. Slab wiih representation of a stupa, from votive siupix, Amaravati. 
(.'\. S., Madras, photo.) 

sifipa. It is possible that higher bands of decoration may have existed and been 
wholly destroyed. The railing in the relief has four cross-bars, and iiot only three 
as in the real monument. The ' moonstone ' at the entrance agrees in form, though 
not in design, with the Ceylonese examples. The lions and some of the architectural 
forms are survivals of the Assyrio- Persian patterns of the Asokan age. The meaning 
of the five stelae or pilasters on the face of the siiipa is not known. The worshippers 
in the central scene adoring the chair occupied only by an object which may be 
a turban, might have appeared in a Sanchi or Bharhut relief, where images of Buddha 
are unknown ; but here, at the top of the picture, we also find Buddha seated in the 
conventional yogi attitude. The flying figures are not quite successful, having too 
much the appearance of resting upon solid support. The frieze at the top of the 


slab contains nearly fifty figures, and the general effect, like that of nearly all the 
reliefs, is marred by excessive elaboration. But the skill of the artist in design and 

drawing, and his technical powe 

rs of execution, are beyond dispute. 



| jy«^jB »y-.- 


7; ;^^''.-A~^.::t\.. 

Img. 102. Basal medallion on pillar of rail, with plinth. 
(I. O., photo.) 

A votive 

Fig. 103. Undulating roll motive on coping of rail, AmaravatT. 
(Photo. 774, I. O. List) 

Buddhists consider the multiplication of slfipas in any material to be a work of 
high merit, and accordingly the ancient Indian worshippers were in the habit of 

SECT. Ill 




erecting in the precincts of sacred spots multitudes of minor s^nj>as, ranging in size 
from considerable masonry buildings to tiny models. The drum of such a votive 
sh'tj>a, eleven feet in diameter, was disclosed at AmaravatI by recent supplementary 
excavations, and a panel of its decoration is reproduced in Fig. 
loi. It will be observed that sundry details differ from those on 
the larger slab from the great sifip:i and that the carving is slightly 
less crowded. The standing man and woman at the base are 
natural and well executed. The lions, as usual at AmaravatI, 
are stiffly and conventionally designed. The whole composition, 
regarded as a display of skilled craftsmanship rather than as fine 
art, deserves high praise.' 

The infinite variety of the patterns used in the medallions Medallions. 
and bars may be realized by study either of actual examples or 
of the relief pictures. Fig. 102 is an excellent and well-preserved 
example of a charming decorative design based on the lotus-flower 
motive. The beauty and delicacy of the floral devices in the 
border and plinth deserve special notice and admiration. They 
will repay minute examination with a magnifying glass. 

Fig. 103 gives a characteristic specimen of the AmaravatI Undulating 
treatment of the wavy garland or roll motive. The Hellenistic ^'l^'^ 
nude Erotes have developed into full-grown Indian men in waist- 
cloths, and the imbricated Roman roll of Gandhara is replaced by 
a much thicker roll of tinsel covered with elaborate patterns. 

The pilaster shown in Fig. 104 is another of the recent dis- Pilaster, 
coveries. It exhibits the old worship of symbols combined with 
the seated image of Buddha, as in the slab already described. 
Buddha, who has both shoulders covered, is seated in the yooF 
posture, which, as we have seen {au/e. Fig, 93), was already 
adopted at Mathura at about the same date, probably not later 
than the middle of the second century after Christ. The four- 
petalled flower often occurs in Gandharan art, and in Khotan, and 
is still a traditional pattern in Western Tibet. The horse's head 
is good. I cannot identify the legend. 

The treatment of floral and animal decorative motives has Decorative 
been illustrated above by photographs on a small scale. Three motives. 
specimens may be added from Rlr, Rea's drawings on a larger 
scale, which have not been published except in his book (Figs. 

A few separate images have been found at AmaravatI. Two large marble Buddhas. 
statues, 6 feet 4 inches in height, discovered during the recent supplemental excava- 
tions, are illustrated in Fig. 108. The opaque drapery is treated in a formalized 

Fig. 104. Pilaster, 

(Photo, of Madras 
A. S.) 

' Ann. Hep. A. S., India, 1905-6, PI. LI, LII. 


style, quite difterent from the smooth transparent robes of the Gupta period, to be 
discussed in the next chapter, but to a certain extent resembling Gandhara work, and 

Fig. 105. Lotus forms. 
(Rea, S. hid. Buddhist Anhq., PI. XLII, 2.) 

'in )j)Ji}n))) ))iu)))i)i)^j y.)) llTT):rM±iUJJ±iJJJJ. 

l^.^±i ^•' u n' j K ) nXuiuDUlJ 

Fig. 106. Lotus and makara. 
(Ibid, PI. XLIII, I.) 

Fig. 107. A pond. 
(Ibid., PI. XLVII, I.) 

the paintings on the columns in Cave X, Ajanta. These images may date from the 
third or fourth century. 

SECT, in 



Fergusson's opinion tliat the sculptures of tlie AmaravatI school mark ' the Criticism. 
culmination of the art of sculpture in India', which was generally accepted until recently 
by English writers, including myself, does not now command such ready assent. 
I will not presume to say which work marks the ' culminating point ', but it is certainly 
safe to affirm that the pre-eminence claimed for the 
AmaravatI reliefs may be effectively challenged by 
compositions of later date, at least in some respects. 
All critics, however, can agree with Mr. Havell that 
the marbles of AmaravatI offer 'delightful studies 
of animal life, combined with extremely beautiful 
conventionalized ornament ', and that 'the most varied 
and difficult movements of the human figure are 
drawn and modelled with great freedom and skill '. 
The obvious overcrowding of the compositions un- 
fortunately is a defect common in Indian art. His- 
torically, the sculptures are interesting as an academic 
development of the style of Sanchi and Bharhut, 
with a stronger tinge of Hellenistic influence, perhaps 
coming by sea from Alexandria and through the 
ports rather than from Gandhara. Considering the 
geographical and political separation of the Kushan 
and Andhra empires, I think the presumption is 
that the sculptors of AmaravatI had not direct know- 
ledge of the Gandhara school, although it is possible 
that they may have had it. Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese 
pilgrim, in the seventh century, did not really de- 
scribe the stupa as being ' ornamented with all the 
magnificence of the palaces of Bactria (Tahia) ', as 
Fergusson and Burgess suppose him to have done. 
A slight slip of the pen in the Chinese text used by 
J alien introduced the word mistranslated as ' Bactria '. 
The pilgrim really praised two monasteries in the 
Deccan as ' having all the artistic elegance of a great 
mansion and all the beauty of natural scenery '. The 

assumption made by Dr. Burgess and other authors that the account of i-wo monasteries 
given by Hiuen Tsang should be applied to the stiipa of AmaravatI is far from being- 
established. Thus disappears the basis for Fergusson's argument that the school of 
AmaravatI should be considered the offspring of the marriage of the art of the North 

that is to say, Bactria as represented by Gandhara — with that of interior India as 

represented by Sanchi and Bharhut.^ Mr. Havell may be right in believing that origin- 

1 Fergusson, Hist. Ind. and E. Arch., repiint of here, the B text, used by Julian, has ia Jisia, which 

1899, p. 103;' new ed. by Burgess (1910), vol. i, is a Chinese name for the country called Bactria. 

p. 123. ' Instead of the la-hsia, a "great mansion ", But this is evidently a slipof the pen, and the proper 

X 2 

Fig. 108. Marble Buddhas. 

(Photo., A. S., Madras ; see Ann. Rep. 

A. S., India, PI. LI, 3,) 


ally the effect of the AmaravatI marbles was heightened by colour, and in holding that 
technically thev should be regarded as ' painted rilievos ' rather than as true sculpture. 
But whether they were painted or not, they must have formed, when perfect, one 
of the most splendid exhibitions of artistic skill known in the history of the world. 

Fig. 109. Sculptured and inscribed pedestal, 2^ feet high, in front of Jain shrine at Danavulapad, 

Cuddapah District. 
(Photo. 535, A. S.) 

Jain images 
at Dana- 

Section IV. Danavulapad. 

I am disposed, although with hesitation, to refer to the Kushan period, about the 
second century after Christ, certain Jain sculptures excavated a few years ago at 
Danavulapad in the Cuddapah District, Madras, and associated with large bricks 
(i' 9" X 9" X 4") of the dimensions of those found in the ruined stilpas of the Krishna 
(Kistna) District. The images (Figs. 109-10) are carefully modelled, and their style 

reading is that of the other texts which means a 
" great mansion " ' (Walters, On Yuan Chwang's 
Travels in India (1905), vol. ii, p. 218). This 
material correction and Mr. Watters's comments on 
the current 'identification' of the pilgrim's monas- 
teries with the Amaravati stiipa have been overlooked 
in the revision of Fergusson's book. ' It is hard,' 
Mr. Watters observes, ' to understand how any one 

could propose to identify a large monastery among 
hills and streams, and having spacious chambers and 
great corridors, with a building which is only a re- 
markable tope situated on a plain.' The error con- 
curred in by Julien, Fergusson, and Dr. Burgess will 
not readily disappear from books on Indian art and 




is not inconsistent with the date assumed, but they may be a century or two later. 
The inscription on the circular base is not dated. The material is a fine white 
limestone or marble.^ 

Fig. 1 10. Jain Tirthankara and Yakshi ; near Danavulapad, Cuddapah District. 

(Photo. 537- A. S.) 


Mathura and Sarndth: — Anderson — Caial. Ar- 
chaeol. Coll. I. M., Caku/la {1882): Cunningham — 
Archaeol. S. Rep.,\o\s,\, iii, xi, xvii, xx : Growse — 
Mathiird, a District Memoir, 3rd ed. (Allahabad, 
1883) : Marshall and Oertel — Ann. Rep. A. S., 
India, 1903-4 and 1904-5; J. R. A. S., 1907, 
pp. 095-1000: Smith, V. A. — The Jain Stupa and 
other Antiquities of Mathura (Allahabad, 1901) : 
VoGEL — ' The Mathura School of Sculpture ' {Ann. 

Other references 

Rep. A. S., India, 1906-7, pp. 137-60, in progress). 
Amar avail: — Burgess — The Buddhist Stijpas ^ 
Amardvati and Jaggayapela (1887, being vol. vi of 
New Imp. S. of A. S. Rep., India): Fergusson — 
Tree and Serpent Worship, 2nd ed. (1873); Hist, of 
Lid. and E. Archil., 2nd ed. by Burgess (1910): 
Rea — Ayin. Rep. A. S., India, 1905-6, pp. 116- 
19 ; South Indian Buddhi'it Antiquities (1894, being 
vol. XV o{ New Imp. S. of A. S. Rep., India). 
in footnotes. 

^ Rea, Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1905-6, pp. 120-7, with illustrations. 

in third 



Section I. General Observations. 

The displacement of the Arsacidan by the Sassaniaii dynasty of Persia in a. d. 
226, the approximately simultaneous downfall of the Andhra kings who had ruled the 
Deccan for four-and-a-half centuries, and the disappearance of the Kushan or Indo- 
Scythian sovereigns of Northern India about the same time, unquestionably must 
have resulted in violent political and social disturbances on Indian soil during the 
third century. But hardly any record, archaeological or literary, has survived of that 
stormy interlude. 
The Gup:a The rise in a. d. 320 of the Imperial Gupta dynasty, with its capital at Pataliputra 

empire. (Patna), the ancient seat of empire, marks the beginning of a new epoch. Under 

a succession of able and long-lived monarchs the Gupta dominions rapidly increased, 
until in the first quarter of the fifth century they comprised in modern terms Central 
and Western Bengal, Bihar, the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, part of the 
Central Provinces, and the whole of Malwa and Gujarat, with the peninsula of 
Surashtra or Kathiawar. We know from the contemporary testimony of the Chinese 
pilgrim Fa-hien that the compact empire thus formed was then well governed by 
Chandragupta II, surnamed Vikramaditya. 
Hun in- During the last quarter of the fifth century the Gupta empire was shattered by 

yasions, ^-^^^ inrush of swarms of fierce Huns and allied nomad tribes from Central Asia. The 
Harsha, &c. 1 • • • • 1 1 

short-lived Hun power was broken in India by a decisive victory gained by native 

princes about a. d. 528, but a long time elapsed before new political combinations of 

any stability could be formed. In the seventh century a great king named Harsha 

(606-47) reduced India north of the Narbada to obedience, while the Deccan 

submitted to his able contemporary Pulakesin II Chahikya, and the far south was 

governed by a powerful Pallava king. The Chahikya fell before the Pallava in 642, 

and five or six years later Harsha died childless, leaving the empire which he hadAVon 

a prey to anarch)'. 

Limits of During the seventh and eighth centuries the foreign settlers had become 

the Gupta Hinduized, tribes developln"- into castes. When the ninth century opens we find 
period. ... i & _ J I ^^ 

a new distribution of power among kingdoms mostl)' governed by so-called Rajputs, 

in many cases the descendants of chieftains belonging to the foreign tribes of Hunas, 
Gurjaras, and the like. The Huna or Hun invasions with the subsequent readjust- 
ments mark the division between the history of Ancient and that of Mediaeval 
India. For the purpose of this work it will be convenient to draw the dividing 
line at a. d. 650, so as to include the reigns of Harsha and Pulakesin in the Gupta 
Period, which will be taken as extending from a. d. 350 to 650. The Pallava works 



of art, although some of them may fall between those dates, are more closely con- 
nected with the Mediaeval than with the Gupta st)'le, and will be treated as 
Mediaeval Sculpture. 

All students of Indian literature now recognize the fact that during the reigns Gupta 
of Chandragupta II and his next two successors, from about a. d. 375 to 490, every ^""ature, 
brancli ot hlmdu literature, science, and art was vigorously cultivated under the art. 
stimulus of liberal royal patronage ; and there is general agreement that Kalidasa, 
the greatest of Indian poets, graced the Gupta court and produced his masterpieces 
in the later years of the fifth century. ^ The plastic and pictorial arts shared in the 
good fortune of literature and science. In painting we have the frescoes of Ajanta 
and Bagh, produced under the patronage of Chalukya and Vakataka kings of the 
Deccan, and also those of Sigiriya in Ceylon. In coinage a marked improvement 
took place during the reigns of the earlier Gupta kings. The paintings and coins 
will be discussed in other chapters, here our concern is with the sculpture only. 
The improved coins being obviously suggested by European models, and the drama 
of Kalidasa being, as I believe, an Hindu adaptation of Greek originals, I feel a 
strong suspicion that the refined beauty of Gupta sculpture must be due to the same 
obscure Hellenic influences which stimulated the Gupta revival of numismatic art 
and the development of regular drama. But the facts have not been recorded, and 
nothing can be proved definitely. 

Until quite recently the merits of Gupta sculpture were not generally or freely Gupta 
recognized. Owing to the destruction wrought by iconoclast Muslim armies and ^ 
kings who overran and held in strength almost every part of the Gupta empire, 
few remains of the period exist above ground, except in out-of-the-way localities, 
and our present knoAvledge of Gupta art is largely the result of excavation. Sarnath, 
especially, has -proved to be a rich treasure-house of Gupta, as well as of Kushan 
and earlier art.^ The ravages of the Huns did not wholly stop the practice of the 
arts of civilization, and one of the surprises of recent exploration has been the 
discovery of many large Buddhist monasteries at Sarnath and other places in 
Hindustan dating from the fifth and sixth centuries. The sculpture of the period is 
mainly Buddhist and Brahmanical, the Jain works being few and of little artistic 

I now proceed to describe and illustrate typical productions ot the Gupta age, 
beginning with Northern India. They include remarkable works in metal as well 
as in stone. The existence of numerous dated inscriptions and coins permits of an 
unusual degree of chronological precision. 

Section II. Northern India. 

Except certain coins of high artistic quality, as judged by an Indian standard Earliest 
{post. Chap. X, Sec. i), no work of art yet discovered can be referred to the reign of ^^^^^_ 
Samudragupta (a. d. «>. 335-75), the victorious general, and accomplished poet and 

1 For the history in detail see Early Hist. India, ' Marshall,/ i?. A. S., 1907, p. 1000. 

2nd ed., chaps, xi-xiii. 





goddess at 




musician, who lias recorded his achievements on Asoka's pillar at Allahabad. The 
earliest known Gupta remains date from the beginning- of the fifth century. 

The small cave-temples in the Udayagiri hill near Besnagar in the Bhopal State, 
Central India, one of which bears an inscription dated a. d. 401, contain much 
vigorous sculpture, described and illustrated by Cunningham. The ' Chandragupta 
Cave ', with the dated inscription, is entered by a portal with bell-capital pilasters, 
each supporting a river goddess standing on a makara or conventional crocodile. 

■^ --■ ' ■■■ - - ;■ ^^ 



Fig. III. River goddess; Udayagiri, Bhopal. Fig. 112. The Ganges goddess, Besnagar. 
(Photo. 1376, I. M. List) (A. S. photo., supplied by Prof. Macdonell.) 

One of these, a well-modelled naturalistic woman, surrounded by simple ornament 
in good taste, is shown in Fig. m. 

Similar goddesses are found in many places, and are specially characteristic of 
the Gupta style. Often the Jumna on one side is personified by the female 
standmg on a tortoise, while the corresponding figure, representing the Ganges, stands 
on a makara ; but at Udayagiri both the figures alike are on makaras. In the earlier 
examples the goddesses are placed at the top and in the later at the bottom of 
the jambs. 

Plate XXXIV. Sivi a.s a.n ascetic (maMyogi) ; Deogarh temple. 
(Photo. 752, I. M. Lts/.) 



At the Tigawa temple in the Jabalpur District [ante, p. 32) the Ganges goddess 
is represented with attendants, in a composition more elaborate than that at Udayagiri, 
and, like it, deserving of praise for good naturalistic modelling, free from the exaggera- 
tions of the female form so common in Hindu art and so disagreeable to good taste.^ 
River goddesses in the same style are to be seen on the tops of the jambs at the 
entrance to Cave XXII at Ajanta, dating from somewhere about a. D. 500, and 
approximately contemporary with the Tigawa temple.^ But the best image of Ganga 
known to me is that on a panel at Besnagar, which may be fairly called beautiful, and 
must be of about the same age as the Tigawa and Ajanta images (Fig. 112). It is, 
perhaps, worth noting that the Indian conception of a river goddess has nothing in 
common with the recumbent Greek river god. 
Siva and Although in the matter of style no distinctions based on the religious destination 

of particular images can be drawn, it will be convenient to finish the description of 
selected Brahmanical stone sculptures before proceeding to the discussion of the Jain 
and Buddhist works and the metal castings. 

The Indian Museum, Calcutta, possesses a remarkable group of Siva and ParvatI 
(Km. 40) from Kosam in the Allahabad District, bearing an inscription dated 
A. D. 458-9. The consorts stand side by side, each with the right hand raised and the 
open palm turned to the front. The head-dress of the goddess is described as a most 
elaborate construction, which recalls that ' of some Dutch women, and consists of 
a huge, transverse, comb-like ornament projecting beyond the side of the head, and 
terminating on both sides in large wheel-like ornaments, from the centre of which 
depends a large tassel. There are huge ear-ornaments and very massive bangles.' ^ 
Siva as A temple at Deogarh, in the Lalitpur subdivision of the JhansI District, U. P., 

is adorned with sculptures of exceptionally good quality in panels inserted in the 
plinth and walls, which may date from the first half of the sixth century. That region 
probably escaped the Hun troubles owing to its remote situation. A panel on the 
eastern facade, representing Siva in the garb of an ascetic {mahdyogl), attended 
by another yogi and various heavenly beings hovering in the air (Plate XXXIV), 
may claim a place among the best efforts of Indian sculpture. The principal 
image is so beautifully modelled and so tastefully posed that we almost forget the 
inartistic excrescence of the extra pair of arms. The flying figures are admirably 
designed so as to give the appearance of aerial flight. The modelling of the feet and 
hands deserves particular notice, and the decorative carvings are in good taste. The 
close-fitting garments of all the figures and the wigs of some of the attendants are 
characteristic of the period. 
Vishnu on Another panel from the south facade of the same temple is equally good 

(Plate XXXV). The subject is Vishnu as the Eternal, reclining on the serpent 

' Udayagiri is described by Cunningham, A. S. p. 9; Cousens, Progr. Rep. A. S., Wesiern India, 

Rrp., VOL X, pp. 48-56, PI. XVI, XVIII, XIX. For 1903-4, p. 34. 

Tiga^va see ibid., vol. ix, pp. 42-6, PI. IX-XI ; ^ 'a. 's. IV. I., vol. iv, PI. XXXII, Fig. 2. 

Bloch, Progr. Rep. A. S., Eastern Circle, 1907-8, ^ Anderson, Catal, Part II, p. 286 ; Cunningham, 

A. S. Rep., vol. X, p. 3 ; photo. 669 in I. M. List. 



Plate XXXV. Vishnu on Ananta ; Deogarh temple. 
(Photo. 751, I. M. Lisl) 

Y 2 


Krishna and 
his mother. 

A Rajgir 

Fifth century 




with the other Qods watching from above 


Ananta, the symbol of eternity, 

principal image is beautifully posed, and the extra arms most dexterously arranged. 

The wigs are very prominent in this fine 


A composition, nearly life-size, at Patharl 
in the Bhopal Agency, believed to represent 
the new-born Krishna lying by the side of 
his mother, who is watched by five at- 
tendants (Plate XXXVI), was rather ex- 
travagantly praised by Mr. Beglar as being 
'the finest and largest piece of Indian sculp- 
ture'. But if that judgement be considered 
too e nthusiastic, we may accept the more sober 
view of Colonel Waterhouse, himself an artist, 
who commends the ' beauty and artistic grace 
of the composition '. The style is much the 
same as that of the Deogarh panels, and the 
group must be of nearly the same age. 
Several monuments bear testimony to the 
prevalence of Krishna worship in the Gupta 
period." Interesting Brahmanical sculptures 
exist at many places, which cannot be noticed 
in detail.'' 

The little-known ruins at Rajgir, the 
ancient capital of Magadha, include a relief of 
a female, facing front, which, to judge from 
its style, must be of Gupta age (Fig. 113). 

Several ancient sites in the south-western part of the Allahabad District have 
yielded to slight excavation many remarkable Buddhist sculptures in stone, proved 
by dated inscriptions to be assignable to the reigns of Chandragupta II, his son 
Kumaragupta I, and his grandson Skandagupta in the fifth century. 


Fig. 113. Female image, Rajgir. 
(A. S. photo., supplied by Prof. Macdonell.) 

' For Deogarh antiquities see Cunningham, ^. 6'. 
7?f/., vol. X, pp. 100-4, PI- XXXIII-VI. The 
groups of sculpture have not been published pre- 

^ Pathari is in 23° 56' N., 78" 13'E. Mr. Beglar 
and Rajendralala Mitra erroneously supposed the 
group to be Buddhist (Cunningham, A. S. Rep., 
vol. vii, p. 70 ; Waterhouse, Proc. A. S. B., 1878, 
p. 122, with photozincograph ; Cousens, Progr. 
Rep. A. S., ir. India, 1893-4, p. 17). For Krishna 
worship see Skandagupta's inscription on Bhitarl 
pillar (Fleet, Gupla Inscriptions, No. 13); and the 
remarkable reliefs at Mandor near Jodhpur {Ann. 
Rep. A. S., India, 1905-6, pp. 135-140, fig. i, 2). 

^ E. g. Sirpur in Raipur District, C. P. (Cunning- 
ham, A. S. Rep., vol. vii, p. 168 ; vol. xvii, p. 23, 
with plates) : Bilsar, in Etah District, U. P. (ibid., 
xi. r7): Pall, N. W. of Gaya (ibid., xiv, p. 52): 
Paroli, N. of Gwalior (ibid., xx. 105). See also 
Cousens (Progr. Rep. A. S., W. India, 1903-4). 
The sculptures at Nachna or Kuthara in the 
Ajaygarh State, Bundelkhand, approximately con- 
temporary with those of Deogarh, are described by 
Cunningham {Rep., xxi, 96) as ' being much superior 
to all mediaeval sculptures, both in the ease and 
gracefulness of their attitudes as well as in the real 
beauty of the forms '. Photographs are not available. 



• •N 










































The vigorous, and at the same time refined, sculpture adorning the ruins of 
a Buddhist temple at Garhwa, twenty-five miles south-west of Allahabad, is illustrated 
by Figs. 114 and 115, giving back and side views of one pillar. The panels on the 
front (Fig. 114) are arranged according to the ancient Indian fashion, and the style 
is related to the art of Sanchl and Bharhut much more closely than to mediaeval art. 
There is no trace whatever of Gandharan influence. The figures are well drawn, anc 
modelled on purely naturalistic principles. 

Fig. 114. Buddhist pillar, front ; Garhwa. 
(Photo. 666, I. ]\I. List) 

Fig. 115. Buddhist pillar, side ; Garhwa. 
(Photo. 667, I. M. List) 

The beautiful ornament on the side (Fig. 115), is described by Cunningham as 
consisting of 

'the undulating stem of a creeper, with large curling and intertwining leaves, and small 
human figures, both male and female, climbing up the stem, or sitting on the leaves 
in various attitudes. The whole scroll is deeply sunk and very clearly and carefully 
carved ; and . . . is one of the most pleasing and graceful specimens of Indian archi- 
tectural ornament. 1 

' The Garhwa remains are fully described and illustrated by Cunningham, A. S. Eep., vol. iii, pp. 53-61; 
vol. .X, pp. 9-15, with [ilates. 

A. Tiringi talai pattern, Ce3lon. 
(From the Ceylon Natl. Review, 1907, p. 304. By permission.) 

B. Dhamekli siupa ; decoration on west 

face, right-hand half. 

(From Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1904-5, 


C. Decoration south-east side. (A. S. photo.) 
Plate XXXVII. Decoration of Dhamekh slupa. 




Later Gupta 

of Dhamekh 

from Sar- 

The commendation is fully justified ; nothing better can be found in the eadier 
work at Mathura, and the Garhwa design would do credit to an Italian fifteenth- 
century artist. 

The later Gupta style of ornament, a century or more posterior in date, although 
pretty enough, is not at all equal in m.erit to the work at Garhwa. An example from 
a monastery at Sarnath is here reproduced in Fig. 1 16 with Mr. Marshall's comment ; — 

' Pilaster (PI. XXVI, 7) i-2' high, decorated in the 
style of the later Gupta period, of which the treat- 
ment of these designs is peculiarly characteristic. 
The imitative iewel work, the CTarland-bearincf birds, 
the viakara, the flower vase with palmettes at the 
corners, the rosette border, and the little figure in 
the niche below are all motifs well worth noticing.' 

Recent investigation has proved that the cele- 
brated Dhamekh stiipa at Sarnath is of Gupta age, 
and that Cunningham was about rioht lone aco when 
he referred the building to the sixth century.^ The 
intricate scroll-work on the western face is one of the 
most successful examples of the decoration of a large 
wall surface to be found in India. The pattern is 
essentially identical with that called tirim^i talai in 
Ceylon, where the design is used by the artistic crafts- 
men in the native drawing schools as a test of a 
pupil's power in the freehand execution of curves, and 
is also applied with suitable modifications to a variety 
of decorative objects, that is to say, that although 
the circular tiringi talai as a whole is not used for 
ornamental purposes, its motives, or component parts, 
are. The artist who traced the wonderfully complex 
spirals on the western stone facing of the Dhamekh 
stiipa must have undergone prolonged and rigorous 
training on the Ceylonese lines. The different pattern 
on the south-eastern side is equally excellent. Plate 
XXXVII exhibits the two Dhamekh designs with the tiringi talai for com- 

Among the numerous excellent sculptures of Gupta age, disclosed by recent 
excavations at Sarnath, the most pleasing, perhaps, is the seated Buddha in white 
sandstone, 5^ feet in height (Plate XXXVIII). 

The deer-park at Sarnath having been the place where the Wheel of the Law 
was first turned, or, in other words, the doctrine of the Buddhist way of salvation was 
first publicly preached by Gautama Buddha, his effigy is naturally represented with 


Fig. 1 1 6. Pilaster; Sarnath. 

{Ami. Rep. A. S., India, 1906-7, 

PI. XXVI, 7.) 

' Marshall, /. 7?. ^. .S'., 3907, p. 1000. The 
remarks in the new edition of Fergusson, Plisl. Ltd. 

and E. Arc flit., vol. i, p. 75, are not up to date. 
Uhamckh (from dharmekshU) is the correct spelling. 

Plate XXXVIII. Seated Buddha, Sarnath. 
(A. S. photo.) 



the fino-ers in the position {iiiudrd) associated by canonical rule with the act com- 
memorated. The wheel symbolizing the Law and the five adoring disciples to whom 
it \\as first preached are depicted on the pedestal. The woman with a child on the 
left probably is intended for the pious donor of the image. The beautifully decorated 
halo characteristic of the period is in marked contrast with the severely plain halos of 
the Kushan age. The style, marked by refined restraint, is absolutely free from all 
extra vaf^ance or monstrosity. Allowance being made for the Hindu canon prohibiting 
the display of muscular detail, the modelling must be allowed to display high artistic 
skill. The anoels hovering above may be compared with the similar figures at 
Deogarh [aiiie, p. 162). The close-fitting smooth robe is one of the most distinctive 
marks of the style, which is singularly original and absolutely independent of the 
Gandhara school. The composition is so pictorial that it may have been designed 
after the model of a painted fresco. 

The Gupta It is very difficult, as already hinted, to discover any plausible explanation of the 

rise of the distinct Gupta style of sculpture, which is reflected in the figure types of a few 
coins dating from a little before and after 400 a. d. {posi, Chap. X, Sec 1), and showing 
clear evidence of Western, chiefly Roman, influence. The statuary, however, presents 
nothing distinctly Roman or Hellenic, unless it be the 'refined restraint' above 
mentioned, which is not quite Indian. Can it be that in the Gupta age some 
forgotten sculptor of genius succeeded in absorbing the Greek spirit of beauty from 
study of the best Hellenic models, and founded a school by transfusing that spirit 
into Indian forms ? Who can tell ? The conquest of Western India by Chandragupta 
Vikramaditya about 390 A. D. undoubtedly brought the north into renewed touch 
with the Western world through the ports, and I entertain a strong belief that the 
efflorescence of Indian literature, science, and art during the Gupta period was largely 
due to the clash of ideas resulting from the extension of the northern empire to the 
shores of the Arabian Sea, and the active intercourse with foreign countries both to 
the east and west, which unquestionably characterized the times ^ 

Standing An excellently inscribed standing Buddha of the fifth century in the Mathura 

Museum, height 7 feet 2\ inches = o-8i m. (Fig. 117), while clearly related to the 
Sarnath seated image in several respects, differs widely in the treatment of the 
drapery, which at Mathura shows a reminiscence of Hellenistic forms. The skill 
with which the body is shown through the transparent garments is characteristic of the 
best Gupta sculpture. No doubt careful study of an adequate number of examples 
would disclose the existence of several well-marked local schools of sculpture during 
the Gupta period, as in other ages ; but it would be premature at present to attempt 
such refinement in the treatment of a subject which needs to be first sketched on 
broader lines. 

' 'The period when mathematics flourished in countries ' (Kaye, /. i?. ^. 6'., 1910, p. 759). Many 

India commenced about 400 a. d. and ended about Indian' embassies ' to China and the Roman empire 

650 A. D., after which deterioration set in. This are recorded during this period. All that is of value 

period is characterized by quite an extraordinary in the Hindu mathematics of the time, according to 

amount of intercourse between India and foreign Mr. Kaye, is Greek. 

Buddha at 




The unique copper colossus of Buddha, about 7§ feet high, now in the Museum Colossal 
and Art Gallery, Birmmgham (Fig. 118), is, perhaps, more closely akin to the Sarnath coPP^r 
than to the Mathura image, the robes being almost smooth, with the folds marked ^"^'^^'• 
very famtly. The transparency of the garments is clearly marked. This remarkable 
work, which I had some difficulty in tracing, deserves further notice. The statue was 

Fig. 118. Colossal copper statue of Buddha 
Sullanganj ; Birmingham Museum. 

(Photo, supplied by Curator.) 

Fig. 117. Buddha; IMathuraMuseum, A. 5, Ca/a/., p. 49, PI. IX. 

(Photo. 846, I. M. List; also publ. by ' 

Growse, Maihurd, 3rd ed., p. 172.) 

excavated by certain railway engineers in 1862 from the hall of a ruined monastery 
situated between the modern mart and the railway station at Sultanganj (25° 18' N., 
86° 45' E.), on the Ganges, in the Bhagalpur District, Bengal. One of the discoverers 
brought it home, and some years later presented it to the Birmingham Museum. The 
image was found lying on the ground, having been wrenched from its massive granite 
pedestal ; but was practically perfect, except that the left foot was broken off above 

z 2 



of the 

The Iron 
Pillar of 

the ankle. The approximate date is fixed by the style and the discovery in an 
adjoining slfipa of a coin of the last Western Satrap of Surashtra, accompanied by 
one of his conqueror, Chandragupta II, Vikramaditya, who annexed his dominions 
about A. D. 390. The statue, therefore, may be dated approximately in a. d. 400, and 
is among the earliest known Gupta works of art. 

According to Rajendralala Mitra, the material is 'very pure copper', cast in two 
distinct layers, the inner of which was moulded on an earthy, cinder-like core, com- 
posed of a mixture of sand, clay, charcoal, and paddy (rice) husks. The segments of 
this inner layer were held together by much corroded iron bands, originally three- 
quarters of an inch thick. The outer layer of copper seems to have been cast over 
the inner one, presumably by the circ perdue process. It was made in several 
sections, one of which consisted of the face and connected parts down to the breast. 

Lumps of copper ore found close by indicate that the smelting and casting were 
done on the spot. The hand of another large copper statue was picked up, and three 
small Buddhas of the same metal were discovered. One, nearly destroyed by rust, 
was seated, the three others were standing, with halos broken and detached. Small 
basalt images of Buddha, in the style of the big statue and found near it, are shown 
in the lithograph published in the Jonrnal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. The 
smooth transparent robe and the object held in the left hand (? a palm-leaf book) 
connect the colossus with the tiny gold image in the British Museum {post, Chap. X, 
Sec. 4), which I am disposed to assign to the sixth century.^ 

The existence of such a colossal statue, weighing nearly a ton, is good evidence 
of Indian proficiency in metallurgy at the beginning of the fifth century. Still 
stronger testimony to that skill is borne by the celebrated Iron Pillar of Delhi, set 
up about A. D. 415 by Kumaragupta I in honour of his father, Chandragupta II, 
Vikramaditya, which originally stood on an eminence elsewhere, probably at Mathura 
(Chap. XII, post). The total length of the pillar from the top of the bell capital to 
the bottom of the base is 23 feet 8 inches, and the diameter diminishes from 
164 inches below to 12-05 inches above. The material is pure malleable iron of 
7-66 specific gravity welded together, and the weight is estimated to exceed six tons. 
' It is not many years since the production of such a pillar would have been an 
impossibility in the largest foundries of the world, and even now there are compara- 
tively few where a similar mass of metal could be turned out.' The statue originally 
surmounting the pillar having disappeared, the marvellous metallurgical triumph does 
not further concern a history of fine art.^ 

' The Sultanganj discoveries are described in 
/. A. S. B., vol. x.xxiii (1864), pp. 361 seqq. with 
lithograph : Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. x, p. 127 ; 
XV, p. 126: Anderson, Catalogue, /. yI/., Part II, 
p. 481. In the draft Illustrated Handbook of the 
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery the statue is 
erroneously described as ' bronze ' and is wrongly 
dated. The modern cire perdue process of casting 
bronze over a core made of modelling clay mixed with 

pounded brick and plaster of Paris is described, ibid., 
p. 85. The Sultanganj process seems to have been 
essentially the same, with the addition of a second 
layer of copper. I am indebted to Mr. Whitworih 
Wallis, Curator of the Birmingham Museum, for 
a photograph of the colossus and a copy of the 
Illustrated Handbook. 

' V.A. Smith, 'The Iron Pillar of Delhi (Mihrauli)' 
(/. R. A. S., 1907, pp. 1-18). The passage quoted 




Among the Buddhist sculptures found at Bitha and Deoriya, ten miles south 
south-west of Allahabad, the most noticeable is a portion of a twelve-spoked wheel 
with the felloes completely covered by mango foliage and fruit. The presence of 
a tenon at the top proves that the wheel must have stood upright.^ 

At the adjoining village of Mankuwar a very perfect seated Buddha of unusual TheManku- 
type was found (Fig. 1 19), beaming a dedicatory inscription dated in the year 1 29 G. e. = 
A. D. 44S-9. The peculiar head-dress, if it be a head-dress, is, as Cunningham 

Fig. 120. Brass Buddha from Kangra District. 
(From a photograph.) 

Fig. 119. The Mankuuar Buddha. 
(Pholo. 670, I. M. Lis/.) 

remarked, like that now worn by the Abbots of Bhutan, and the image may be the 
work of a northern artist. ^ The webbed hand was one of the traditional marks of 
a Buddha, according to some schools. The wheel below symbolizes the turning of 
the Wheel of the Law, that is to say, the preaching of the doctrine destined to 
traverse the world like the chariot wheels of a conquering monarch. The expression 
of the face differs from that of most images, and the work undoubtedly is a notable 

is from V. Ball, Economic Geology of India, p. 338, 
ist ed., 1881. 
1 Cunningham, A. S. Rep., x. 6. 

^ According to Dr. Blocli (/. A. S. B., vol. Ixvi, 
Part I, p. 283), what looks like a close-fitting cap 
really is a conventional arrangement of the hair. 




from ihe 




example of fifth-century sculpttire. The clothing is merely the Indian waist-cloth, 
quite different from the robe of the ordinary Buddha. 

A remarkable brass Buddha, obtained at a rest-house (dhanmala) at a village 
named Fathpur, in the Kangra District, Panjab, is one of the most valued possessions 
of the Lahore Museum (Fig. 120). The height of the image is 30 cm. = 11 -8 inches. 
While the drapery shows a faint reminiscence of ancient Gandharan models, the 
head-dress, or hair-arrangement, like that of the Mankuwar statue, suggests a con- 
nexion with Tibet or Bhutan. The technical work- 
manship is exquisite, but the st)le decadent. The 
script of the dedicatory inscription indicates the date 
as being the sixth century. The open-work pedestal 
is of elaborate, if rather barbaric, design. The eyes 
of the imaoe and the minor figures are inserted in 
silver, as is the 77;-;/^?, or protuberance, on the fore- 
head, one of the traditional Buddha marks; while 
certain other details are picked out in red copper.^ 
A statuette of four-armed Vishnu, obtained at the 
same time and place, is of later date and inferior 

The old Asokan practice of erecting isolated 
monumental columns, usually monolithic, was revived 
in Gupta times. Samudragupta, perhaps the most 
brilliant of an able dynasty, does not seem to have 
erected pillars of his own, and was content to record 
the history of his reign on a pillar of Asoka, now 
at Allahabad (Prayaga), which, apparently, has been 
removed from Kausambl. The Delhi Iron Pillar of 
about A. u. 415 has been already noticed (««/^, p. 172). 
The earliest extant stone pillar of Gupta age is that 
erected at Bhitari in the Ghazipur District, U. P., 
by Skandagupta about a. u- 456 to commemorate his 
wars with the Huns and Pushyamitras. The next, 
set up at Kahaon in the Gorakhpur District, U. P., in a. d. 460-1, early in the 
reign of the same king, by a private member of the Jain community, is adorned 
with the images of five Jain saints, one in a niche at the base, and four on the summit. 
The statues, as usual with the Jains, are conventional and of little artistic interest. 

The third in date is the fine monolithic pillar, 43 feet high, set up at Eran in 
the Sagar District, C.P., as 'the flag-staff of four-armed Vishnu', in a.d. 484-5 
(Fig. 121). The statue now on the top is a tivo-anucd male figure with two faces and 
a radiated halo — a form not easy of interpretation. 

Fig. I 2 r. 

(Photo. A. S.) 

Budhagupta pillar; Eran, 
Sacrar District. 

' Guide to Lahore Museum, 1908, p. 19: special 
article, with Plate XXXV, back and front views, by 

Dr. Vogel in Ann. 
pp. 107-9. 

Rep. A. .v., India, i904-,5, 




Two great monolithic columns, the better preserved of which is 39 feet 5 inches 
long, excluding the detached abacus, lie at SondanI or Songni, near Mandasor in 
Sindhia's Dominions, and bear inscriptions recording the decisive defeat of the Huns 
by King Yasodharman about a. d. 528. Several specimens of good contemporary- 
sculpture adjoin. 

Fig. 122. Manjusrl ; from Sainath. 
{Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1904-0, PI- XXVIII r.) 

Another great monolithic column, with a worn inscription of late Gupta age, 
and 47 feet high, stands at Patharl {ante, p. 164), about thirteen miles to the south- 
west of Eran. 

The Gupta form of capital is generally characterized by a large square abacus J|}>P^^.[°™^ 
of twice the breadth of the shaft, surmounted by two lions sitting back to back, ° "^^P"" 
sometimes with a tree or human figure between them. The Budhagupta column 
has four lions, one at each corner. The process by which the mediaeval capital was 


evolved from the Persepolitan through the Gupta forms is explained by Cunningham 
as follows : — 

' The old bell-capital of the Asoka period has now been considerably altered 
by bands of ornament and the addition of foliated turn-overs. In later times these 
turn-overs were greatly increased in size, while the body of the bell was lessened 
until it resembled a water-vessel or kumblid, which eventually became its well-known 
designation. This curious change from the old bell-capital of Asoka to the water- 
vessel of the mediaeval temples is very clearly traceable in the different examples of 
the Gupta period.' ' 

A tiansiiion The foreo-oine select illustrations will, it is hoped, be considered sufficient to 

sculpture. establish the claims of the Gupta sculpture of Northern India to favourable considera- 
tion on its merits as art. It is, as Mr. Marshall observes, endowed with 'freshness 
and vitality ', while the designs are singularly refined and the technical execution of 
the best pieces is exquisite. The series may be closed with a delicately wrought 
figure of the Bodhisattva ManjusrI from Sarnath (Fig. 122), bearing an inscription 
of the sixth or seventh century, which serves to mark the transition from Gupta to 
mediaeval art. Students who desire to pursue the subject farther will find more 
material in the publications noted below." 

Section III. Western and Southern India. 

sculmures While the most characteristic and distinctive sculptures of Gupta age occur in 

Northern India, the rock-cut shrines and monasteries of the west are adorned with 
numerous sculptures more or less closely related to those of the north. At Ajanta, 
interest having been concentrated chiefly on the paintings (Chap. VIII, Sec. 3), the 
accounts of the sculptures are meagre and good photographs are scarce. 

One of the most notable groups is that of a Buddha with attendants, at the left- 
hand side of the front gateway of Cave IX, dating from the sixth or seventh century 
(Fig. 123). The river goddesses on the top of the jambs of the entrances of 
Caves XVI and XXII have been already noticed [ante, p. 162). 

The Temp- The numerous sculptures in Cave XXVI include a gigantic recumbent Dying 

Buddha, 23]; feet in length, bearing a general resemblance to the fifth-century image 
at Kasia in the Gorakhpur District, U. P. The most notable sculpture on the walls 
is the large and crowded composition representing the Temptation of Buddha, which 
Dr. Burgess describes as ' beautiful ', adding that ' several of the faces are beautifully 
cut'. It is reproduced in Plate XXXIX from a drawing. The subject is also treated at 

' A. S. Rep., X. 88. References for the pillars ningham, Rep., vol. vii, p. 67; x, p. 70: not in 

are : — Bhitarl — ^Cunningham, ^..S'. Rep., vol. i, p. 38, Fleet. Smaller pillars or stelae of Gupta age exist at 

PI. XXIX, XXX : Fleet, Gupta Inscr., No. 13. several places. 

Kahion — Cunningham, 7?f/>., vol. i, p. 92, PI. XXX ; '■ J. R. A. S., 1907, pp. 996-1000: Ann. Rep. 

Fleet, op. at.. No. 15. Eran — Cunningham, iJ^/i., A. S., India, 1903-4, pp. 213-26; 1904-5, pp. 43" 

vol. vii, p. 88; x, p. 81, PI. XXVI: Fleet, op. cit., 58 and 59-104; 1905-6, pp. 61-85 and 135-4°; 

No. 19. Sondaiii—Ind. Ant., 1908, p. 107, with 1906-7, pp. 44-67 and 68-ioi. 
pjlates : Fleet, op. cit., Nos. 33-5. Pathlrl — Cun- 


( ((i|i-j^'ll//. iiTTirntf'^, /jji^ 



Plate XXXIX. The Temptation of Buddha, Cave XXVI, Ajama. 
(Photo. 630, I. O. List) 

A a 




Chase of 
wild bull. 

of the Badi 



' Drunkard's 

ProDTess '. 

Ajanta in fresco and at Boro Budar, Java, in sculpture. The wigs, characteristic of 
the period, worn by several of the figures in the Ajanta sculpture should be noted. 
The elephants are well drawn, as usual. The kneeling figures at the base may 
represent the donors. 

In Cave I, supposed to be the latest of the completed excavations, a great 
quantity of rich sculpture exists, dealing chiefly with incidents in the lives of Buddha. 
A scene depicting the chase of the wild 
bull is praised as being 'spiritedly carved', 
but I cannot find photographs or draw- 
ings of the sculptures in this cave. 

The sculptures in the Bagh caves, 
Gwalior .State, until recently known only 
through drawings prepared for Dr. Bur- 
gess, have now been photographed by 
Major Luard. The best images, repre- 
senting Buddha, or possibly a Bodhi- 
sattva, with two attendants, are the south- 
western group in the Gosain's Cave, 
No. II. The style connects them with 
the Gupta rather than the mediaeval 
period, and especially with the sculptures 
in Cave IX, Ajanta (Fig. 123). They 
may have been executed in the seventh 
century. The pose is easy and the 
modelling good.^ 

The late Buddhist caves at Auran- 
gabad in the Nizam's dominions, not far 
from Elura, are supposed to date from 
the ' seventh century of our era, and 
perhaps towards the end of it'.- What- 
ever their exact date may be, the sculp- 
tures are related more closely to those of the Gupta age than to the Tantric works of 
the mediaeval period, and so are noticed in this chapter. 

The principal cave. No. Ill, contains many columns most elaborately decorated 
with figure sculpture as well as complex patterns. On certain of these columns 
a sixteen-sided portion is 

'carved with sixteen scenes which may be an anticipation of Cruikshank or John 
Adam, for they seem intended to picture the " Drunkard's Progress". The number 
of figures varies from two to four in each. Two persons are represented sitting 

Fig. 123. Buddha, &c., Cave IX, Ajanta. 
(A. S. photo., supplied by Prof. INIacdonell.) 

' Arch. S. W. /., vol. V, PI. XVIII, 4, from 
a drawing; Ind. Ant., Aug. 19 10, PI. Ill, 2, collotype. 
They are hardly worth reproduction. The frescoes 

in the caves will be described in Chap. VIII, Sec. 3. 
^ Burgess, in Hist. Ind. and E. Archit., 2nd ed. 
(1910), vol. i, p. 205. 

SECT. Ill 



together, apparently drinking in the most friendly way, then staggering along, then 
dancing with their backs to each other, then quarrelling ; one is being dragged 
along helpless between two men, and so on in successive panels.'^ 

It is a pity that no reproductions of these lively stone pictures are to be had. The 
subjects recall the much earlier ' Bacchanalian' sculptures of Mathura (c7/^/^, p. 134), 
and suggest speculations concerning certain varieties of Buddhism in practice. 

In the same cave an architrave bears on the front a long frieze of fourteen A frieze. 
scenes of the Jataka kind in relief, including an impalement, a battle in a forest, 
and other incidents, the meaning of which is not known. The drawing in Dr. Burgess's 

Fig. 124. Male and female busts ; Cave HI, Aurangabad. 
(.4. 6'. W. /., vol. iii, PI. XLIX, 2. 4; from a drawing.) 

volume is on such a small scale that it is impossible to judge fairly the quality of 
the art, but, so far as can be seen, the action is vigorously depicted. 

Certain groups of kneehng worshippers in the same excavation are extremely Egyptian- 
curious. The heads seem to be those of foreigners, and have quite an Egyptian ''^e heads. 
appearance. The males wear wigs (Fig. 124). 

A rich collection of Buddhist bronze statuettes, each from i foot to 2 feet m The Budd- 
height, standing on pedestals, was found daring excavations for a canal at Buddhavani ^^^^^^^ 
in the Kistna (Krishna) District, Madras, prior to 1870. Owing to scandalous neglect 
the statuettes were treated as old metal and allowed to go to ruin. Some years later, 
when Mr R. Sewell saw them, he found none perfect, but did all that was possible 
to save what was left, and published a good account of them, sending the objects 

' Burgess, A. S. W. /., vol. iii, p. 67. 
A a 2 

I So 



to the Secretary of State for India, by whom they were made over in 1905 to the 
British Museum, where they are now exhibited. Mr. Sewell regards as ' the gem of 
the collection' the forearm illustrated in Fig. 126, and claims that 'it is hardly too 
much to say that the modelling of this little right hand is almost perfect, and for 
grace and delicacy can hardly be surpassed '. The praise is, I think, deserved. We 

Fig. 125. Bronze Buddha, ? 6th cent.; 

from Buddhavani, Kistna Dist. ; B. M. 

U-R-A.S., 1895, PI. I. Fig, I.) 

Fig. 126. Bronze forearm in three positions; ?6th cent, 
from Buddhavani, Kistna Dist. ; B. M. 
(/. i?. A. S., 1895, Pi. IV.) 

have had occasion often to note the skill shown by Indian artists in modelling the 
flexible, feminine hands characteristic of the higher Hindu castes. The smooth, 
tight-fitting robe of the Buddha (Fig. 125) resembles that seen in the Sarnath stone 
sculptures of the Gupta period, and I am disposed to assign the objects illustrated to 
either the fifth or the sixth century.' 

' Sewell, ' Some Buddhist Bronzes, and Relics of Buddha' (/. 7?. A. S., 1895, pp. 617-37, ?'• ^~^\ 

I \ \ 


Section I. General Observations. 

The Gupta period, discussed in Chapter VI, may be regarded as one of transition Contrast 
between ancient and mediaeval art, as it was between the polities of ancient and g^ru,^^"^j 
mediaeval India. From the seventh century we find in sculpture few traces of the mediaeval 
kindly, human spirit and naturalistic treatment which distinguished the ancient sculpture. 
schools, mainly devoted to the service of Buddhism ; and we pass into a world of 
art which scorns to represent the daily life of men and women, concerning itself 
almost exclusively with either asceticism of the self-contained yogi type or the weird 
imaginings of the later Hindu mythology, including that of the Mahayanist Buddhists, 
almost indistinguishable from that of the Brahmans. The beautiful story-telling 
reliefs of Boro-Budur In Java form a delightful exception to this generalization, and 
carry on the spirit of the old Bharhut and Sanchi artists with a delicacy and refinement 
of style peculiar to themselves. The Jain sculpture is so strictly conventional that It 
may be almost left out of consideration. The spirit of mediaeval sculpture Is chiefly 
expressed in Brahmanical and Buddhist works, which alike exalt the ascetic Ideal and 
reflect the teachings of Puranic and Tantric literature. 

Buddha no longer appears as the sympathetic human teacher moving about The ascetic 
among his disciples and instructing them in the Good Law. His image is now ^ ^^ ' 
generally made to conform to the ideal of the passionless yogi, as described In the 
Bhagavad-Gitd : — 

' Who fixed In faith on Me, 
Dotes upon none, scorns none ; rejoices not, 
And grieves not, letting good or evil hap 
Light when it will, and when It will depart, 
That man I love ! Who, unto friend and foe 
Keeping an equal heart, with equal mind 
Bears shame and glory ; with an equal peace 
Takes heat and cold, pleasure and pain ; abides 
Quit of desires, hears praise or calumny 
In passionless restraint, unmoved by each ; 
Linked by no ties to earth, steadfast in Me, 
That man I love ! ' ^ 

The representation of ' passionless restraint ', however true to Hindu nature, 
affords a strictly limited field for the exercise of the sculptor's powers, and there is 
necessarily much monotony in the images, whether of Buddha or other personages, 
which are devoted to the expression of the ascetic ideal. 

' Bhagavad-Giid, Bk. XII, transl. Edwin Arnold. 

j32 ^IEDIAEVAL and modern sculpture chap. VII 

Expression Another dominant note in mediaeval sculpture is struck by the endeavour of the 

oriMSMon. ^^j.j;g^g ^Q express violent superhuman emotion or demoniac passion, as represented 

by the whirling dances of Siva, the strivings of Marlchi, the struggling of Ravana 

beneath his mountain load, and many other compositions, both Brahmanical and 


Deiiies. Multitudes of sculptures are simpl)- the formal images of innumerable gods and 

o-oddesses adorned with all the attributes and accessories prescribed by various 


?>Ionstrous The artists undertake to reproduce literally in stone or bronze the descriptions 

'°'™*- of the deities as given in the books, with little regard to aesthetic considerations, and 

no form is regarded as too monstrous for plastic representation. The result too often 

is merely grotesque and absurd, when looked at by anybody who is not steeped in the 

notions of Hindu symbolism, but occasionally is horrible. Additional limbs and heads 

are put on as prescribed, whether or not they disturb the balance of the composition 

or excite a feeling of disgust at monstrous growths which call loudly for amputation. 

Such forms, of course, have their meaning for the Hindu or Mahayanist Buddhist 

Instructed in the mysteries of his faith, and may be used by him as aids to devotion, 

but from the artistic point of view they are, as stated in the Introduction, in my 

judgement, indefensible. 

Qualities of Mediaeval sculpture, consequently, often arouses a feeling of repulsion, and 

mediaeval seldom even attempts to be beautiful. It has, however, undeniable merits. The 
sculpluie. , '^ _ 11-1 1-1 1 • 1 1 -11 

works of the artists irequently display high technical skill, great mastery over 

intractable material, and In the larger compositions, especially those of the western 

caves, bold imagination and a knowledge of the effects of light and shade. The best 

specimens of the ascetic type are endowed with serene dignity and convey the 

impression of perfect repose with extraordinary skill. In the modelling, although 

realistic representation of the muscles is deliberately avoided, the capacity of the 

artists to give details, if they were so minded, is attested by the hands, which in many 

cases are shaped with the utmost delicacy and expressiveness. The energy of passion 

is sometimes rendered with masterly power, and occasionally, but rarely, facial 

expression is vividly exhibited. The Purl group of the mother and child (Fig. 137) 

Is an almost unique example of a representation of ordinary human sentiment.'' 

Mediaeval The sculpture of the early Indian schools makes an appeal far more universal 

scul|)ture than that of mediaeval times, which demands from the spectator a certain amount of 
pecuhaiiy . , . ' . . 

Hindu. ' recondite knowledge of the ideas underlying the later mythology. Its enthusiastic 

admirers never weary of extolling its ' idealism ', and of glorying in the fact that it is 
so peculiarly and exclusively Hindu as to be often unintelligible to the ordinary 
well-educated critic. The feelings which prompt such eulogies appear to be largely 
influenced by the desire now much in fashion to exalt everything Hindu beyond 
measure — a desire which recently found its extreme expression in an absurd octavo 
volume entitled 77/6' Supcrioi ily of the Hindu. But the mediaeval sculpture of India, 
in so far as it fails to appeal to critics who are not saturated with the peculiar notions 

' Compare the Ajanta picture in Cliap. \'III, Sec. 3. 


of Hindu metaphysics and religion, confesses itself to rank below the highest art, 
which, whether in literature or sculpture, is able to touch the emotions and win the 
sympathy of cultivated students of every age and clime. 

While resisting the extravagant claims put forward by some recent writers on 
behalf of Indian mediaeval art, I gladly recognize the fact that the authors alluded to 
have constrained everybody interested in the subject to reconsider current opinions 
and have proved that form of art to deserve on its merits a place higher than European 
critics had been wont to allow it. 

The Brahmanical (including later Buddhist) art, as evolved during the seventh, Modem art 
eighth, and subsequent centuries, continues to this day. No clear line of demarcation ^Xh\""g°{|! 
can be drawn between mediaeval and modern sculpture, although, unfortunately, modern aeval. 
work of any considerable degree of excellence is very rare. This chapter, therefore, 
deals with both mediaeval and modern art as being essentially one, the outcome of the 
Brahmanical reaction by which Buddhism was slowly strangled. 

Admirers of Hinduism regard the change from the old sympathetic humanist 
Buddhist art to the 'idealist' representations of Puranic and Tantric mythology as 
pure progress. I am not able to agree with that view. But nothing would be gained 
from emphasizing this difference of opinion by prolonged controversial argument, which 
fails to touch the fundamental divergence of sentiment. 

In order to prevent any possible misapprehension, it may be well to add that the Decorative 
contrast between early and mediaeval sculpture discussed in the preceding pages "^'S^s. 
relates to the figure sculpture only. In the miore purely decorative elements no 
such contrast is to be observed, the main difference between the early and the later 
decorative designs being that the foreign factors gradually diminished in importance. 
Much of the mediaeval decorative work is supremely good, and can be admired frankly 
and unreservedly by anybody. 

The selection of mediaeval sculptures reproduced in this long chapter will, Arrange- 
itis hoped, be adequate to enable every reader to form his own judgement concerning ™^"g^°^ 
the merits of the compositions as works of art. Their merits as aids to Hindu or 
Buddhist devotion are quite another matter. The subject is treated in nine sections, 
and within each section the examples are given in the order of time. The bronzes 
and brasses of Southern India and Ceylon being numerous and important are discussed 
apart from the stone sculptures. The section on Java is necessarily very brief, but 
could not be omitted with propriety. 

Section II. North-Eastern India. 

The mediaeval sculpture of the north-eastern provinces naturally falls into two Tmo art 
main territorial divisions, namely, (1) Bihar, both North and South, with certain ^i°^|.""';_ 
adjoining districts of Bengal and the Agra Provinces, which collectively formed the and Orissa. 
dominions of the Pala dynasty for more than four centuries from about a.d. 775 to 
II 93, the date of the Muhammadan conquest; and (2) Orissa, on the coast of the 
Bay of Bengal, which never was included in the Pala realm. 


The Pala kinos having been devout Buddhists to the last, Buddhism continued 
to be the dominant rehgion in their territories long after it had become either extinct 
or moribund in most parts of India ; and the Buddhist monasteries of Bihar, especially 
the wealthy foundation at Nalanda (modern Bargaon), were crowded with thousands 
of monks, who cultivated with success the arts required for the decoration of the 
sacred buildings. In consequence, a large proportion of the sculpture in Bihar and 
the neio-hbourine retrions is Buddhist. The later Buddhism, as we have occasion to 
remark more than once, was of the Mahayana or ' Great Vehicle ' kind, delighting in 
the use of images, and closely related to Hinduism. The Brahmanical faiths, of 
course, never died out, and their votaries contributed their share to the art production. 

During the first half of the seventh century, when the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen 
Tsang recorded his invaluable notes, the Buddhists of Orissa outnumbered the 
Brahmanical Hindus, but notwithstanding that fact, Buddhist sculpture is rare in the 
province, and the extant specimens, often of a high class, are mainly Brahmanical. 
From the point of view of the historian of art, as already observed, religious distinc- 
tions in the mediaeval period are unimportant, sculptors making use of the style of 
their own age and country, Irrespective of the creed to the service of which their 
works were dedicated. 

In Bihar the Muslim onslaught at the close of the twelfth century overthrew 
Buddhism suddenly, and scattered all over India those few monks who survived the 
indiscriminate massacres committed by the iconoclast armies of Islam. The rich 
monasteries of Sarnath near Benares soon shared the fate of the communities in Bihar, 
and la)ers of ashes in the ruins testify to this day the violence of the conquerors. Hindu 
art of all kinds, Buddhist included, was practically stamped out in the north-eastern 
provinces by the Muhammadan conquest. It lingered, however, in Orissa longer 
than in Bihar, and some of the best Orissan work dates from the thirteenth century. 
The conquest of Orissa was not completed until Akbar's time, in the sixteenth 
century, but it may be said that from the fourteenth century the history of art in all 
the north-eastern provinces is concerned only with Muslim forms. 

In quite recent days a slight revival of Hindu art may be discerned. Practically 
the history of Hindu sculpture in Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa closes with the thirteenth 
century. Room can be found for only a few examples to illustrate the schools of 
both Bihar and Orissa. 

The innumerable ancient sites in Magadha or South Bihar and the neighbouring 
districts, a region much of which is familiar to me, are full of well-executed Images, 
mostly dating from the times of Pala rule, between the eighth and twelfth centuries. 
The destruction due to Muhammadan hatred of Images has been less complete than 
In the upper provinces. Mediaeval Buddhism in its Tantric forms approximated so 
closely to the Brahmanical Hinduism that even a skilled observer may sometimes 
hesitate to decide as to the religion for the service of which the Image was destined — 
the Buddhist Tara, for Instance, Is not easily distinguishable from the Hindu Lakshmi. 
Although the style of the sculptures is always dominated by the formalism of ritual 
prescription, artists of exceptional ability and skill could make their powers more or 



1 8.^ 

less clearly apparent, and so raise compositions mainly conventional to the rank of 
works of art. A few specimens which possess merit greater than ordinary have been 
selected from the mass. 

A basalt image of the Buddhist Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara or Lokanatha, from 
somewhere near Gaya, is of special interest because of its early age, as indicated by 
the script of the so-called ' Buddhist creed ' engraved upon it, which is assigned to the 

Fig. 127. Avalokitesvara; ? 8th cent., from near Gaya ; Lucknow Museum. 
(Arch. S. photo., No. 33 ; Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1903-4, PI. LXII, 3.) 

eighth century. The extravagance of the representation with six arms proves the 
influence of Tantric notions, while the treatment of the drapery and the minor 
worshipping figures connects the work with the art of the Gupta period (Fig. 127). 
The sculpture is of only moderate quality, but the mechanical execution is excellent. 

An elaborately decorated seated Buddha, of like material, from Kurkihar in the 
same region, similarly proved by its inscription to date from the ninth century, carries 
on the history. The folds of the drapery are marked by formal lines, and the resem- 
blance to work of the Gupta period has disappeared (Fig. 128). The details are 

916 B b 




wrouoht with the highest possible finish, but the t^pe was too rigidly determined by 
rule t'o allow the sculptor much scope for the exercise of his taste. 

The Tantric image of Marichl, goddess of dawn, a weird form with three heads 
and six arms (Fig. 129), offers greater opportunities to an artist in the delineation of 
active exertion. The goddess is supposed to be standing in a chariot drawn by seven 
boars but the chariot and team are treated merely as formal accessories, the 

Fig. 128. Buddha from Kurkihar ; Lucknow Museum. 
(A. S. photo., No. 30 ; Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1903-4, PL LXII, 3.) 

spectator's attention being invited solely to the sculptor's attempt to express the idea 
of radiant energy in the person of the goddess. If the critic can bring himself to 
tolerate multiple heads and arms, the composition may be allowed praise for the fine 
modelling of the principal figure, and for considerable success in the representation 
of tense strain. The pose is that technically called the ' archer ' attitude. 

One of the best and most characteristic examples of Bihar sculpture is the large 
group of the Sun-god and his attendants now exhibited in Room II of the Indian 

Plate XL. Surya, the Sun, driven in 7-hoi-sed lotus-car by the legless Aruna, the Dawn; 5^ feet high ; 
in black carboniferous shale or clay slate; excavated in Rajmahal Hills, Sanlal Parganas, Bengal, about 1840; 
probably of 12th cent. : No. 929, Ind. Sec, V. & A. Museum (dimensions are : group, 5^ x 2^ feet ; central 
figure, 3 feet 10^ inches in height). Publ. No. 1020, PI. CXLIII, vol. xiii,/. /. A. I. 

B b 2 


Section of the Victoria and Albert Museum, which stands 5^ feet high, and is in 
nearly perfect preservation (Plate XL). The god is represented standing ni a lotus- 
shaped chariot drawn by seven horses, and driven by the legless Aruna, the Dawn. 

Fig. 129. MarichT, goddess of Dawn; from Kurkihar ; Lucknow Museum. 
(A. S. photo., No. 27 ; Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1903-4, PI. LXII, 4.) 

The artist, like the sculptor of Marichi, has concentrated his attention on the effigy 
of the god, reducing the chariot, horses, and charioteer to the position of minor 
accessories, in such a way that a casual spectator might fail to perceive their signifi- 
cance. The body of the principal figure is carefully modelled with considerable 




regard to realism, and the same commendation may be bestowed on the two female 
attendants with fly-whisks. The decorative framework is skilfully treated, and the 
whole composition produces an imposing and pleasing effect to which a small photo- 
graph cannot do full justice. The mechanical execution of the carving is perfect, 
and the design is more restrained than that of much Hindu sculpture of the same 

Fig. 130. Buddha; from near Raj gir ; ? 12th cent. 
(/. A. S. B., Part I, vol. Ixiii (1894), PL H.) 

period. The material is a black carboniferous shale, or clay slate, well adapted to 
the sculptor's purpose, and the twelfth century may be assigned as an approximate 
date. The Rajmahal Hills, where this remarkable work was excavated, lie to the 
south of Monghyr, and, although outside the limits of Bihar, were doubtless subject to 
the Pala rulers of that province. 



_^ ]^;jj„ir One more illustration of tlie mediaeval art of Bihar may suffice — a beautifully 

Buddha. modelled and exquisite!)- linished seated Buddha in black Monghyr stone found by 
^Ir. Grierson near Ra'gir (Fig. 130). The standing figures are the Bodhisattvas 
Avalokitesvara and Yajrapani. The seated goddesses are the two forms of Tara, 
the Green and the White. The composition as a whole is a compendium of the 
symbolism of Mahayanist Buddhism. As a work of art its interest lies chiefly in the 
careful modelling of the principal figure. The script of the inscription, the usual 
' Buddhist creed ', indicates that the work is approximately contemporary with the 
Rajmahal Sun-god. 
Oiher good It may be well to mention the existence of other excellent specimens of the 

images. mediaeval Bihar style, without detailed description or illustration, (i) Mr. Marshall 

notes as the most beautiful of the later finds at Sarnath, dating from the eleventh or 
twelfth century, a tiny figure of Avalokitesvara, ^^ inches high, the carving of which, 
though somewhat stereotyped in character, is said to be executed with a delicacy and 
refinement which would do credit to a Chinese artist ' ; (2) the large Buddha called 
Mata Kunwar at the famous site near Kasia, Gorakhpur District-; (3) a fine Vishnu 
at Devathala, Dinajpur District, Bengal ^ ; and (4) sundry Buddhist sculptures from 
Kurkihar and Bishanpur, especially a remarkable relief of a Bodhisattva teaching, as 
described and illustrated by Dr. Stein ■*. The list might be largely extended from 
the collections in the Indian Museum, Calcutta, the Provincial Museum, Lucknow, and 
at other places. 
Localities The mediaeval sculptures of Orissa are chiefly associated with the Brahmanical 

of Orissan temples of three localities — Bhuvanesvar, Konarak, and Purl— all in the Purl District, 
and ranging in date from perhaps the ninth century to the thirteenth. The peculiarities 
of the architecture have been noticed in Chapter II. The oldest sculptures, usually 
in sandstone, are at Bhuvanesvar ; the best statues, mostly in chlorite, are at 
Sculptures The temples and shrines at Bhuvanesvar, said to be five or six hundred in 

at Bhuva- number, are usually richly decorated, and so offer a wide field for selection, limited 
to some extent by the fact that many of the sculptures are grossly obscene, con- 
stituting, it is said, a complete set of illustrations of the Sanskrit Kamasastra, or 
erotic treatises. ' The few decent examples for which space is available are selected 
for their purely aesthetic merits. 

The sculptures, both decorative and statuary, are well represented in the Indian 
Museum, Calcutta, by a series of 128 casts taken in 1869, under the supervision of 
the Principal of the Calcutta School of Art at the time. ' The Orissa carver of those 
days,' Dr. Anderson observes, ' went direct to nature for his designs, and the results 
of his labours in combining groups of animals with foliage show that he must have 

' /. R. A. S., 1908, p. 1093, not reproduced. < Ind. An/., xxx (1901), pp. 85, 90, 91, with 

' Martin (Buchanan-Hamilton), Easlern India, photographic plates. 

"> 357> with sketch. o Such sculptures are supposed to be a protection 

Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. xv, PL XXVII. against evil spirits, and so serve the purpose of 


htning conductors. 




been a keen observer. They are extremely pleasing pieces of art, not only on 
account of the beauty of their execution, but by reason of their truthfulness to nature.' ^ 

In justification of this criticism a few examples from Rajendralala Mitra's work Examples of 
may be given, beginning with a scroll on the Parasuramesvara temple, one of the 'decorative 
oldest, possibly dating from the eighth or ninth century (Fig. 131). 

Another scroll, including birds, &c., is from the small RajaranI temple of later 
date (Fig. 132). 

Fig. 131. Scroll on Parasuramebvara temple, Bhuvanesvar 
(Antiquilies of Orissa, No. 13, PL VII.) 

Fig. 132. Scroll with birds, &c., RajaranI temple, Bhuvanesvar. 
(Ibid., No. 18.) 

A frieze of antelopes from the Muktesvara temple, perhaps of the ninth century, ]m 
illustrates the successful realistic treatment of animal forms (Fig. 133). 

The Great Temple is supposed to date from the tenth century. Some of the 
minor accessory figures on it are pleasing, the sculptor having more liberty for the 
exercise of his fancy and taste in treating them than he had when modelling the 
canonical images of the gods. Two specimens are given of such minor figures, one 
from the Great Temple, and the other from the Baital Dewal, an edifice in the 
Dravidian style of about the same period (Figs. 134, 135). 

' Calal. ArchaeoL, Coll. I. M., Part II, p. 221. 


A iroddess. 




The chlorite BhagavatI, 7 feet high, on the tower of the Great Temple (Fig. 136), 
is an excellent example of the numerous elaborate and carefully carved statues of 
deities modelled according to strict rule. Such images are exhibitions of the skill of 
the stone-cutter rather than of creative sculpture. 

Fig. 133. Antelope frieze, Muktebvara temple, Bhuvanesvar. 
{Antiquitia ofOrissa, No. 55, PI. XXVII.) 

Mother and 

Wheel at 

Fig. 134. Panel on tower of Great 'I'cmple, Bhuvanesvar. 
(Ibid., No. 46, PI. XXVI.) 

At the famous temple of Jagannath, Purl, built about a. d. i 100, a well-executed 
group representing a Hindu mother with her baby (Fig. 137) offers a welcome change 
on gods and goddesses. Human sentiment is painfully rare in Indian mediaeval 
sculpture. This group seems to me to be of great merit. 

The unfinished temple at Konarak, dedicated to the Sun, and erected between 
A. D. 1240 and 1280, was designed to simulate a gigantic solar car drawn by horses. 
Eight great wheels, each 9 feet 8 inches in diameter, accordingly are carved above 
the plinth, and remarkable statues of seven horses stand outside. The wheels, the 
most perfect of which is shown in P'ig. 138, are carved with wonderful patience and 
admirable skill. 




Fig. 135. Dancing girl on Baital Dewal 


(Ibid,, No. 59, PI. XVIII.) 

Fig. 136. BhagavatI, Great Temple, Bhuvanesvar. 
(Ibid., No. 63, PL XIX.) 

c c 




Fig. 137. Mother and child ; temple of Jagannath, Puri. 
(Photo. 383, I. :\I. List.) 

Fig. 138. A wheel, Konarak. 
(A. S. photo., No. 155.) 




Two of the detached colossal horses are shown in Fig. 139, and one of them on Colossal 
a larger scale in Fig. 140. It is the best preserved. Another, placed outside the ^'°''^«s- 
southern facade, is described by Mr. Havell as 'one of the grandest examples of 

Fig. 139. Two horses; Konarak. 
(Photo. 355, I. M. Lisl.) 

Fig. 140. A co!os£al horse ; Konarak. 
(A. S. photo., No. 158.) 

Indian sculpture extant '. While the force and vigour of these remarkable works are 
undeniable, few critics will be able to accept fully Mr. Havell's judgement that 

' here Indian sculptors have shown that they can express with as much fire and passion 
as the greatest European art the pride of victory and the glory of triumphant warfare ; 
for not even the Homeric grandeur of the Elgin marbles surpasses the magnificent 

c c 2 



movement and modelling of this Indian Achilles, and the superbly monumental horse 
in its massive strength and vigour is not unworthy of comparison with Verrocchio's 
famous masterpiece at Venice '. 

Such language will be considered extravagant by most people.^ 
The elephant colossi are much more satisfactory to my taste than the horses. 
One, shown in Fig. 141, renders with mastery the character of the creature. 



Fig. 141. Colossal elephant, Konarak. 
(Photo. 351, I. M. Lis/.) 

The recent explorations carried out under Mr. Marshall's direction have revealed 
many finely executed chlorite statues in addition to those previously known. Two of 
the most noticeable of these discoveries are here reproduced. The image of Vishnu 
standing, equipped with all his canonical attributes, and attended by earthly and 
heavenly worshippers (Fig. 142), may be fairly credited with no small degree of 

' ]\Ir. Havell freely admits the defects of the statues 
in 'equine anatomy'. Verrocchio died in ad. 1488. 
His masterpiece is the equestrian statue of Bartolomeo 
Colleoni. Mr. Fry so far agrees with Mr. Havell as 

to describe the horse published by that author as 
'a superb colossal figure', possessing 'in the highest 
degree the qualities of great monumental design 
(Quart. Rev., igio, p- 236). 




beauty, notwithstanding the hieratic style and the four arms. The flyino- fiaures are 
good, and the carving is perfect. "^ " 

The effigy of Bala-Krishna, the god as a boy in a swing, on the contrary, is ugly 
(Fig- 143), and chiefly of interest as a toiu^ de force in stone-cutting. Nobody but 
a Hindu would think of making such chains in stone. The trefoil arch may be noted. 

Fig. 142. Vishnu; Koiiarak. 
(/. R.A. S., 1907, PI. VIII, I.) 

Fig. 143. Bala-Krishna; Konarak. 
(Ibid., Fig. 2.) 

Orissan art practically ceases Avith Konarak, for want of encouragement. A small Modern 
tract by Mr. Havell proves that the artist families have never died out altoo-ether, 0"ssan art. 
nor have they wholly lost their ancient skill. The author holds, and gives reasons 
for holding, that ' there are carvers still to be found, whose work, in spite of all the 
discouraging conditions which surround them, is hardly inferior in artistic perception 
and technical skill to that of their predecessors'. He considers the men of Orissa to 
be superior to the north-western workers in sandstone, because they have ' not ham- 
pered themselves by the limitations of a wood-carver's technique, but have fully 




realized the technical possibilities of their material for producing bold effects of light 
and shade suitable for architectural work'. I have no doubt that some of the living 
Orissan stone-carvers possess artistic feeling and could produce sculpture of consider- 
able merit, if they received adequate patronage. At present their abilities are usually 
frittered away on pretty trifles in soapstone.^ 

Close rela- 
tion of 
and Ne- 
palese art. 

Tibetan art 
industry in 


The Apostle 
of the 

Section IIL Tibet and Nepal. 

The plastic art of both Tibet and Nepal is Indian in origin and essentially one. 
According to Taranath the style of the ancient Nepalese school was based on that 
of the ' Eastern Painters in Bengal ', who may be assigned to the eighth century. 
Nothing at all so old seems to be now in existence. No example of either Tibetan 
or Nepalese artistic sculpture in stone has come to my notice. The plastic art of 
both countries is represented by images mostly of copper or bronze, small In size and 
comparatively recent in date, none, perhaps, being more than three or four centuries 
old. The better examples seem to come chiefly from Tibet, but the labels in 
collections are not always very precise. Indian civilization having reached the valley 
of Nepal many centuries before it penetrated the plateau of Tibet, the presumption is 
that the almost complete identity of style In the two countries must be the result of 
Tibetan copying of Nepalese models. 

M. de Mllloue gives a summary account of Tibetan fine-art work In copper, 
which I translate for the benefit of Indian readers unacquainted with French : — 

' Copper is found both native and in the form of pyrites In Tibet, where it is 
wrought with uncoinmon perfection. Several localities are well known for their 
famous foundries, which supply the whole of the Buddhist East with statuettes of 
divinities. Lhasa has a special reputation for small figures in gilt copper, which are 
esteemed the more the smaller they are. Its productions are easily recognized by 
their graceful and somewhat arch (fnievrc) style. The statuettes made by the monks 
and craftsmen of Tashilumpo are equally esteemed. Most of the bronze statuettes 
come from the workshops of the Tsang and Khams provinces. The bronzes from 
the region last named are famous for the perfection of their execution in details and 
their wonderful paiiiia, qualities especially noticeable in the examples which go back 
to the sixteenth or seventeenth century, notwithstanding the Impurity of the metal. 
Tsiamdo, Java, Bathang, and Lithang seem to be the principal centres of this art 
industry, which possesses an eminently religious character.' - 

A special characteristic of Tibetan art Is the abundance of realistic, highly 
individualized portrait statuettes of holy Lamas and other Buddhist saints. How far 
such reputed portraits are actual likenesses and how far merely typical forms it is 
impossible to say. They may be authentic portraits transmitted by tradition through 
contemporary paintings. The Tibetan artists are, I believe, usually Lamas. 

A good example of such a traditional portrait Is the seated image of the ' Dalai 

' E. B. llavell, Stone Carving in Bengal, thin 
quarto, i6 pp., 5 plates (Bengal Secretariat Depot, 
Calcutta, r9o6). 

- Bod-Voul ou Tibet {??Lns,ii)o6),]y. iT,o. Tsang 
and Khams lie to the east. 

SECT. Ill 



Lama of the Third Rebirth ', also known as the ' Apostle of the Mongols ', whom 
he converted to Buddhism in the sixteenth century (1543-89). The original Is in 
the large collection formed by Prince E. Ukhtomskij, now in the Museum of 
H.LM. Alexander III, St. Petersburg, which has been carefully catalogued by 
Professor Griinwedel, to whom I am indebted for the photograph of the Apostle 
reproduced in Fig. 144.1 The presentment is thoroughly realistic, and possibly may 
be from the life. No criterion seems to exist by which the age of such images can 
be determined. 

Fig. 144. The Apostle of the Mongols ; 

bronze in Ukhtomskij Collection. 

(From a photo, supplied by Prof. Griinwedel 

— Guide, Abb. 54.) 

Fig. 145. Gilt bronze statuette of Tsong-kapa, 

about 5 inches high; Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford. 

(From a photo, by permission of 

H. Balfour, Esq., Curator.) 

The Prince's collection contains many equally good portrait statuettes. One Other 
notable portrait is that of the Lama reproduced in Guide, Abb. 72. An ancient portraits. 
image in Chinese crackled porcelain vividly represents in Indian pose a follower of 
the teacher known as Bhaisajya-guru, or Man-la, the ' Buddha of Medicine ' {Guide, 
Abb. 94). 

Other artistic examples of the same portrait class are in the Musee Gulmet, 

' See Prof. Griinwedel's Mylhologie des Eud- 
dhismus in Tibet und der Mongolei, Fiihrer durch die 
Sammlitng des FUrsten E. Ukhtoinskij (Leipzig, 
1900), cited as Guide; and his illustrated Catalogue 

of the collection in Russian (Bibliotheca Buddhica, 
No. vi, 2 fasc, St. Petersburg, 1905). The terrible 
Tibetan name of the Apostle is 7uK'as-grub-bSod- 



amono- which may be specially noted the bronze images of Padmasambhava and 
Tsong-kapa, the founder of 'Yellow Lamaism ' {Petit Guide Illustr(^, pp. 143, 144).' 
A reproduction of a statuette of Tsong-kapa from an original in the Pitt-Rivers 
Museum, Oxford, is here given (Fig. 145). Portraits of this kind do not come from 
Nepal, so far as 1 know. 
Images of The effioies of Buddhas and deides, although similar in style to the human 

portrait statuettes, are necessarily more conventional. They are often gilt and 
decorated with turquoises. The goddess Tara in her various forms is, perhaps, the 
favourite, but many deities are represented." In Plate XLI illustrations are given of 
three — an unnamed teacher ; the Bodhisattva ManjusrI ; and his consort, Sarasvati, 
goddess of music and poetr) . The last-named object, which is gracefully and freely 
modelled, closely resembles the best Nepalese work. 

It would be easy to multiply similar examples. The British Museum collection 
includes several specimens of good quality, which have not been utilized because the 
collection awaits arrangement and at present is not conveniently placed for study. 
The illustrations given are fairly representative of the style, and enable the reader to 
form a good idea of the Lamas' remarkable skill in modelling, portraiture, and finish. 
Nepalese Nepalese bronze statuettes of any considerable artistic excellence seem to be 

images. much less numerous than the Tibetan. The coppersmiths in Nepal are more inclined 
to exercise their craft upon elaborate utensils used in worship than on images, and it 
is not easy to find Nepalese statuettes deserving of notice. Berlin has none, and it 
cannot be said with certainty that any of the Pitt-Rivers specimens come from Nepal. 
Mr. Havell has reproduced (his Plate XLIV) a cleverly modelled four-armed figure, 
supposed, rightly or wrongly, to be Kuvera or Jambhala, the god of riches, which is 
an effective, though ugly, ' personification of materialism and the worldly life' A 
Tibetan gilt bronze image of the same deity, fairly well executed, is in the Pitt-Rivers 
Museum. It has only two arms, and is about 5 inches high. The wasp-waisted 
Taras, which Mr. Havell admires vastly, present mere parodies of the human form 
which can be described as idealized superhuman bodies only by extremely enthusiastic 
critics. More or less similar specimens are described and illustrated by Dr. Coomara- 
swam)' in the Burlnigton Magazine, May, 19 10. 

Many of the Tibetan and Nepalese images are purely commercial products of 
no artistic value. Others, although elaborately executed, are too monstrous and 
grotesque to deserve rank as works of art. 

Section IV. NoinTi- Western India and Rajputana. 

Destruction In the Panjab and the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh thousands of Hindu 

mlf"e!" temples and other edifices must have been destroyed by the Muslim conquerors 
provinces. during the seven centuries intervening between the raids of Mahmijd of Ghaznl and 

' The illustrations in Prof. Grunwedel's publica- ihem kindly granted, 

tions and the Petit Guide Illustre of the Musee '' The well-executed nearly black bronze Tara in 

Guimet being executed by the half-tone process it the Pitt-Rivers ^tluseum holds in her left hand a 

is not possible to utilize the permission to reproduce phallus of amethyst-colour glass. 

B. The Bodhisattva Manjusri, patinated bronze, 
about 6 inches hi2:h ; Pitt-Rivers Museum. 

A. A teacher, gilt bronze, about 4 inches high ; 

Pitt-Rivers Museum. 

(From a photo., by permission of H. Balfour, Esq., (From a photo., by permission of H. Balfour, Esq., 
Curator.) Curator.) 

C. The goddess SarasvatT, Ukhtomskij Collection. 
(From a photo, supplied by Prof. Griinwedel.) 

Plate XLI. Bronze images of Tibetan deities and saints. 




the death of Aiiranozeb in 1707. The detailed records of the devastation wrought at 
Kanauj, jNIathura. Benares, and many other notable cities fully justify the assertion 
that the buildings and monuments destroyed must have been numbered by thousands. 
INIediaeval sculpture, consequently, is scarce in the territories strongly held by the 
?ilusalman powers.' The more considerable remains are to be found only in regions 
hing remote from the track of the Muslim armies, such as Khajuraho in the Chhatarpur 
State of the Central India Agency, and the more inaccessible parts of Rajputana and 
the Central Provinces. 

Sculpture at Plate X {aiilc) gives some slight indication of the sculptured wealth of the 

oreater temples at Khajuraho erected during the tenth and eleventh centuries by the 
kings of the Chandel dynast)^ I visited the temples many years ago and can testify 
that the crowd of figures is far more numerous than would appear from the photo- 
graph. But this ' peuple de pierre ', as M. Le Bon calls it, was designed for the 
purpose of architectural decoration in the mass, not as an assemblage of individual 
works of fine art ; and it is doubtful if any single image or group could be excerpted 
which would deserve illustration on its own aesthetic merits. Very many of the 
figures, like those in Orissa {auk, p. 190), are disgustingly indecent. Nobody having 
thought it worth while to photograph the sculptures in detail, it is impossible to 
reproduce examples, even of the decent ones. 

Sculptures The group of mediaeval temples at Khajuraho is the largest and most important 

in Upper India. At minor sites we find the same lack of individual works of artistic 
distinction and, as a rule, the same absence of detailed record. The temples of 
Moimt Abu in fiajputana undoubtedly exhibit masses of sculptured decoration of 
the most marvellous richness and delicacy, as sufficiently exemplified in Plates VI and 
VII, aiilc. But there does not seem to be anything deserving of isolation from the 
mass for stud)- as a separate work of art. I do not know of any detachable mediaeval 
sculptures of Upper India comparable in artistic interest with the Chola panels at 
Gangaikondapuram (Figs. 159, 160, 161, post), or even with the chlorite statues of 
Konarak (Figs. 142 and 143, «;;/d), except in the less-known parts of Rajputana, 
where the researches of Mr. D. R. Bhandarkar have recently disclosed an unexpected 
wealth of sculpture, especially between Sirohi and Jodhpur. 

Tower of The Tower of Victory, over 120 feet In height, at Chitor in Rajputana, built in 

(^\'^^r,i ^ '-^^'^ fifteenth century to commemorate the military successes of a local chieftain, is 
covered from top to bottom, inside and out, with an infinite multitude of images, 
representing, so far as may be, all the denizens of the Hindu pantheon, with their 
names attached, and constituting an 'illustrated dictionary of Hindu mythology'. 
Besides the effigies of the more ordinary deities, there are images representing the 
seasons, rivers, weapons, and other things as yet unpublished. Whenever this series 
of sculpttires shall be reproduced it will be invaluable as a key to Brahmanical 

' The case of the Bulandshahr District, U. P. lazed to tlie ground every building, secular or 

illustrates M-hat happened. ' As might have been religious, that had been erected by its former Hindu 

expected from its nearness to Delhi, the INIuhamma- rulers' (Growse, /. A. S. B., Pt. I, vol. lii (1883), 

dans have made a clean sweep of the district, and p. 280). 

at I\Iount 


iconography, but is not likely to contribute much to the history of art/ The better 
class of art in Rajputana dates from an earlier period, ending Avith the twelfth century. 

If the description recorded by Mr. Garrick, Sir A. Cunningham's assistant, can I 
be depended on, certain relief sculptures at the Mokalji temple on the famous rock of ^ 
Chitor possess high merit as works of art. The darkness of the chamber in which 
they are placed unfortunately* frustrated attempts to photograph them. The temple, 
originally erected in the eleventh century, was reconstructed in the fifteenth century 
during the reign of Mokalji (a. d. 1428-38). The pillars bearing the reliefs evidently 
belong to the earlier building.- The bas-reliefs, sixteen in number, are carved on 
octagonal bands of the eastern pair of pillars supporting the principal chamber of the 
temple, eight scenes on each pillar. The first scene on the southern column of the 
pair, according to Mr. Garrick, 

' depicts five human figures, of which two are large and three small ; one of the 
former represents a woman carrying a water-jar on her head, and a man standing 
before her with hands joined in an attitude of adoration. The minor figures are 
much broken. This sculpture, along with the others of this set, is remarkable for the 
elaborate detail and technical excellence of its workmanship, the woman's hair being 
most minutely delineated. . . . The third carving is very well modelled and propor- 
tioned, and depicts two standing figures, male and female. . . . The fifth scene is 
filled with vigorous action, and consists of a musical festival ; six male figures play 
six musical Instruments . . . the sixth and last figure of this interesting group is seen 
full to the front, blowing a flute {iinlrali or bansi) in a very animated position as if he 
were dancinof. . . .' 


On the northern column of the pair — 

' the seventh scene is in all probability the most interesting of the whole series, and 
in its half a dozen figures gives us both a duel and an execution. The upper pair of 
men fight with shields and sabres, and their armour, accoutrements, &c., even to the 
knobs and bosses on their shields, are most carefully delineated, and show that the 
manufacture of these articles has altered as little during the last eight centuries as 
that of the musical instruments figured elsewhere. The lower portion of this com- 
prehensive and instructive scene shows a pair of kneeling figures bound hand and foot, 
while an executioner holds his knife to the neck of the male figure to our left ; but 
the female with him may possibly be a mere witness, though it is pretty clear from the 
o-eneral distribution of action in this trio that she awaits her turn for immolation.' ■' 

I cannot attempt to interpret these curious scenes. Perhaps the Archaeological 
Department may be able to arrange for their reproduction with the help of modern 
appliances for the use of artificial light. 

Mokalji's temple, as a whole, is decorated with an extraordinary wealth of sculp- 
ture, very effective in the mass, but not of quality sufficiently high to permit of small 
excerpts appearing to advantage. In order to give some notion of the powers of 

' Cousens, Progr. Rep. A. S. W. I., 1 900-1, ' Garrick, in Cunningham's Archaeol. Survey 

p_ ^ 7?c/i(7r/j, vol. xxiii, pp. 120-3. Mr. Garrick's tour 

' Ibid., 1903-4, p. 38. took place in 1883-4. 

D d 2 

2 04 



Raiputana sculptors In the first half of the fifteenth century, two specimens from the 
later sculptures of the temple, one in high relief, with the images almost detached, 
and the other, a frieze in lower relief (Figs. 146, 147), are presented. The elephants 

Fig. 146. Sculptures on a "wall of MokaljI's temple, Chitor. 
(Photo. 2278, A. S.) 

■JT'^'^:'^"?'''^ I'""? 'V^'f 

Fig. 147. Elephant-fight frieze from same temple. 
(A. S. photo. 2281.) 

have been set to fight with a barrier between them. The earlier sculptures described 
by Mr. Garrick seem to be far superior in qualit}'. 

The most artistic object discovered by Mr. D. R. Bhandarkar during his rambles 




in Rajputana — so fruitful in additions to historical knowledge — is the face looking out Face in a 
from a stone window in a wall of an old temple of the Sun at Vasantgarh in the ^^'" °^^' 
Sirohi State (Fig. 14S). Mr. Bhandarkar supposes it to date from the seventh 
century,^ but, whatever its exact age, it is a beautiful work, and unique, to the best of 
my knowledge. The surrounding ornament is in an excellent style. This sculpture 
may be accepted with consiclerable confidence as an example of the w^ork of the 

Fig. 148. Face in wail of temple, Vasantgarh. 
(A. S. photo. 2671.) 

school of the 'Ancient West' founded by Sringadhara of Marwar (Jodhpur). In 
Chapter IX, Section I, reasons will be given for believing that Sringadhara lived 
in the middle of the seventh century. 

An ancient town called Osia in the Jodhpur or Marwar State possesses no less Image of 
than twelve old temples, mostly referred by Mr. Bhandarkar to the eighth century. 
In one of these, No. g, known as the shrine of Devi, is the image of Kuvera, the 
god of riches, which may be compared with the effigies of the same deity in Gandhara 
and elsewhere (Fig. 149). As a work of art it does not rank high.- 


^ Progr. Rep. A. S. W. L, 1905-6, pp. 51, 52. 

Ibid., 1906-7, p. 36. 

\'ishnu at 


A beautifully wrought figure of Vishnu in the Mathura Museum, about 26 inches 
in height, and presumably produced in the local workshops (Fig. 150), may be com- 
pared\-ith the Konarak Vishnu {ante, Fig. 142). The two images, while largely in 
agreement, differ in a multitude of details.^ The Mathura figure, which evidently is 
ancient, is not likely to be later than the tenth century, the temples of the city having 
been burnt by Mahmud of Ghazni at the close of a.d. 1018. 


Fig. 149. Kuvera; Temple No. 9, Osia. 
(Photo. No. 2831.) 

Curious bearded images, seemingly portraits, occur in some of the Rajputana 
temples. One of the most remarkable is the bust reproduced in Fig. 151, which 
adorns a pillar or pilaster of the temple of Undesvara Mahadeva at Bijolia in the 

^ At Panthia near I\randhaia, the ancient Mahish- 
mati, on the Narbada, there are twenty-four different 

forms of Vishnu duly labelled and distinguished by 
variations in the attributes and position of the hands. 




Mewar or Udaipur State, supposed to have been erected not later than the middle of 
the twelfth century. The beard is treated in the Egyptian manner. 1 Portrait statuary 
is more common in Rajputana than elsewhere. 

Fig. 150. Statuette of Vishnu ; Mathura Museum. 
(A. S. photo. 48 of 1908-9.) 

The two unrivalled Jain temples on Mount Abu, the earlier built by Vimala Saha in Elephant 
A. D. 1031, and the later by Tejpal in a. d. 1210 {ante, p. 32, and Pis. VI and VII), have statues and 
each at the entrance a chamber known as the ' elephant room '. Each of these rooms Mount Abu. 
contains ten statues of elephants, said to be sculptured in every detail with exquisite 

1 Progr. Rep. A. S. W. I., 1904-5, P- 53- 


care ^vhich formerly carried riders. All the riders in the later building have dis- 
appeared, but inscribed slabs still existing record that the figures included portrait 
imao-es of the founders, Vastupala with two wives, and Tejpal with his one wife, 
Anilpama. Some of the riders in Vimala Saha's ' elephant room ' appear to exist still, 
but I am not in a position to illustrate them.' 

Fig. 151. Portrait bust ; Bijolia, Mewar. 
(A. S. photo. 241 1.) 

Section V. Western India. 

The most important and characteristic examples of mediaeval sculpture in the 
west of India are to be found in the cave temples, which, small and great, number 
nearly a thousand. But for the purpose of illustration it will suffice to reproduce a 
few select specimens from the shrines at Badaml, Elura (Ellora), and Elephanta, with 
two sculptures from temples of later date. The cave sculptures of interest range in 
date from the sixth to the eighth century. The best works in the structural temples 
may be assigned to the eleventh and twelfth centuries. 

The works of art are shared by all the three indigenous Indian religions— 
Brahmanical Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The Jain sculpture is so extremely 
formal and conventional that it possesses little interest, and the slight notice which 
it demands will be reserved for the concluding section of this chapter. The 
Buddhist and Brahmanical works are both numerous and very much alike in spirit 
and style. The spirit of the new art will be most easily understood from study of 
the Brahmanical, or apparently Brahmanical, sculptures, to which the few illustrations 
for which there is space will be restricted. In those days Buddhism was a dying 

^ Imp. Gas., s.v. Abu. 

Plate XLII. Deities in Vaishnava cave, Badaml. 

(Photo. 940, I. O. Lisi=V\. XXVI, A. S. W. I., vol. i.) 

E e 



faith, slowU- perishin-- by absorption into the enveloping mass of Hinduism. The 
Brahmanical works of art exceed the Buddhist, not only in number but in merit. To 
Mr. Havell and Dr. Coomaraswamy the compositions in the cave temples are ' examples 
of the finest period of Hindu sculpture, from about the sixth to the eighth century, 
when orthodox Hinduism had triumphed over Buddhism'; but most European 
observers experience difficulty in appreciating the artistic equalities of those composi- 
tions. They are commonly so strange and monstrous, and very often so ugly, that 
an effort is needed to treat them seriously as fine art. Mr. Fry, commenting on 
Mr. Havell's book, is more appreciative than many writers: 'The free and 
picturesque composition from Ellora,' he says, ' representing " Ravana under the 
mountain of Kailasa ", complicated though it is, is held together by the dramatic 
beauty of movement of the figures of Siva and Parvati. The same dramatic vitality 
is apparent in the struggle between Narisinha and HiranyaTvasipu, also from Ellora. 
Indeed, all the Ellora sculptures here reproduced appeal to the European eye by 
a relatively greater observance of the laws of co-ordination, and by an evidence of 
dramatic force which indicates that Indian art did not always convey its meaning in 
a strano-e tonoue.' ' To be judged fairly the sculptures should be seen in the mass 
and among their solemn surroundings. They undoubtedly suffer grievously by being 
excerpted in bits and reproduced in illustrations a few inches square. While fully 
conscious of the difficulties inherent in the attempt to illustrate the colossal and 
fantastic creations of the cave sculptors within the limits of ah ordinary page, I have 
tried to select fairly a small number of examples generally recognized as among 
the best. 

The cave temples at Badami in the Bijapur District, Bombay, exhibit among 
other decorations long sculptured story-telling friezes, extremely curious, but so 
clumsily executed as hardly to deserve the name of works of art. They date from 
the closing years of the sixth century.^ Erom an artistic point of view the bracket 
figures of a god and goddess on the top of a pilaster, as shown in Plate XLII, are by 
far the best things at Badami. They have the great merit of not being ugly, and 
are within measurable distance of being beautiful, but lack the vitality of the early 
Buddhist art, or even of the nearly contemporary Gupta art in Northern India. 

The repulsive nature of the subjects often chosen by the cave sculptors is well 
xemplified by the Bhairava and Kali group in the Das Ava/ar, or 'Ten Incarnations' 
temple at Elura (Ellora), dating from about a.d. 700 (PI. XLII I), described by 
Dr. Bureess as follows : — 


' Beginning on the north side with the Saiva sculptures — the first from the door is 
Bhairava or Mahadeva in his terrible form ; and a more vivid picture of the terrific 
a very diseased imagination only could embody. The gigantic figure lounges forward 
holding up his elephant-hide, with necklace of skulls [iiniiidmala) depending below 
his loins ; round him a cobra is knotted, his open mouth showing large teeth, while 

' Quart. Rev., igio, p. 235. by seven [tlales in Ind. An/., vi, pp. 354-66. They 

- Described, and illusU-ated with other sculptures, are of much interest for reasons oilier than aesthetic. 

Plate XLIII. Bhairava ; Dasavatar Cave, Elura. 
(Photo. 1 371, I. O. List = PI. XXII. 2, A. S. W. I., vol. V.) 

E e 2 

!I 2 


^vith his insula [trident] he has transfixed one victnn, who, writhmg on its prongs, 
seems to supplicate pit\- from the pitiless; while he holds another by the heels with 
one of his left hands, raising the damru [small drum] as if to rattle it in joy, while he 
catches the blood with which to quench his demon thirst. To ado to the elements 
of horror Kali oaunt and grim, stretches her skeleton length below, with huge 



Fig. 152. Siva dancing ; in Lankebvara-Kailas temple. 
i^A. S. W. /., vol. V, p. 32, PI. XXIX, 2 ; from a drawing by H. Cousens.) 

mouth, bush)- hair, and sunken e)'eballs, having a crooked knife in her right hand, and 
reaching out the other with a bowl, as if eager to share in the gore of its \_sic'\ victim; 
behind her head is the owl [one species is called Bhairava], the symbol of destruction, 
or a vampire, as fit witness of the scene. On the right, in front of the skeleton, is 
ParvatI; and higher up, near the feet of the victim Ratnasura, is a grinning face 

























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dra^vincr out its tonoue. Altogether the group is a picture of the devilish ; the very 
armlets' Bhairava wears are ogre faces.' ^ 

The religion which finds expression in imagery so truly devilish is not a pleasant 
subject of con'templation, and no amount of executive skill or cleverness in the pro- 
duction of scenic effect can justify, on aesthetic grounds, such a composition, which is 
frankly hideous. Its claim to be considered a work of art rests solely upon its display 
of power in a semi-barbaric fashion. The horror of the subject and its treatment is 
not redeemed by any apparent ethical 
lesson. Indeed Puranic and Tantric Hin- 
duism (including late Buddhism) concerns 
itself little with ethics. The earlier 
Buddhism, as a religion, busied itself 
mainly with morals, and consciously aimed 
at ' the welfare and happiness of all crea- 
tures ', a noble ideal which found its 
utterance in art. In Brahmanical Hin- 
duism of all varieties each man seeks at 
the most his own personal salvation, and 
so Brahmanical art seldom exhibits a trace 
of human sympathy, a defect dearly pur- 
chased by its much praised idealism. 

A subject rarely represented in sculp- 
ture, the rescue by the god Siva of his 
worshipper Markandeja from the clutches 
of the messenger of Yama, god of death, 
appears twice at Elura, and is treated 
with less grimness than the Bhairava 
group. The earlier composition in the 
Das Avatar Cave (Plate XLIV, Fig. A) 
is more vig'orous than that at the Kailas 
(Fig. B), half a century or more later in 
date. The two groups may be considered to be favourable specimens of the cave 
sculpture in its milder forms. 

The sculptures in the Lankesvara section of the Kailas temple are commended 
as having been ' executed with great care and minute detail '. The best known, and 
perhaps the most meritorious, is that exhibiting Siva performing the Tandava dance 
(Fig. 152), a work remarkable for the good modelling of the principal image, and the 
scrupulous exactitude of the carving. 

A good Vishnu at Elura is shown in Fig. 153. The god is imagined as striding 
through the seven regions of the universe in three steps, and is here shown as taking 
the third step. 

' Fergusson and Burgess, 77/1? Cave Temples of India, p. 346 (1880). 

Fig. 153. Vishnu taking the third stride; Cave 16, Elijra. 
(Photo. suppHed by Prof. Macdonell.) 


The famous caves on the island of Elephanta in Bombay Harbour are supposed Siva at 
to date from the eighth century. The colossal sculptures, imposing and effective Elephanta. 
when viewed in the recesses of the caverns, are not of a very high class of art, and do 
not bear reproduction in detail well. The first of the two specimens selected is the 
favourite subject of the marriage of Siva with ParvatI (Fig. 154) ; and the second is 
the representation of Siva as th^ Great Ascetic (Fig. 155), which maybe compared with 
the far finer Gupta treatment of the same subject (ante, PI. XXXIV). The Elephanta 
Siva is merely a modified squatting Buddha in an inferior style. The extremely 
intimate relation which existed between the Siva worship of the Brahmanical Hindus 

Fig. 154. Marriage of Siva and Parvati; Elephanta. 
(I. O. Lisl, photo. No. 1314.) 

and the mediaeval cult of the Tantric Buddhists has been mentioned already more 
than once. The subject was treated in a special essay written in 1828 by Brian 
Hodgson, who, when Resident in Nepal, showed a picture of the famous Trimurti, or 
three-headed god, at Elephanta to a 'well-informed old Bauddha [Buddhist]'. He 
promptly ' recognized it as a genuine Bauddha image ! As he did many others, 
declared by our writers to be Saiva.' ^ It is quite possible that some of the so-called 
Brahmanical caves of Western India may be Buddhist in reality. 

The Brahmanical structural temple at Amarnath (Ambarnath) in the Thana Sculptures 
District, thirty-eight miles from Bombay, dating probably from the eleventh century, ^|^^J,™^^|-,"J 
was minutely surveyed in 1868-9. According to the Gazetteer, 'The sculpture both District. 

^ Or. Qu. Mag., vii, 218 seqq.; Languages, Sfc, of Nepal, 133 seqq., as quoted by Sir R. Temple in 
Ind. Ant., xxii, p. 363. 




on the pillars of the hall and round the whole of the outside shows a degree of skill 
that is not surpassed on any temple in the Bombay Presidency.' It has the extrava- 
gant character common to the productions of the age. One illustration maybe given 
h^k- '57)- It is a poor thing, but as good as anything else in the building.i 

" The twelfth-century temple at Karvati (Kiruvatti), Dharwar District, Bombay, 
is richly adorned with florid sculpture, represented at its best by the bracket statuette 
(Fio-. 156). The scroll device is better suited for execution in metal than in stone. 
The ancient ' Atlas ' motive may be observed. 

Fig. 1.55. Siva as the Great Ascetic; Elephanta. 
(I. O. Lis/, photo. No. 1319.) 

Certain other sculptures may be briefly mentioned. At the temple of the Sun at 
Than in Kathiawar, images believed to date from the seventh century are described 
as being in high relief, almost detached, well proportioned and posed, with vigorous 
expression, and generally resembling the bold and heavy work of the cave-temples. 
The sandstone carvings of many deities at the Navalakha temple of Sejakpur near 
Than are praised as being ' crisp ' ; and the full-length lions or griffins at the temple 
of Muni Bava, south of Than, resembling the ya/ts of Dravidian shrines, are an unusual 
feature in the west.- Mr. Cousens also mentions an image of Hari-Hara lying on the 
Purandhar Hill, Poona District, probably of the eleventh or twelfth century, as being 
richly designed and well carved, a fine example of the ' best period of work'.' 

' Imp. Gaz. (1908), s.v. Amarnath; Bomi. Gas., ■ Progr. Rep. A. S. W. /., 1898-9, p. 3- 

vol. xiv, pp. 2-8; InJ. Ant., iii, 316 scqq., with ' Ibid., 1899-1900, p. 8. 





Fig. 156. Bracket statuette ; Karvati temple. 
(Photo. 1951, I. M. List.) 

It seems to be clear that, except in the cave-temples, the amount of mediaeval 
sculpture in the Bombay Presidency with any claim to considerable artistic merit is 
not large. 

915 F f 



Fig. 157. Brahma and Sarasvaii ; Amarnath. 
(Photo. 877, I. O.List.) 

.Section VI. Southern India. 

of Southern 

A. Stone. 

The arts of sculpture and decorative carving in stone continued to be practised 
in India to the south of the Narbada under the patronage of many dynasties through- 
out the mediaeval period, and even to this day are cultivated with considerable 
success whenever encouragement on an adequate scale is offered. But, excepting 
certain Chola statuary of the eleventh century, which is pre-eminently excellent, the 
Southern figure sculpture does not often attain high quality. In quantity it is enor- 
mous, the gigantic temples and halls characteristic of the Dravidian kingdoms being 
commonly overloaded with sculptured ornament on every member. Mythological 
subjects from the Puranas and Tantras are the favourites, and the tendency is 
to treat the conceptions of a luxuriant mythology with exuberant fancy, insufficiently 


restrained by good taste. The result too often is merely grotesque, and very few 
of the individual images can claim to be beautiful. Naturalistic representations are 
rare, and the general effect is bizarre, Avith a tinge of barbarism. 

The purely decorative designs carved on the twelfth-century Chalukya and 
Hoysala temples are unsurpassed, but the statuary of the same buildings is con- 
ventional and rarely of much merit. 

The illustrations following have been selected with the purpose of exhibiting the 
best specimens of Southern stone sculpture in all kinds from the seventh century to 
the present day. 

The series begins with the statuary and reliefs executed during the seventh 
century under the patronage of the Pallava dynasty of Kanchi (Conjeeveram). The 
next important group of works consists of the Chola sculpture of the eleventh century. 
From that we pass on to the ornate styles patronized by the Hoysala and Chalukya 
kings of the Deccan, chiefly in the twelfth century. Our attention will then be 
claimed by the sumptuous, semi-barbaric art of the Vijayanagar dynasty in the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries ; which is succeeded by the lavish, but too often 
tasteless, decoration of the huge temples erected in the Tamil countries during 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries ; and, in conclusion, a few words will 
be devoted to the clever modern eclectic sculpture executed to the command of 
the Maharaja of Mysore. The bronzes and brasses are of sufficient importance 
to justify their discussion in a short separate section. 

During the seventh century the kings of the mysterious Pallava dynasty of 
Kanchi (Conjeeveram) succeeded in making themselves the dominant power in 
Southern India, overshadowing the ancient Chola, Chera, and Pandya dynasties of the 
Tamil region, and, for a time, obscuring the glory of the powerful Chalukya sovereigns 
of the Deccan. The Pallava king named Mahendra-varman I {cir. 600-625 a.d.), 
a great builder, is responsible for many rock-cut temples in the North Arcot, South 
Arcot, Chingleput, and Trichinopoly Districts. The earliest rathas, or monolithic 
shrines, at Mamallapuram, or the Seven Pagodas, also probably should be ascribed to 
his reign. His son, Narasimha-varman I, surnamed Mahamalla, the most mighty 
prince of his line, gave his name to Mamallapuram, and constructed, or rather caused 
to be excavated, some of the rathas at that place. The family taste for architecture 
survived in the descendants of Narasimha-varman, the so-called 'Shore Temple' 
at Mamallapuram and the early structural temples at Kanchi being ascribed partly to 
his great-grandson, Rajasimha, and partly to Rajasimha's sons {ante, p. 36). 

The most notable remains of Pallava art are those dating from the seventh and 
eighth centuries at Mamallapuram, which include, besides the well-known rathas, 
numerous less familiar monuments, comprising temples, statues in the round, and 
gigantic sculptures in relief carved on the face of the rocks. Among the sculptures 
in the round mention may be made of a lion, seven feet in length, which is said to be 
well-proportioned and of a noble appearance. 

Several authors concur in the opinion that the most artistic of the reliefs is 
the great composition depicting the victory of the Good, represented by the goddess 

Plate XJ,VI. Rock-sculpture, ' Arjuna's Penance ' (right side), at Mamallapur, Chingleput District. 
(Photo. 1 1 56, A. S., Publ. in/. /. A. /., vol. x, Pi. 85.) 



Durga mounted on a lion, over evil personified in the bufi'alo-headed demon, Mahi- 
shasura (Plate XL\'). The scene undoubtedl)- is full of life and movement, and 
the L;oddess is a dignified figure. I am inclined to prefer this work to anythino- 
at Elura, but the general effect is not pleasing. 

A huge relief picture, covering a sheet of rock 96 feet in length and 43 In breadth, 
depicts incidents in the story of the Pandava hero, Arjuna, as told in the Mahabharata 
epic. The poet relates that the hero, in order to obtain the magic weapon needed 
for the overthrow of his enemies, made a pilgrimage to the inmost recesses of the 

Fig. 158. Sculplure of Pallava period (? 7th cent.) at Trichinopoly. 
(Piioto. 87, A. S.) 

Himalayas, and there performed the most severe austerities until he wrung the 
desired boon from the reluctant gods. ' During the fourth month,' we are told, 

'he did not eat at all, but completed his penance by standing on the tip of his 
great toe, the other leg being lifted from the ground, and his hands raised above his 

This uncomfortable experience is clearly set forth in the relief, the right-hand 
half of which is reproduced in Plate XLVI. The old worshipper lower down is the 
Brahman Drona. Some lifedike figures of elephants are under the proper left half 
of the relief, not reproduced here. The picture is designed for edification rather 
than as a work of art, and is therefore lacking in composition. It is much cor- 


22 ■ 

roded by the sea air, and when allowance is made for that, some of the individual 
figures seem to possess a certain amount of aesthetic merit. ^ 

Another and smaller relief of Pallava age at Trichinopoly (Fig. 158) seems 
to be of earlier date and is in a better style of art. This group, consisting of 
five large figures, in addition to the crouching dwarf on whose hand the central 
deity, apparently a form ot Siva, rests his right foot, is symmetrically composed, 
due prominence being given to the god, who stands in a natural and easy atti- 
tude. He has four arms, but only two are prominent, and all the other fio-ures 
are quite free from monstrosity. The kneeling worshippers are excellently modelled 
and pleasing in appearance. The style, in fact, is much more akin to that of 
the Gupta age in Northern India than to the sculpture commonly seen in the 
South, and is so restrained that I am disposed to refer the group to the earliest 
possible date, about the beginning of the seventh century, and to suggest that it 
may be the work of a northern artist. 

Two spirited bas-relief sculptures from Mysore territory, now in the Bangalore 
Museum, although too crude to rank as fine art, perhaps deserve passing mention. 
The first, on the Begur stone, dating from about a.d. 934-8, gives a vivid picture 
of a battle between the force commanded by a chief mounted on an elephant and 
another led by a rival on horseback. The second, on the Atakur stone dated 
A.D. 949-50, commemorating a set fight between a mighty hound and a great boar 
in which both combatants were killed, represents an incident in the struggle, the 
hound having his teeth fixed in the boar's snout.- The design is better than the 

The Cholas, who succeeded the Pallavas as the paramount power in the South, 
may be said to have filled the principal places in the Tamil countries with their 
edifices, religious and secular, all richly sculptured. Rajaraja the Great (985-1018), 
the most famous king of a capable dynasty, extended his power over nearly the 
whole of the Madras Presidency, Ceylon, and a large part of Mysore, while his 
navy ranged as far as the Laccadive and Maldive islands. A king so powerful 
and wealthy naturally spent freely on building, and the world owes to him the 
temple at Tanjore, his capital, the best designed of all the great South Indian 
temples (auie, p. 38). 

^ Hindus believe that the gods are powerless to The story of the penance is in Mahdhh., Vanaparva, 

resist the prayers of a penitent who performs ex- Calcutta ed., p. 463. The whole relief is reproduced 

ceptional acts of austerity. The correct name of the in PL I of the Madras compilation from a careful 

place is Mamalla-puram, ' the town of Mahamalla,' drawing made some years prior to 1828. The on!} 

or Narasimha-varman I. The forms Mahabalipur, trustworthy authority for the history isMi.Venkayj-a's 

Mahavelh'pore, &c., in common use are corruptions article 'The Pallavas' in Ann. Rep. A. S., India 

based on a false etymology. No modern scientific 1906-7, pp. 217-43. 

account of the ruins exists. The Madras Govern- - Fleet, ' Three Western Ganga Records in tht 

ment issued in 1869 an atlas folio illustrated volume Mysore Government Museum at Bangalore' {Ep 

containing reprints of several old descriptions, and IntL, vi, p. 40, with plates). A larger photograpt 

the same documents were also printed in octavo of the Begur stone in Ep. Carnalica, vol. xi, frontis' 

without the plates. A Hindu author in the book piece, 
gives the mythological key to the various sculptures. 




His son and successor, Rajendra-Choladeva I, surnamed Gangaikonda (1018- 
35), continued and extended Rajaraja's victories by sea and land. In memory of the 
subjugation of the Ganga territory' in M)Sore, or, as others say, to commemorate 
his march northwards as far as the Ganges, Rajendra built a new capital, Gangai- 
konda-Cholapuram, in the Trichinopoly District, and constructed there an enormous 
artihcial lake with an embankment sixteen miles long. The principal temple, de- 

FiG. 159. Siva dancing; on north wall of great temple at Gangaikonda-Cholapuram. 
(Photo. 40, Archaeological Surve)'.) 

Signed on the noble model of the Tanjore temple, enshrined a huge monolithic 
Imgam, thirty feet high, and the precincts of the city included a palace and many 
other notable buildings, now either vanished or in complete ruin. The sculptures 
m panels on the walls of the great temple are remarkable for their elegance and 
beauty, which may coinpare with the merits of the best sculpture in Java.^ 

So far as I am aware, the three specimens now illustrated in Figs. 159, 160, 161 
are the first to be published illustrating these beautiful reliefs. The image of 
Siva performing the Tandava dance (Fig. 159) should be compared with the bronze 

^ Raj-ndra-Choladeva I possessed a powerful 
fleet, b}' the aid of which he conquered Pegu. 
It is possible that he may have imported Javanese 
artists. In his time the Poro-Budur reliefs were 

nearly new, and their fame may have reached his 
ears. O)-, again, the Javanese artists may have come 
fiom the I'richinopoly District. 




representations of the same subject as illustrated and explained in later sections 
of this chapter. The extra arms are so cleverly managed as to be hardly notice- 
able. The next illustration (Fig. 160) of Siva caressing Parvati is curious. In the 
third example (Fig. 161) the treatment of Siva's image reminds me of the best 
Javanese work, and I am not sure that it may not be superior to that. The 
whole figure, body, limbs* and head, is modelled with exceptional skill, and the 
expression of the face is pleasing. This group, in my judgement, is one of the 

Fig. 160. God and goddess (Siva and ParvalT) ; on north wall of great temple at Gangaikonda-Cholapuram. 

(Pholo. 43, A. S.) 

finest sculptures of any period extant in any part of India. Apparently a con- 
siderable volume might be devoted with advantage to the illustration of the sculp- 
tures at Gangaikonda-Cholapuram.^ The simplicity and good taste of the archi- 
tectural decoration deserve special notice. 

The architecture and sculpture of the temple at Darasuram in the Tanjore 

^ The modern village (ii°i2'N., 79°2S'E.) is 
known by the abbreviated name Gangaikonda-puram. 
A summary account of the ruins will be found in 

Imp. Gaz. (1908), s.v. Gangaikonda-puram. 
full description has been published. 




District closely resemble those of the temple at Gangaikonda-Cholapuram, and must 
be of approximately the same age. The subject illustrated in Fig. 162 is labelled 
' Ravana's Penance ' by the Archaeological Survey. 

The excessively exuberant, and yet fascinating, massed architectural sculpture 
of the Mysore temples built by the Hoysala kings in the twelfth century has been 

Fig. 161. Siva and Parvatl; on north wall of great temple at Gangaikonda-Cholapuram, Trichinopoly 

(Photo. No. 39, A. S.) 

already illustrated sufficiently in Plate X {ajiie, p. 41). The artists who designed 
such enormous sheets of rich sculpture aimed at producing an imposing effect by 
the splendour of a mass of carvings of the highest complexity, rather than by 
inviting attention to individual figures. Nevertheless, the individual figures will 
bear examination in detail, the elephants especially being exquisitely true to 
nature. The gods and human figures are less satisfactory. As already observed 

'^^"^•vi SOUTHERN INDIA 227 

[ante, p. 44), many of the larger statues of the Mysore temples are signed by the 
artists, but archaeological explorers and writers have been too busy with other 
matters to reproduce examples of such signed images ; the numerous' photographs 
prepared by the Survey being devoted to giving views of facades rathe? than 
studies of sculpture. I am therefore not in a position to illustrate the signed 
statues, or to distinguish* the styles of individual artists. 

Fig. 162. ' Ravana's Penance'; on temple at Darasuram, Tanjore District. 

(Photo. 20, A. S.) 

The approximately contemporary temples erected in the Bellary District, Madras, 
under the patronage of the Chalukyan kings are remarkable for the unequalled rich- 
ness and delicacy of their deeply undercut decorative carving [ante, p. 44, Fig. 16). 

The figure sculpture is far inferior, and, notwithstanding the perfection of its 
mechanical execution, is generally conventional in design and semi-barbarous in style. 

Perhaps the best example is that shown in Fig. 163, which, although it cannot 
be given high rank as fine art, is pleasing as a decorative design, and further interest- 
ing as including a late survival of the ancient Hellenistic Atlas motive so common in 
Gandhara art. 

The scroll from the Hariharesvara temple in the same District is also an 
interesting survival of an ancient motive, fairly good in design (Fig. 164). 

The subjoined design from the Malikarjuna temple at Kuruvatti (Fig. 165) is 

Gg 2 




a beautifully executed example of the makara torana, or 'dragon-arch' common in 
Ceylonese art. The perfect drawing of the curves is possible only for draughtsmen 
rigorously trained on the system explained by Dr. Coomaraswamy {ante, p. 167, 

In the year 1356 two Hindu brothers established a principality with its capital at 
Vijayanagar on the Tungabhadra river (15° 20' N., 76° 28' E.), which rapidly developed 

into an empire comprising all Southern India ^ 

beyond the Krishna (Kistna). The state at- 
tained the height of its prosperity early in the 
sixteenth century during the reign of Krishna ' 
Deva Ra}a, the contemporary of Henry VIII 
of England, and stoutly maintained the Hindu 
cause against the jNIuslim Sultans of the Deccan 
until 1565, when the hosts of the Raya were 
utterly defeated by the combined forces of the 
Muhammadan princes, and the capital was taken. I 
The victors devoted their energies for five months 
to the deliberate destruction of the city, heaping 
up bonfires round the principal monuments, and 
hackino; and mutllatino- the g-faven imao-es. 
They succeeded in converting one of the richest 
and most splendid capitals of Asia into the abode ' 
of wild beasts, which has remained desolate to 
this day, save for the huts of a tiny hamlet 
nestling amidst the ruins. 

The actual site of the city covers an area 

of nine square miles, but the fortifications and 

outposts include a space far larger. In the days 

of its greatness the capital was filled with I 

magnificent granite edifices erected by forced 

labour, and adorned in the most lavish manner 

with every form of decoration agreeable to the 

taste of a semi-barbaric court. The extant Fig. 163. Bracket figure over capital of east 
, ., , ^ , , . r -\.T- door of Malikarjuna temple, Kuruvatti, 

detailed accounts 01 the glories 01 Vijayanagar Bellary District. 

in the sixteenth century recall the familiar stories (Rea, Chalukyan Architecture, PI. LXVIII, 

of the Aztec capital as it was seen by its Spanish ^'°- ' = P''°'°- ^'^^^' ^- °- ^''^^ 

conquerors, the administration of both courts combining unbridled luxury with 

ferocious cruelt)'. 

The seml-barbarism of the court is reflected in the forms of art. The giant 

monolithic Man-lion (Narasimha) statue, 22 feet high, and the huge Monkey-god 

Hanuman, although wrought with exquisite finish, are hideous inartistic monsters ; 

and the sculpture generally, however perfect in mechanical execution, is lacking 

in beauty and refinement. 




M " 






,5 ^ 

a, ^ 




In the palace enclosure the most striking building is the temple known as 
Hazara Ramaswami, 'the Thousand Lord Ramas,' used by the old kings as their 
Chapel Royal. The Avails of the courtyard of this edifice are covered with bas-reliefs 


Fig. 164. Scroll, Hariharesvara temple, Bellary District. 
(Rea, Chalukyan Architecture, PI. CXIII, Fig. 2.) 

Fig. 165. Mahara torana (arch), Malikarjuna temple, Kuruvatti. 
(Rea, Chaliitiyan Architecture, PI. LXII, Fig. i .) 

depicting scenes from the Ramayana epic, described by Mr. Rea as being ' beautifully 
executed and carved with great life and spirit'. The specimens illustrated in Plate 
XLVII, figures A and B will show how far such praise is justified. ^ 

' For the history see Sewell, A Forgotten Empire 
( ]'ijaya7iagar), a Contribution to the History 0/ India 
(1900), a valuable and deeply interesting book. A 
photograph of the Wan-lion faces p. 163. The 
Monkey-god forms the frontispiece to Meadows 

Taylor and Fergusson, Architecture in Dharwar 
and Mysore (atlas foL, 1866). The whole of the 
Ramayana reliefs is given in Plates LXVIII, LXIX 
of that work. 




Fig. 166. Part of jamb of N. 
gopura, Tarpatri temple, 

Anantapur District. 
(Photo. 2505, I. O. List) 

One of the most notable of the ruins is the temple of Vishnu under the name of < 
Vitthalaswamt, begun early in the sixteenth century, and still unfinished when the city ^ 
fell m 1565, never to rise again. The great hall in front of the shrine ^ 

'rests on a richly sculptured basement, and its roof is supported by huge masses ' 
ot granite, 15 feet high, each consisting of a central pillar surrounded by detached 

Jliafts, figures mounted on demons, and other ornament, 
all cut from a single block of stone. These are sur- 
mounted by an elaborate and equally massive cornice; 
and the whole is carved with a boldness and expression 
of power nowhere surpassed in the buildings of its class, 
showing the extreme limit in florid magnificence to which 
the style advanced. This beautiful building has been 
grievously injured by the destroyers of the city. Several 
of the carved pillars have been attacked with such fury 
that they are hardly more than shapeless blocks of stone, 
and a large portion of the centre has been destroyed 
utterly/ {Imp. Gaz.) 

The sculptures on the walls of the throne are also 
commended, but no illustrations of the works referred to 
have been published. 

The best examples of the Vijayanagar style are to be S 
found, perhaps, not at the capital, but at Tarpatri (Tad- ° 
patri), Anantapur District, Madras, in gopuras (gateways) 
erected during the sixteenth century by a prince sub- 
ordinate to the kings of Vijayanagar. Fergusson, who 
devoted two full-page plates to the illustration of the 
Tarpatri greenstone sculptures, judged them to be ' on 
the whole, perhaps, in better taste than anything else in 
this style'. One specimen may be offered (Fig. 166).^ 
The old motive of the woman standing under the tree is 
treated in a novel manner with great skill. A new temple 
at Tarpatri is adorned with elaboration equal to that 
of the old one ; but, although the decorative carving is 
good, the figure sculpture is grotesque and contemptible. 
The work has been fully illustrated by Mr. Rea in his 
book. Stone Carving and Inlaying in Southern India. 

The Margasahayar temple at Virinchipuram in the I 
North Arcot District, n\ miles to the west of Vellore, is believed to have been I. 
erected late in the fifteenth century, while the district was included in the dominions ^ 
of Vijayanagar. One of the columns offers a good example of the ydli, or con- P 

^ The Workmans consider the two unfinished the animal figures, particularly those of the elephants 

gopuras, or gateways, to be the finest in India from and monkeys, are admirable. The sides have highly 

an artistic point of view. The one at the entrance decorated niches supported by graceful plantain 

of the temple is fast going to pieces. ' The scroll- columns' (Through Town and Jungle, p. 115). A 

work is varied and executed in the best manner, and plate of the ' nwer gopura ' and choultri faces p. 116. 



ventional rampant lion, an effective, bold form of decoration very fashionable and 
characteristic of the country in both S. India and Ceylon during mediaeval times. 
The lion, about s^2 ^^^t in height, is designed and executed with spirit (Fig. 167). 

The statue of a goddess on the entrance of the temple of Venkata-ramana-svamI 
at the famous fortress of Jinji (Gingee) in the South Arcot District, probably built 
during the time of the Vijayanagar rule a little before or after a. d. 1500, is of special 
interest as proving, like the Tarpatri figures, the persistence of a very ancient motive, 
common in Gandhara and Mathura art (a7i/c, p. 117, Fig. 67). This late southern 
example preserves all the essentials of the 
design — the female figure, the crossed legs, 
the raised right arm, and the left arm twined 
round the stem, but it is needless to point out 
how the treatment at Jinji differs from that in 
vogue at Peshawar some fourteen centuries 
earlier (Fig. 168). 

The palace of the Udaiyar-palaiyam 
zemindar in the Trichinopoly District con- 
tains some good figure and decorative sculp- 
ture associated with Indo-Muhammadan archi- 
tecture, and evidently not older than the 
seventeenth century. It is executed in a 
rather soft stone. My attention was drawn 
to the sculptures by the remarks of Mr. J. P. 
Bedford, I.C.S., who made a communica- 
tion to the Archaeological Survey and 
wrote :— 


One of the big halls is in general design ^W^'i^fe^ Fig. 168. Female 

something after the fashion of Tirumal Naik's ^ ^ 'S ,._,. H^v^^t Jidji (Gin- 

1 11 ■ T\/r 1 1 11 -^ i*^- '''^7- -f"^'"! or ram- gee), b. Kxcoi, cir. 

famous hall m Madura; but the spandrels pant lion, in Vijayanagar a.d. 1500. 

of the arches are one mass of carving of style, at Virinchipuram. (From A. S. 

birds, flowers, &c., showing extraordinary (From A. S. drawing.) drawing.) 

fancy and spirit, while the arches themselves 

are worked out in the most exquisite tracery, with a niche above each column 
containing some god or saint. Above the level of the spandrels is a deep colon- 
nade running round the whole hall, corresponding to the clerestory of an 
English cathedral — also a mass of spirited carving in relief The effect of the whole 
is, so far as the writer's experience goes, absolutely unique so far as an Indian 
building is concerned ; but it is very suggestive of Northern European Gothic, say 
the porches of Chartres Cathedral.' ' 

Photographs, kindly supplied by Mr. Young, I.CS., Magistrate and Collector of 
Trichinopoly, hardly support Mr. Bedford's enthusiastic praise, although the general 
effect of the work is doubtless pleasing. A specimen is shown in Fig. 169. The 

^ Ann. Progr. Rep. A. S. Madras and Coorg, 1604-5, P- 44' 




style is totally different from that usual in the South. Inquiry has failed to elicit any 
information about the history of the sculptures or the identity of the artists. Possibly 
the eminent skill possessed by the sculptors of Gangaikonda-Cholapuram in the eleventh 
century may have been transmitted to descendants 'in the seventeenth century in at 
least some degree. Udaiyar-palaiyam is not very far from Gangaikonda-Cholapuram. 

The numerous gigantic temples of Southern India in the Dravldian style, erected S 
from the sixteenth century to the present day, with their appurtenant corridors and *^ 
'halls of 1000 columns', are covered with sculpture, mostly of a fantastic and outre 
character. The most famous princely builder was Tirumalla (Trimul) Naik, who 
ruled at Madura from 1621 to 1657. His celebrated pillared hall, or ' choultrie ', at 

i!iii«l<l»N*«lfc.'Wil«»»i|' II SwjS 

Fig. 169. Sculptures in hall of Udaiyar-palaiyam palace. 
(Photo., supplied by Collector of Trichinopoly.) 

that city is 333 feet long and 105 feet wide, with four ranges of columns, all different, 
and all most elaborately sculptured. 

• The fayade of this hall,' Fergusson observes, ' like that of almost all the great ] 
halls in the south of India, is adorned either with j^'«/^V— monsters of the lion type c 
trampling on an elephant— or, even more generally, by a group consisting of a warrior 
sitting on a rearing horse, whose feet are supported on the shields of foot-soldiers, 
sometimes slaying*' men, sometimes tigers. These groups are found literally in 
hundreds in Southern India, and, as works exhibiting difficulties overcome by patient 
labour, they are unrivalled, so far as I know, by anything found elsewhere. 

' As works of art they are the most barbarous, it may be said the most vulgar, 
to be found in India, and do more to shake one's faith in the civilization of the people 
who produced them than anything they did in any other department of art. Where 
these monstrosities are not introduced, the pillars of entrances are only enriched 

H h 


a little more than those of the interior, \Yhen the ornamentation is in better taste, and 
generally quite sufficiently rich for its purpose.' ^ 

A oood example of such a rampant horse, copied from a bronze casting of 
a sculpture on the Madura 'choultry', is reproduced in Fig. i7j,post, p. 240. 

Fergusson's criticism fails to give the Southern sculptors due credit for their 
power of^expressing vigorous movement, and, in my judgement, is too harsh. Such 

Fig. 170. Siva supplicating ; Tirumal Naik's 

choultry, at Madura. 

(Photo. 1902, I. O. List.) 

FiG. 171. Woman and baby; Great Temple, 

]\Iadura District. 

(Photo. 1922, I. O. Lisl) 

figures appear to be unknown elsewhere, and it is not apparent how they became so 
much favoured in the Tamil country. Fergusson probably was right in his suggestion 
that the rampant horses, ydlis, and heavy cornices with double curvature, characteristic 
of the Dravidian temples in the South, were derived from primitive terra-cotta forms. 
The Southern sculpture, remarkable, as already observed, for its enormous 
quantity, fantastic character, often degenerating into the grotesque, and marvellous 

^ Hist, of Ind. and E. Archit. (1899), p. 363 ; ed. 1910, vol. i, p. 389. 




elaboration, rarely, if ever, exhibits the higlier qualities of art. The sculptures being 
designed to be viewed in the mass, not as individual works, reproductions of a few 
separate figures cannot do full justice either to the sculptors' intention or to the 
general effect. But, subject to that caution, a few specimens may be cited to give 
some idea of the style. The best of this class of work dates from the seventeenth 

Fig. 173. Female cairjing male deity; 
entrance corridor, Ramesvaram temple. 
(Photo. 2301, I. O. List}) 

Fig. 172. Asura (demon) and monkeys; 
Ramesvaram temple, Madura District. 
(Photo. 2599, I. O. List) 

century, while the most recent is the worst ; indeed, modern figure sculpture, as 
a rule, hardly deserves to be called the work of artists. An exception, however, 
must be made in favour of certain Mysore figures, to be noticed presently. 

Examples of seventeenth and eighteenth century sculpture might be multiplied Examples. 
indefinitely. Selected specimens from buildings in the Madura District will suffice 

as typical illustrations. 

H h 2 


One of the best images among the crowd at Tirumal Naik's choultry (1623-45) 
is that of Siva in an unusual attitude as a supplicant to some other deity (Fig. 170). 

The effigy of the woman holding a doll-like baby, from the Great Temple at 
Madura, is welcome as introducing a rare touch of human sentiment (Fig. i}i), but 
is far inferior to the treatment of a similar subject at Purl {ante. Fig. 137). The 
blotchy appearance of the photograph is due to the whitewash or paint with which 
the statue has been smeared. 

The sculptures from the Ramesvaram temple are somewhat later, dating from 
the close of the seventeenth or the beginning of the eighteenth century. The hideous 
figure of the demon with monkeys (Fig. 172) is a good example of the morbid clever- 
ness with which the sculptors of the period treated repulsive subjects. The image of 
the female carrying a male deity on her back (Fig. 173) is characteristically grotesque. 
It too has been smudged with paint or whitewash. The modelling of the woman is 
not destitute of merit. 

The capabilities of modern sculptors in the South are best proved by the decora- 
tions of the new palace in the town of Mysore executed to the order of H.H. the 
Maharaja and described and illustrated by Mr. A. Rea. Skill is not confined to the 
members of any one caste, and the Maharaja has been willing to employ capable men 
from any district. The material used is sometimes soapstone and sometimes stone 
of considerable hardness. The soapstone is employed in fairly large masses, a clever 
figure of Vishnu, for instance, being two feet in height. The drapery of that figure 
looks as if it had been imitated from photographs of Gandhara work. The style 
throughout is frankly eclectic and imitative, and it is obvious that the artists have 
studied models of various periods and schools. One decorative motive is admittedly 
borrowed from a picture by Ravi Varma (see Chapter IX), and the more direct 
influence of modern European art can be clearly traced. A relief representing the 
marriage of Rukmini looks as if it had been suggested by study of photographs of 
the Boro-Budur bas-reliefs. Some of the female figures are very pretty. Artistically, 
the best things are certain decorative soapstone panels wrought with floral and other 
designs, thoroughly Indian in character and of first-rate quality.^ 

B. Bronzes a7id Brasses. 
The bronzes and brasses of Southern India, although not equal in value or 
interest to the large finds recently made in Ceylon, and probably of Indian origin, 
are yet sufficiently numerous and important to deserve brief separate examination 
and illustration." The better specimens seem to range in date from the twelfth to 
the eighteenth century. No good modern metal work in either Southern India or 
Ceylon has come to my notice. 

' A. Rea, Monograph on Stone Carving and In- ^ At the Indian Section of the Festival of Empire 

laytng in Southern India, with thirty-one plates; (191 1) Lord Ampthill exhibited several fine large 

Madras Government Press, 1906 ; quarto in paper bronzes, including a Dancing Siva, from the Tinne- 

covers. The half-tone blocks cannot be reproduced. velly District, Madras, which are almost identical 

Some of the best objects are shown in PI. XXIV- with the Polonnaruwa specimens. 

Plate XLVIII. Brass portrait images of Krishnaraja of Vijaj'anagar (a.d. 1510-29) and his Queens; 

in the Sri Nivasa Perumal temple on the hill of Tirumalai near Tirupati, N. Arcot District. 

(Photo. No. 570, Progr. Rep. A. S. Madras and Coorg, 1903-4.) 

2 38 


Exceptional interest attaches to tlie brass images reproduced in Plate XLVIII, 
which are certified by inscriptions on the shoulders to be portraits, apparently con- 
temporary, of Krishnaraya, the famous king of Vijayanagar in the early years of the 
sixteenth century, and two of his queens. They stand inside a temple on the sacred 
hill of Tirumalai or Upper Tirupati, and were photographed by a high-caste Hindu, no 
Pluropean or Musalman being permitted to enter any temiple on the hill. The town 
of Tirupati is famous for the skill of its workers in brass.^ The images, although 

Fig. 174. Siva Nataraj.i ; from Tanjorc District, preserved in local treasur_\.) 

(Photo. 155.5, A. S.) 

formal in design and defective in expression, seem to be executed with great delicacy. 
Well-authenticated portrait statues are rare in India. Mr. Walhouse mentions the 
existence of a life-size brass image of the Jain Tirthankara Santisvara, 'erect and 
enshrined in burnished silver and brass work variegated with red ornaments ', just 
outside the colossus enclosure at Yenur in South Kanara.- 

The Tanjore Dancing Siva is considered by the Superintendent of the Central 
Museum, Madras, to be quite equal in artistic merit to the museum specimen previously 

' Imp. (?t;z. , s.v. Tirumala ; Annual Report. A. S., 
India, 1902-3, p. 227; citing Hultzsch {Progr. 
Report, 1903, ill Madras G. 0. Pu/jlic, Nos. 655, 
656, dated Jul)' 24, 1903). Dr. Hultzsch's recom- 
mendation to have the images photographed by 

a higli-caste Hindu was carried out by the Survey 
in the following year, but no description of the 
statues was recorded. They are called 'statues', 
and presumably are life-size. 
^ Ind. Ant., v. 38. 

s^'^^-^i SOUTHERN INDIA 239 

published by Dr. Coomaraswamy and Mr. Havell. It differs in various details from 
the other examples of the type, and especially in the absence of the long braids of hair 
whirlmg m the dance. The explanation of the symbolism and criticism of the 
artistic qualities of the various representations of the dancing god will be more con- 
veniently deferred until we discuss the Ceylonese examples. This Tanjore image 
(Fig. 1 74), although describe^d as ' copper ', probably is bronze. Its age is uncertain 
The image of ParvatI, from a private collection, represented in F[<r 175 is not 
very dissimilar in style from the Polonnaruwa bronzes {posi, Sec. 7 b of this chapter) 

Fig. 175. ParvatI; property of W. A. Beardsell, 

Esq., Madras ; about 20 inches high. 

(Photo, from Central Museum, Madras.) 

Fig. 176. Bronze statuette, n^" high, of 

Ramachandra bearded : No. 43-87, Ind. 

Sec, V. and A. Museum. 

and may, perhaps, date from about the same period, the twelfth century. It is well 
modelled, and the hands, as usual, are specially good. 

The South Kensington statuette of Ramachandra (Fig. 176) is a good example 
of the better class bronzes of later date, perhaps eighteenth-century work. 

The smaller image of the four-armed Siva Virabhadra, six or seven inches high, 
excluding the pedestal, clad in armour and equipped with weapons, in Case 20 of 
Room IV, British Museum, belongs to the same class. 

A noticeable item in the Payne Knight collection in the British Museum 
(Room IV, Case 11) is a circular bronze about 7 inches high, looking like the plinth 
of a slupa, with vigorous relief figures of Krishna and other deities, besides well- 


executed decorative motives. Notwithstanding its apparently Buddhist form, it does 
not appear to be early work, and must have been intended for use in Brahmanical 


The South Kensington casting of the plunging horse and other sculptures on 
the famous 'choultry' at Madura (Fig. 177), already mentioned {ante, p. 234), is of 

Fig. 177. Bronze cast; copy of sculpture on Choultry of Tirumal Naik (17th cent.), at Madura; 
the casting may be of i8th cent. : No. 639-75, Ind. Sec, V. and A. Museum. 

interest as being both a fine piece of work in bronze, and also a miniature reproduc- 
tion of a characteristic type of South Indian sculpture in stone. More or less similar 
horses are to be seen on many of the great temples, and although never anatomically 
correct, are designed with such spirit and vigour that they are often impressive and 
effective. In this case European influence may be suspected ; the rider looks like 
a Western knigrht. 




Section VII. Ceylon. 

For reasons already stated {finte, p. 87) it is not possible at present either to C 
arrange the Ceylonese sculptures in exact chronological order, or, with rare exceptions, j! 
to determine the dates of individual specimens. Even the rough division between 
Early and Mediaeval used as a working arrangement is to some extent arbitrary and 
open to correction. Mr. Parker's test of the age of buildings based on the size of 
the bricks may help to more definite conclusions if applied systematically to the 
associated sculptures. But a considerable amount of uncertainty about dates may be 
expected to remain. 

Fig. 178. Seated Buddha, 6 ft. 9 in. high ; at 

Pankuliya Vihare, Anuradhapura ; ? loth cent. 

(Photo. C. 136, A. S., Ceylon.) 

Fig. 179. Seated Buddha; hmestone, about 3 feet 
high ; from Vihare, No. 2, Polonnaruwa ; 
now in Colombo Museum. 
(Photo. C. 141 1. A. S., Ceylon.) 

The notable statue of an aged bearded man cut in the face of a boulder to the 
east of the Topaveva embankment at Polonnaruwa, popularly known as the image 
of King Parakrama the Great, whoreigned fiom ... n53 to -f^'-* 
not what it is supposed to be. The figure, cut m gneiss (gramte) -^ Y'. f- ^ §1. 
stands full face, fronting nearly south, in an easy -"^f ^^^^ \f , "f ^^ ^'^J ^^^ 
bent The costume is confined to a tall cap and simple loin-cloth he d up by a band 
k ot;ed?n frit. The hands support a model ^^ a Paln.-leaf book (./. held a^^^^^^ 
the body. The expression of the face is grave, and the half-closed e>es look down 
upon thl manuscript. A'long rounded beard and ^^ f ^ ;f^f^;° ^ ^f 
eravitv of the countenance. These details are mconsistent with the popular attri 
buti n' M Bell is of opinion that the book and the whole appearance and pose of 

I I 



the figure stamp it unmistakably as the portrait of a reverend religious teacher from 
the Indian continent. He suggests that the statue may represent an ascetic named 
Kapila, for whom Parakrama Bahu built a richly adorned dwelling.' 

A few of the more remarkable Buddha statues, probably to be assigned to the 
period dealt with in this chapter, demand notice. 

Two seated Buddhas strike me as 
beincr excellent works and out of the com- 


mon — namely, the colossal image at the 
Pankuliya Vihare, Anuradhapura (Fig. 
178), and the smaller image from Vihare, 
No. 2, Polonnaruwa (Fig. 179). The 
characteristic points of each appear suffi- 
ciently from the photographs without de- 
tailed comment. Mr. Bell conjectures that 
the Pankuliya statue may date from the 
tenth century ; the Polonnaruwa image 
may be two centuries later. 

The largest statue in the island, and 
perhaps the most impressive, is the colossal 
standing image of Buddha at Awkana, 
N. C. P., 46 feet in height, Including the 
pedestal. It is cut from the face of an 
enormous boulder, practically in the round, 
being joined to the rock only by a slight 
support. Local tradition attributes the 
work to the reign of Parakrama Bahu. 
The expression of calm majesty is given 
successfully (Fig. 180). 

A similar, and nearly as large, but 
less effective colossus, carved merely in 
high relief and inferior in execution, stands 
at Saseruwa, N. W. P., and may be assigned 
to the same period. - 

The numerous recumbent effigies of 
the D3-ing Buddha, usually executed on 
a large scale, are sufficiently illustrated by the reproduction of the crreat image 
38 feet long, at Tantri-malai (Fig. 181). The figure, it may be observed, is really 

Fig. 180. Colossal Buddha at Awkana, N. C. P. 
(Photo. C. 530, A. S., Ceylon.) 

' A. S. Rep., 1906, p. II, PI. XL I have not 
recei\'ed a photograph. The image has been repro- 
duced also in the Guide to Colombo Museum (1905), 
p. 21 ; and in Cave, Ruined Cities of Ceylon (1897), 
p. 1 19. It has been published again by Dr. Cooma- 
raswamy for the India Society. 

' For Awkana image see Bell, A. S. Rep., 1895, 
pp. 6, 12 : Tennent, Ceylon, 2nd ed., vol. ii, p. 604, 
with woodcut. The Saseruwa image is described 
in Mr. Bell's report above cited; photos. C. 517, 
518, 519. 

Plate XLIX. Colossal stalue of ' Ananda ', Polonnaruwa. 
(Photo. C. 1356.) 

I 1 2 




that of a recumbent person, and is not simply that of a standing man laid on his side, 
as some of the Gandharan images are. 

The stately colossal standing image at the Gal-vihare, Polonnaruvva, popularly 
known, and apparently rightly, as that of Ananda, the disciple of Buddha, is one of the 
most imposing and interesting statues in Ceylon ( Plate XLIX). The faithful attendant 
stands watching a colossal recumbent figure of his dying Master. 

JBIP**'!SI*^# ■ 


. ''^>f0^r* f"**mt9t -. 

■■ Mi^^v^^-fi. 




Fig. i8i. The Dj'ing Buddha, 38 feet long; at Tantri-malai. 
(Pholo. C. 701.) 



Fig. 1S2. The ' stone-book ', Poloiinamwa. 
(Photo. C. 1609.) 

No monument in the island is more extraordinary than the gigantic ' stone book ' 
{gal-pota) at Polonnaruwa, a monolith brought from Mihintale, eighty miles distant, 
at the close of the twelfth century by Nissanka's 'mighty men', as recorded in a long 
inscription on its surface. It is nearly 27 feet long, 4 feet 7 inches broad, and varies 
in depth from i foot 4 inches to 2 feet 2 inches. The relief sculpture shown in 
Fig. 182 treats of the common Indian subject, elephants pouring water over Sri or 
Lakshmi— the goddess of good fortune. The art is not of high quality. 




More artistic bas-reliefs of uncertain date occur elsewhere. Perhaps the most Bas-rdief 
remarkable is that at Pokuna (masonry tank) A, Anuradhapura, which vividly depicts ^^^nes. 
elephants bathing, and then charging away when scared. The relief is so low that 
the photographs are not sufficiently distinct for successful reproduction. Mr Bell 
describes this work, which is in two sections, as an absolutely unique piece of carvina 


Fig. 184. Parvati, from Siva temple, 

No. I, Polonnaruwa. 

(Photo. C. 1583.) 

Fig. 183. Stele from Vihare, No. 2, 


(Photo. C. 1607.) 

and without exception the most spirited and life-like to be seen anywhere among the 
ruins of Anuradhapura.^ It is supposed to date from the time of Parakrama Bahu. 

Another Anuradhapura bas-relief, of which I have not seen photographs, 
represents 'jungle men and women (.'' Veddo), unclothed, bears, deer, monkeys, 

' Ann. Rep. Arch. S., 1901, p. 6; photos. A. 405, 406, C. 1304. 


peacock, mongoose, and cobra, and other wild animal life— for the most part spiritedly 

carved.' ^ 

A third remarkable relief at Velana-damana, N. C. P. is described as depicting 

a fight between a giant and four adversaries." 

^The scroll pattern so much in favour at Polonnaruwa, before and after a.d. 1200, 
is well illustrated by the stele reproduced in Fig. 183, which may be contrasted with 
the earlier Anuradhapura stelae in a different style {ante, Plate XX). 

Numerous Hindu temples dating from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and 
apparently built by and for Tamil invaders, exist at Polonnaruwa, and naturally supply 
many sculptures. The art is not high class, but one small image of a goddess, 
presumably ParvatI (Fig. 184), is shown for comparison with the bronzes to be 
described in the next section. 

Fig. 185. JMakara-iorajia, Vijajarama monastery. 
(Photo. A. 19.) 

Limitations of space forbid detailed notice of the richly designed tracery window 
from the palace at Yapahu (a.d. 1303-19), the Medagoda Pillar (?a.d. 1577), and 
the Kandyan 'floral moonstone' of Hanguranketa, which are all in the Colombo 
Museum, and described in the Guide to that institution. Other interesting works are 
omitted for the same reason. 

A favourite form of architectural decoration is the makara-torana, or 'dragon- 
arch ', composed of scrolls proceeding from the mouths of conventional makaras, or 
crocodile-dragons. Fig. 185 gives a good example from the Vijayarama monastery, 
Anuradhapura, dating probably from the eighth century. A later Chalukyan specimen 
has been illustrated {ante, p. 230, Fig. 165), 

Ann. Rep. Arch. S., 1897, p. 2. 

Ibid., 1896, p. 7. 

Plate L. Brass (or pale bronze) statue of PattinI Devi, goddess of chastity, Ceylon, in 

British Museum. 
(Photo, by Dr. A. K. Coomaraswamy.) 



The remarkable richness of Ceylon in art-works of metal, chiefly bronze, was not 
realized until recent discoveries compelled attention to the fact. Before 1905 a few 
objects of interest had been collected by the casual exertions of individuals, but since 
that date the numerous additions to the public collections have been acquired by the 
systematic operations of the Archaeological Survey. Few, if any, of the castings are 
earlier than the tenth century, and most of them are assignable to the eleventh or 
twelfth, or even the early part of the thirteenth century. 

Perhaps the most notable of the Ceylon bronzes is that first discovered — an imacre 
of the goddess Pattini Devi, found near the north-eastern coast somewhere between 
Trincomalee and Batticalwa, and presented to the British Museum in 1830. It stands 
4 feet 9I inches in height, and is composed of a metal which looks like brass, but may 
be a pale bronze (Plate L). It seems to have been originally gilt. The age of the 
work is doubtful. The cleverness with which the transparency of the skirt is shown 
recalls similar skill exhibited in the Gupta sculpture of the fifth century in Northern 
India {ante, p. 170), but it would be rash to attribute such an early date to the 
Ceylonese image for that reason only, and it is difficult to find any other test 
of its age. 

The nudity above the waist, which may oft'end the European eye, is in accord- 
ance with the ancient custom of Southern India and Ceylon, not wholly disused, 
I believe, even in these days. The waist is rather too much attenuated, in conformity 
with common Indian practice, examples of which may be found even in the Bharhut 
sculptures {ante, p. 73) ; but, except for that defect, the modelling is good, and the 
hands especially are admirable. 

Pattini is one of the most popular deities in Ceylon, and her worship is still kept 
up on the mainland also, whence it was introduced into the island, most probably in 
the reign of Gajabahu I at some time in the second century of the Christian era. 
The cult seems to have originated in the Chera territory (Coimbatore and Salem), but 
some of the legends connect its beginnings with a Pandya King of Madura. The 
goddess is considered to be the guardian of female chastity, and is also credited with 
power over epidemics, whether of man or beast. Two wooden images of her and her 
husband found in a cave at the Nikawaewa monastery are supposed to date from the 
eleventh centurj^ The British Museunn bronze may be quite as early.i 

Some good bronzes, believed to date from about the tenth century, have been 
obtained from various localities within the area of the ancient capital, Anuradhapura. 
They include a pair of miniature feet apparently belonging to a lost statuette, and 
only three inches in length, which are described as ' excellently modelled ' .'' Like 
the great Buddha in the Birmingham Museum, they were cast on a core, in this case of 

' The legend of the goddess is too long to quote. wooden images are figured in Paikei', Ancient Ciylon, 

See The Tamilian Antiquary, No. 3 (1909), p. vii Fig. 272. 

note ; ibid., No. 5, p. 47 : and Dr. Coomaraswamy ^ Y>t\\, Anuradhapura and the North-Central Pro- 

in/. R. A. S., 1909, p. 293, with references. The r/nee, -jth Progress Report (xiii, 1896), PI. XVII. 


iron. The best pieces, from the aesthetic point of view, are a large bronze panel (Fig. 
186), and a statuette supposed to be that of a Bodhisattva (Fig. 187). The panel, 
which is thick and heavy, measures 20 inches in length by 7 in breadth, and shows 
traces of gilding. The design is a boldly executed scroll. The statuette, 20^- inches 
high, was found to the south of the Thuparama. The person represented stands in 
the pose with a double bend*, known technically as tivanka. The drapery is gracefully 
treated, the modelling, especially of the hands, is truthful, and the serene expression 
of the face is pleasing.^ The style closely resembles that of some of the Polonnaruwa 
bronzes, which are ascribed to the twelfth century, and the Anuradhapura statuette 
may be as late. 

The few bronzes collected at Polonnaruwa in 1906, forming the first series in the 
Colombo Museum (Nos. 40-52), are not of much importance; but the second and 
third series, excavated in 1907 and 1908 from the Siva Dewale and neighbouring 
sites, maybe fairly said to add a new chapter to the history of art in Ceylon. Nothing 

Fig. 1 86. Bronze panel from Anuradhapura, No. 96 in 'List of finds ', Colombo Museum. 

(Photo, supplied by Director.) 

like them was known before, except the Anuradhapura Bodhisattva, if that be the 
correct desig^nation for it. A few of the best have been selected from a set of o-Qod 
photographs taken by Dr. Andreas Nell and kindly supplied by the Government of 
Ceylon. The identification of the images has been effected by the Honourable 
Mr. P. Arunachalam. The bronzes, all massive and very heavy, are ascribed to the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Their large size proves that the artists of those days 
knew how to overcome the difficulties of casting bronze on a considerable scale, and 
gives the images an importance and dignity which cannot be claimed by miniature 
works a few inches high. In the opinion of Dr. A. Willey, F.R.S., late Director 
of the Colombo Museum, they ' are Polonnaruwa bronzes for better or for worse ', 
and certainly were not imported from the mainland. ^ But I am disposed to agree 
with Mr. Bell that they were executed in India, The specimens from Southern India 
exhibited by Lord Ampthill at the Indian Section of the Festival of Empire (191 1) 
are exactly in the same style {ante, p. 236, note 2). 

The place of honour may be given to the spirited images of Siva as ' Nataraja ', 

' See Burlington Magazine, 1910, p. 87, PI. I, 3. ^ Spolia Zeylatiica, Sept., 1909, p. 67 note. 

915 K K 




' Lord of the Dance', the first of their kind to be found in Ceylon (Plate LI ; Fig. i88) ; 
which compare favourably with the best examples of similar compositions in Southern 
India [ante, p. 238). A specimen in the Madras Museum arouses enthusiasm, which 
few can share fully, in the breast of Dr. A. K. Coomaraswamy, who first published 
photographs of the work. In order to make the Ceylonese bronzes intelligible, the 
explanation of the. legend of Siva's manifestation as 'Lord of the Dance', given in 
the Ko\il Piiranani, and said to be familiar to all 
southern worshippers of the god, is quoted from the 
eloquent pages of the author referred to : — 

' Siva appeared in disguise amongst a congrega- 
tion of the thousand sages, and in the course of dis- 
putation, confuted them and so angered them thereby, 
that they endeavoured by incantations to destroy 
Him. A fierce tiger was created in sacrificial ilames, 
and rushed upon Him, but smiling gently, He seized 
it with His sacred hands, and with the nail of His 
little finger stripped off its skin, which he wrapped 
about Himself as if it had been a silken cloth. Un- 
discouraged by faikire, the sages renewed their 
offerings, and there was produced a monstrous ser- 
pent, which He seized and wreathed about His neck. 
Then He began to dance ; but there rushed upon 
Him a last monster in the shape of a hideous malig- 
nant dwarf Upon him the God pressed the tip of 
his foot, and broke the creature's back, so that it 
writhed upon the ground; and so, His last foe pros- 
trate, Siva resumed the dance of which the gods 
were witnesses. 

One interpretation of this legend explains that 
He wraps about Him as a garment, the tiger fury 
of human passion ; the guile and malice of mankind 
He wears as a necklace, and beneath His feet is for 
ever crushed the embodiment of evil. More character- 
istic of Indian thought is the symbolism, in terms 
of the marvellous grace and rhythm of Indian dancino-, 
the effortless ease with which the God in his o-race 

supports the cosmos ; it is hi 

Fjg. 187. Bronze statuette, .'of a 

"S sport. The five acts Bodhisattva, from Anuradhapura; No. 
ot creation, preservation, destruction, embodiment 97> ' List of finds', Colombo Museum. 
and gracious release are his ceaseless m)stic dance. (Photo., supplied by Director.) 

In sacred Tillai, the " New Jerusalem ", the dance 

shall be revealed ; and Tillai is the very centre of the Universe, that is. His dance is 
within the cosmos and the soul.' ^ 

The more prosaic description of the group by Mr. Arunachalam, slightly 
condensed, will enable the student to appreciate the intention of the formal symbolism. 
The god's hair is braided, forming a crown at the top and a circular coil at the back. 

The Aims of Indian ^r/ (pamphlet, Essex Hcus2 Press, 1908). 

Plate LI. Bronze Siva Nataraja, 3 feet high, No. i, from Polonnaruwa (Colombo Museum). 

(Photo, by Dr. A. Nell.) 

K k 2 


the lower braids whirling in the dance, which is named Tdndava. The mermaid on 
the right braid (indistinct in the photograph) symbolizes the Ganges ; a crescent 
moon and serpent decorate the left braid. Other serpents coiled round his body are 
regarded as symbols of Siva's energy. His three eyes, one in the forehead, represent 
the sun, moon, and fire ; the skull at the base of the crown is a symbol of destruction, 
and the necklace, composed of skulls of Brahmas, Vishnus, and Rudras, symbolizes 
the evolution and involution of the universe throughout the aeons. The bisexual 
nature of the deity is indicated by the long man's earring in the right, and the 
woman's circular earring in the left ear. Fire, a symbol of both destruction and 
divine purifying grace, is held in the left upper hand, and also surrounds the group. 
The small drum in the right upper hand is supposed to suggest vibration, the first 
stage in evolution. The right lower hand is raised in assurance of protection to the 
worshipper, while the left lower hand points to the uplifted foot, the refuge of the 
suppliant. The monster trampled on personifies the powers of evil and illusion from 
which the deity delivers the soul. The composition as a whole is understood to 
represent the control of the operations of the universe by Siva. 

The greater part of the foregoing commentaries has nothing to do with the 
merits of the compositions as works of art. Any competent coppersmith can make 
to order rino-s symbolizing fire and other formal attributes in accordance with written 
rules, and such accessories, whether well or ill made, will be equally significant to the 
devout Hindu versed in the legends and metaphysics of his faith. The general 
lines of the principal image, too, are determined by pattern sketches, of which 
Dr. Coomaraswamy has published a specimen. Consequently, a perfectly correct 
group with all the needful apparatus for edification can be made passably well by 
any skilled bronze founder, whose work need not be anything higher than mere 
manufacture. The scope for the display of aesthetic feeling and creative skill, which 
distinguish an artist from a skilful mechanic, is restricted almost exclusively to the 
manner of rendering the action of dancing with passion, including, of course, the 
modelling of the principal figure. When various examples of the treatment of 
the prescribed theme are examined and compared they will be found to differ widely 
according to the degree of artistic power possessed by the maker of each. Among 
good examples may be classed Dr. Coomaraswamy's favourite in the Madras Museum, 
the Tanjore specimen {ante, 238), and No. i from Polonnaruwa (Plate LI). The 
No. 15 Polonnaruwa image (Fig. 188), without the ring of fire, is the most artistic 
of all. It is described as being ' the best finished of all the bronzes ', and is deserving 
of the care spent on its production. If it could be freed from the horrible deformity 
of the extra arms, it might receive almost unqualified praise, but the monstrosity of 
the second left arm drawn across the breast, and calling for the surgeon's amputating 
knife to remove the diseased growth, spoils an otherwise elegant and admirable 

A third Polonnaruwa specimen (No. 24) is coarsely executed and of inferior 
quality. The same criticism applies to a second example in the Madras Museum, 
to another in the British Museum, and to the South Kensington image from Malabar. 




The ' belle statue de bronze ancien ' in the Musee Guimet may be placed in the 
higher class.' 

The standing image of Siva (No. 12), striking an attitude in another of his dances Image 
{sandkyanirtia), is gracefully posed, and well modelled, save for the excessive ^''''"" 
thickness of the arms. The monstrosity of the additional arms is a blot on an 
otherwise effective work (Fig. 189). No special pleading can justify those arms from 
the aesthetic point of view. 

of Siva. 

Fig, 188. Siva Nataraja ; No. 15, from Polonnaruwa, 2 feet high. 
(Photo, by Dr. A. Nell.) 

The figure of the Sun-god (No. 18), with a halo, holding a lotus bud in each The Sun- 
hand, is dignified, and the type is unusual (Fig. 190). 0°^. 
One ideal of the goddess Parvati, consort of Siva, is expressed in No. 7, with the 

^ The S. Kensington bronze, two feet in height, 
found long ago at Chaoghat in Malabar, was pre- 
sented by Jonathan Duncan, Governor of Bombay, 
to the India OflSce Museum, and thence has passed 
into the Indian Section of the Victoria and Albert 
Museum. It is engraved as PI. XIV of Moor's 

Hindu Pantheon (18 10; = frontispiece of Higgin- 
botham's edition, Madras, 1864), but the engraving 
is not faithful, having been ' improved ' by the artist. 
For the 'belle statue' see figure on p. 94 of the 
Petit Guide lllustre' du Muse'e Guimet. The subject 
is often treated in stone sculpture. 




Figures of characteristic Indian bend (Fig. 191). The image closely resembles that labelled as 
Parvan. Lakshml in the Alusee Guimet [Pdit Gziide III., plate p. 62). 

Fig. 189. Siva in sandhyaniylla dance; height 
I ft. loi in. ; No. 12, from Polonnaruwa (Colom'bo 

(Photo, by Dr. A. Nell.) 

Fig. 190. Surya, the Sun-god; height i ft. 5^ in. ; 

No. 18, fiom Polonnaruwa (Colombo Museum). 

(Photo, by Dr. A. Nell.) 

Another conception of Parvatl (No. 20) is shown in Fig. 192. The figure and 
pose are natural and pleasing. 

An interesting group of images deals with popular Tamil saints, whose effigies 




have been identified by Mr. Arunachalam. Probably the best of this group is No. 16, I 
representing ' Sundara-murti Swami, an apostle and psalmist of Siva\bout a.d. 700! " 
He was a native of Tiruvarur, near Negapatam in the Madras Presidency ; called to '' 

Fig. 191. Parvati; height i ft. 8 in.; No. 23, 

from Polonnaruwa (Colombo Museum). 

(Photo, by Dr. .\. Nell.) 

Fig. 192. Parvati; height i ft. 4^ in. ; No. 20, from 
Polonnaruwa (Colombo IMuseum). 

be an apostle on his wedding-day, hence dressed in the clothes and ornaments of 
a bridegroom.' The clothes are somewhat scanty. The artist has rendered with 
remarkable success the attitude and facial expression of religious ecstasy powerful 
enough to tear away a bridegroom from the side of his bride (Fig. 193). The image 



of monk. 

has stroncr claiiiis to be considered the finest of the Polonnaruwa bronzes, or, at least, 
to be placed second only to the Nataraja, No. 15 (Fig. 188), which is the most highly 
finished in the collection. 

The bronze statuette of a monk with his begging-bowl (Fig. 194), found at 
Urulewa, N. C. P., does not look very ancient. The style is stiff and formal. 

Fig. 194. Bronze statuette of 
monk ; from Urulewa, N. C. P. 
(Photo. C. 353, A. S., Ceylon.) 

Statuette of 

Fig. 193. Sundara-murti Swami, Tamil saint; 

height I ft. 8 in.; No. 16, from Polonnaruwa 

(Colombo i\Iuseum). 

Mr. Still mentions as existing at Madukanda, N. P., ' a fine old bronze sedent image 
of Buddha, 7 feet high ', and a rather smaller silver image {A. S. Rep., 1905, p. 26). 

Certain small miscellaneous bronze images from Ceylon, of which the exact 
find-spots are not recorded, are of sufficient interest to deserve special notice. A little 
figure, presumably that of the Mahayanist deity (if the expression be allowed) 
named Avalokitesvara or Padmapani, only 3§ inches in height, belonging to 
Dr. Coomaraswamy, and ascribed by him to the sixth or seventh century, is regarded 




by the owner, and not without reason, as the best of all the Ceylonese Images. He 
praises the ' perfection and abstraction of the style', claiming that 'the divin'e ideal is 
fully realized both in expression and in physical form '. The praise seems to be rather 
overstrained. By the kindness of Dr. Coomaraswamy I am permitted to reproduce 
his photograph (Fig. 195), already published by the owner in the Journal of the Royal 
Asiatic Society and the Biirliiigton Magazine, and also by Mr. Havell under the 
name of Maitreya. 

Fig. 196. Jambhala, or Kuvera, god 

of riches ; from Ceylon. 
(Photo, by Dr. A. K. Coomaraswamy.) 

Fig. 195. Avalokitesvara, or Padmapani ; from Ceylon. 
(Photo, by Dr. A. K. Coomaraswamy.) 

Another e.xcellent little image, 3-3- inches high, likewise the property of Jambhala, 

Dr. Coomaraswamy, represents the minor deity Jambhala, or Kuvera, the Avell- 
contented god of riches (Fig. 196), whose effigy in various forms is frequently found 
in the ruins of Buddhist monasteries in India and Java {ante, pp. 1 15, 137, 205). His 
right hand grasps a fruit; the left rests upon the mongoose, or ichneumon, sacred to 
him. The owner's criticism is as follows : — 

' The artistic interest of this figure lies in its frank realism, contrasting with the 
idealistic treatment of the figures so far referred to. The God of Wealth, far less 
remote and hard to reach than so exalted a being as a Bodhisattva, Is worshipped for 
material rather than spiritual benefits ; he Is represented as the very image of a fat 
trader seated in his booth awaiting customers. The patron saint of prosperity and 
trade Is a comfortable, worldly person ! The realistic treatment of the firm flesh is as 

»16 L 1 t 

or Kuvera. 



masterh- in its own way as tlie generalization of the more ideal t\pes, such as the 

Avalokitesvara.' ^ 
Th B-d \l Tl^e Colombo Museum possesses many other bronze objects, including several 

Buddha." ' Buddhas. One of these (Eig. 197). ^ Buddha 'of unique design' and uncertain 

date, found below- Badulla, possesses considerable merit. The nature of the object 

held in the left hand is obscure." 

Fig. 197. Bronze seated Buddlia (Colombo Museum). 
(Photo, supplied \>y the Director.) 

-' Coomaraswamy, ' Mahayana Buddhist Images 
from Ceylon and Java,' _/. 7?. A. S., 1909, p. 288. 
That valuable article, and another entitled 'Indian 
Bronzes' in Burlington l\Iagazine, Alay, 1910, discuss 
in detail many images which cannot be noticed here. 
The two figured, which I have examined, are the 
best of those from Ceylon, and are superior to an}-- 
thing of tlie kind in the British I\Iuseum. Kuveia 
( = Jambhala = Vaisravana) was chiefof the Yakshas. 
He was speciall)' honoured in Khotan and Chinese 
Turkestan generally. A manuscript from 'J'urfan 
calls him ' the highest of the gods ' (von Holstein, 

' Tisastvustik,' pp. 97, 122 ;/., Bibl. Biiddhica, No. 
xii, St. Pctersbourg, 1910). ' Jambhala of Ceylon ' 
was known even in distant Nepal (Foucher, Icono- 
grapJiic houddhiqiie, PI. IX. 2). 

- A rough list of bronzes and other objects is 
printed in the Calalogue of Finds, Archaeological 
Survey of Ceylon ; deposited in llie Colombo Museum, 
1906-7, p. 27, supplied by the Government of 
Ce}lon. The Guide to the Museum (1905) is 
jjublished in Spolia Zeylanica, Part IX. Badulla is 
in the hill country ; the image was found in the plain 


Section VIII. Java. 

The extensive and long-continued emigration from India to the Far East — I 
including Pegu, Siam, and Cambodia on the mainland, with Java, Sumatra, Bali, and ': 
Borneo among the islands of the Malay Archipelago — and the consequent establish- i 
ment of Indian institutions and art in the countries named, constitute one of the 
darkest mysteries of history.^ 

The reality of the debt due to India by those distant lands is attested abundantly 
by material remains, by the existence to this day of both the Buddhist and Brah- 
manical religions in the island of Bali to the east of Java, by Chinese history, and by 
numerous traditions preserved in India, Pegu, Siam, and the Archipelago. But when 
the attempt is made to transmute vague, conflicting traditions and imperfectly known 
archaeological facts into orderly history the difficulties in the way of success appear to 
be largely insurmountable. In this place it is, of course, impossible to probe deeply 
the mystery referred to. The critical investigation of the subject, even if confined to 
Indian colonization and its consequences in the Malay Archipelago alone, would 
require a large book. But, in order to render at all intelligible the fact of the exist- 
ence of magnificent achievements of Indian art in Java, to which island the summary 
observations in this work will be confined, some attempt, however imperfect, at 
historical explanation is indispensable. In Java the forms of art to which a few pages 
will be devoted are thoroughly Indian in subject and style, of high aesthetic quality, 
and sufficiently dated to permit of their correlation with the art of India. The 
less purely Indian and less meritorious ramifications of Hindu art in the other 
countries of the Far East must be left unnoticed. 

It is certain that during the early centuries of the Christian era India possessed 
an active and enterprising seafaring population on both coasts — that of the Bay 
of Bengal on the east, and that of the Arabian Sea on the west ; and it is highly 
probable that from the first to the eighth century emigration to the Malay Archipelago 
continued to proceed from both sides of India. If Javanese tradition may be believed, 
a large body of Indian emigrants led by Aji Saka landed in the island from the east 
of India in the year i of the local era, equivalent to a.d. 75 or a.d. 78 according 
to various computations, but the details of the story are obviously open to sceptical 

The observation of Fa-hien, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim who visited 
Java in a.d. 414, and found 'plenty of heretics and Brahmans, but not enough 
Buddhism to be worth mentioning ',2 is excellent evidence that a strong Indian 

' The Hinduized Javanese founded considerable ' rnzz'^/j, chap, xl, in Giles's version. The other 

colonies in Madagascar during the early centuries of versions (Laidlay, Bea], Legge) agree substantially 

the Christian era {Journal Asiatique, 1910, p. 330). with Giles. Fa-hien's statement is corroborated by 

l1 2 




colony professing the Brahman ical rehg-ion must have been then already settled 
in the island for a long time. The statement made in a late Chinese work that 
an Indian colony arrived in Java during the reign of the Han emperor, Kwang Wu-ti 
(a. D. 25-57J, is credible, although the authority on which it is based has not been 
found. ^ From the testimony of Fa-hien and other indications there is no doubt that 
pjrahmanical Hinduism reached Java long before Buddhism. According to the 
Chinese History of the Sung Dynasty, the conversion of the island to Buddhism was 
effected by Gunavarman, Crown Prince of Kashmir, who had renounced his rank 
in order to become a monk. He then joined a monastery in China and died at 
Nanking in a. d. 431. This statement dates the conversion immediately after 
Fa-hien's visit. - 

Javanese writers, supported to some extent by local traditions of Gujarat and 
Southern IMarwar in Rajputana, affirm that in the year a. d. 603 a numerous body 
of colonists sailed from Western India to Java.'' The Siamese annals record that 
in the year a.d. 685 ( = 607 of Maha, or Saka era) 

' great political disturbances occurred all over India, and the inhabitants, finding 
it impossible to make a living, were forced in large numbers to leave their home 
and country and settle among other nations. ... At that time four tribes of 
Brahmans, consisting of a considerable number of persons, made their way east- 
ward from " Wanilara " to Burma, Pegu, then independent, the Laos States, Siam, 
and Cambodia.' ^ 

Traditional dates like those cited notoriously require to be treated Avith caution, 
but in this case both the dates in the seventh century happen to be credible, as mark- 
ing times of ascertained political disturbance in India. The earlier date, a. d. 603, 
which falls within the period of anarchy and strife due to the Hun invasions, precedes 
by a few years the consolidation of the empires founded by Harsha in the north and 
by Pulakesin II Chalukj/a in the Deccan. The later date, a.d. 685, approximately 
coincides with the fall of Valabhl, which is believed to have been destroyed about that 
time by the Arabs then settled in Sind.° The Chinese statement in the History 
of the Sung Dynasty dating the conversion of the island between a.d. 414 and 431 is 
the most trustworthy of all, though of course the assertion that the whole population 
was converted cannot be accepted. As in India, Brahmanical Hinduism continued to 
exist side by side with Buddhism. The earliest known dated Indo-Javanese inscrip- 
tion is said to be one of the year a.d. 732." We are, therefore, justified in believing that 

certain nearly contemporary inscriptions in Java 
and at Koetei in Borneo (Kern, ' Gedenkteekenen 
der oude indische beschaving in Kambodja,' Onze 
Eeuii\ Jan. 4, 1904, p. 46). 

' Tlu Pilgrimage of Fa Hian (Calcutta, 1848), 
p. 363, Laidlay's translation of Klaproth's note. 

' de Bejlie, L ArcJiiieclure Iiindoue en Extreme- 
Orient, p. 335; Pelliot, Bull. E. F. E. O., iv. 274. 

° A. I\r. Jackson in Bombay Gazetteer (1896), 
vol. i. Part I, App. 

' A. Steffcn, art. No. 125, Man, 1902. 'Wani- 
lara' has not been identified. Quaere does lara = 
Lata = Gujarat ? ' Wanilara ' might be Wano 
(Valabhl. Wala) in Lata. 

'' A.S. W.I., vi. 3'; ix. 4. 

" According to the late Dr. Brandes quoted by 
Mr. Sewell (/. R. A. S., 1906, p. 421). Earlier 
Indian inscriptions not bearing precise dates exist 
from the fifth century. In Cambodia the earliest 
recorded Indian ruler, Srutavarman or Kaundinya, 


the ancient Indian Brahmanical colonies in Java received strong reinforcements from 
the mother-country during the fifth, seventh, and eighth centuries. Considering that 
all, or nearly all, the Buddhist remains in the island are later than the middle of 
the eighth century, we may further infer that the new-comers were largely Buddhist 
in religion, and included many skilled craftsmen. The most ancient objects in the 
island possessing value as wolks of art are Buddhist. The late Dr. Brandes, who had 
a good right to express an authoritative opinion, held that the buildings at Boro- 
Budur, with their incomparable sculptures, should be dated between a.d. 778 and 928 
(= 700-850 Saka). According to M. Tissandier the Kali Bening and .Sari temples at 
Prambanam (Brambanam) were begun in a.d. 779.^ 

Other Indo-Javanese works, however, are much later, the Chandi Sewa temple, 
for example, being assigned to a.d. 1098. The Hindu kingdom of Majapahit in 
Eastern Java was overthrown by the Muhammadans in a.d. 1478, when the persecuted 
Hindus fled to Bali, where their descendants still practise Brahmanical rites, including 
salt (suttee) in its most appalling form, while another section of the population is 

From these facts it follows that the whole history of Indo-Javanese Buddhist art 
must lie between a.d. 420 and 1478, a period of more than a thousand years. The 
finest works may be assigned to the ninth century.' 

In Java, as elsewhere, the late Mahayanist Buddhism so closely approximated to 
Hinduism, that sculptures which at first sight appear to be purely Brahmanical may 
be really Buddhist. ' Brambanam and Chandi Sewa,' Mr. Sewell observes, ' are to all 
external appearances purely Brahmanical, though we learn on examination that Brahma, 
Vishnu, and Siva were there held to be Bodhisattvas and not gods. And this is the 
case everywhere in Eastern Java, the temples being mostly Hindu in type (though 
always with a difference), and having statues adapted generally from Brahmanical 

The best known monument in the island is the vast pyramidal pile of Boro- 
Budur, ' a hill in nine stages,' combining the character of a stilpa or dagaba with that of 
a temple. As an architectural composition the building, more than 400 feet square at 
the base, is of small account. Its importance in the history of art depends upon the 
immense series of about 2,000 bas-reliefs adorning the galleries, which, if laid end to 
end, would extend more than two miles.* The best reliefs are the panels of the 
so-called ' second gallery ', exceeding two hundred in number, which are arranged 
in two series. The upper series presents in easily recognizable stone pictures the life 
of Buddha, as told in the ancient Sanskrit work the Lalita Vistara. The scenes 
of the lower series, artistically of equal merit, resisted interpretation until lately, 
but have now been proved to be illustrations of the Divyavadana and other Buddhist 

lived in the middle of the fifth century. In the ^ Cambodge el Java, Paris, 1896, p. 126. 

following age Bhavavarman founded many temples ' The dates are those given by M. Tissandier. 

in honour of Indian deities, especially 6iva, at which ' The distinctly Brahmanical art is much inferior 

daily readings of the epics and Purdnas were held in quality to the best Buddhist. 

Indian influence was at its height in Cambodia in * Some 1,600 out of the 2,000 still exist. 

the sixth century (Kern, op. cit., p. 47). 


romances, including some of the ydiakas, or stories of the former lives of Buddha. 
About two-thirds of the 120 panels in that series have now been identified, 
and in time the balance probably will yield their secrets. The intention of the 
designer of the monument was that the worshipper, while making his ritual 
perambulation {pradakshina) of the building, should be instructed ocularly in the 
whole doctrine of Buddhism, according to the system of the Mahayana, or ' Great 

Vehicle'. ^ 

It is difficult to choose among the numerous beautiful reliefs of the 'second 
gallery ' of Boro-Budur. Several of the best have been reproduced by Mr. Havell, 
and in the new edition of the History of Indian and Eastern Architecture. I select 
one from the lower series (Fig. 198). 

All critics can go as far as to concur in M. Tissandier's rather faint praise that 
the bas-reliefs are ' motifs ciseles dans la pierre avec une puissance rare ' ; or 
M. Foucher's more liberal criticism that they are justly celebrated for their good 
proportions, naturalness of gesture, and the variety of attitude in the figures. But 
not everybody can agree with Mr. Havell that the reliefs exhibit ' supremely devout 
and spontaneous art ', far excelling by their simplicity, unaffected nawet(f, artistic 
feeling, imagination, and magnificent conventionalism of the accessories the work 
of Ghiberti on the bronze doors of the Baptistery at Florence, which Michael Angelo 
declared ' to be worthy to be the gates of Paradise '. The same critic holds that the 
simple life led by the artists of Boro-Budur left them in peace to concentrate their 
whole soul on this work, and kept their minds free and able to listen to the voices of 
Nature and of their own inspiration — ' the soul of Nature speaking to the soul 
of man '. In reality, as M. Foucher truly observes, the immense processions of 
scenes at Boro-Budur have a ' caractere livresque ' in virtue of their being illustrations 
of sacred story-books, which deprives them of the spontaneity and emotional {vibrant) 
expression that can spring only from contact with living oral tradition. The com- 
positions were prompted, not by the ' voices of Nature ', but by a business-like, 
systematic endeavour to give visual expression to set passages in favourite authors ; 
and we have not the slightest reason for believing that the artists led particularly 
simple lives. We know, in fact, nothing whatever about them or their lives. A cer- 
tain uniformit)' of effeminacy [moHessc) characterizes the forms, as it does some of the 
much earlier compositions of Gandhara. But, although it is true that the reliefs are 
carefully planned and must be criticized as selected book illustrations rather than 
as the spontaneous utterance of simple souls in direct contact with nature, they are 
extremel)- good and charming. When compared with the ancient reliefs of Sanchi 

' The name Boro-Budur means ' ihe many when the original plinth was encased in a structure 

Buddhas ' (cf. Sanskrit, Briliad-devata). The older of later masonry. The literary works illustrated by 

books give erroneous interpretations. The building, the reliefs all belong to the Mula-Sarvastivadin 

although apparent))' a staged pyramid, is really con- school of Buddhism, to which the seventh-century 

structed on the plan of a circular stiipa, all the angles pilgrim I-tsing adhered (Foucher, ' Notes d'archco- 

being insciibed in circles. The so-called ' second logie bouddhique,' B. E. F. E. O., Janv.-Mars, 

gallery ', designed to be tlie first, became the second 1909, pp. i-,5o). 

SECT, vm 



and Bharhut they exhibit a dehcate refinement of design and a beauty in feature 
which are sometimes lacking in the more virile worlds of the early Indian schools. 
They deserve the most careful critical study by professional sculptors, who alone 
would be in a position to realize how much praise is due to artists capable of executing- 
more than two miles of stone pictures, almost uniform in beauty and the display 
of technical skill of a hiah order. 

Fig. 198. Ofiferings to a Bodhisatlva. 
(van Kinsbergen, Oiidhedcn van Java, No. 16.) 

Works of such unparalleled magnitude must have been executed by a multitude Mysterious 
of expert artists. Whence did they coine ? By whom were they trained ? Which °'^j^'Qi°of ^ 
Indian school is most closely related to them ? These questions and others, easy to sculpture. 
ask, are difficult to answer. The style, as well as the subject-matter of the reliefs, is 
distinctly Indian, and yet with a difference which marks it as Javanese. Nobody with 
the least experience could mistake a Javanese relief for one executed in India. But 
when we compare the Boro-Budur sculptures with the seventh-century reliefs at 




Mamallapuram [aji/c\ 220), or the sixth-century friezes at Badami [ajiie, 210), the 
difterence almost amounts to that between fine art and barbarism. The artists of 
Boro-Budur cannot have been taught by their comparatively rude predecessors at 
either Mamallapuram or Badami. It is difficult, merely from study of the sculptures 

Fig. 199. SarasvatI enthroned ; from 
Jogyokaita, Java, 
(van Kinsbergen, Oudheden van Java, PI. 179. 

Fig. 200. Prajna Paramiia. 
(Photo, supplied by Dr. Coomaraswam)-.) 

and without the aid of external evidence, to form a definite opinion whether the art 
of Boro-Budur was derived from the east or the west side of India.i The individual 
figures have a beauty of countenance which, unfortunately, is rare in Indian sculpture. 

' The character of the sculptures and the details 
of the ornamentation in the later caves of Western 
India do not appear to me to be ' so nearl_\- identical 
with what is found in the Javan monument ' as 

Fergusson aflirms {Hist. Ind. and E. Archil., ed. 
1910, ii, p. 426). The differences rather than the 
resemblances impress my mind. 

Plate Lir. Stone Buddha. Photo, by Dr. A. K. Coomaraswamy ; Havell, /«fl'. Sculpture and Painling, 
PI. II : No. 5, van Kinsbergen, Oudheden van Java. 

M m 


Possibl}- Chinese teaching may be one of the causes of the excellence of the sculptures ; 
but the subject requires study much deeper than any it has yet received, and at present 
it is impossible to solve the many problems suggested by the reliefs. The Indian 
sculptures which most nearly resemble the Javanese work are those executed under 
Chela patronage in the eleventh century {anle. Figs. 159-62). 
Numerous Notable sites, crowded with ancient buildings, are far too numerous in Java to be 

even named. The most important, perhaps, after Boro-Budur is Prambanam (Bram- 
banam), an early capital, where the temples are said to include six large and 150 small 
ones, supposed to date from about the tenth century. 



Fk;. 201. ?i\Ianjusri; Raffles Coll., li. !\I. ; 6;i inches high. 
(Photo, by Dr. A. K. Coomaraswamy, /. 7?. . J. .S'., 1909, PI. II. 4.) 

images and 

The Javanese sculptures, in addition to reliefs, comprise multitudes of large 
bronzes. c^etached stone images and small bronzes, of which only a small number of specimens 

can be illustrated here. 
Sarasvati, From van Kinsbergen's plates I select a very pleasing image of SarasvatI, 

consort of Brahma and goddess of speech and learning, who is represented enthroned. 
The mongoose or ichneumon is her special attribute (Fig. 199). 

The other illustrations are from photographs kindfv supplied by Dr. Coomara- 
Bu Idha ^^^^^^' ''"^' '"'■'^^^y published by him, and also, in part, by Mr. Havell. 

The stone Buddha (Plate LII) is one of several similar images, nearly equal in 




quality, which exhibit the IncVian y 00^1 ideal in an exceptionally dignified and agreeable 
manner.^ The expressive modelling of the right hand deserves special commendation. 

Figure 200 gives a side view of the beautiful image of Prajria-Pdraviita now at Prajna- 
Leyden, of which Mr. Havell has published a front view. The name is that of the Parami^a. 
most sacred book of the Mahayanist scriptures, ascribed to Nagarjuna, and thence 
transferred to a personification of Supreme Wisdom in female form. Mr. Havell, 
who regards the image as being ' one of the most spiritual creations of any art. 
Eastern or Western', compares it with the Madonnas of Giovanni Bellini. 

The little bronze (Fig. 201), supposed to represent Manjusri, is one of the most Manjusri. 
attractive of the Raffles collection in the British Museum. The monstrosity of the 
extra arms must be endured. ^ The plan and limits of this book do not admit of 
further discussion of Indo-Javanese art. 


The principal references are collected by Mr. 
Phene Spiers in chap, iv of vol. ii of Fergusson, 
Hist, of Ind. and E. Archil., 2ncl ed., 1910. 

The illustrations in Raffles' History of Java and 
Leeman's work on Boro-Budiir are useless for 
purposes of art criticism. The only published 
plates available for such purposes are those in van 
Kinsbergen's atlas folio volumes entitled Oudheden 
van Java {Antiquities pf Java), to be found in certain 
public libraries. Some of the sculptures have been 
reproduced recently by Mr. Havell, Dr. Coomara- 
swamy, Mr. Phen^ Spiers, and M. Foucher. The 
Oriental Art Societ)', Calcutta, is said to have 
acquired a large collection of photographs. The 

meaning of the Lalita Vistara series of reliefs is 
expounded by Pleyte, Die Buddiia-Legende in den 
Stiulpturen des Tempels von BorS-Budur (small 4to, 
Amsterdam, 19 10). 

M. Foucher's recent essay cited in the notes is of 
special value. The Giijarat traditions were collected 
by the late Mr. A. J\I. Jackson, I.C.S., in his article 
' Java and Cambodia ', forming App. IV of Bombay 
Gazetteer (1896), vol. i, Part I. 

A comprehensive critical work dealing with the 
spread of Indian colonies, institutions, and art in the 
Malay Archipelago and the neighbouring countries 
on the mainland is badly wanted. Nothing of the 
kind seems to exist in any language. 

Section IX. Mediaeval Jain Sculpture in all India. 

The Jain religion, now mostly confined to Rajputana and the western provinces, Former 
was formerly, as already observed {ante, p. 11), far more widely extended than it is exjiension of 
at the present day. In all ages Jains, like the adherents of the rival religions, freely 
enlisted the services of the sculptor. Numerous examples of Jain sculpture dating 
from mediaeval times are to be found in regions where the Jain religion is now non- 
existent. Almost all Jain images are so much alike that they may be disposed of 
summarily without the chronological and provincial classification indispensable for 
the discussion of Buddhist and Brahmanical sculpture. 

The excessive deference to ritual prescription, generally recognized as a defect Monotony 
in Hindu art, is carried to such an extremity by the Jains that images differing in age ofJam 
by a thousand years are almost indistinguishable in style. The uniformity which 
runs through the centuries extends all over India, so that little difference between 

^ e. g. Nos. 6, 7, 8 in van Kinsbergen's plates. 
^ The small bronzes in the British Museum 

are numerous. Several have been published by 
Dr. Coomaraswamy. 

M m 2 


northern and southern productions is noticeable, and the genius of individual artists 
finds small scope for its display. 

These observations apply chieily to separate Images. The Jains, as Mr. Walhouse 
has observed, delight in making their images of all substances and sizes, but almost 
always invariable in attitude, whether that be seated or standing. Most of the images 
belong to the Digambara school or sect, and are nude. Small portable effigies of 
the saints are made of crystal, alabaster, soapstone, bloodstone, and various other 
materials ; while the large ones are carved from whatever kind of stone happens 
to be locally available. The seated statues are always posed in the cross-legged jy^^f 
attitude of meditation, with, so far as I know, only a single exception at Gwalior. 
The standing ones are ordinarily nude square-shouldered figures facing front, with 
the arms hanging straight down by the sides. 

Numberless images of both kinds might be figured without adding anything to 
the reader's knowledge of Lidian art. They differ one from the other merely in 
the degree of perfection attained in mechanical execution. Undoubtedly the most 
remarkable of the Jain statues are the celebrated colossi of Southern India, the 
largest free-standing statues in Asia, which are three In number, situated respectively 
at Sravana Belgola in Mysore, and at Karkala, and Yenur (or Venur) in South 
Kanara. All three, being set on the top of eminences, are visible for miles around, 
and, in spite of their formalism, command respectful attention by their enormous 
mass and expression of dignified serenity. 

The biggest, that at Sravana Belgola, stands about 56I feet In height, with 
a width of 13 feet across the hips, and is cut out of a solid block of gneiss, apparently 
wrought ill siiiL. That at Karkala, of the same material, but some 15 feet less In 
height, is estimated to weigh 80 tons. The smallest of the giants, that at Yenur, is 
35 feet high. The three images are almost identical, but the one at Yenur has the 
' special pecullarlt}- of the cheeks being dim.pled with a deep, grave smile ', which Is 
considered to detract from the impressive effect. 

The extreme conventionalism of Jain art is well illustrated by the fact that, 
whereas all the three colossi are substantially Identical, save for the smile at Yenur, 
the dates vary widely. The Sravana Belgola statue owes its existence to the piety 
of the minister Chamunda Raya, who erected it about a. d. 983 ; while the Karkala 
image was consecrated in a. u. 1432, and the Yenur one as late as 1604. The character 
of all three, and of most standing Jain statues, except for certain varying minor 
accessories, is sufficiently Indicated by Plate LI 1 1, representing the Karkala 

A passing reference may be made to the five groups of Jain images cut In relief 
on the face of the steep cliff below the fort of Gwalior, all executed between a.d. 1440 
and 1473, of which several are colossal, one being 57 feet high. The south-western 
group includes a recumbent image of a sleeping female, 8 feet in length, and a com- 

' References are, for Sravana Belgola statue— statue—/;;^/. Anl., ii. 353, PI.; Ep. Ind., vii. 112 

Ind. Ant., ii. 1 29, PI. ; Ep. Ind. vii. io8, PI. (good) ; (with small, bad photo.). ' Yenur statue— /«(/. Ant., 

Rice, Mysore and Coorg, p. 47, Fig. of face. Karkala v. 37, PI. ; Ep. Ind., vii. 1 1 2 (with small, bad photo.). 

Plate LIII. Jain colossus at Karkala, South Kanara, Madras. 
(From Ind. An/., vol. ii, p. 353, lithogr. plate, by permission.) 


position consisting- of a male and female seated with a child.i Images in such attitudes 
are extremely rare. The Gwalior reliefs are mere curiosities without artistic value. 

In decorative sculpture, as distinguished from individual statuarj^, the Jains 
encouraged work of a high order of excellence and beaut)^ employed to adorn with 
the utmost possible magnificence the pillared chambers which were their favourite 
form of architecture. Nothing in the world can surpass for richness and delicacy 
of detail the marble columns and ceilings of the Mount Abu temples {ante. Plates VI 
and VII), and it would be easy to fill a large volume with illustrations of more or 
less similar exquisite work in many localities. 

In this place it will suffice to give a single unpublished illustration of a Jain 
temple in Mysore, dating from about the twelfth century, for which I am indebted 
to the Archaeological Survey of that State. The central Tirthankara, or saint, is in 
the usual conventional style, while the subordinate figures exhibit in an exaggerated 
form some of the least pleasing peculiarities of Hindu art, and the design of the 
scroll-work is better suited for metal than stone. Nevertheless the general effect 
is sumptuous and decorative (Plate LIV). 

Mr. Rice states that the facade of the Chandragupta bastl, a section of the 
ancient group of temples at Sravana Belgola, is ' a perforated stone screen containing 
ninety sculptured scenes of events in the lives of Bhadrabahu and Chandragupta', 
probably executed in the twelfth century by a sculptor whose name is recorded.^ 

I am not in a position to illustrate those interesting and unique compositions. 

1 Cunringham, Arch. S. Rfp., ii. 364-8. ^ Mysore and Coorgfrom the Inscriptions, p. 5. 



i- o 

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G O 

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Section I. General Observations. 

Few, very few, people realize that the art of painting in India and Ceylon has 
a long history, illustrated by extant examples ranging over a period exceeding two 
thousand years, and that during the so-called Dark Ages the Indian and Ceylonese 
painters attained a degree of proficiency not matched in Europe before the fourteenth 
or fifteenth century. Nevertheless such are the facts. In this chapter and the next 
following the history of the art in India and Ceylon, so far as its practice was domin- 
ated by Hindu ideas, Avill be traced from the earliest times of which there is record 
until the present day ; but, unfortunately, the incompleteness of the record compels 
the historian to leave many gaps in his narrative. The widest of those gaps lies 
between the close of the Ajanta series in the seventh and the introduction of the 
Indo-Persian style by Akbar in the sixteenth century. During that long period 
of more than nine hundred 3^ears hardly anything definite is known concerning the 
productions of Indian and Ceylonese painters. Abundant material exists for the 
history of the Indo-Persian school, which will be discussed in Chapter XIV. That 
school, although foreign in origin, bears ample indirect testimony to the continuity of 
the Hindu pictorial tradition. When the relations of Indian art generally to that 
of foreign countries come to be examined in Chapter XI, we shall find that Hindu 
painting, while related to the ancient schools of interior Asia, has merits peculiarly its 
own, and apparently deserves credit for substantial originality. 

The ancient literature of India and Ceylon contains many references to pictorial 
art, the earliest, perhaps, being those in books of the Pali Buddhist canon dating from 
some three or four centuries before the Christian era. Several passages in those 
books tell of pleasure-houses belonging to the kings of Magadha and Kosala in 
Northern India as being adorned with painted figures and decorative patterns, 
presumably similar to the earliest known frescoes in Orissa and at Ajanta.^ Painted 
halls are also mentioned in the Rdmayana, a Brahmanical epic of uncertain but early 
date ; and allusions to portraits are frequent in the dramas of Kalidasa and his 
successors from the fifth to the eighth century afcer Christ. The Ceylonese chronicle, 
the Mahavamsa, composed probably in the fifth century, tells of the mural paintings 
decorating the relic-chamber of the Ruwanweli ddgaba constructed by King Duttha- 
gamini about b,C- 150. The testimony of native writers is confirmed by that of 
the Chinese pilgrims in the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries, who notice several 

' RIi)s Davids, Buddhist India, p. 96 ; citing Vin., ii. 151 ; iv. 47, 61, 298 ; Sam., 42, 84. 



examples of celebrated Buddhist pictures ; and by Taranath, the Tibetan historian of 
Buddhism, who, when writing at the beginning of the seventeenth century, ascribes 
the most ancient pictures to the gods, and declares that they were so marvellous as to 
bewilder beholders by their realism.^ 

The literary evidence thus summarily indicated would alone amply prove the Range 
early and continuous practice of the painter's art in both India and Ceylon ; but it is '™^ °^ 
unnecessary to labour the proof from books, because evidence of a more satisfactory remains, 
kind is furnished by the considerable surviving remains of ancient painting from the 
second century before Christ ; which, even in their present fragmentary and mutilated 
state, enable the modern critic to appraise the style of the early Indian artists, and to 
recognize the just claim of the art of India and Ceylon to take high rank among the 
ancient schools of painting. We will now proceed to give in this chapter an account 
of the extant remains of Indian and Ceylonese painting from the second century 
before Christ to the middle of the seventh century of the Christian era. 

Section II. Ramgarh Hill, Orissa. 

The oldest Indian pictures, and, excepting the Egyptian, probably the most The oldest 
ancient extant specimens of Oriental painting, are found in the Jogimara Cave of Pointings, 
the Ramgarh Hill in the Surguja State, a wild region lying to the south of the 
Mirzapur District and now attached to the Central Provinces.^ 

These pictures, apparently executed in the customary Indian method of fresco, 
which will be explained presently, are divided into concentric circles by bands of red 
and yellow, sometimes enriched with a geometrical design, these circles seemingly 
being again subdivided into panels. The general nature of the subjects of the four 
best preserved panels, copies of which are not available, can be understood from 
the following brief description : — 

A. In the centre a male figure is seated under a tree, with dancing girls Description. 
and musicians to the left, and a procession, including an elephant, to the right. 

B. This panel exhibits several male figures, a wheel, and sundry geometrical 

C. One half of this panel merely shows indistinct traces of flowers, horses, and 
clothed human figures. 

In the other half is seen a tree having a bird and apparently a nude child 
in its branches, while round the tree are grouped other nude human figures, wearing 
their hair tied in a knot on the left side of the head. 

D. The upper part of one half of this panel contains a nude male figure seated 
and attended by three clothed men standing, with two similar seated figures and three 
more attendants on one side. In the lower part are depicted a house with the horse- 

1 Geschichle des Buddhismus, ch. xxiv, transl. 82° 55' E,, close to the small village of Uda^'pur in 
Schiefner, p. 278. His testimony will be discussed the Lakhanpun Zamindari of the Surguja State, 
in the next chapter. transferred from the government of Bengal and 

2 The spelling ' Surguja ', not ' Sirguja ', seems Orissa to that of the Central Provinces. 
to be correct. The hill is situated in 2 2°53'N., 

N n 


shoe or so-called 'chaitya' window, an elephant, and three clothed men standing 
in front. Near this group are shown a chariot drawn by three horses and surmounted 
by an umbrella, and a second elephant with an attendant. In the second half of the 
panel the figures are generally similar in character. 

The early date of the paintings, which are fairly well preserved. Is attested 
by inscriptions, evidently contemporary, and by the style, which recalls that of the 
sculptures at Sanchl and Bharhut {ante, pp. 74, 80). They probably date from the 
second century, and cannot well be later than the first century before Christ. The 
subjects cannot be interpreted at present, but the nudity of the principal figures 
suggests a connexion with the Jain rather than the Buddhist religion, if the cave and 
paintings had any religious significance, which Is doubtful. As regards technique, the 
designs are painted usually in red, but occasionally in black, on a white ground. The 
outlines of the human and animal figures are drawn in black. Clothing is white with 
red outlines, hair Is black, and eyes are white. Yellow appears In the dividing bands 
only, and blue does not seem to occur. These particulars Indicate a very primitive 

Section III. Ajanta. 

The story of the art of painting in India is continued by the celebrated frescoes 
of the Ajanta caves in the west, ranging in date from about a.d. 50, or earlier, to 642, 
a period of some six or seven centuries, and constituting the most Important mass of 
ancient painting extant in the world, Pompeii only excepted. The caves, twenty-nine 
in number, are ' excavated in the face of an almost perpendicular scarp of rock about 
250 feet high, sweeping round in a curve of fully a semicircle, and forming the north 
or outer side of a wild and lonely glen, down which comes a small stream '. This glen 
or ravine, a scene of great natural beauty and perfect seclusion, admirably adapted for 
a monastic retreat, is situated about three and a half miles south-west from Fardapur, 
a small town In the Nizam's Dominions, standing at the foot of a pass across the 
Indhyadri Hills, which divide the table-land of the Deccan from the Khandesh 
District In the Tapti valley, and four miles WNW. from the town of Ajanta 
(30°32' N., 75°46'E.), not far from the battle-field of Assaye.^ 

' The caves extend for a distance of about 600 yards from east to west round the 
concave wall of amygdaloid trap which hems in the stream on Its north or left side, 
and vary in elevation from about 35 to 100 feet above the level of the torrent.' The 
numbers by which authors have agreed to designate them begin at the east end. Four 
of the excavations, Nos. IX, X, XIX, and XXVI, are churches (the so-called 'chaltyas'), 
the rest being monastic residences, the 'vlharas' of English writers. Some have 
never been completed. The principal works are elaborate architectural compositions, 

' The only information on the subject is recorded copies of these interesting works. The premature 

by the late Dr. Bloch in Ann. Rep. A. S., Bengal death of Dr. Bloch is much to be deplored. 

Circle, 1903-4, pp. 12-14; and Ann. Rep. A. S., ^ Ajanta, or more correctly Ajlntha (Fleet, /«(/. 

India, 1903-4, p. 130. No doubt the Director- ^tz/., xxii. 114). 
General will seize the earhest opportunity to obtain 


executed in the solid rock, the nature of which is very inadequately expressed by the 
term ' caves '. 

In 1879 paintings to a greater or lesser extent remained in sixteen caves, I 
Nos. I, II, IV, VI, VII, IX, X, XI, XV, XVI, XVII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, and ' 
XXVI. The most important fragments were then to be seen in nine caves, Nos. I, 
II, IX, X, XI, XVI, X^II, XIX, and XXI, those in Cave XVII being the most 
extensive.' The most ancient excavations, Nos. VIII, XII, and XIII, have no 
paintings. No. XIII, perhaps the earliest of all, has polished walls, and may date 
from 200 B. c. Six of the caves, Nos. VIII, IX, X, XI (with some sculpture possibly 
later), XII, and XIII are concerned with the early Hinayana form of Buddhism, 
and may be considered to cover a period of about three and a half centuries from 
200 B. c. to A. D. 1 50. All the others were dedicated to the Mahayana forms of 
worship. Nos. VI and VII may be assigned to the century between a. d. 450 and 
550. The rest, namely Nos. XIV to XX, XXI-XXIX, and I-V seem to have 
been excavated between a. d. 500 and 642, several having been left incomplete. 
No. I was held by Fergusson to be the latest of the completed works. 

The paintings are not necessarily of exactly the same age as the caves which they 
adorn. The most ancient unquestionably are certain works in Caves IX and X, 
partially overlaid by later pictures. These earliest paintings are so closely related to 
the Sanchi sculptures that they may be referred to approximately the same age, 
about the beginning of the Christian era, or earlier. They may be credited to the 
patronage of the powerful Andhra kings of the Deccan, who, even if not themselves 
Buddhists, certainly put no obstacle in the way of Buddhist worship. So far as 
appears, no paintings were executed for centuries afterwards. The next in date 
would seem to be the Buddhas on the pillars in Cave X, with various forms of the 
nimbus and a style of drapery which brings to mind the sculptures of Gandhara and 
early Christian art (Griffiths, PL 42, 43). These might be as early as a. d. 350, but 
may be considerably later.- 

The bulk of the paintings unquestionably must be assigned to the time of 
the great Chalukya kings, a. d. 550-642 ; but some may have been executed under 
the patronage of the earlier Vakataka kings of Berar. A Vakataka inscription exists 
in Cave XVI. It is unlikely that any can have been executed later than the second 
date named, when Pulakesin II was dethroned and presumably killed by the Pallava 
kino- of the South. The resulting political conditions must have been unfavourable 
for the execution of costly works of art dedicated to the service of Buddhism, the 
Pallava kings having been, as a rule, ardent worshippers of Siva. The latest pictures, 
those in Cave I, may be attributed, for reasons to be explained presently, to the years 
between a. d. 626 and 642. The related paintings at Bagh in Malwa may be dated 
at some time in the sixth century, or the first half of the seventh. 

' The amount remaining is now much reduced. Catalogue and Guide to the Indian Court, Festival of 

In 1909-10 Mrs. Herringham found considerable ^ot/)zW, published in July, 191 1. 

remains only in Caves I, II, IX, X, XVI, and XVII ' According to Mrs. Herringham, these are the only 

{Burlington Magazine, vol. xvii, June 1910, pp. paintings now left in Cave X. The wall-paintings 

136-8, with two Plates). See also her remarks in described by Burgess in 1879 have disappeared. 

N n 2 


The Ajanta paintings first became known to Europeans in 1819, but failed 
to attract much attention until 1843, when Mr. James Fergusson, the historian of 
architecture, pubHshed a description of them and persuaded the Directors of the East 
India Company to sanction the preparation of copies at the public expense. In pur- 
suance of the orders of the Court. Major Gill, a competent and conscientious artist, 
was deputed some years later, and continued at work until the outbreak of the Mutiny 
in 1857.' The copies then executed, thirty or more in number, were sent home from 
time to time, and with the exception of five, the last executed, perished in 1866 
in a fire at the Crystal Palace, where they were exhibited. Nothing remains of 
the lost copies except a few small-scale outline engravings in Mrs. Speir's Ancient 
India (1856), and reproductions of them in Ancietit and Mediaeval India (1869) by 
the same lady under the name of Manning, and also in the Notts on the Baiiddha 
Rock- Temples of Ajanta (1879) by Dr. Burgess. 

Since then fresh copies have been prepared between 1872 and 1885 by Mr. 
Griffiths of the Bombay School of Art, and his pupils, which have been partially 
published in two magnificent atlas folio volumes entitled The Paintings of the 
Buddhist Cave Temples of Ajanta, Khandesh, India (1896). The India Office also 
possesses a fine volume of photographs arranged by Dr. Burgess.^ 

The Crystal Palace fire did not exhaust the ill-luck of these famous paintings. 
A subsequent fire at the South Kensington Museum destroyed or damaged many of 
Mr. Griffiths's copies, as shown in detail in the Appendix to volume ii of his work. 
The copies, more than a hundred in number, which escaped the fires are exhibited in 
the Indian Section of the Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington, but 
many of them have been damaged, and their colouring is by no means true to the 

Publicity has been fatal to the originals, and the Government of H.H. the Nizam, 
in whose territories the caves are situated, has shown little concern for their preserva- 
tion. Indeed, thirty years ago one of his subordinate officials wrought much damage 
by cutting out heads to present to visitors ; and, shameful to say, Dr. Bird, a Bombay 
archaeologist, was guilty of the same crime with the intention of benefiting the Museum 
at Bombay. Of course, all the fragments of plaster thus abstracted crumbled to dust 
and were lost irretrievably. Much injury also has been done by smoke from the fires 
of Hindu ascetics camping in the caves, by the folly of irresponsible scribblers of 
various nationalities, and by the unchecked action of bats, birds, and nest-building 

The Director-General of Archaeology in India informs me that in 1903-4 wire 
screens were fixed up in all the more important caves, and a good deal of cleaning was 
done. In 1908 the Department submitted a scheme for further conservation to the 

' Plis portrait appears in Plate 34 of Fergusson's of Cheltenham possesses another likeness of the 

scarce octavo work entitled The Rocli-cut Temples of artist. 

India, illustrated by 74 photographs taken on the spot ^ Mrs. Herringham states that the varnish applied 

by Major Gill (Murraj-, 1864); photo. No. 616 in by either Gill or Grififiths 'is now dirty and yellow, 

India Offiee List 0/ Negatives. Colonel Havelock and has seriously spoiled the pictures '. 


Government of the Nizam, and it is hoped that effective action may be taken. The 
Imperial Government cannot interfere directly in the internal administration of 
a protected State. 

The long-continued neglect of these precious remains by the Government 
of H.H. the Nizam offers a painful contrast to the vigorous and effective action taken 
by the Government of Ceylon to preserve the fifth-century paintings at Sigiriya which 
will be described in due course. At Ajanta the result of neglect and wilful injury 
is that the existing paintings are only a small fraction of those visible in 18 19, when 
the caves were first brought to notice. Nevertheless, in spite of all mischances, 
enough either remains or has been recorded to indicate the course of Indian pictorial 
art for some six centuries or more. 

Many of the paintings referred to in this chapter, which existed in 1879, when 
Dr. Burgess wrote, have since disappeared. 

The Ajanta pictures may be correctly termed frescoes, although the process used 
is not exactly the same as any practised in Europe. 

'The Indian practice of wall-painting at Ajanta, as elsewhere,' Mr. Griffiths 
observes, ' is in fact a combination of tempera with fresco. The hydraulic nature 
of Indian lime, or chunam, makes it possible to keep a surface moist for a longer time 
than in Europe, and the Indian practice of trowelling the work — unknown in Europe — 
produced a closer and more intimate liaison between the colour and the lime, and 
a more durable and damp-resisting face than the open texture of European fresco. 
The art has been practised all over India since the time of the Ajanta frescoes, and to 
this day houses, mosques, and temples are thus decorated. The modern method 
is first to spread a ground of coarse mortar {chunani) of the thickness of from half to 
one inch on the wall. This is allowed to stand for a day. If on the next day the 
ground is too dry, it is moistened, and then tapped all over with the edge of a small 
piece of wood of triangular section, to roughen it and give it a tooth. Then, with 
a coarse brush a thin coating of fine white plaster {clnLiiavi) is applied, and the work is 
allowed to stand till the next day, being moistened all the time. If the painting is to 
be highly finished, the ground is carefully smoothed with a small flat iron trowel 
about the size of a dessert spoon, which produces a surface on which the design 
is first sketched, or transferred by pouncing from a perforated drawing on paper, and 
then painted. 

The outline is usually put in first in brown or black ; local colour is filled in with 
flat washes, on which the details are painted. 

The colours are ground with rice or linseed-water with a little coarse molasses 
{gur), and water only is used in painting. Then, when the painting is completed, it 
is again rubbed over with the same small trowel. ... It is considered absolutely 
necessary that the work should be kept damp from beginning to finish, so that 
the plaster is not allowed to set until the completion of the picture. When once the 
smoothly trowelled surface is dry, it bears a distinct sheen or gloss and the colours 
withstand washing. 

Between the" methods of modern India and that employed at Ajanta, the only 
difference is that instead of a first coat of mortar, a mixture of clay, cow-dung, and 
pulverized trap rock was first applied to the walls and thoroughly pressed into its \sic\ 
surface, when the small cavities and air-holes peculiar to volcanic rock and the rough 


chisel marks left by the excavators served as keys. In some instances, especially 
in the ceilings, rice husks were used. 

This first layer — which, according to our modern notions — promises no great 
permanence, was laid to a thickness varying from one-eighth to three-quarters of 
an inch, and on it an egg-shell coat of fine white plaster was spread. This skin 
of plaster, in fact, overlaid everything — mouldings, columns, carven ornaments, and 
fioure sculptures — but, in the case of carved details, without the intervention of 
the coat of earthen rough-cast ; and, from what remains, it is clear that the whole 
of each cave was thus plaster-coated and painted. The texture of the volcanic rock, 
which is at once hard, open, impervious to damp, and yet full of air-holes, is especially 
suitable for this treatment. Great pains were taken with the statues of Buddha ; one 
in the small chamber to the right of the first floor of Cave VI is covered with a layer 
of the finest plaster one-eighth of an inch thick, so painted and polished that the face 
has the smoothness and sheen of porcelain.' 

It will be seen that a parallel to the technique of the Ajanta paintings is scarcely 
to be found in the Italian frescoes. But it is evident from specimens of the Egyptian 
work in the British Museum that loam or clay mixed wnth chopped straw formed the 
substratum over which, as at Ajanta, a layer of fine plaster was laid to receive the final 

It may not be impertinent again to point out the exceeding simplicity of the 
Indian and Egyptian methods, which have ensured a durability denied to more recent 
attempts executed with all the aids of modern chemical science.' ^ 

The foregoing description of the technique of the Ajanta paintings, based upon 
Mr. Griffiths's patient study for thirteen years on the spot, may be accepted with 
confidence as authoritative, although Mr. Havell may be right in adding that the 
pictures were sometimes touched up in tempera after the surface had dried. Italian 
workers in true fresco ^fresco 6210710) often permit themselves the same liberty. 

Observa- But it will be well to supplement Mr. Griffiths's account by the recent observations 

Mrs Her- °^ Mrs. Herringham, also an expert artist, who writes : — 

nngham. 1 T\\& technique adopted, with perhaps some few exceptions, is a bold red line- 

drawing on the white plaster. Sometimes nothing else is left. This drawing gives 
all the essentials with force or delicacy as may be required, and with knowledge and 
intention. Next comes a thinnish terra-verde monochrome showing some of the red 
through it ; then the local colour; then a strengthening of the outlines with blacks and 
browns giving great decision, but also a certain flatness ; last, a little shading if 
necessary. There is not much definite light and shade modelling, but there is great 
definition given by the use of contrasting local colour and of emphatic blacks and 

Mr. Griffiths, it will be observed, does not mention the first outline in red. 

' In Cave IX the early picture H which Mr. patent authority, states that the fresco-painting on 

Griffiths exposed and copied, after removing a later the walls of the mosque of Wazir Khan at Lahore, 

damaged painting, was executed on a coat of finest ' which is very freely painted and in good style, is true 

plaster, gL inch tliick, applied directly to the rock, fresco-painting, the buono fresco of the Italians, and, 

and polished like porcelain. like the inlaid ceramic work, is now no longer prac- 

' Griffiths, op. cit., p. 18. tised, modern native decoration being usually /r^'Jire 

' For a good summary account of the European secco, or mere distemper painting ' {Lahore Guide, 

processes see the article 'Fresco' in Chambers's 1876; quoted in Birdwood, /«(f^j-/rM/^r/j (//Ww 

Encyclopaedia (1905). Mr. J. L. Kipling, a com- (1880), p. 228). 


The nature of fresco-painting in any of its forms implies the use of a limited J 
range of pigments capable of resisting the decomposing action of lime, and con- 
sequently composed of natural earths. At Ajanta and Bagh the colours most freely 
used are white, red, and brown in various shades, a dull screen, and blue. The white 
is opaque, mainly composed of sulphate of lime ; the reds and browns derive their 
tints solely from compounds of iron; the green is a silicate, similar to the mineral 
now known as terre veric; and the blue is ultramarine, which was obtained in ancient 
times by grinding calcined lapis-lazuli, a costly semi-precious mineral usually imported 
from either Persia or Badakshan. The long panels of the ceilings in Cave II, dating 
from about a. d. 600, offer well-preserved examples of charming floral decorations in 
blue (Griffiths, PI. 123-5). I" the early paintings of the Ramgarh Hill, Orissa {ajiie, 
p. 273), and the fifth-century works at Sigiriya in Ceylon {post, Sec. 5 of this chapter), 
blue never occurs. At Ajanta, yellow, so largely used at Anuradhapura in Ceylon, 
apparently is very rare. The yellow of ancient painters is believed to have been 
always orpiment, a natural arsenic sulphide. 

The subjects of the pictures, as distinguished from the purely decorative devices, ! 
are almost exclusively Buddhist. They include, of course, numerous figures of Buddha ' 
and representations of sacred objects and symbols. The more complex compositions 
for the most part deal with either the incidents of the life of Gautama Buddha or 
those related in the Jataka stories, which narrates the events of his former births. In 
at least two cases the Jataka story is indicated beyond dispute by a painted label, but 
the fragmentary condition of the pictures renders difficult the identification of most of 
the scenes. There is, however, no difficulty in recognizing in Cave X the tale of the 
six-tusked elephant, and a few other legends may be identified with more or less 
certainty.^ Miscellaneous edifying Buddhist subjects, not taken from the Jataka 
collection, include the Litany of Avalokitesvara ; the Wheel of Life, formerly miscalled 
the Zodiac ; and, supposing the identification to be correct, the Landing of Vijaya in 
Ceylon — all in Cave XVII. If, as seems to be highly probable, Fergusson was 
right In Interpreting a famous scene in Cave I as the record of an embassy from 
Khusru Parviz, King of Persia to Pulakesin II, King of the Deccan, about a.d. 626, 
the subject of one large wall-picture is of a secular character. Certain smaller pictures 
on the ceiling of the same cave evidently must be connected with the embassy scene. 

The high achievement of the Ajanta artists in decorative design executed with : 
masterly skill is most freely exhibited in the ceiling panels of Cave I, painted in the ' 
first half of the seventh century (Fig. 202). Mr. Griffiths, who took so much 
pleasure in copying the designs, describes their variety as infinite, carried into the 
smallest details, so that repetition Is very rare ; fancy Is given full play, and the 

' In Cave XVII the story of ^ibi Raja, who gave si.xth century, the former being also labelled by name 

his eyes to the beggar (No. 499 ; Cowell & Rouse, (Heinrich Liiders, ' Arya Aura's Jataka-mala und die 

transl., vol. iv, p. 250) is labelled. In Cave II the Fresken von Ajanta ', Nachr. d. konigl. Gesellscha/t 

Kshantivadin and Maitribala jataka pictures are d. Wissemchaflen zu Gdttingen, Phil.-Hisi. Klasse, 

accompanied by quotations from the Jalaka Mdld 1902, p. 758). The story of the six-tusked elephant 

of Arja ^ura, inscribed in characters of about the is No. 514 (Coweli and Francis, vol. v, p. 20). 



simplest objects of nature, being pressed into the artist's service, are converted into 
pleasing and effective ornament. 

' The smaller panels,' he observes, ' are ornamented with designs as varied and 
araceful as they are fanciful. Some with grotesque little figures, rich in humour and 
quaintly dressed in Persian turbans, coats, and striped stockings ; gambolling amid 
fruits and flowers ; dancing, drinking, or playing upon instruments ; or chattering 
together; some with animals combined with the lotus, drawn with remarkable fidelity 
and action; as the elephant, humped bull, and the monkey; parrots, geese, and con- 
ventional birds singly and in pairs, with foliated crests, and tails convoluted like 
heraldic lambrequins, showing the upper and under surface of the ornament. Some 
contain the laro-e pink lotus, full-bloom, half-bloom, and in bud, as well as the smaller 
red and white; some with the mango [Maugifera iiidica), custard apple i^Anona 

Fig. 202. Figures in spandril of central ceiling panel. Cave I, Ajanta. 
Griffiths, op. cit., PI. 113 (102). 

squamosa) ; a round fruit which may be the bcl [Aegie marmelos) or the lime {linibu) ; 
another that looks like the brinjal or aubergine [Solanuvi vtelongena), and many 

The ornament in these panels is painted alternately on a black and red ground. 
The ground colour was first laid all over the panel, and then the ornament painted 
solidly upon this in white. It was further developed by thin transparent colours over 
the white.' ' 

The reader who desires to realize fully the justice of Mr. Griffiths's panegyric 
must study his numerous plates, or the full-sized copies in the Indian Section of the 
Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington; or, best of all, Mrs. Herringham's 
recent copies. Here it is not possible to give more than a few specimens. 

Cave II presents some equally good work. The circular panels (Griffiths, 

' Griffiths, op. cit , pp. 41, 42. 

A. Griffiths, PL 102, Fig. i a. 

B. Griffiths, PI. 104, Fig. % h. 

C. Griffiths, PI. 106, Fig. i; 

D. Griffiths, PI. 106, Fig. 17/ 

E. Griffiths, PI. Ill, Fig. 49. 

F. Griffiths, PI. 131, Fig. 14; snake 
design on brown ground. 

G. Griffiths, PI. 132, Fig. 62 ; wreath design 
in blue and white on brown ground. 

Plate LV. Small panels from ceiling of Cave I, Ajanta. 

o o 



PI. 115, U7-19 coloured, and 120, 121 uncoloured) are very fine, the figures in the 
spandrils being particular!}- good and full of movement. These circular panels have 
a distant resemblance to the carved moonstones of Ceylon. The long ceiling panels 
(Griffiths, PI. 122-31 coloured and 132 uncoloured) are admirable. Two small 
sections from Plate 131 with uncommon designs may be reproduced (Plate LV, F, G). 

The decorative designs in Cave I include a minor picture of considerable interest 
painted on a bracket capital, which may claim a full plate (PI. LVI), as in Mr. Grifiiths's 
work (PI. 114). The subject is that 
of two bulls fighting, and its treatment 
proves the artist's knowledge of animal 
form and his power of expressing 
vigorous action. The same subject, 
with variations of detail, is treated in 
a sculpture at the ancient cave of 
Bhaja, dating from about the beginning 
of the Christian era or earlier, and 
again in a sixteenth-century painting 
at Akbar's capital, Fathpur SikrI. It 
occurs also in a well-known sculpture 
in the Louvre, brought from the Doric 
temple at Assos in the Troad, and 
dating from about 500 b.c' 

In the sixth-century Cave XVII, 

the charming floral designs combined 

with human figures on the panels of 

the pillars (Griffiths, PL 144-9) are 

closely related to the slightly earlier 

sculptured work on the Garhwa pillars 

in Northern India (a«/^, p. 166). The 

kirhmukha grinning faces in Plate 

146 recall sculptural forms common 

in Ceylon. As chaste decoration it would be difficult to surpass the frets in Griffiths, 
Plates 143 and 149. 

The pair of lovers in a spandril of the central panel of the ceiling of Cave I is 
admirably drawn, and although forming only a subordinate member of a decorative 
design, is worthy of reproduction as a cabinet picture (Fig. 202). 

We now proceed to describe, so far as space permits, characteristic examples of 
the larger pictures on the walls of the caves in chronological order. But the pictures 
bemg too large to admit of intelligible reproduction as complete compositions, except 

Fig. 203. Figure from early painling; H, Cave IX, Ajanla. 
(Griffiths, Fig. 50, p. 18.) 

^ For Bhaja see Fergusson and Burgess, The Cave 
Templts of India (1880), p. 536; for Assos, Texier 
and PuUan, Principal Buildings in Asia Minor, 
PL I ; or Te.xier, Asie Mineure, vol. ii, pp. 11 2-1 4. 

The F"athpur Sikri frescoes are reproduced by E. W. 
Smith, Fathpur -Sikri, vol. i, PI. XI-XIII, XVa, b, c; 
CIX-CXX, and also partly in the /. /. A. I. (July, 
1894), and Griffiths, op. cit. 



bD -r- 

o o 


on a scale far beyond the dimensions of this book, the illustrations will be confined to 
extracts from the paintings, which are generally overcrowded and lacking in the unity 
derived from skilled composition. 

The earliest works, as already stated, are certain paintings in Caves IX and X, 
closely related to the Sanchi sculptures. 

The seated woman is a pleasing example from the painting H in Cave IX 
(Fig. 203), which Mr. Griffiths exposed by removing a later and damaged picture. 
The old composition was painted on a thin porcelain-like skin of fine plaster applied 
direct to the rock. 

In Cave X the remains of early paintings are, or were thirty years ago, more 
extensive. The fraements on the right-hand wall then consisted chiefly of elephants 
drawn in outline ' in a strikingly bold and true style ' (Fig. 204). 

Fig. 204. Early sketch of elephant in Cave X, Ajanla. 
(Burgess, JVo/es, PI. VII, Fig. 2.) 

On the left ' was a procession of men, some on foot, some on horseback, variously 
armed, some with halberts, and differently dressed ; and behind were groups of women ; 
but all have been defaced by native visitors within the last twenty j'ears or less', that 
is to say, prior to 1879. Numerous heads and figures in these scenes, admirably 
drawn and full of spirit and character, are reproduced in Plates VII I-X of Dr. Burgess's 
Notes, from drawings preserved at the India Office, made by a Hindu student of the 
School of Art, Jayrao Raghoba. The group shown in his Plate X, a Raja in the 
midst of eight female attendants, is unusually well composed. The perspective of the 
numerous figures is satisfactory, and the drawing of the hands and arms is particularly 
good (Plate LVII). 

I am disposed to think that the figures of Buddha painted on the pillars of 
Cave X (Griffiths, PL 42, 43, and cover) are the next in date, and should be assigned 

































to the fifth century, but they might be either later or earHer. The nimbus and 
draperies recall early Christian art and the sculptures of Gandhara. The best is 
shown in Fig. 205. These are now (19 10) the only paintings left in Cave X. 

The whole interior of Cave XVI was once 
covered with paintings of high merit dating from 
about A. D. 500, but even thirty years ago many 
of them had been destroyed. The plates in Mr. 
Grlffiths's work include little from this cave, although 
his copies, except three burnt, are preserved at South 

The scene known as the ' Dying Princess ', re- 
produced by iMr. Griffiths in 1874, was deservedly 
praised by him in glowing language, endorsed by 
Dr. Burgess and Mr. Fergusson, which merits 
quotation : — 

'A lady of rank sits on a couch leaning her 
left arm on the pillow, and an attendant behind 
holds her up. A girl in the background places her 
hand on her breast and looks towards the lady. 
Another with a sash across her breast wields the 
pankha [fan], and an old man in a white cap looks 
in at the door, while another sits beside a pillar. 
In the foreground sit two women. In another apart- 
ment are two figures ; one with a Persian cap has 
a water-vessel {jcalasa) and a cup in the mouth of 
it ; the other, with neirro-like hair, wants something 
from him. To the right two kancliukinls [female 
servants] sit in a separate compartment. . . ■ For 
pathos and sentiment and the unmistakable way of 
telling its story this picture, I consider, cannot be 
surpassed in the history of art. The Florentine 
could have put better drawing, and the Venetian 
better colour, but neither could have thrown greater 
expression into it. The dying woman, with drooping 
head, half-closed eyes, and languid limbs, reclines 
on a bed, the like of which may be found in any 
native house of the present day. She is tenderly 
supported by a female attendant ; whilst another 
with eager gaze is looking into her face, and holding 
the sick woman's arm as if in the act of feelinc her 
pulse. The expression on her face is one of deep 
anxiety as she seems to realize how soon life will 
be extinct in the one she loves. Another female 
behind is in attendance with a paii/ikd, whilst two men on the left are looking 
on with the expression of profound grief depicted in their faces. Below are seated 
on the floor other relations, who appear to have given up all hope and to have begun 


. 205. A Buddha on pillar; Cave 

X, Ajanta. 
(Giifliihs, PI. 42 a, reduced.) 

Sect, hi 


their days of mourning, for one woman has buried her face in her hand and apparenth 
is weeping bitterly.' ^ 

Other figures wearing the Persian cap appear in a second painting (No. 6 o 
Burgess) in the same cave, and may be compared with the representation of the 
Persian embassy and connected minor pictures in Cave I. Tlie frequent introductior 
of Persians into the frescoes suggests a possible connexion of the pictorial art oi 
India with that of Persia, which cannot be proved owing to the lack of Persian works 
of the same age or an earlier date. 

Cave XVII, which is little later in date than Cave XVI, and thirty years ago, 
whatever may be the case now, could show more painting than any of the others, 

Fig. 206. Long-tailed monkeys ; Cave XVII, Ajanla. 
(Griffiths, Fig. 36.) 

may fairly be considered the most interesting of the series." No less than sixty-one 
distinct scenes are described in Dr. Burgess's Notes. The two large pictures, repro- 
duced in outline in his Plates XVIII and XIX, are so excessively crowded with 
figures and so deficient in unity of composition that they cannot be presented satis- 
factorily except on an enormous scale. 

The representation in the left end of the verandah of the Buddhist Wheel of 
Life, commonly miscalled the Zodiac, is interesting rather as an illustration of popular 
Buddhist teaching in the sixth century than as a work of art. Similar pictures are 
still frequently exhibited in Tibetan monasteries and used by the Lamas for purposes 
of instruction. The dimensions of the Ajanta painting, now a mere fragment, are 

' Ind. Ant., vol. iii, pp. 25 seqq., with uncoloured 
plate. The text is' quoted in Burgess, Notes, p. 58. 
He numbers the painting as 5. The picture is not 
included in Mr. Griffiths's special work. 

^ Mrs. Herringham notes that 'in Cave XVI, 
slightly the earlier, nearly everything is obscured, 
but in Cave XVII many interesting subjects still 
remain intelligible '. 


8 feet 7 inches by 5 feet i inch.^ The huge painting indicated in Burgess's Plate XIX 
is supposed to represent the legend of the landing of King Vijaya m Ceylon and 
his coronation as described in the Pah chronicles. Painting No. LIV (Griffiths, 
PI 82) oives the story of Sibi Raja, already mentioned {au/e, p. 279). 

The artistic merits of the work in Cave XVII are best exhibited by the selec- 
tion of details (Figs. 206, 207). The artists, excellent in single figures and in the 
delineation of animals and plants, were less successful in composing large pictures.^ 

Fig. 207. Woman carrying child ; Cave XVII, Ajanta. 
(Griffiths, Fig. 71.) 

Among the later caves, the temple or church Cave XIX, which is elaborately 
carved throughout and has its porch and whole front covered with beautiful sculpture, 
was considered by Mr. Fergusson to be ' one of the most perfect specimens of Buddhist 
art in India '. The paintings include many effigies of Buddha (Griffiths, PI. LXXXIX), 
and some exquisite panels on the roof of the front aisle, as well as rich floriated patterns 
on the roofs of the side aisles. An example of tender sentiment may be given 
(Fig. 208). The subject recurs in Cave XVII. 

We now pass to Caves I and II, No. I being probably the latest of the 
completed works. 

Mr. Griffiths has devoted a large number of plates (Nos. 20-35 ^^^ "S'S^) '^^ 

' The picture and its Tibetan counterparts are 
discussed fully by Col. Waddell in ' The Buddhist 
Pictorial Wheel of Life (Zodiac) ' in /. A. S. B., 

vol. Ixi (1892), Part I, pp. 133-55, with plates. His 
PL VII corresponds with Griffiths, PI. 56. 

^ But see Mrs. Herringham's criticism at the end 
of this Section. 

SECT. Ill 



Cave II, besides nine text illustrations. The individual figures are remarkable for 
clever drawing, the artist having apparently gone out of his way to invent specially 
difficult poses. Mr. Griffiths's figure 8, a woman prostrating herself, and figure 16, 
snake-hooded Nagas, or water-sprites, are good examples of such tours de force. The 

Fig. 209. Woman standing ; 
Cave II, Ajanla, 
(Griffiths, Fig. 5.) 

Fig. 208. Mother and child making an offering to Buddhi ; 
Cave XIX, Ajanta. 
(Griffiths, PI. 89, Fig. 5.) 

woman standing, with her left leg bent up (Fig. 5), is capital, the feet being as well 
drawn as the hands ; and the woman in the swing (Fig. 66) is pleasing and life-like. 
Fig. 5 of Griffiths is reproduced (Fig. 209). 

The elegant decorative designs of Cave I have been described and illustrated Persian em- 
{ante, Fig. 20I, Plate LV). The numerous large wall-pictures include the Temptation ^assy, &c. 
of Buddha, a subject also effectively treated in sculpture in Cave XXVI, not far 
removed in date {ante, Plate XXXIX). Another large picture, showing the reception 
of a Persian embassy by an Indian king with full court ceremonial, is of special interest 
because its approximate date may be fixed with a high degree of probability between 

915 P P 



A.D. 626 and 628. If, as is almost certain, the Indian king represented is Pulakesin II, 
the sovereign of the Deccan, an embassy of Persians to him can have come only from 
Khusru Parviz, who was put to death in a. d. 628. An Arabic historian records the 
fact that in a.d. 626 Pulakesin sent presents to the Persian monarch, accompanied 
by letters to his sons, and such amission must have been returned, although no literary 
record of the return embassy has survived. Pulakesin himself perished in 642. 

Four smaller pictures placed symmetrically at the corners of the central square 
of the principal design of the roof, and all replicas of one subject, with variations, 
evidently have some connexion with the great embassy picture, which measures 
15 by 62 feet. The best of these small compositions has been illustrated by 
Mr. Griffiths both from a photograph (PI. XCV, Fig. 4) and from a water-colour 
drawing (PI. XCIV, Fig. 4). The colours of the latter seem to be too brilliant, and 
a more faithful reproduction by Mr. Griggs was published by Fergusson, which is 
here reproduced uncoloured by permission of the Council of the Roj'al Asiatic 
Society (Fig. 210). Fergusson assumed that the principal personages depicted must 
be King Khusru and his famous consort, Shlrin but this attractive hypothesis cannot 
be said to be proved.^ 

The foregoing descriptions and illustrations will enable the reader to form 
a judgement concerning the aesthetic value of the Ajanta paintings, and I trust that 
nobody will be found to agree with the opinion expressed in Sir George Watt's book 
that they ' can hardly be classed among the fine arts '.- The pictures and decorative 
designs in the caves, when compared with Egyptian, Chinese, or other ancient 
paintings, which did not profess to show the relief effect of modern pictures, are 
fairly entitled to high rank as works of fine art. In judging them the critic should 
remember that the wall-paintings were executed on an enormous scale, some being 
more than 20 feet in diameter, and that they were intended to be looked at in the 
mass from a distance, and not in minute detail. Small reproductions on a page a few 
inches long cannot possibly give a just idea of the effects aimed at by the artists. 
Moreover, those ardsts were much concerned to tell sacred stories, and make their 
pictures serve for the edification of devout worshippers as instructive illustrations of 
the Buddhist Bible ; whereas all the religious sentiment in the spectator on which 
they relied for sympathetic understanding is wanting in the modern European critic. 
Yet, in spite of the disadvantages inherent in small-scale reproductions and criticism 

' J. Fergusson, ' On the Identification of the por- 
trait of Chosroes II amona; the Paintings in the 
Caves at Ajanta' (/. R. A.S., April, 1879) ; Rajen- 
dralala Mitra, ' On Representations of P'oreigners in 
the Ajania Frescos' (/. A. S. B., vol. xlvii (1878), 
Part I. pp. 6C-72, and four uncoloured plates). His 
PI. W corresponds with Fergusson's plate and the 
small outline copy in Burgess, Notes, PI. IV, Fig. 2. 

- It is only fair to cjuole this dictum in full : — 
'Painting. — This ma}' be said to be divided into 
three distinct stj les. The Buddhist, exemplified by 

the frescos on the walls of the caves of Ajanta . . . 
The first mentioned is more decorative than picto- 
rial, so that it can hardly be classed among the Fine 
Arts, and is therefore omitted from a description of 
what is intended to be an account of painting in the 
pictorial sense only. The earliest true pictures, 
therefore, of which we have any record are the 
productions of tlie old Moghul painters ' (Sir George 
Watt, Lidian Art at Delhi (1904), p. 454). The 
opinions recorded in the book are partly those of 
i\Ir. Percy Brown. 

SECT. Ill 



by judges out of touch with the spirit of the artists, the paintings stand the unfair test 
wonderfully well, and excite respectful admiration as the production of painters capable 
of deep emotion, full of sympathy with the nature of men, women, children, animals, 
and plants, and endowed with masterly powers of execution. 

Fig. 210. Noble Persian (? Khusru Parviz) and Lad)'; from ceiling of Cave I, Ajanta. 

{J. R.A. S., 1879.) 

The considered verdict of Mr. Griffiths, the artist who spent thirteen years in Mr.Grififlths's 
the close, loving study of the paintings, may be accepted as a sound general criticism, '^^rdict. 
not attempting to distinguish periods and styles : — 

' In spite,' he writes, 'of its obvious limitations, I find the work so accomplished 
in execution, so consistent in convention, so vivacious and varied in design, and full 
of such evident delight In beautiful form and colour, that I cannot help ranking It with 
some of the early art which the world has agreed to praise in Italy. . . . The Ajanta 
workmanship Is admirable ; long subtle curves are drawn with great precision in 
a line of unvarying thickness with one sweep of the brush ; the touch is often bold and 
vigorous, the handling broad, and in some cases the impasto Is as solid as in the best 
Pompelan work. . . . The draperies, too, are thoroughly understood, and though the 
folds may be somewhat conventionally drawn, they express most thoroughly the 
peculiarities of the Oriental treatment of unsewn cloth. . . . For the purposes of art- 

p p 2 


education no better examples could be placed before an Indian art-student than those 
to be found in the caves of Ajanta. Here we have art with life in it, human faces 
full of expression, limbs drawn with grace and action, flowers which bloom, birds which 
soar, and beasts that spring, or fight, or patiently carry burdens ; all _are_ taken from 
Nature's book — growing after her pattern, and in this respect differing entirely 
from Muhammadan art, which is unreal, unnatural, and therefore incapable of 
development.' ^ 

Whatever be the value of the incidental criticism on Muhammadan art — a subject 
to be discussed in due course— Mr. Griffiths's hearty appreciation of the Ajanta frescoes 
is, in my judgement, just and well deserved. 

In support of his comparison with the performance of the early Italians, he 
aptly cites the fragment of a fresco with heads of nuns by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, 
executed in the fourteenth century, and now in the Sienese Room of the National 
Gallery, as being ' singularly like the Ajanta work in colour, execution, and treatment; 
the forms being drawn with a delicate brown outline, and the flesh-tints and drapery 
flatly put in with very little modelling '. The obvious comparison with ancient Italian 
art was also made by Mr. Fergusson, who considered the Ajanta paintings to be 
better than anything in Europe before the time of Orcagna in the fourteenth, or even 
Fiesole {Fra Angelico) in the fifteenth century. Similarly Mr. Havell, another 
trained artist, who selects the charming Mother and Child in Cave XVII (Griffiths, 
Fig. 76) as the most attractive specimen of Ajanta art, finds in the frescoes ' the same 
intense love of nature and spiritual devotion as are evident in the sculptures of 
Borobodur', and compares the 'exquisite sentiment' of the picture selected Avith the 
wonderful Madonnas of Giovanni Bellini '. " 

Mr. Fergusson was of opinion that while the art of Ajanta resembled that of 
China in flatness and want of shadow, he had never seen ' anything in China 
approaching its perfection'. Forty years ago so little was known in England about 
Chinese art that this sentiment might pass muster, but Fergusson's dictum could not 
now be accepted in the light of fuller knowledge. It is interesting to set against it 
the deliberate judgement of Mr. Laurence Binyon, a learned connoisseur in the art of 
the Far East. 

' The art of Ajanta,' he observes, ' is characterized by the strong outline 
which marks the early Asiatic style ; the colouring appears to have been heavy and 
hot ; the figures and faces are animated — there is force and individuality in them, 
a strong sense of life. We feel that the painters were possessed by their subject; 
they worked with fervour and devotion. . . . This, and the scale of the frescoes, 
make a forcible and imposing impression. Yet the art of Ajanta has not passed the 
primitive stage. With all the feeling for life in individual figures that the painters 
show, they betray as yet little of that instinct by which an art develops — the instinct 

' Griffiths, Tlu Paiii/iiigs of the Buddhhl Caves decoration of pottery made at the Bombay School 

of Ajanld, ]ip. 7, 9; hid. AnI., iii, 28. The work of Art. Examples arc shown in the Indian Section 

done by the Bombay students shows that they wei-e of the Victoria and Albert Museum, 
capable of appreciating the ancient models set before ^ Indian Sculpture and Painting (1908), p. 164. 

them. !Many of the designs have beenused for the 



towards unity, towards the conception of a subject as a synthetic whole. Their 
compositions are crowded and incoherent. In details and in single groups and forms, 
on the other hand, there is grace, dignity and character. . . . ^)/hat is lacking in the 
Ajanta paintings, what is so signally manifest in Chinese painting throughout its 
history, is that powerful creative instinct and aesthetic perception which make for 
synthetic unity in art, that. sense of controlling rhythm and balance which inspires 
all fine design.' ^ 

The expert criticisms above quoted all agree in being general in their terms. 
Mrs. Herringham, in the too brief article already cited more than once, carries the 
aesthetic valuation of the paintings farther by distinguishing various periods and 
styles. She holds that the frescoes ' fall into about six distinct groups, representing 
various schools and periods rather than the steady development of one school '. Going 
a little into detail, the critic proceeds : — 

' I have already alluded to several styles and classes of painting in Caves 1 and 9, 
16 and 17. There are, besides, later developments of the narrative style of Cave i 7, 
which we find in Caves i and 2. These are (i) a more emphatic and stylistic manner, 
with more formalism in the drawing, more action and less tenderness ; (2) a more 
popular, lively, and forcible dramatic narrative, with more incidents and less idealism. 

In Cave 2 are three more distinct styles : on both the side walls of a secondary 
shrine we find four or five elaborately posed, nearly nude life-size figures. These are 
sinuous in outline, quite Cimabuesque in proportion, attitude and general feeling ; the 
arrangement suggests bas-relief The late date of this cave indicates the period of 
the painting. In a similar shrine on the opposite side are corresponding decorations, 
and the figures on the main west wall might, but for the type, be an assemblage of 
Chinese sages ; they are drawn with a magnificent bravura. There is not much 
colour left, but the somewhat caligraphic drawing in forcible blacks and reddish 
browns is so freely executed that one scarcely regrets the destruction which has laid 
bare such vital work. On a separate part of this west wall there is a subject of men 
and white geese in a water-lily pool, which, though closely linked to the earlier 
definitely Indian types of painting, suggests the freedom and at the same time the 
perfect balance of the very best Chinese period. The colour scheme is very 
beautiful — brilliant white, deep purple-brown, a vivid but rich malachite-green, with 
touches of a clear red. 

Further, in Cave i 7 there are three paintings by one hand very different from 
all the rest. They are (i) a hunt of lions and black buck ; ^ (2) a hunt of elephants ; ^ 
and (3) an elephant salaaming in a king's court — the companion picture to No. 2. 
These pictures are composed in a light and shade scheme which can scarcely be 
paralleled in Italy before the seventeenth century. They are nearly monochrome 
(warm and cool greys understood), except that the foliage and grass are dull green. 

' Laurence Binyon, Paintmg in the Far East {Pamling in the Far East, p. 87). Anderson gives 

(1908), pp. 35, 50. See also the same author's the date as 607, but other critics date it a century 

article, ' A Chinese Painting of the Fourth Century ' later. 

in Burlington Magazitie, Jan., 1904, p. 44. One ^ Burgess, Notes, Cave XVII, No. 28. 

Japanese work, the fresco in the temple of Horiuji, ' Ibid,, Nos. 36, 37. I cannot trace the ' com- 

which was repaired or built between a. d. 708 and panion picture '. Burgess does not notice the 

715, is quite Indian in character, and 'there seems no distinctions of style, 
doubt that it is modelled upon the Ajanta frescoes ' 


The whole posing and grouping is curiously natural and modern, the drawing easy, 
light and sketchy, and the painting suggestively laid in with solid brush strokes — in 
the flesh, not unlike some examples of modern French painting. The animals — 
horses, elephants, dogs and black buck — are extremely well drawn.' 

The development of criticism on the lines indicated by Mrs. Herringham would 
require a bulky monograph based on detailed notes taken on the spot by a competent 
expert. It is impossible to work out the differences of the supposed schools merely 
from the fragmentary published reproductions.'' 

Section IV. Bagh. 

The vigorous school of art which produced the Ajanta frescoes did not confine 
Its operations to the caves at that place. Several similar excavations near Bagh, 
a village or decayed small town in the Gwalior State, situated on an ancient road 
connecting Gujarat with Malwa (22° 21'N., 74" 48' E.), exhibit traces of a set of 
works resembling in general style the Ajanta paintings, and at one time of almost 
equal importance. Unfortunately, the crumbling of the rock, and absolute neglect, 
combined with the effects of the smoke from vagrants' fires, have left hardly anything 
of compositions which once covered thousands of square feet. 

The principal group of caves contains eight excavations, the largest being 94 feet 
square. The whole of the roof, walls, and columns of this great chamber was coated 
with fine stucco and decorated with paintings of high merit and infinite variety. 
Smaller remnants of painting may be still discerned In two other caves, and there Is 
reason to believe that the work is not all of one period. Major Luard, the latest 
authority on the subject, thinks It possible that ' a specially deputed draughtsman 
might still, by constantly wetting the frescoes, copy some pordon of the designs, which 
each rainy season Is making more and more Indistinct '. 

But the paintings are so much decayed that the prospects of any considerable 
success In copying seem to be remote, and our knowledge of the work at Bagh must 
depend mainly on the descriptions recorded by four writers. The caves were first 
visited In 18 18 by Captain Dangerfield, whose account, published in 1820, was 
corrected and amplified In 1854 by Dr. Impey. His illustradons, which were used 
b)- Fergusson, and ought to be In the India Office Library, cannot now be found. 
In 1879 Dr. Burgess devoted two pages to a summary description of eleven sections 
of the paintings, and expressed the opinion that ' it would be well worth while If 
Mr. Grifiiths could be spared with a few students for some months to preserve 
a pictorial record of these remains, before they are for ever lost '. Nothing, however, 

' :\Irs. Herringham has generously presented her different kinds of painting. Some pictures recall 

copies of the frescoes to the India Society. They Greek and Roman composition and proportions, 

were exhibited in the Indian Section of the Festival a few late ones resemble the Chinese manner to a 

of Empire (19 11). In the Catalogue and Guide In certain extent, but the majority belong to a phase 

the hdian Court, Festival of Empire, p. 92, Mrs. of art which one can call nothing except Indian, for 

Herringham states that 'there are at least twenty it is found nowhere else.' 



was done, and the full account of the caves recently published by Major C. E. Luard 
shows that very little of the painting is now discernible.^ 

The paintings appear to have rivalled those of Ajanta in variety of design, 
vigorous execution, and decorative quality, life being treated in both places with equal 
gaiety and hardly a trace of asceticism. Two of the Bagh groups illustrate the 
performance of the hallisaka, a kind of operetta or musical play, acted by a troupe of 
women led by a man. According to the books the female performers should number 
seven, eight, or ten. At Bagh they are six in one case and seven in the other. 
They are represented as elaborately dressed, singing, and performing with much 
enjoyment on drums, cymbals, and other instruments. Our surprise at finding such 
gay scenes depicted on the walls of a Buddhist monastery may be lessened when we 
consider the nature of many of the sculptures at INlathura [ante, pp. 134-41) and in the 
Aurangabad caves {ante, p. 178); but we do not know quite enough about the 
real nature of the later popular Buddhism in India to understand fully the significance 
of such frivolous sculptures and paintings.'- 

The Bagh caves do not contain an inscription of any kind, and their date can be 
determined only by considerations of style. The judge's wig worn by many of the 
male figures and the transparent close-fitting robes connect the sculptures with 
the later Gupta rather than with the mediaeval period. The general character of the 
paintings is sufficiently known to make it certain that they are not earlier than the late 
works at Ajanta. Probably the paintings may have been executed between the 
middle of the sixth and that of the seventh century. I do not know who was the 
ruling power at Bagh at that time. 

The paintings include patterns executed in black and white with touches of 
Indian red, as well as works executed in ' excessively vivid ' colours, with 'marked 
contrasts in blue, red, and yellow '. The two styles may belong to different ages. 
The small fragments which Captain Dangerfield and Major Luard succeeded in 
copying and publishing are not sufficiently characteristic to be worth reproduction. 

Section V. Ceylon. 

Having been constrained to comment upon the long-continued neglect of the 
Ajanta and Bagh paintings, and the failure of the authorities of the Native States 
concerned to take the simple measures needed to save priceless works from de- 
struction, it is a pleasure to turn to Ceylon and recognize the well-considered 
and successful policy of the island government with regard to the closely related 
frescoes at Slgiriya.^ 

' References are: — Dangerfield, Capt., ' Some Caves of Central India' {Ind. Ani., vol. xxxix, 

Account of the Caves near Baug, called the Panch August, 1910, pp. 325-35, with plans and plates). 

Pandoo, with three drawings' (Trans. Lit. Soc, ^ For the definition of Az/Z/m/w see Sylvain L($v 

Bombay, vol. ii (1820), pp. 194-204). Impey, Dr., Tlie'dtre Indien, App. p. 30. 

' Description of the Caves of Bagh, in Rath ' (/. Bo. ' Sigiriya ; also written Sigiri, Seygiri, Higiri, 

Br. R. A. S., vol. V, pp. 543-73)- Burgess, J., Sigiri-gala, Sigiri-nuwara, and, in inscriptions. 

Notes 011 Itie BatiddJia Rocli-Tmptes 0/ Ajanta {i9,-j()), Slhigiri. The name, m all its forms, means ' Lion- 

pp. 94, 95. Luard, Major C. E., ' The Buddhist hill', with reference to the passage connecting the 


The marvellous citadel at that place, perched upon the summit of an isolated, 
tower-shaped hill, 600 feet high, and rising abruptly from the plain, was constructed 
as an impregnable refuge by the parricide king, Kasyapa I, who reigned from a. d. 
479 to 497. The rock-cut galleries leading to the tyrant's aerie having crumbled 
away in the course of ages, the summit had become inaccessible save to occasional 
adventurous cragsmen. The work of excavation, repair, and restoration undertaken 
in 1895 by the Government of Ceylon was carried on systematically under the 
capable guidance of Mr. H. C. P. Bell, Archaeological Commissioner, until its com- 
pletion some ten years later, as recorded in Sessional Paper XX of 1909. The 
paintings, with which alone we are now concerned, have been secured by wire net- 
tings and other devices in such a way that ' they can be examined closely, without 
difficulty, and in perfect safety ; from one end of the caves to the other they are 
for ever secure from further damage '. The story of the operations, as related in 
]\Ir. Bell's Reports, terminating with the document cited above, is a most interest- 
ing record of successful wrestling Avith formidable engineering difficulties, and of 
the completion of a well-devised plan, without parsimony and without extravagance. 

The paintings are found in two irregular rock-chambers, usually described as 
'pockets', situated on the western cliff, about fifteen yards above the floor of the 
southern end of the gallery. Six such 'pockets' exist, but the remains of painting 
are confined to four, and those of any importance exist only in ' pockets A and 
B' — two rough, natural chambers forming a cave 672 feet in length, divided into 
two sections by a cramped ledge. 'Pocket B,' ^\\ feet long, is comparatively 
roomy, whereas ' Pocket A ', 26^- feet in length, is cramped. 

The paintings comprise twenty-one half or three-quarter-length female portraits, 
besides the hand of another figure. Seventeen of these are in ' Pocket B ' and 
only five in ' Pocket A '. The figures in the more spacious chamber B are mosdy 
above life-size, while those in chamber A, where space was limited, are below life-size. 

In 1889 Mr. A. Murray succeeded with great difficulty in obtaining copies 
of thirteen figures in either pastel or coloured photographs, now preserved in the 
Colombo Museum. His meritorious work, performed when the 'pockets' were all 
but inaccessible, has been superseded by a magnificent series of facsimile copies 
made in oils on canvas by Mr. Perera, which also are exhibited at Colombo. These 
copies, which are described as reproducing with minute accuracy every detail of the 
originals in size, colour, and all other respects, have been carefully photographed. 
Some of the photographs have been reproduced in Mr. Bell's Reports and Mr. Havell's 
book, and a selection is now given from copies liberally supplied by the Government 
of Ceylon. 

The paintings were executed on a carefully prepared surface formed by the 
application of fine lime-plaster from a quarter to half an inch thick laid on a bed 
about half an inch in thickness, composed of tempered clay mixed with kaolin, and 

galleries, which was wrought i.i the shape of a about twenty miles almost due west from the medi- 

g.ganlic hon. 7 he hill stands in the Inamaluwa aeval capital, Polonnaruwa. 

Korale of the I\Iatale District, Central Province. 





.i: o 





strengthened by the admixture of rice-husks, with, perhaps, some cocoa-nut fibre. 
JMr. Bell believes that the pictures were wrought in tempera on a dry surface. The 
process, possibly, did not differ much from that used at Ajanta. Except that Fig. 14 
in ' pocket B ' has a black background, the range of colours is confined to three — red, 
yellow, and green. The blues, so conspicuous at Ajanta and Bagh, are absent. 

The subject is a procession of noble ladies carrying flowers, and attended by 
female servants, all moving in the direction of the Pidurangala Buddhist temple to 
the north of the hill, as if about to make offerings at that shrine. All the figures 
are fully clothed from the waist downwards in coloured kambaiyas, and above the 
waist in short-sleeved jackets made of the finest material, and in some cases barely 
indicated by a line of deeper colour. 

The noble ladies are painted in pale yellow or orange, their attendants being dis- 
tinguished by a greenish complexion. All the women are decked with a profusion of 
ornaments. Each ends below in a cloud-like mass, a peculiarity best explained 
by Mr. Bell's suggestion that it is due to the irregular form of the cramped rock 
space available, on which the artist could not have drawn the legs without unsighdy 
distortion. The suggestion made by another author that the clouds are intended 
to indicate the divine character of the personages appears to be incorrect. In 
accordance with the usual Indian practice, the figures were first outlined in red 
and black, and then painted in, not necessarily by the same hand. In one instance 
it is apparent that the outline was not exactly followed. 

The photographs selected give a good idea of the style. Figures 3 and 4 
in Plate LVIII seem to me to be the best. Figures 7 and 8 (Plate LIX) are nearly 
as good. The drawing of Figures 1 1 and 12 (Plate LX) is not so satisfactory. 

The date of the frescoes in the closing years of the fifth century is fixed 
with sufficient accuracy by the known limits of the reign of Kasyapa I, A. D. 479 
and 497. They are, therefore, practically contemporary with the paintings in 
Cave XVI at Ajanta; and all critics recognize the fact that the art of .Sigiriya is 
closely related to that of Ajanta. For instance, the lady carrying a lotus in Plate LIX, 
may be compared with the similar figure in Cave II at Ajanta, as reproduced in 
Griffiths, Plate XXXI. But the limitation of the colours and the total absence of blue 
in the Ceylonese paintings are important differences, and I do not think that the 
Sigiriya work equals the best at Ajanta. Mr. Havell is bold enough to credit the 
ladies of Sigiriya with ' Botticelllan grace ', a criticism which may not meet with 
universal acceptance. But, whatever may be the final verdict of experts as to 
the intrinsic merits of the Ceylonese paintings, there can be no doubt that they 
are extremely remarkable productions of their age, and well deserving of careful study 
and serious criticism. There is nothing to indicate who the Ceylonese artists were, 
whence they came, or how they learned their skill. 

The Sigiriya figures, although by far the most important and interesting, are by 
no means the only remains of ancient painting in the island. Numerous traces 
of early wall-paintings have been detected at Anuradhapura, of which the best 
preserved are those on the walls of the detached building (' frontispiece ' of Smither) 













o lo 










W P^ 





on the eastern side of the Ruwanweli dagaba. Besides white' three primary colours, 
yellow, red, and blue, are used, the yellow and blue being sometimes combined to pro- 

FiG. 211. Kinnara and lotuses: Ruwanweli, Anuradhapura. 
(Smither, PI. XXXII, Fig. i.) 

Fig. 212. Dwarf: Ruwanweli, Anuradhapura. 
(Smither, PI. XXXII, Fig. 3.) 

duce o-reen. Yellow in various shades is the favourite, and was obtained from the 
natural arsenic sulphide called orpiment. The blue is indigo, not lapis lazuli. 

The style of the specimens reproduced in colour by Mr. Smither is distinctly 


antique and closely allied to that of the later Ajanta paintings, being characterized, as 
they are, by bold free-hand execution of curves, with a truthful and at the same time 
decorative treatment of plant motives. Two examples are offered, Figs. 211, 212, 
which may be dated at an)' time from the sixth to the eighth century. The date 
of the building of the ddgaba, of course, gives no clue to the date of mural decorations, 
which, in all probability, were retouched from time to time on the old lines. The 
colours are white and tints of brownish yellow. 

Fig. 213. Cave painting at Tamankaduwa (Pulligoda galkanda). 
(Plioto. 272 A. of A. S., Ceylon.) 

Ancient paintings are necessarily so rare that a work hitherto unpublished cannot 
be passed over, although it is of but slight intrinsic importance. Mr. Bell discovered 
two caves at a place called Tamankaduwa (Pulligoda galkanda), in a southerly 
direction from Kuda Ulpota and Dimbulagala, North Central Province, one of 
which contains a painting of five men, with halos and conical head-dresses, seated 
in an attitude of adoration. The colours are said to be ' well preserved ', but no 
further details are recorded, and the ' short inscription ' in the adjoining cave does not 
appear to have been deciphered. The age of the painting, therefore, is doubtful, but, 
so far as I can judge from a photograph, it must be of early date, possibly of the 
seventh century (Fig. 213). It may, however, be later. 


Bl'rcess, J. — N'olc'S on the Buddha Rock-Temples 
of AJanld, Ihcir Paiii/ings anil Sculptures, and on 
the Paintings of the Bagli Caves, c]c. (small 4to, 
paper,BombayGov.CentralPress, 1879). Griffiths. 
— The Paintings cf the Buddhist Cave-Temples of 
Ajanta, Khandesh. India (2 vols., atlas fol. ; Griggs, 
London, 1896). Herrtngham, Mrs. — 'The Frescoes 
of Ajanta ' {Burlington Magazine, vol. xvii (June, 

1 910), pp. 136-8, with 2 plates). Bell, H. C. P. — 
Annual Repiort Archaeol. S., Ceylon, 1905 (Sessional 
Paper xx, 1909). Smither. — Architectural Pcmams, 
Anurddliapmra, Ceylon (printed by order of the Ceylon 
Government, atlas fol., boards, n. d., but published 
in 1894). 

Other references in footnotes. 



Section I. General Observations. 

Within the limits of India proper the history of the art of painting comes to 
an abrupt stop at the close of the Ajanta series in a. d. 642. Between that date 
and the introduction of the foreign Persian style by order of Akbar, more than nine 
hundred years later, in or about a. d. 1570, we possess practically no direct knowledge 
of Indian painting, and are largely dependent for indirect knowledge on the recent 
discoveries in Chinese Turkistan, still accessible only in part. It is clear, as will be 
explained more fully in Chapter XIV, that the Hindu artists of the sixteenth century 
who so quickly mastered the Persian technique and made the foreign style their 
own, with Indian modifications, must have been prepared by training in indigenous 
methods. Indeed, concerning one artist of that time, Daswanth, the fact is on record 
that he had been painting all his life. But hardly a scrap of the work of the mediaeval 
Hindu schools, within the limits of India, prior to the reign of Akbar, has survived, 
and any opinion that we may form concerning its character must be based mainly 
upon more or less probable conjectures and inferences.^ 

The preservation of numerous specimens of Hindu pictorial art from 1570 is 
due to the introduction by Akbar of the practice of painting small pictures on paper, 
which were collected in albums or as book illustrations and preserved in royal and 
princely libraries, so richly stocked that the comparatively small remnant saved from 
destruction amply serves the purpose of the historian of art. I am not aware of any 
evidence that similar libraries filled with illuminated manuscripts had been formed 
before Akbar's time by either the Hindu princes or the Sultans of Delhi. Humayun, 
Akbar's father, possessed a library which must have been incorporated in the Mughal 
imperial collections. Most of the mediaeval Hindu painting probably was executed 
in the form of 'Indian fresco' on the walls of temples and palaces. Work of the 
kind is extremely perishable, unless when applied to the walls of secluded caves such 
as those of Ajanta and Bagh. The older Hindu palaces having almost all dis- 
appeared, and many hundreds of the ancient temples in Northern India having been 
destroyed by order of idol-hating Muslim sovereigns, no specimen of mediaeval 
Hindu fresco survives that can be called ancient. 

The only extant wall-paintings on a Plindu building of considerable age in W; 


The only surviving specimens known to me are Foucher impost, Sec. Ill) and the Tirumalai Jain 

the Nepalese miniatures in MSS. published by M. paintings {post, Sec. VI of this chapter). 



Northern India are the decorations, dating from either the seventeenth or eighteenth 
century, on the old palace at Bikanir in Rajputana. The designs, representing 
a heavy thunderstorm with lightning playing through the clouds, and storks circling 
below, are said to be not only curious but beautiful. The work is described as dis- 
playing conspicuously Chinese feeling, a fact easily accounted for when we remember 
the long-continued influence of Chinese art on Persian painting and the Indo-Persian 
school, which will be discussed Avhen the productions of that school come under con- 
sideration. Unfortunately, reproductions of the Bikanir paintings are not available. 
The small illustration of the flower-like cloud forms in Sir George Watt's book is 
too trifling to be of use. The same conventional mode of depicting clouds is said 
to be found on the hide shields of Tonk and to recur over and over again on objects 
of various kinds throughout Rajputana and Central India. ^ 

The blank in the history of Hindu painting due to the non-existence of ancient 
pictures cannot be filled up from literary notices. The Hindus have never taken 
suflicient interest in art for its own sake to write treatises, practical, historical, or 
critical, on the subject. As already observed [ante, p. 8), the vast literature of India 
contains only two passages dealing directly with the history of art, namely, Abul 
Fazl's notice of the introduction of Indo-Persian painting, which will be discussed in 
Chapter XIV, and the remarks recorded in 1608 by Taranath, the Tibetan historian 
of Buddhism. His notes, notwithstanding their vagueness, a feature characteristic of 
the author's work, give information of importance not recorded elsewhere, and may 
be considered conveniently in this place. 

Taranath's Chapter XXIV, entitled 'The Mode of Origin of Image-Making', 
professes to record a summary history of Indian Buddhist art, plastic and pictorial, 
from the earliest times to the author's day.- He treats of painting, sculpture, and 
bronze-casting together, apparently assuming the high antiquity of all the three arts 
as dating even from the remote age prior to 'the disappearance of the Teacher', that 
IS to say, 500 B.C. in round numbers. He specially alludes to the superlative excellence 
of the earliest wall-paintings, which he ascribes to the gods, and declares that after 
the death of Buddha equally good work continued to be produced for several hundred 

The succession was then carried on by the Yaksha, or spirit artists employed by 
Asoka L250 B, c], and next by the semi-human Nagas under the control of Nagarjuna 
yen- A. D. 200 ; Amaravati]. After Nagarjuna it seemed as if the knowledge of art 
had vanished from among men; no regular succession of artists could be traced, 
although mdividuals of genius made exceptional efforts. 

But later [? in fifth or sixth century] appeared Bimbasara of Magadha, an artist 
skilled equally m the use of brush and chisel {Meisse/- unci Bildwerke), who founded 
the Middle Country ' [..//. Magadha] school, and produced works equal in merit to 
those of the gods \scil. pre-Asokan]. 

^^^^Indian Arl at Delhi, pp. 162, 170 (woodcut), = ?.c\n<th,,r,Tdrandlha'sGcschichlcdesBuddhhmus 

in Indicn, aiis dem Tibdischen iiherselzt, St, Petersburg, 


Proceeding with the parallelism between the most ancient and the mediaeval 
works, the author tells us that the achievements of the Yakshas employed by Asoka 
were equalled by the paintings and other masterpieces wrought by Sringadhara, 
a native of Maru [Marwar or Jodhpur in Rajputana], the founder of the school of the 
'Ancient West'.^ 

The Naga productions of Nagarjuna's time were rivalled by the creations of 
Dhlman and his son Bitpalo, natives of Varendra [Bengal], who lived during the 
reigns of Devapala and Dharmapala. Both father and son were skilled alike as 
painters, sculptors, and bronze founders. Bitpalo, who remained in Bengal, was 
regarded as the head of the ' Eastern ' school of bronze-casting. But his disciples in 
painting being numerous in Magadha [South Bihar], he was also held to be the chief 
of the ' Later Middle Country ' school of that art, whereas his father was considered 
to be the head of the ' Eastern ' school of painters. 

In Nepal the earliest art resembled the work of the 'Ancient West' school. But 
later work in both painting and bronzes was more nearly related to that of the 
' Eastern ' school. The latest artists of Nepal had no distinctive style. 

In Kashmir, we are told, the earliest artists followed the style of the ' Middle 
Country School of the Ancient West '. This obscure phrase, difficult to interpret, 
may refer to a Magadhan variation of the Rajputana school of the 'Ancient West' 
founded by Sringadhara in the seventh century. May not the explanation be that 
Lalitaditya, the most powerful king of Kashmir, who conquered Kanauj about 
A. D. 740, introduced into his ancestral kingdom artistic novelties from the conquered 
realm ? 

The Kashmir school, which subsisted until the author's time {a. d. 1600), practised 
new fashions in both painting and sculpture {Malerel nnd Bildnerei) introduced by 
Hasuraja. It seems possible that he may be identical with Harhsaraja, one of the 
ministers of Queen Didda in a. d. iooo [Rajaf., transl. Stein, Bk. vi, 1. 350). 

Taranath sums up his sketch of art history by the observation that wherever 
Buddhism prevailed skilful imagers of the gods were found, but as Islam advanced 
they disappeared, and when Hinduism got the upper hand they were replaced by 
unskilful performers. In conclusion he notes that in Burma and the South the 
making of images continued, although no specimens from those countries had reached 
Tibet ; and that in the South three artists named Jaya, Parojaya, and Vijaya had 
a large following. 

In the hope that future research may further elucidate the history of the various 
schools subsequent to Nagarjuna as outlined by Taranath, I give his statements in 
tabular form with brief annotations. 

' The ' Ancient West ' school cannot possibly mean that of Gandhara, as supposed by M. Foucher 
[Iconographie boiiddhtque, 1900, p. 184). 

R r 



(.7V. A.D. 200), ACCORDING 

logical data. 






'?iliddle Country' 
(= Jlagadhan) 

'Ancient West' 
' Eastern ' 

' Later jMiddle 
Country ' ( = 

Nepal ([) 

Kashmir (i) 

Southern India 


Bimbasara of 

Sringadhara of 
l\Iaru {sell. 
]Mar\\ar or 

Dhiman of Va- 
rendra (Ben- 

Bitpalo, son of 
Dhiman. (But 
in bronze-cast- 
ing Bitpalo 
was regarded 
as head of 
the ' Eastern ' 

Relative Rank. 

Equal to pre- 
Asokan art 

Equal to Aso- 
kan art 

Equal to art of 

King Buddha- 
paksha (? 5th 
or 6th cent.) 

King Slla. 

Kings Deva- 
pala and 



No. II 

No. III. 

Nothing dis- 

'Middle Coun- 
try School o: 
Ancient West' 


To A.D. 1600 


Java, Parojaya, 



Remarks by V. A. S. 

Covers the Gupta school, in 

Probably Siladitya Guhila of 
JleTuar or Udaipur, flor. a. d. 
646. See sculptures described 
««/<>, Chap. VII, Sect. 4, p. 205. 

Taranath erroneously places 
Devapala before Dharmapala, 
who reigned about a.d. 7 So to 
844. Dhiman thus falls within 
first half of 9th cent. 

Bitpalo may be placed in reign 
of Devapala, cir. a.d. 844 to 
892. Apparently in sculpture 
we may trace the Mediaeval 
Bihar school back to Bitpalo 
and the Orissan school back 
to Dhiman. See an/e, Chap. 
VII, Sect. 2. 

Perhaps introduced in 7th cent, 
by Harsha Siladitya ofKanauj. 

Perhaps influenced by the 
powerful Pala dynasty in gth 
and loth cent. 

Perhaps Taranath may mean 
an Eastern form of ' Ancient 
West ' (No. II) school intro- 
duced by Lalitaditya after his 
conquest of Kanauj, cir. a.d. 

Can Hasuraja be Hariisaraja, 
minister of Queen Didda, a.d. 
1000 [Rdjat., Bk. vi, 1. 350).' 

At first sight the statements of the Tibetan historian seem to be wholly in the 
air and incapable of verification even in part. But closer examination throws some 
light upon them. The whole history (excluding the earliest ages) is comprised within 
the period of 1400 years lying between the age of Nagarjuna, cir. a.d. 200, and the 
time of Taranath, a. d. 1600. 

The mention of King Slla and the Pala kings gives two clues to the chronology 
of that long interval. Sila cannot well be the famous Harsha Siladitya of Thanesar 
and Kanauj, who reigned from 606 to 647 and had no concern with Rajputana. The 
reference to King Slla in connexion with a school in Rajputana almost necessarily 
implies that the sovereign referred to had local connexions with that country. Such 



L prince, exactly suitable, is found in Siladitya, one of the earliest Guhila Ranas of 
\1!ewar (Udaipur), who is known to have been alive in a. d. 646 (v. s. 70^), and so to 
lave been to some extent contemporary with Harsha Siladitya of Kanauj.^ We know 
vith sufficient precision the age of the schools Nos. Ill and IV, founded respectively 
)y Dhiman and his son, Bitpalo, and contemporary with the Pala kings, Dharmapala 
md Devapala, who reigned from about A. d. 780 to 892.2 If, then, we place School 
""Jo. II, the 'Ancient West', in the middle of the seventh century, everything fits 
veil together. We may, therefore, assume as a working hypothesis that Kino- Slla 
neans Siladitya Guhila of Mewar, that the school of the 'Ancient West' orio-iaated in 
R.ajputana during the seventh centur3^ and that it became the model of the earliest 
Buddhist art in Nepal. 

The historian's classification, it should be observed, applies alike to three distinct V 
brms of art, namely, painting, stone sculpture, and bronze-casting. The only excep- °'^ 
ion is that Bitpalo, as painter and sculptor, was reckoned the head of the ' Later 
Vliddle Country ' (Magadhan) school, but as a bronze founder was held to belono- to 
he ' Eastern ' (Bengal) school of his father, Dhiman. 

The ancient Indian artists, like Cellini and the other great craftsmen of the 
R.enaissance, were able to turn from one material to another without difficulty, and to 
vork with equal success as painters, sculptors, or bronze founders. Similar versatility 
vas displayed by the Bhilsa ivory carvers, who executed some of the stone reliefs at 
5anchl, and by the earlier craftsmen of the Maurya age, who readily applied to stone 
:he skill previously acquired in working materials of a less permanent kind. 

The fact that a notable school of painting existed in Southern Rajputana durino- Eai 
he seventh century may have some bearing on the problem of the development of °^I 
he art at Ajanta and Bagh. Of course, painting must have been known in Rajputana put 
ong before Sringadhara introduced an improved style. In his time the ruling clans 
vere of foreign. Central Asian descent, and it may well be that his improvements 
vere based on elements derived from Transoxiana or Western Turkistan. But all 
;uch speculations lack a basis of definite evidence, and must remain bare possibihties. 

Section II. Chinese Turkistan. 

The explorations carried on since 1896 by Dr. Stein, Professor Grunwedel, Rei 
3r. V. Le Coq, and other savants, in the vast regions of Chinese Turkistan, lying '^'^' 
lorth of Tibet, to the west of China, and both north and south of the Taklamakan 
Desert ('Gobi' of the older maps), have revealed 'sand-buried' and other ruins full 
>f the remains of ancient civilizations.^ Those remains, which include thousands of 
nanuscripts written in many scripts and languages, known and unknown, also com- 
irise multitudes of works of art, pictorial and plastic, which, by their characteristics, 
nark Chinese Turkistan as the meeting-ground of Hellenistic, Indian, Persian, and 
"hinese forms of civilization. 

' Ind. Afit., 1910, pp. 188, 189. ^ The word 'Gobi' simply means 'desert' 

' V. A. Smith, ' The Pala Dynasty of Bengal ' (Stein). 

^nd. Ant., 1909, p. 245). 

R r 2 


The ^vide extension of Indian languages, literature, and art from the second 
century of the Christian era thus demonstrated has been a surprise to the learned 
^vorld 'but the huo-e mass of material collected is so unmanageable that many years 
must elapse before ' the most interesting subject ', as Dr. v. Le Coq calls it, of the 
relations between the early civilizations of India, Persia, Chma, and the Far East 
can be worked out so as to admit of firmly established conclusions. The accumulations 
brouo-ht back by Dr. Stein from his second expedition, known to be full of fascinating 
material some of which I have seen, have been hardly touched as yet; and the, 
perhaps equally bulky and valuable collections of the recent German and French 
explorers have been only imperfectly examined. At present, therefore, it is not 
possible to present in a few pages a satisfactory abstract of the new knowledge con- 
cerning the diffusion of Indian art and learning in the Chinese Turkistan countries. 
The paintings seem to be assignable mostly to the seventh or eighth centuries, and 
so help to fill up the gap in the story of Indian painting between Ajanta and Akbar. 
In this section no more can be attempted than a slight indication of the extent to 
which Indian schools of painting, modified by external influences, penetrated Turkistan, 
and, through it, the Far East, 

The discoveries made by Dr. Stein during his first expedition to the south of 
the Desert having been published in considerable detail, a fair idea can be formed of 
the achievements of painters following Indian models more or less closely during 
the seventh and eighth centuries in Turkistan. 

Numerous fresco or distemper paintings on wood and plaster were found at 
a place called Dandan-Uiliq, which was abandoned soon after a. d. 791. All these 
works may be referred with confidence to the eighth century, and thus afford evidence 
of a sufficiently dated stage in the evolution of Indian painting when exposed to the 
influence of the Persian and Chinese schools. A few of the more striking examples 
are reproduced by permission. 

One of the best preserved paintings is that on a panel (D. vii, 5), 15 inches 
high and nearly 7 inches broad, which represents two sacred or princely personages, 
mounted, one on a piebald Yarkandi pony and the other on a camel (Fig. 214). The 
nimbus behind the head of each rider indicates either his high rank or his sacred 
character. The artists of the Mughal court in India were accustomed to give this 
emblem of sanctity to the emperors and even to members of their families, and in 
Khotan during the eighth century the same practice seems to have prevailed. The 
picture speaks for itself so clearly that detailed description is unnecessary, but the blend- 
ing of Indian and Chinese features in the face of the horseman may be noted, and the 
free drawing of the camel deserves commendation. The horseman is repeated on 
D. X, 5 (Stein, PI. LXII), but the identity of either figure has not yet been determined. 

The ugly picture on the obverse of panel D. vii, 6, measuring I2|x8 inches, 
representing a three-faced, four-armed deity, supposed to be a Tantric form of 
Avalokitesvara, squatting on a chequered cushion supported by two white bulls, is 
purely Indian, and is so closely related to the modern Lamaist compositions that it 
might be described as the oldest extant Tibetan painting. The body and front face 

" "•(■'••=«»WWq!¥Jy»nwK 

>, iir—i »^„, ^*^* 

Plate LXI. Persian Bodhisattva ; rev. of wooden panel, D. vii, 6, from Dandan-Uiliq. 

(Stein, Ancient Khotan, PI. LXI.) 



of the deity are dark blue, the face on the proper right, with a feminine expression, 

is white, and the demoniac face on the proper left is yellow. The outline is drawn 

in thick black lines, and the work has little aesthetic merit (Stein, PI. LX). 

The reverse of the same panel offers a surprise by presenting a picture of 

a four-armed Buddhist saint or Bodhisattva in the guise of a Persian with black 

beard and whiskers, holding a thunderbolt 

{vajrd) in his left hand. The combination 

on one panel of this almost purely Persian 

figure with the Indian image on the other 

side suggests questions, at present insoluble, 

concerning the forms Avhich Buddhism may 

have assumed in Iranian lands. The art, 

seemingly of higher quality than that of the 

obverse picture, is certainly more pleasing. 

The four arms are a distinctly Indian feature 

(Plate LXI). The existence of this queer 

figure may help us in some measure to under- 
stand the introduction of Persian figures into 

the Buddhist pictures of Ajanta, which may 

yet be proved to be an Indian development 

of Central Asiatic Buddhist art. But that 

hypothesis at present lacks historical support. 
The most interesting of the Dandan- 

Uiliq paintings is the fresco depicting some 

legend connected with a female water-sprite, 

probably the tale told by Hinen Tsang of the 

minister who married the widow of the Naga 

king in order to secure the flow of water 

over the lands of Khotan. However that 
may be, the design and execution of the 
composition are of considerable merit, and 
well illustrate the variety of elements com- 
bined in the mediaeval art of Khotan. The 
pose of the lady, whose figure in the original 
projects about i8 inches above the water, is 
plainly a reminiscence of some Hellenistic Venus, such as the de Medici or the 
Cap.tohne, and the vme-leaf guarding her modesty equally recalls the conventional 
fig-leaf. Her ornaments are Indian, her face Chinese. Thus in this one figure we 
can trace the meetmg of the three civilizations, Greek, Indian, and Chinese. The 
seated figures are more Chinese in type than anything else. I do not perceive any 
Persian factors m this work (Fig. 215). 

Another painting (D. x, 4), more primitive in style, illustrates the story of the 
gueen of Khotan, a Chmese princess, Avho secretly introduced silk cocoons into her 



Mounted princes or saints; wooden 
panel from Dandan-Uiliq. 
(Stein, Ancient Khotan, Pi. LIX, D. vii, 5.) 




adopted country by concealing them in the folds of her head-dress. The central 
effigy of the princess, boldly sketched with a few etching-like strokes, will suffice as 
an example of the style (Fig. 216). It will be observed that the head of the princess, 
like the heads of the three other persons in the picture, is surrounded by a nimbus or 
halo, apparently affording clear evidence that in Khotan art of the eighth century, as 

Fig. 215. Water-sprite, &c. ; fresco at Dandan-Uiliq. 
(Stein, Ancient Kholan, PI. 11.) 

in Mughal art of the seventeenth, the nimbus was given to persons of royal birth 

as well as to divinities and saints. The lady's features are Indian rather than Chinese. 

Further east, at Endere, between Niya and Cherchen, in ruins of somewhat Sketch of 

earlier date than those at Dandan-Uiliq, Dr. Stein found a scrap of faded fresco on '^^^^ ^'^^ 

. , . . calf 

stucco with ' delicate and harmonious colouring , and an Indian-mk sketch on paper 

depicting a Bactrian she-camel suckling her calf, drawn in the fewest possible bold 



strokes with considerable spirit and vigour. A slight attempt to indicate the solidity 
or roundness of the body has been made by adding a wash of faint colour round the 
contours (Fig. 217). The drawing seems to have been executed with a brush, not 
a pen, and is free from conventionalit}'. 

Fig. 216. Chinese princess; fresco at Dandan-Uiliq. 
(Stein, Aiic. KhoUm, PI. LXIII, D. x, 4, central figure.) 

Fig. 217. Bactrian camel; Indian-ink drawing on paper from Fndere. 
(Stein, Anc. Kholan, PI. LXXIX, F. i, 19, a; p. 438.) 

The countries to the north of the great desert have proved to be equally fertile 
m finds of astonishing richness. At the ruined city of Idiqut-i-Shahri the German 
explorers found the remains of Buddhist, Manichean, and Nestorian buildings and art 
associated m such a way as to show that for centuries the adherents of the rival creeds 
managed to live together. Ultimately, in or about the ninth century, the Buddhists 



were massacred by the Chinese, a fact of which Dr. v. Le Coq discovered terrible 
proof when he opened a chamber filled with the skeletons of monks and other signs 
of ruthless slaughter. At this site curious votive flags, both Manichean and Buddhist, 
were found, with designs painted on plaster applied to long strips of cotton, in the 
manner still practised by Tibetan Lamas. 

At Yar-Khoto, to the west of Turfan, paintings on silk, described as being 
exquisitely wrought and harmoniously coloured, were obtained. Dr. Stein has 
brought home from his second expedition a large quantity of similar silk designs 
obtained in a walled-up temple near the Kan-su border, many of which are in the 
finest condition.! The Yar-Khoto pictures are both Manichean and Buddhist, the 
latter never failing to retain a distinctly Indian character. At the Basaklik monastery 
Dr. V. Le Coq discovered wall-paintings executed on a surface of plaster composed of 
loam and chopped straw. 

The pictures at Chiqqan Kol and Toyoq are in the archaic Indian style, whereas 
in other places the Indian features have been much modified by Chinese and Persian 
influence. It is evident that the Turkistan paintings range over a long time, and 
that, when their sequence shall have been worked out, much light will be thrown 
upon the development of the pictorial art of Asia, including India. 

Students of Chinese and Japanese painting have been aware for some years ] 
past that the specially Buddhist forms of art in China were derived from India "j 
through Khotan, and passed on through Korea to Japan, the principal agent in the ^ 
transmission to Korea, and so to Japan, having been Wei-chi I-song, son of Bajna of ^ 
Khotan. Bajna was one of the numerous foreign artists in the service of the Chinese 
Emperor, Yang-ti (a.d. 605-17), and had been preceded at the imperial court by two 
Indian monks, with names something like Kabodha and Dharmakuksha. Both Bajna 
and his son, according to Chinese critics, worked in a foreign, that is to say, Indian 
manner, and enjoyed high repute as Buddhist artists. The marked Indian element in 
early Japanese art is thus amply accounted for.- 

Although the descent of the specially Buddhist varieties of the art of the Far : 
East from India, and more particularly from Indo-Greek prototypes in Gandhara on ■ 
the north-western frontier, is abundantly proved, the evidence does not warrant the 
larger inference drawn by Mr. Anderson that 'a previously undeveloped art' in China 
was dependent upon importations from India for its growth and development.^ The 
earliest extant Chinese painting, the fourth-century picture by Ku K'ai-chih in the 
British Museum, does not show the slightest trace of either Indian or Greek influence. 
Buddhist pictures form but a single subdivision of Chinese painting, the subjects of 
which, according to Professor Giles, may be classified under seven heads, namely — 
(i) history, (2) religion (including Buddhism and Taoism), (3) landscape, (4) flowers, 
(5) birds, (6) beasts, and (7) portraiture.* Excepting the Buddhist designs under the 

' A series was exhibited in tiie Indian Court of ' Anderson, Descriptive and Hist. Catal. of a 

the Festival of Empire, 191 1, and described by Dr. Collection of Japanese and Chinese Pictures, in the 

Stein in the Catalogue of the Court, pp. 14-26. B. M. (1886), p. 482. 

■ Hirth, Ueber fremde Einfliisse in der chines. •" An Introduction to the History of Chinese Pic- 

Kunst, pp. 34, 38, 39, 43-60. torial Art, 1905, p. 7. 

tl6 S S 



;econd head, China learned nothing, and had nothing to learn from ' the land of the 
Brahmans '. I am disposed to agree with Mr. Binyon, who finds in China ' if not the 
Darent art of Asia, its earliest mature flower in painting '.^ 

Mr. Griffiths thought that he could discern marks of Chinese influence in the 
paintings at Ajanta ; and he may be right, although such marks are not very distinct, 
and may, perhaps, be explained as derived from the common stock of Asiatic art. 
However that may be, the art of Ajanta certainly produced no effect upon the general 
development of painting in China ; and in Japan the only conspicuous instance of 
imitation of the Ajanta style is the wall-painting in the temple of Horluji at Nara, 
supposed by some critics to date from a. d. 607, but according to others about a century 
later. - 


Hedin, Sven. — Through Asia (1898). Stein, xxiv, Abt. i.) v. Le Coo, Dr. — ' Bericht uber Reisen 

Dr. 1\I. Aurel. — Sand -huricd Ruins of KIwlan, 8vo und Aibeiten in chiiiesisch Turkistan ' {Zdlschr. f. 

(1903); .4;/r/<7//A7wA?«, 2 vols., 410 (1907). GrCn- Ethnologie, Berlin, 1907, pp. 299-322); 'Origin, 

wEDEL, Prof. A, — ' Bericlit uber archaeologische &c., of tlie First Royal Prussian Expedition to 

Arbeiten in Idikutschari und Umgebung im Winter Turfan ' (/. 7?. A. S, 1909, pp. 299-322, with 

1902-1903,' mit 31 Tafeln ; IMunchen, 4to (1906). bibliography). 
{Abhandl d. I;. Biurr. Al;ad. d. Wiss., I. Kl., Band Other references in footnotes. 

Section III. Tibet and Nepal. 
I. Tibet. 

The art of Tibet is so closely related to that of Nepal that the paintings of 
both countries may be grouped together. The style is a combination of Indian and 
Chinese characteristics, traceable back to the earlier style of Turkistan, specimens of 
which have been cited in Section 2 of this chapter {ante, pp. 308-12). Nepal probably 
imitated Indian painting before Tibet was sufficiently civilized to do so. According 
to Taranath (ante, p. 305) the earliest Nepalese school followed the model of the 
school of the 'Ancient West' founded by Sringadhara of Marwar in the seventh 
century, while subsequent Nepalese artists inclined rather to favour the methods 
of the Bengal ' Eastern ' school of the ninth century. No specimens assignable 
to either of those periods are now known to be extant, except possibly the miniatures 
in two MSS. examined by M. Foucher, which may belong to the ' Eastern ' school. 
The latest Nepalese artists before Taranath's time in a.d. 1600 are said to have had 
' no special character '. All the existing specimens of Nepalese painting, with the 
exception of the miniatures in the MSS., apparently are later than the seventeenth 
centur)-. Most of the extant Tibetan pictures are believed to be not older, but it 
is not possible to determine exact dates. I have not been able to obtain good 
examples of Nepalese painting; Tibet, however, supplies a considerable number 
of works deserving of respectful notice. 

' Painting in the Far Easl (1908), p. 48. 

- A tracing (No. 148, Anderson's Catal) is in the B. M. Mr. Okakura favours the later date. 


Painting is still extensively practised by Tibetan Lamas for the purposes of their J 
ritualistic worship and as a source of income. Usually the compositions are depicted ^ 
on long narrow banners of either silk or cotton. They may be painted either directly ^ 
on the fabric or on a coat of plaster applied to it. Pictures on paper also exist. The 
silken banners obtained by Dr. Stein from a walled-up temple near the Chinese 
frontier, and dating from the seventh or eighth century, closely resemble those now 
made by the Lamas, who follow strictly prescribed ritual rules. The Lamas also 
execute frescoes on the temple walls, some of which, according to travellers, are 
remarkable compositions. 

Tibetan painting is generally more a matter of skilled craftsmanship than of T 
fine art. The canonical process of manufacture has been fully described by Godwin " 
Austen, who explains in detail the way in which a figure of Buddha is built up. 
The draughtsman, who hardly deserves to be called an artist, starts by drawing 
a long vertical rectangle, within which are inscribed a medial perpendicular line 
and sundry horizontal parallels at prescribed distances. The different organs of the 
body are then plotted out for insertion at certain intersections of the lines. For 
example, the face is plotted from the starting-point determined by the intersection 
of the medial perpendicular with the transverse line No. 1 7. The remaining parts 
of the body are worked out in a similar way, and other sacred objects, such as 
a shlpa [chorten, or ddgabd) are imaged on like principles.^ Travellers tell us that the 
monks of the Greek communities at Mount Athos manufacture the sacred ikons in 
an equally mechanical fashion. It is obvious that such a practice is fatal to the 
development of creative art in the representation of objects of worship. 

The examination of specimens of Tibetan ritualistic paintings confirms the ( 
expectation formed from knowledge of the mechanical process enjoined, and reveals ^ 
very slight artistic merit in most of them. They are redeemed from contempt ' 
chiefly by the colouring, which is often rich and harmonious, shades of indigo blue 
in particular being combined with black in a very effective manner. The execution 
of details, too, is often finished with characteristic Indian minuteness. 

I dissent strongly from the enthusiastic praise bestowed upon Tibetan art by ( 
Mr. Havell. The banner of Buddha Amitabha (his Plate XLIX),^ described as J 
' splendid in drawing, colour, and composition', strikes me as a hard, lifeless piece of 
formalism, in which the features of the principal figure are barely indicated. The 
assertion that the hideous, sprawling, eight-armed deity and his attendants which form 
the subject of Mr. Havell's Plate LI are 'full of spirituality and the most refined 
artistic feeling' seems to my judgement to be wholly without justification. In the 
small figure of Asoka at the top of the same plate (enlarged as Plate L) the critic 

' 'On the System of outliniEg the Figures of de prices et de formules d'exorcisme de peur que 

Deities and other Religious Drawings, as practised at quelque demon ne vienne a en prendre possession ; 

Ladak ■ U.A.S.B., Part I, vol. -xxxiii (1864),?. 151, c'est ce qui explique que tous les pemtres sont des 

with plates). ' II est de regie, quand il s'agit de Lamas' (de Millou.!, Bod-Foul ou Tibet, p. 295). 

personnages, qu'on commence toujours par les yeux, '^ Indian Sculpture and Painting. 
qui, aussitot terminus, doivent etre purifies au moyen 

.S S 2 


sees ' shininc- throiioh Chinese and Tibetan superstitions, a reflection of the spirituality 
of the art of Ajanta, and some of the true sentiment of Indian art which inspired the 
sculptures of Boro-Budur '. My eyes see formal, mechanically drawn contours, 
a featureless face, and fingers like hooks. But the colouring, as usual, is harmonious 

and pleasing. 

The British Museum possesses a considerable collection of Tibetan banner- 
paintings on silk, mounted on rollers, kept partly in the Print Room, where the best 
of those brought by Col. Iggulden are preserved, and partly in the Ethnographical 
Department. Most of the pictures are distinctly Chinese in style, with little trace of 
Indian influence on the art, as distinguished from the subjects. But a few are more 
Indian than Chinese. One such is No. ]^l§ , 63 (measuring 2 feet 3 inches x 20 
inches), with an embroidered border. The central figure is a seated Buddha of Indian 
style in the 'earth-touching ' pose. The numerous minor figures in the scenes cover- 
ino- the field are, however, Chinese. An unpleasant Tantric Bodhisattva of little 
artistic value is depicted on No. -1^^^, 57- The most characteristically Tibetan 
specimen, combining Indian with Chinese peculiarities, is No. -Jg^lf, 62, which 
possesses considerable beauty as a scheme of colour, dark indigo blue predominating. 
The central figure is a horrible and repulsive Yama, or Death, wearing a garland of 
skulls. The field is mostly occupied by a series of scrolls in dark tints, of distinctively 
Tibetan form. In the upper section three small figures, a seated Buddha in Chinese 
costume, with on each side a Bodhisattva, or Tibetan Lama, wearing a tall, conical 
head-dress, are tolerably well executed. The painting does not look old, and its 
merit lies mainly in the colouring. 

The Tibetan pictures on cotton exhibited on the screen in Room VIII of 
the Indian Section of the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, include 
only one of any aesthetic interest. No. 2451 from the Schlagintweit collection, but 
even that is not of high quality. 

The considerable collection of Tibetan drawings and paintings, presented by 
Mr. Brian Hodgson to the Institut de France and still preserved there, has had 
the good fortune to have been described by two eminent scholars, M. Barthelemy 
St. Hilaire and M. A. Foucher. M. St. Hilaire, who formed a hieher estimate of the 
artistic quality of a set of ten numbered paintings in the collection than M. Foucher 
can accept, criticized them generally in the following terms : — 

' Mais les monuments de sculpture et de peinture que nous venons de passer en 
revue sont tres loin d'etre denues de merite ; le dessin en est quelquefois tres pur, les 
attitudes des personnages sont elegantes et naturelles. II y a meme, quoique plus 
rarement, une onction profonde dans la physionomie du Buddha et des principaux 
Bhikshous. ... La composition est ordinairement reguliere, quelquefois vaste et tres 
bien ordonnee, comme I'atteste la description que j'ai donnee plus haut du troisieme 
tableau tibetain.' 

No. 3, alluded to in the passage quoted, depicts various Buddhas and a crowd of 
worshippers. It is marred by the debased sensuality of the uppermost scene repre- 
senting a Dhyani- Buddha holding his Sakti, or female counterpart, in close embrace. 

Plate LXII. Buddha, with worshippers or. earth and in clouds. 
(' Tibet, No. 5 ', Institut de France.) 


The Buddhism of Tibet has travelled far from the chaste asceticism of Gautama. 
The sculptures of ]Mathura prove that similar corruption had invaded the Buddhist 
church in very earl)^ times. M. St. Hilaire considered No. 9, a large work measuring 
ij^ metre in length by 70 cm. in breadth, to be ' d'un travail presqu'aussi delicat que 
celui du numero 3 '. No. 10, which includes representations of devil-dances per- 
formed by Lamas wearing horrible masks, like those in the Gandhara relief {ante, 
Plate XXX), is also commended. 

]M. Foucher has kindly selected No. 5 as being one of the best and most 
suitable for reproduction (Plate LXI I). It depicts Buddha in the 'earth-touching' 
pose surrounded by a host of worshippers on earth and in the clouds, and is framed 
in a pretty border. The figures of the adoring Lamas are numbered, I do not know 
why. Similar numbers are inserted in other pictures. I cannot think very highly of 
the picture as a work of art, apart from the colouring, which is, of course, lost in 
a photograph. 

The most interesting department of Tibetan, as of Mongolian, pictorial art 
is that of portraiture. The painted portraits should be compared with the bronze 
statuettes described ante, pp. 198-200. Excellent specimens of this branch of Tibetan 
art, which is less conventional than the pictures of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, are 
included in a packet of twenty-four ' Pictorial Illustrations of Tibetan Buddhism' in 
the Hodgson collection of the Institut de France. By the kindness of M. A. Foucher, 
who made the selection, I am able to offer two unpublished reproductions of these 
remarkable works, depicting holy Lamas, one of whom is ' paisible ', and the other 
' terrible '. 

The portrait of the ' paisible ' Lama is charming. His countenance shows some- 
thing of the ' onction profonde ' detected by M. St. Hilaire, and it is easy to believe 
that a young Tibetan saint bred in a monastery may look exactly like this present- 
ment. The accessories are treated with delicate good taste, and the effect of the 
coloured original must be pleasing (Plate LXI 1 1). 

The picture of the ' terrible ' Lama is more curious than beautiful. He is seated 
on a tiger-skin, and seems to have evoked by his incantations the fearsome demon, 
perhaps Yama, or Death, with a chaplet of skulls, who appears on the right. The 
magician apparently is terrified by the success of his spells (Plate LXIV). All these 
Tibetan pictures represent fingers and toes with odd exaggeration. The flower-like 
cloud forms are the same as those already noticed in the wall-paintings of the 
Bikanir palace {ante, p. 304). 

The valuable collection of objects illustrative of Buddhism formed by Prince E. 
Ukhtomskij, and now preserved at the Museum of the Emperor Alexander III, 
St. Petersburg, includes many Tibetan and Mongolian pictures, of which select 
specimens, including portraits, have been engraved in outline as illustrations of 
the Catalogue in Russian prepared by Prof. A. Griinwedel. The kindness of the 
author of the Catalogue and of Prince Dy. H. Ukhtomskij permits me to reproduce 
two of those illustrations, belonging to a miscellaneous class, and Prof. Griinwedel has 
supplied me with explanations in English. 

Plate LXIII. Portrait of young Lama ; Tibetan School. 
(Hodgson Collection, Institut de France.) 

Plate LXIV. Portrait of a Lama evoking a demon ; Tibetan School. 
(Hodgson Collection, Institut de France.) 

SECT. Ill 



The first chosen is Mongolian rather than Tibetan, but the religion and art 
of Mongolia are so closely connected with those of Tibet, and through Tibet with 
India, that the picture will not be out of place here. The figure of a Buddha or 
a Bodhisattva seated on the clouds in the corner is quite Indian, the rest of the 
composition is on Chinese lines. The ' White-bearded Old Man ', originally a Mon- 
golian tutelary deity of the earth, the foe of all evil-doing, becomes Kshitipati (' Lord 
of the Earth') in Indian Buddhism; is identified in China with the genius of long 
life ; in Japan with one of the eight gods of happiness ; and now in Mongolia, at 
Urga and other places, with St. Nicholas of Moscow (Fig. 218). 

Fig. 218. ' The White-bearded Old Man ' ; the Mongolian tutelary deity of the earth ; 

Indian Kshiiipaii. 
(No. 114 in Griinwedel's Catalogue of /he Ukkto!7isktj collection.) 

The second illustration (Fig. 219) is one of a set of thirty block-prints used by The 
Tibetan Lamas as patterns for ' pouncing ', or stencilling, sacred pictures on kakemonos, Repentant 
or silken strips. To the upper left of the picture we see Buddha Sakyamuni, clad in 
Indian fashion, expounding to four disciples the story of the dead sea-monster whose 
bones lie on the shore. Once upon a time, in a previous birth, the Buddha had been 
that monster and got his living by devouring men and other creatures. The boat 
with its occupants shown below was rushing into the monster's jaws, when one of the 
crew invoked the holy name of Buddha. The abashed monster allowed his prey 
to escape, preferring to die of starvation rather than incur the guilt of despising 
the sacred name. The boat then came safely to land, as shown in the upper part 
of the composition. Ancient art frequently repeats an object or person in two 
or three situations in a single picture, and this block-print follows the old traditional 

915 X t 


practice. This queer Tibetan legend may possibly prove to be the key to the 
enigmatic medallion at Bharhut (Cunningham, Stfipa of Bharlmt, Plate XXXIV, 2), 
hitherto unexplained, which represents a gaping sea-monster In the act of swallowing 

Fig. 219. The Repemant Monster. 
(Xo. I, p. 32, Griinwedel's Cafalogtie 0/ UkhtomskiJ collecfioti.) 

Nepalese art 
a variety of 

a boat with tliree men, while a second boat with a similar crew appears to be drifting 
to like destruction.^ As a work of art, the interest of the sketch reproduced lies 
chiefly in its freedom from the formal conventionalism of most Tibetan pictures. The 
Ukhtomskij collection includes many examples of orthodox paintings on regulation lines. 

II. Nepal. 

Very little can be recorded concerning the pictorial art of Nepal, which, as known 
to us, is only a modern variety of the Tibetan school.- The extant specimens are all 
Buddhist, and seem to possess little aesthetic value. The Hodgson collection in 
Paris includes ten pictures, two of which have been reproduced by M. Sylvain Levi 
in his learned work, ' Nepal '. The first of his plates is a reduced copy of No. 6, 
a large pen-and-ink drawing, 2 m. 85 cm. long and i m. high, believed to have been 
prepared to the order of Mr. Brian Hodgson. The subject is a religious procession 
in honour of Matsyendra {/ilias Padmapanl or Avalokitesvara), marching round the 
walls of a town in the valley. The drawing is carefully executed and shows a know- 

^ M. Foucher su;^gests that the monster may be 
Rahu, the ecHpse demon. 

^ Originally the art may have been practised in 

Nepal earlier than in Tibet, but if it was, no speci- 
mens have been brought to light, save the miniatures 
in MSS. 

SECT. Ill 



ledge of linear perspective presumably due to European teaching, but as a specimen 
of Indian art it is of no interest. M. Levi's second and larger folding plate repro- 
duces in six sections a photograph of the illustrated manuscript giving the sacred 
legend of Nepal. This work, too, possesses little merit as art. 

The Nepalese Buddhists are fond of constructing magic circles (inandald) crowded Magic 

with figures of Buddhas, worshippers, monks, lotus-plants, and other sacred persons or '^'"''^'^^ "^ 

'^ Hodgson 


Fig. 220. A magic circle, Nepalese School. 
(' Nepal,' No. 7, Hodgson Collection, Institut de France.) 

things, believing that the maker or user of such a picture will have a claim on the 
protection of all the influential beings and lucky objects depicted. No. 10 of the 
Hodgson collection is such a magic circle, filled with more than 200 figures. 

Another magic circle, No. 7 of the Hodgson collection, selected by M. Foucher, 
is reproduced in Fig. 220. The design is delicately executed, showing good draughts- 
manship of minute details, but otherwise the work is not interesting. 

The silken magic circle in the British Museum (MS. Add. 8S98) is accompanied Magic 
by a description from the competent pen of Col. Waddell. The composition, as '^"''^'^^ '" 

T t 2 


a whole, is ugh' and barbarous, not worth copying-, though the floral border is 

The only relics of an ancient school of Nepalese painting are the miniature 
illustrations of two manuscripts. Add. 1643, Cambridge, and A. 15, Asiatic Society of 
Bengal, Calcutta, which have been minutely studied and in large part reproduced 
by M. Foucher.i Unfortunately, the age of the manuscripts and miniatures is 
not quite certain, but probably both date from the eleventh century. The older 
document, that at Cambridge, cannot be later than a.d. 1015 ; the Calcutta manuscript ■ 
may be some fifty years posterior in date. The miniatures, numbering 85 in Add. 
1643, and 37 in A. 15, equal in height (o'".055) the narrow strip of palm-leaf 
on which the text is written, and each depicts a holy place, a sacred personage, or an 
incident in Buddhist legend. Most of them being plainly labelled, they are of high 
archaeological and historical value, but from the 
purely aesthetic point of view are not of much 

The technique is simple. The outlines were 
drawn in red ink and filled in with colour washes, 
only the five canonical colours being used — white, 
blue, red, yellow, and green. The designs evidently 
transmit an ancient tradition, and are the production 
of an art long stereotyped ; but, notwithstanding the 
mechanical monotony of treatment, M. Foucher 
holds that these little paintings, although not master- 
pieces, cannot be regarded as merely vulgar daubs. 
They have been drawn and coloured by illuminators 
' tres suffisamment maitres de leurs moyens '. If 
they date from the eleventh century, the)^ may 
represent the ' Eastern ' school of Dhiman, which according 
favoured in Nepal at about that time. 

The labels indicate that the artist or artists had a surprising knowledge of distant 
countries, implying an active communication between the most widely separated 
Buddhist lands. The paintings include representations of images or buildings, not 
only in every part of India, but in Northern China, Java, and Ceylon. For instance, 
one of the miniatures in the Cambridge MS. (Foucher, Plate IX, 2) depicts the obese 
' Jambhala of Ce}lon ' [Sinhaladvipe JajubhalaJi), the popular god of riches (Fig. 221), 
in a form not quite identical with, but closely resembling Dr. Coomaraswamy's 
bronze statuette {ante, Fig. 196), which could be identified with certainty from 
M. Foucher's photograph, here reproduced by permission, as a sample of the style 
of these curious little paintings. 

Fig. 221. Jambhala of Cevlon; min. 

No. 18 of'MS. Add. 1643, Camb. 

(Foucher, PI. IX, 2 ) 

to Taranath was 

' Similar miniatures are executed in Tibet (de 
Millou^, Bod-Youl on Tibet, p. 237), but I am not 
in a position to cite examples. Good specimens, 
dating from the seventeenth century, or earlier, are 

inserted in a manuscript of the Kah-gyur (' Tibe- 
tain 10') in the Bibliolhfeque Nationale, Paris 
(Blochet, ' Inventaire,' Revue des Bibliothiques, 1859, 
p. 265). 

SECT. Ill 




St. Hilaire. — Journal des Sava?ils, 1863, pp. 
Ill, 112, 175-88. FoucHER, A. — 'Catalogue des 
peintures n^palaises et tibetaines de la collection 
Brian-Hodgson ' (JMe'moires Acad, des Inscriptions, 
i^re g^i-.^ t. xi, p. 34). This articl^ corrects certain 
errors of detail in St. Hilaire's description. Etude 
stir V Iconographie bouddhique dc V I tide (Paris, 1900, 
1905). GrOnwedel, Prof. — Catalogue (in Russian, 
Ohzor sobrania predinclov lamaskago kiilta Z. Z. 
Uchlomskago) of Prince Ukhtoniskif s collection ; St. 
Petersburg, 1905 ; being No. VI (2nd fasc.) oi Bib- 
liotheca Buddhica. Mythologie des Buddhismus in 

Tibet iind der JMongolei ; being a Guide (Fiihrer) to 
tire same collection, de Milloue, L. — Bod-Yoiil ou 
Tibet {Le Paradis des Moines), Paris, 1906. Petit 
Guide lUtistre' ail Muse'e Gtiimet, Paris, 1905. 

Other references are given in the footnotes. 
Students wishing to go more deeply into the subject 
may consult various works on Tibet, Nepal, and 
Buddhism. I notice in the Catalogue of the Library 
of the Director-General of Archaeology , India, p. 222, 
a catalogue by J. Deniker and E. Deshayes of 
' (Euvres d'art et de haute curiosite du Tibet . . . 
collection G.' sold in Paris, in 1904. 

Section IV. Kangra. 
The fort of Kangra, or Nagarkot, to the north of the Panjab, renowned for The Kangra 
centuries as one of the most nearly impregnable strongholds of India, but reduced =5^001. 
to a mass of ruins by the earthquake of 1905, guarded the capital of a small Hill 
State, governed by independent Hindu Rajas for many ages until 1621, when it 

Fig. 222. Ramdayal, &c., goldsmiths of Kangia, at work (black and white). 

fell before the arms of the Emperor Jahangir.^ In the secluded and beautiful valley 
of Kangra a distinct school of painters has survived to this day, representing ancient 
Hindu tradition grafted on the technique of the Mughal or I ndo- Persian school. 
The works of the local artists are so numerous that two hundred and fifty examples 
were shown at the Delhi Exhibition of 1902-3. A considerable collection is 
preserved in the Central Museum, Lahore, from which my illustrations are taken. 

1 The effects of the earthquake are described with lithograph of the Kangra Fort is in the Honour- 

numerous illustrations by Dr. Vogel in Ann. Rep. able C. S. Hardinge's Recollectiotis of India, London, 

Arch. S., India, for 1905-6, pp. 11-27. A fine 1847. Restoration work is m progress (1910). 



Subject?. The subjects, both religious and secular, are varied. The kindness of 

:\Ir. G. Wathen, Curator of the Lahore Museum, has supplied me with photographs 
of seven works selected by him as the best, and coloured sketches of the same 
prepared by Mrs. Wathen indicate the effect of the originals. A detailed list of the 
seven pictures is given in the note at the end of this section. The forest scene is not 
a success, the monkeys being ridiculous, and curiously like the illustrations of the 
adverdsements of a well-known brand of soap. The portrait of the European officer 
is an ill-drawn failure, and that of the Maharaja is stiff and poorly executed. 

Fig. 223. 

Snakc-chavmer, by Kapur Singli of Amritsar (ochre-coloured garments). 


The oldest picture is that of the string of seven camels laden with tents and 
other baggage, which probably dates from the eighteenth century, and is good. In 
my judgement the best of the set is the black-and-white drawing of five Kangra 
goldsmiths or suucirs at work, two of whom are shown using the primitive blowpipe 
commonly emplo) ed in Eastern lands. Dr. Coomaraswamy praises this work as ' full . 
of close observation and curiously modern in effect'. The first clause of the criticism 
is just, but the second has not much force, ns the drawing does not seem to be very 
old (Fig. 222).' The realistic portraits of the snake-charmer (Fig. 223) and the JogI 
(Fig. 224) also are excellent. Both are the work of Kapur Singh, an artist resident 
at Amritsar, outside the Kangra District. They are said to be only about thirty 
years old, and thus afford proof that until a very recent time artistic skill of 
considerable excellence still existed. Mr. Wathen informs me that the paintings now 
executed are of very poor quality. Presumably, if adequate patronage were available, 
the indigenous capacity could be stimulated and work equal to the old produced. 
Dr. Coomaraswamy mentions ' a mauve iris, drawn with a faithfulness and grace which 
' 'The Present State of Indian Art' {Modern Revieiv, Allahabad, July, lyo;). 




recall a Ruskin flower or leaf study ' 1 ; and Mr. C. H. Read's fine collection includes 
a rephca of the subject, also capitally executed, which may be assigned to the Kangra 
school. I do not know of any other example of the school in European collections'!^ 

Fig. 224. A Kanphata (' split-ear') Jogi, or Muhamniadan fakir, by Kapur Singh of Amritsar 
(black robe, yellow head-dress with peacock feathers). 

' ' The Present State of Indian Art ' [Modern 
Revinv, Allahabad, July, 1907). 

^ The set sent by Mr. Wathen comprises : — 

1. Forest scene showing Rama, Sita, and Lachh- 
man, with monkeys in attendance, and the snowy 
range of the Himala_vas in the distance. The tree in 
the foreground is good. Colours moderately bright. 

2. Black-and-white drawing of Ramdayal, &c., 

3. An English officer, supposed to be Sir Hector 
Barnes, about 1850, seated on a chair. 

4. The snake-charmer. 

5. The Kanphata Jogi. 

6. Maharaja Jagat Sineh of Ambar (Jaipur), who 
came to the throne in 1S03. It is not certain that 
this is Kangia work. 

7. String of seven baggage camels (three photo- 
graphs), appropriately coloured. 


Section- V. Eighteenth-Century Painting, chiefly Mythological. 

Durino- the eighteenth century Hindu artists trained in the style of the Indo- 
Persian school, which forms the subject of Chapter XIV, ceasing to interest themselves 
in scenes of courtly life or aristocratic amusement, often devoted their talents to the 
illustration of the imaginative conceptions and legends of their own mythology. 
From the merely technical point of view the numerous works thus produced might 
be rec'^arded as a variety of the Indo- Persian class, descended from the book illustra- 
tions of the Razmnama and similar works translated from the Indian languages into 
Persian by Akbar's order ; and it would be possible to treat them simply as such. 
P^or instance, the British Museum Catalogue, in the description of the manuscripts, 
Or. 4769, 4770, truly states that ' the drawings are remarkable for their extreme 
delicacy, the minute delineation of every detail, and the richness and artistic choice of 
colour' — precisely the qualities which distinguish the best Indo-Persian work.' But 
the subjects and inspiration of the drawings in those volumes are so thoroughly Hindu 
that to discuss the contents along with the Indo-Persian pictures would be inconvenient. 
The two series, although closely related in technique, are essentially distinct in spirit, 
and it is more satisfactory to regard the Hindu mythological works as forming 
a separate class. 

In the course of the subsequent discussion of Indo-Persian art emphasis will be 
laid upon the undoubtedly necessary inference that the Hindu artists, who quickly and 
successfully assimilated Persian teaching, must have had previous training upon Hindu 
lines. The practically total loss of all specimens of native Indian painting between 
Ajanta and Akbar precludes us from tracing the evolution and history of mediaeval 
indigenous art. We can only guess what that art may have been by studying the 
modified Indian art of Turkistan described in Section II of this chapter, and 
examining the character of the illustrations by Hindu artists in the books prepared 
for Akbar's library. 

The Persian adaptation of the Mahabhdrata, entitled the Razmnama, has 
a preface by Abul P'azl, dated a. d. 1588. The best copy, now^ at Jaipur, which is 
said to have cost ^40,000, contains 169 pictures, or ' miniatures ', most of which have 
been reproduced in the magnificent volume edited by Colonel Hendley. The 
traditional skill of the Hindus in drawing animals, especially monkeys and elephants, 
is well illustrated by the Avorks of the artist named Babu, as for example Plate XXI 
in Colonel Hendley's book. The Hindu tradition is also apparent in the treatment 
of trees and plants, and in the use of indigo blue as the colour for the bodies of 
divinities. Many of the pictures are purely Hindu in feeling — e. g. Plate XXIX by 
Kanha, representing antelopes gambolling in a forest ; Plate XIII by Tulsl, the choice 
by Damayanti of Nala as her husband (reproduced in PI. LXV) ; and PI. LXXVIII — 
Raja Sudarsan and his wife as hermits — by Jaswant and Tara. 

After Akbar's time Hindu work, that is to say, work with specially Hindu 
characteristics, is little in evidence until the eighteenth century, when the political 

' These two volumes were sold for £250 ai the Beckford sale. 


(PI. XIII of Hendlej, ^/.;.^,;7«/. of Ihe Jeypore Exhibition, vol. iv.) 

u u 


chanoes consequent upon the battle of Plassey (i757). "O doubt, must have had 
a stimulating effect upon Hindu activity. Multitudes of works were then produced, 
mostly I ndo"- Persian in technique, but thoroughly Hindu in subject and feeling. 
Probably, as Dr. Coomaraswamy thinks, several distinct local schools may be dis- 
tinguished ; but the detailed examination of the pictures is not yet advanced 
sufficiently' to warrant such nice discrimination. The examples preserved vary 
enormously in merit, many being coarse daubs, others of middling quality, and a few 

of high excellence. 

Some, like the illustrations in Or. 4769, 4770, mentioned above, believed 
to be the work of a Pars! artist, and probably dating from the early years of 
the century, emulate the meticulous delicacy so much affected by Shahjahan's 
artists. But most of the works of the class are executed in a broader style, apt 
to degenerate into coarse daubing. Indigo blue is largely used for the bodies of 
divinities, and the scheme of colour generally is not quite the same as in Indo- 

Persian work. 

The technical and artistic qualities of the pictures are often obscured by the 
choice of repulsive subjects essentially unfit for artistic treatment. The hideous, 
oTotesque, and horrible figments of Hindu imagination run wild cannot be made 
tolerable to the aesthetic sense by any cleverness or delicacy of execution. Hindu 
artists love to depict the ten incarnations of Vishnu, and no doubt edify their fellow 
believers, but no amount of edification to an orthodox Hindu can give the more 
o-rotesque and disgusting incarnations a right to figure as subjects for works of art. 
The fine volume, Or. 4769 in the British Museum, already referred to, is utterly 
spoiled from the aesthetic point of view by the subjects selected. The companion 
volume. Or. 4770, provides more agreeable representations of incidents from the 

Happily, the inexhaustible fountain of Hindu mythological imagination provides 
a group of subjects which invite the freest play of fancy, and give unlimited opportu- 
nities for artistic treatment. During the eighteenth century, the class of material 
alluded to, the symbolism connected with the 'musical modes', was exploited by 
numerous artists, whose works were eagerly collected by Warren Hastings and his 
contemporaries and brought by them to Europe, where they now enrich various 
libraries, museums, and private collections. The works in question, known as 
Ragmalas, or ' Garlands of Musical Modes ', are characterized by singular tenderness 
of sentiment, and present examples of some of the best pictorial work ever produced 
in India. Such praise applies, of course, only to specimens of the highest class. The 
collections include much rubbish. 

Before proceeding to describe and reproduce a few select typical examples, an 
attempt must be made to give some notion of the strange manner in which Hindu 
thought associates music with painting. Even with the help of such exposition as 
I am able to offer, on the authority of Sir William Jones, who had some practical 
knowledge of both arts, it Is not easy for the European mind to discover any real 
bond of union between a given pjicture and the sounds which It Is supposed to 


symbolize. Personally, I am wholly unable to trace the connexion, and can discuss 
the paintings simply with reference to their aesthetic value as expressions of Hindu 
sentiment, imagination, and observation of nature. I do not know anybody who 
could explain why a particular design was appropriated to certain music. The 
association of the various musical modes with the seasons — a subject sufficiently 
obscure in itself— does not* help me much to realize the ideas underlying the pictorial 
symbolism, and I cannot judge how far any selected work is to be commended for its 
significance as a suggestion to the eye of certain musical combinations of sounds. To 
some extent the general nature of the subject appropriate to the illustration of each 
' musical mode ' was fixed by rule or tradition, but the treatment allowed free scope 
to the exercise of each individual artist's fancy and skill. The Ragmdla illustrations 
are of special interest because of their freedom from the fetters of immutable rules, 
bondage to which has been the chief support of the common belief that India possesses 
no fine art. 

On the understanding that the lists of musical modes as given by various 
authorities differ considerably, although the scheme explained below is that most 
generally accepted. Sir William Jones's exposition may now be quoted : — 

' The different position of the two semitones in the scale of seven notes gives 
birth to seven primary modes ; and, as the whole series consists of twelve semitones . . . 
there are in nature (though not universally in practice) seventy-seven other modes 
[12x7 = 84—7 = 77] . . . but the Hindu arrangement is elegantly formed on the 
variations of the Indian year, and the association of ideas, a powerful auxiliary to the 
ordinary effect of modulation. 

The Modes in this system are deified ; and as there are six Seasons in India, 
namely, two Springs, Summer, Autumn, and two Winters, an original Rag, or God of 
the Mode, is conceived to preside over a particular season ; each principal mode is 
attended by five Rdgiins, or Nymphs of Harmony ; each has eight sons, or Genii of 
the same divine art; and each Rag, with his family, is appropriated to a distinct 
season, in which alone his melody can be sung or played at prescribed hours of the 
day or night. . . . 

By appropriating a different mode to each of the different seasons, the artists of 
India connected certain strains with certain ideas, and were able to recall the memory 
of autumnal merriment at the close of the harvest, or of separation and melancholy 
(very different from our idea at Calcutta) during the cold months ; of reviving hilarity 
on the revival of blossoms, and complete vernal delight in the month of Madhu, or 
honey ; of languor during the dry heats, and of refreshment by the first rains, which 
cause in this climate a second spring. . . . 

The inventive talents of the Greeks never suggested a more charming allegory B 
than the lovely families of the six Ragas, named in the order of seasons . . . Bhairava, '" 
Malava, Sri Raga, Hindola or Vasanta, Dlpaka, and Megha ; each of whom is 
a genius or demi-god, wedded to five Ragims, or nymphs, and father of eight little 
genii, called his piUras, or sons. . . . These and similar images, but wonderfully 
diversified, are expressed in a variety of measures, and represented by delicate pencils 
in the Ragmdlas, which all of us have examined, and among which the most beautiful 
are in the possession of Mr. R. Johnson and Mr. Hay.' Sir William Jones was of 
opinion that the symbolism sketched in the foregoing extracts ' may be considered as 

u u 2 


the most pleasinq- invention of the ancient Hindus, and the most beautiful union of 
paintin-- with poe'tical mythology and the genuine theory of music'.' ^ 

Perhaps some of m)- readers who may happen to be skilled musicians will be 
able to understand the matter better than I can. 

I have not been able to trace the collection of Raginalds mentioned by 
Sir \V. Jones as having been formed by Mr. Hay; but that of Mr. R. Johnson, the 
banker of Warren Hastings, was acquired by the India Office Library after the 
owner's death. The sixty-seven volumes include sixteen of Ragmalas (Nos. XXX- 
XLI\\ and LXI), varying widely in value. Vol. xxx is good. Picture No. 9, 
Sarang Raginl, represented as a woman caressing antelopes, is a pleasing expression 
of tender Hindu sentiment. 

Vol. xxxiv is of special interest because it contains thirty-five pictures signed 
by the artists, Udut Singh (Nos. i-iS, 24, 30), and Mohan Singh (Nos. 19-23, 25-9, 
31-5). The \^oxk&\\'a\\(t^ Dhana sari Raginl (No. 27) by Mohan Singh— a slightly 
tinted, boldly executed sketch of a woman seated under a tree — is well composed and , 
produces an effect like that of an etching (Plate LXVI). -m^ 

Vol. XXXV includes a good example of the subject of a lady [Mdlkos 
Rag 2nd) offering worship {pilja) to a four headed image of Brahma, which recurs 
in vol. xli, where it is treated by Gobind Singh. The almost identical subject, in 
which a lingani^ the symbol of Mahadeo, is substituted for the four-headed image, 
which also is probably a Rdgiiil picture, has been painted charmingly by several 
artists. The best example that I have seen is a picture (Johnson Coll., vol. I, fol. i) 
by Rai Path Chand, which depicts a princess, attended by four women, doing reverence 
to a Inigani standing on a marble platform in a palace garden. The same motive is 
prettily rendered in Haughton's engraving from an unknown original in ^ioor, Hindu 
Pantheon, PI. XXII, which excited the warm admiration of Prof. Albrecht Weber.^ 
Unfortunately, the engraver allowed himself to take some liberties, and his work 
cannot be accepted as a perfectly faithful transcript. 

An anonymous picture from Babii Sitaram's collection, labelled ' U ma worshipping 
Siva', reproduced (Plate LXVII) from a photograph kindly supplied by Dr. Coomara- 
swamy, may serve as a sample of its class. The landscape in that work shows 
traces of European influence; in Rai Path Chand's work the background is Indo- 

The deities, Mahadeo and Parvati, so often represented by sculptors as seated 
together in conjugal harmony, were equally good subjects for the less conventional 
art of the draughtsman and painter. A creditable rendering by Mohan Singh is in 
volume X of the Johnson collection ; but the best version is that in a picture 

Sir W. Jones, ' On the Musical Modes of the power ascribed to the singing of certain Rags are 

Hindus' {As. Rev., iii. 55-87); Works, vol xiii recorded by Mr. C. T. Naidu in Ind. Ant., xxx 

(cd. 1807), p. 312. The essay in the Researches, (1901), p. 319. 

Avritten in 1784, was enlarged subsequently. Sir = Jnd: Ant., vi. 349. : 

William died in 1794. Strange tales of the magic ' \ 

Plate LXVI. Dhanasari Ragini, by Mohan Singh, i8th cent. (Johnson Coll., vol. xxxiv, fol. 27. 



reproduced by Haughton in Plate XVII of Moor's Hindu Pant/won. 'The paint- 
ing or drawing from which Plate 17 is engraved, is, I think,' the author writes. 

Fig. 225. Dhaimiaja on black bull. 
(B. M., Or. 4770, fol. 8.) 

' the most beautiful and highly finished thing I ever saw. I purchased it at Poona 
for forty rupees (five pounds), but for some time the seller demanded a hundred 
(twelve guineas) for it.' ^ 

' Major E. Charles Moor, of the Rosery, Great 
Bealings, Ipswich, grandson of the author of the 
Hindu Pantheon, exhibited the original of the plate 
as No. 1 163 in the Indian Court of the Festival of 

Empire, loii. The happy days when forty 
rupees were equal to five pounds have long passed 
away. The present equivalent is £2 \-3,s. i^d. 

Plate LXVII. Uma worshipping Siva (photo, by Dr. A. K. Coomaraswamy). 



Volume xlii of the Johnson collection, like volume xxxiv, is of special interest 
as containincr a lan^e number of pictures signed by UdQt Singh, Gobind Singh, 
Mohan Sinoh, and Ghulam Raza. Four of these, namely, three (Nos. 19, 22, 25) by 
Udut Sinoh and one (No. 12) by Ghulam Raza, are indecent, the only pictures of the 
Indo-Perslan and Hindu schools, among the hundreds examined by me, to which such 
a reproach can be applied. Artistically, the twelve contributions by Ghulam Raza 
are the best. A portrait by him is on fol. 30 
of volume Ixiv of the same collection. 

The Beckford volumes in the British 
Museum, Or. 4769, 4770, already noticed 
more than once, contain some excellent ideal 
portraits of Hindu deities, with elegant floral 
borders. I select for reproduction Yama, 
the Indian Pluto, riding on his buffalo, nearly 
all in black and white (Plate LXVIII) ; 
Dharmraja, as judge of the dead, on his 
black bull (Fig. 225) ; and Byas 1 Vyasa) Muni, 
the supposed compiler of the Vedas, who is 
represented standing, and holding a rosary. 
His body is 'wheat-coloured', his skirt pur- 
plish-grey, and his turban pink (Fig. 226). 

The picture, no doubt purely imaginary, 
of the famous twelfth-century king Pirthiraj 
Chauhan, with his queen Urchhi (B. M. Or. 
4769, fol. 26), is beautifully delicate work, 
freely enriched with gold, too elaborate for 
successful reproduction. 

The album, B. M. Add. 11,747 (No. 97 
of Catal. of Hindi and Panjabl AfSS.), 
although labelled as a 'Collection of drawings, 
costume, &c., of the Persians ', contains a 
Rdgmdld and many other pictures of Hindu 
subjects. The explanations of Rdgnuilds are 
often written in the Hindi language and 
character, in this volume and others. 

B. M. Add. 22,363 is a collection of twenty-eight rather large pictures 'in fine 
Indian style of the eighteenth century, with illuminated borders '. Most of the 
pictures represent incidents of Eastern tales, passages in the life of Krishna, or some 
of the 7?^7^/V^^" figures. But the best things in the book are the brown hawk on the 
obverse, and the two camels, on the reverse, of fol. 28, which are not specially Hindu, 
and may date from the seventeenth century. The camels are reproduced in Fig. 256 
in Chapter XIV. The other collections of eighteenth-century Hindu paintings in the 
British Museum do not merit special notice. 

Fig. 226. Byas (Vyasa) Muni. 
(B. M., Or. 4770, fol. 26.) 


it.i..., „nV»l»ii«i.Vw#<<iiiliSi^''*l 

Plate LXYIII. Yama, god of Death, on buffalo. 

(B. M., Or. 4769, fol. 26.) 

X X 


The Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, possesses many manuscripts adorned with 
illustrations of Hindu mytholog)', among which a copy of the Bhagavata Pnrami 
(' Sanskrit-Devanagari,' No. i), with seventy-six high-class paintings, seems to be the 
most notable.^ 

H.H. the Maharaja of Benares is the fortunate owner of a beautifully written and 
sumptuously illustrated manuscript of the poem by Tulsl Das, commonly called the 
Rdinayana, but properly named the Ravicharit-iuanas. The book, which is guarded 
with jealous care, forms five volumes, richly bound in Benares brocade. The illus- 
trations, more than five hundred in number, face each page, and are said to have cost 
Rs. 160,000. The)- appear to have been executed at some time in the eighteenth 
century, but are not signed. The technique generally seems to be that of the Indo- 
Persian school, gold and silver enrichments being freely used. The subjects, figures, 
faces, and composition are thoroughly Hindu. His Highness having placed at my 
disposal nine excellent photographs of selected pictures, three of them are now 

Plate LXIX is a queer composition, apparently intended to serve as a frontispiece. 
The figure under the tree in the left upper corner is labelled as a portrait of the poet, 
but how far it can claim to be a likeness I cannot say. In the right upper corner his 
teacher {guru) is depicted reading aloud to a party of disciples. Lower down, we find 
the magic cow, Kamadhenu, a great snake, Rama and Sita, with various other persons 
and objects mentioned in the poem. The drawing is stiff and formal, and the 
Chitrakut hill is represented in a purely conventional manner. 

The next example selected for publication, Plate LXX, ranks much higher as 
a work of art and evidently is by another hand. It is, indeed, a well-composed 
and beautiful picture. The child demi-god and his adoring, yet tenderly watchful, 
mother, so placed in the centre as to rivet the attention of the beholder, are admirably 
drawn. The female attendants at the sides are perfectly true to nature and typical of 
Hindu womanhood. The perspective is unusually accurate, and there is no over- 
crowdmg. No doubt the original must have many beauties which cannot be seen in 
a photograph, but even in the reproduction the picture appears to me to be one of the 
best achievements of Hindu art. 

The third picture chosen, Plate LXX I, is more in the style of the Indo-Persian 
court scenes. The rich landscape in the distance shows traces of the influence of 
European paintings." 

The active patronage afforded to artists by the rulers of Jaipur and Alvvar 

' Blochet, 'Inventaire' {Rame des Bibliolhiques, the poem, edited by the Nagarl Pracharim Sabha, 

f %P' ^^'^'.^^ and published by the Indian Press, Allahabad, 1903. 

1 he Childhood of Rama ' has been published The IMS. is sliqhtly described in Mr. E. Greaves's 

as the ront.sp.ece to Mr. G, A. Grierson's profoundly work, Kashi the City Illuslrious, or Benares (Indian 

learned work, 'The Modern Vernacular Literature Press, Allahabad, 1904, p. 94). The Maharaja 

of Hmdustari (Extra No.,/ A. S. B., Part I, possesses another MS. of the poem written in 

1888-9), and m Mr. Growse's translation of the Samvat 1704 = a.d. 1647-8, only twenty-four 

BamcharU-manas. Seventy of the pictures have years after the author's death, 
been crudely reproduced in an illustrated edition of 

Plate LXIX. From Benares MS. of Ramcharit- 
reading m right upper corner ; Kamadhenu, the ma 
and Sita, &c. 

manas : Tulsi Das in left upper corner : his ^uru 
gic cow ; the hill of Chitrakut, with Rama, Lachhman, 

(By permission of H.H. the Maharaja.) 
X X 2 



'i^ t 


^. > ^ ■> 

[jy^Tp^- ^mr^ ^H <m<«n ^rf^r?qi r ^r i« frt!(r ^^Kin *t^n (Q ^l^ <p!^^<J 



'•■i.:. ^J 

Plate LXX. Rama's Childhood ; photo, from the Maharaja of Benares' MS., and published in 
J.A.S.B., Part I, vol. Ivii (1888), Special No., frontispiece. 

Plate LXXI. The court of Ajodhja; from Benares MS. oi Ramcharil-mdnas. 
(By permission of H.H. the Maharaja.) 


in P 


.. Raiputana has kept art alive in those States. By the kindness of Col. Hendley 
I am enabled to reproduce a falcon and a vase of flowers, copied by a modern artist 
from an old Jaipur painting, which are not much inferior in delicacy of execution 
to seventeenth-century work (Figs. 227, 228). In the original the vase Is pale blue, 
and the flowers brightly coloured. 


Fig. 227. Falcon; copied by a modern artisl from old 

Jaipur painting. 

(Property of Col. Flendley, CLE.) 

Fk;. 228. Vase of flowers ; copied by a modern artist 

from an old Jaipur painting. 

(Col. Hendley, CLE.) 

The portrait of Maharaja Man Singh of Jodhpur (Fig. 229), painted by Jiwan in 
iSiS and copied by Chhaju Lai in 1893, also the property of Col. Hendley, is a good 
illustration of modern debased work in the Indo-Persian style. Its defects are too 
obvious to need detailed exposition. In the original the chair is coloured sepia, the 
robe is •white, and the scarf dark blue. 

Probably the best example of modern book illustration in the Indo-Persian style 
is the manuscript Giilislaii of the Alwar Library prepared for Maharaja Banni Singh 
(1824-57), an ardent art collector and liberal patron. The pictures have been 


sumptuously reproduced under Col. Hendley's direction in Ulwar and its Art 
Treasures (Griggs, 1888). The text of the manuscript was written by Aga Mirza 
of Delhi in the course of twelve years ; the beautiful borders were designed and 
painted by Nathu Shah and Kari Abdul Rahman of Delhi, and the illustrations 





— "r — J 

* w/ 








i*- * 


Fig. 230. 

Tigeis; from Alwar Gidistan. 

(Col. Hendley, CLE.) 

Fig. 231. 

Black buck ; from Ahvar GuUslan. 

(Col. Hendley, CLE.) 

Fig. 229. Maharaja Man Singh of Jodhpur; by Jlwan (a. d. 18 18); 
copied by Chhaju Lai (1893). 
(Property of Col. Hendley, CLE.) 

are the work of Ghulam Ali Khan and Baldeo of Alwar. The small medallions 
or panels done in gold and colours, reproduced in PI. LXIV-LXVI of Col. Hendley s 
work, are exquisitely wrought. Two are here given from a separate sheet ot copies 
lent by Col. Hendley (Figs. 230, 231). 


Section VI. Southern India. 

The lain holy place at Tirumalai, to the south of Vellore, in the North Arcot 
District, Madras, is remarkable as possessing- the remains of a set of wall and ceiling 
paintinq-s ascribed, on the evidence of inscriptions, to the eleventh century {Ep. Ind. 
ix. 229). Traces exist of still older paintings covered up by the existing works. The 
principal design now visible is a circular wheel, three feet in diameter, painted on 
plaster appliecf to the brick wall of a chamber at the foot of the rock overhanging the 
temple. The nave of the wheel is occupied by a Jain saint {Tlrihankara) ?,&2.tt6. 
cross-legged in the usual manner, and flanked by two attendants with fly-whisks. The 
rest of the surface of the wheel is divided into twelve compartments, separated by as 
many spokes, and each filled by a crowd of worshippers, mostly men. But one com- 
partment contains twelve white-robed nuns, nine of whom have brown faces, the 
remaining three being tinted greenish-blue ; and another compartment is occupied by 
oxen, elephants, and leopards as representatives of the animal creation adoring its 
Lord. Traces of flying figures are visible in the spandrils between the circumference 
of the wheel and the edges of the square black panel on which it is painted. The 
whole surface appears to have been covered with a black wash on which the design 
was superimposed. The colours, white, shades of brown, and a little greenish-blue, 
are not brilliant. 

The cefling of the upper story, formed by the underside of the overhanging rock, 
is similarly plastered and painted with neat but spiritless designs of a purely 
conventional kind. The wheel possesses little merit as a work of art, and is interest- 
ing rather as a proof of decadence than for its own sake. The contrast with the 
Ajanta designs is worth noting. By the courtesy of the Government of Madras and 
Mr. A. Rea, Superintendent of Archaeology, the sheet of coloured drawings of the 
paintings has been placed at my disposal, but an accident has prevented reproduc- 
tion of the wheel. The minor designs are not worth copying. 

At Conjeeveram, the ancient Kanchi, the capital of the Pallava kings in the early 
centuries of the Christian era, two old Brahmanical temples, Kamakshi Amman and 
Vamtharaja Perumal, are prettily decorated with coloured distemper patterns com- 
posed of geometrical forms and neat floral devices, of uncertain date. The general 
effect is no better than that of a cheerful wall-paper. 

The second temple named is further adorned by paintings, probably modern, 
of the extraordinary' 'mixed figures', specimens of which occur occasionally in albums 
of Indian drawings. One of the Conjeeveram pictures represents a male archer 
mounted on an elephant, of which the body, limbs, and trunk are made up of nine 
female musicians, whose forms are combined with much perverted ingenuity. The 
companion picture represents a female archer riding a horse similarly compounded of 
five figures. According to a book in the India Office Library (No. 309, 29 F. 8) 
the male rider is ' Manmadah ', and the female is his consort, ' Kuthee Davee.' 
Such grotesque freaks of design are painfully vivid illustrations of the degradation 
suffered by art when an exuberant fancy is allowed to run riot unchecked by good 



taste ; and unhappily such aberrations are the rule rather than the exception in the 
later Hindu art, especially of the South. 

Wall-paintings of subjects from the epics, executed during- the reign of Maha- ] 
raja Martanda Varma of Travancore, and existing on the walls of the inner temple 
of Sri Padmanabha Swanii at Trivandrum, are said to be good, but are so placed 
that it is impossible to photograph them. Miniature portraits of the Maharajas, 
going back to the early part of the eighteenth century, are kept in the palace at 
Trivandrum, but no information concerning their origin, technique, or artistic value is 

Certain paintings, dating probably from the eighteenth century, on the roof I 
of the Jangam Math, or monastery, at Anegundi in the Raichur District of the 
Nizam's Dominions, depict fakirs, or ascetics, their followers and admirers, with 
considerable spirit and vigour, but are not worth reproducing.^ 

Section VII. Ceylon. 

The Sinhalese people from the earliest times to the present day have loved ^ 


to decorate their innumerable sacred buildings with brightly coloured edifying pictures. 

Unfortunately, the combined effects of human violence, continued through the wars of 
many centuries, and the ruthless energy of tropical nature have left few remains 
of really ancient paintings, as we have seen in Chapter VIII, and the works of later 
mediaeval date have not fared much better. 

Certain pictures oijataka stories painted on the walls of the Maha Damala Saya I 
shrine at Polonnaruwa, the twelfth-century capital, are said to resemble the Sigiriya ^ 
frescoes rather than modern work, but I am not in a position to fix their age, or 
to present copies of them." 

The paintings on the roof of the Dambulla rock-temple, about fifteen miles south- I 
west of Sigiri, considered by some people to be the best example of Buddhist art in 
the island, are described by Tennent as being ' highly coloured illustrations of scenes 
in the history of Buddhism, such as the landing of Wijayo, the preaching of Mahindo, 
and the combat of Dutugaimini and Elala '. So far as I can ascertain, no repro- 
ductions of them are available. They cannot well be older than the close of the 
twelfth century, when King Nissanka Malla restored the temple, which had been 
sacked by the Tamils of the mainland, and it is possible that they may be of m.uch 
later date, or they may be old work touched up and renewed from time to time. 

Mr. Cave has published a photograph of a picture in the Alu-vihari rock-temple, ^ 
representing the torments of hell and a procession of elephants, which does not 
look very old.* 

The decadent art of the eighteenth century was liberally patronized by the pious I 
king, Kirti Sri Raya Simha, who reigned from a.d. 1747 to 1778. The ^yX&XiX. j ataka ^ 

1 Travancore Manual, vol. iii, p. 263. ' Coomaraswamy, Med. Sinhalese Art, p. 178. 

' Coloured plates 32, 33, executed between 1793 ' Cave, Ruined Cities of Ceylon, 4th ed., p. 125, 

and 1803, in Mackenzie ]\ISS., vol. i, India Office and plate; Tennent, Ceylon, 5th ed., vol. ii, p. 578. 

Library; Wilson, Catalogue, cc.xxiii. i. 

915 Y y 


pictures then painted on the walls of the Ridi Vihara and at Degal-doruva by 
Silva-tenna and other artists certainly are extremely effective as decoration, even 
it" they cannot be ranked as high art. Dr. Coomaraswamy has given, in the frontis- 
piece to his valuable work on the eighteenth-century art of the island, a brilliant 
reproduction of a processional scene by Silva-tenna. The composition strangely 
resembles the Egyptian wall-paintings, the figures being all drawn in profile, in 
the most formal conventional style. Most of them are depicted of golden colour, 
marching across a bright red ground. '^ Many similar paintings, possibly of less merit, 
exist elsewhere.- 

Section VIII. The Modern Schools. 
I. Pictures in European Style. 

At the Delhi Exhibition of 1902-3 many examples were shown of the oil- 
paintings and water-colours produced in considerable quantities of late years by 
students trained In European methods, chiefly at the Government Schools of Art In 
Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, and Lahore. In Sir George Watt's book Mr. Percy 
Brown, now (19 10) Principal of the Calcutta School of Art, criticizes the Delhi 
exhibits as follows : — 

'_ Until its Introduction from Europe, there was no oil painting of any kind 
practised throughout the country, but the number of pictures executed in the medium 
shown in the Exhibition reveals the fact that oil picture painting as a branch of study, 
as well as a means of livelihood, is being taken up seriously by a rapidly Increasing 
class. Some of the work displayed In the Eastern Hall of the Exhibition was 
remarkably good ; in the life studies the modelling and feeling of living flesh being 
well reproduced, and one or two landscapes showed an atmosphere and a consideration 
for composition which Is \_sic^ worthy of remark. Much, however, of the work shown 
was of a very ordinary character, the drawing being decidedly defective, and the 
technique and colouring in most cases crude.' '■'■ 

The most prominent representative of the Europeanized school of Indian artists 
was the late Raja Ravi-varma of Travancore, a connexion of the Maharaja of that 
State. His works, which are extremely numerous, achieved wide popularity, and 
have been freely vulgarized by oleographs and other cheap modes of reproduction. 
The Raja practised both portrait and landscape painting, and four of the portraits in 
the Banqueting Hall, Madras, are from his brush.* He was assisted by his relative, 

' A. K. Coomaraswamy, Mediaeval Sinhaku Art; ^ Indian Arl at Dellii, p. 457. 

king a Monograph on Mediaeval Sinlialese Arts and * The four portraits are those of the Duke of 

Cra/ts, mainly as surviving in the eighteenth century, Buckingham and Chaudos, Sir Arthur Havelock, 

ivith some account of tlie structure of soeiely and the and the Ladies Mar)' aud CaroHne Grenville (CoL 

status of the craftsman (410, 1908, Essex House H. D. Love, R.E., Descriptive List of Pictures in 

Press). The 'peasant art' discussed in that original Govern?nent House and the Banqueting Hall, Madras 

and suggesm-e book has little concern with the (Government Press, Madras, 1903), p. 132. I am 

indebted to the Governm.ent of Madras for a copy 

subject of this work 

^^ i:.g. at Lenagala rock-temple (Bell, Report on of Col. Love's handsome and scholaTly 'volume.' 

Regalia District (1892)), p. 30. 


Raja Raja-varma, and other members of his family. He had received instruction from 
Theodore Jensen and other European artists who visited Southern India, as well as 
from Alagri Naidu, a native of Madura, in the Madras Presidency, who was patronized 
by Swati Tirumal, Maharaja of Travancore from 1829 to 1847, and was considered 
in his day to be the best painter in India after the European fashion. Ravi-varma 
had a formidable rival in Ramaswamy Naidu, a member of the clan of Naiks at 
Madura, who was considered to excel in portrait painting. 

Stimulated by the active encouragement of the royal family of Travancore, the 
Gaikwar of Baroda, and other wealthy patrons, Ravi-varma turned his attention to the 
illustration of the Hindu legends and epics. 

In his own country his works in that kind are regarded as masterpieces and Criticism of 
adequate expressions of Indian feeling. At the hands of recent critics in Europe Ravi-varma s 
they have met with a different reception. 

' The art,' writes Mr. Havell, ' which truly reflects the fictitious culture of Indian 
universities and the teaching of Anglo-Indian art schools, is exhibited in the paintings 
of Ravi-varma, who is the fashionable painter of modern India for those Indians who 
do not ignore Indian art altogether. . . . Certain it is that his pictures invariably 
manifest a most painful lack of the poetic faculty in illustrating the most imaginative 
Indian poetry and allegory ; and this cardinal sin is not to be atoned for by any kind 
of technical skill in the execution.' ^ 

Dr. Coomaraswamy, a fellow mystic, is still more severe, and declares that 

'theatrical conceptions, want of imagination, and lack of Indian feeling in the treat- 
ment of sacred and epic Indian subjects are Ravi-varma's fatal faults. ... His pictures 
are such as any European student could paint, after perusal of the necessary literature 
and a superficial study of Indian life.' - 

In a more recent publication the same author gives his opinion with greater 
brevity and somewhat less severity to the effect that 

' the late Raja Ravi-varma was the best known of these painters in a purely European 
style, but neither he nor any other workers of the pseudo-European school attained 
to excellence. His work at the best reached a second-rate standard.' 

Probably this last quoted judgement is not far wrong. I have not seen the 
painter's work, and know it only from coarse prints, among which the portrait of 
' Sukesi, the Beauty of Malabar', seemed to be the most pleasing composition.^ 

^ Indian Sculpture and Painting,^. 2^1. Cliaudhri, Babu Vamapad Bandliopadhyaya, and 
= Modern Review (Allahabad), vol. ii, p. 107. Sriyut M. V. Durandhar. The prints are too rough 
' Thirty-five of Ravi-varma's pictures are repro- for reproduction, courteously permitted by the editor, 
duced in an illustrated collection of Hindi poems, A list of Ravi-varma's worlds and an enthusiastic 
entitled Kavitd Kaldp (Allahabad, 1909), edited by appreciation of his art will be found in V. Nazam 
Mr. Mahavira Prasada Dirvedi, and shown to me Aiya, Travancore Manual, vol. iii, p. 263, a corn- 
by Dr. Grierson. That book also contains prints pilation which is a ricii mine of information, 
of pictures in a similar style by Braj Bhushan Rai 

Y y 2 


II. TJic Boiirali Nationalist School. 

' The work of the modern school of Indian painters in Calcutta,' Dr. Coomara- 
swamy writes, ' is a phase of the National reawakening. Whereas the ambition of 
the nineteenth-century reformers had been to make India like England, that of the 
later workers has been to bring back or create a state of society in which the ideals 
expressed and implied in Indian culture shall be more nearly realized.' 

This new movement on the art side has been enthusiastically supported by 
y\.r. E. B. Havell, late Principal of the Calcutta School of Art, who felt keenly the 
futility of training Bengali students on purely foreign methods, alien to their nature, 
and sought to turn their attention to the productions of the Indo-Persian and 
eighteenth-century Hindu schools as being more expressive of Indian ideals. With 
some difficulty Mr. Havell persuaded the authorities to let him have his way, and 
replace a collection of poor European works by a choice selection of Indian paintings. 
He found in Mr. Abanindro Nath Tagore, now Vice-Principal of the School of Art, 
a willing coadjutor, and a painter of considerable power. Mr. Havell recognized in 
his colleague a real artist 'who has come to pick up the broken threads of Indian 
pictorial tradition', and credited him with 'giving us a true interpretation of Indian 
spirituality, and an insight into that higher world, the fairy land of Eastern poetry 
and romance, which Eastern thought has suecrested '.^ 

The critic proceeds to say that 

' if neither Mr. Tagore nor his pupils have yet altogether attained to the splendid 
technique of the old Indian painters, they have certainly revived the spirit of Indian 
art, and besides, as every true artist will, invested their work with a charm distinc- 
tively their own. For their work is an indication of that happy blending of Eastern 
and Western thought, from the full realization of which humanity has so much 
to gain.' 

These rather large claims are founded on a series of small works described in 
the Studio as 'water-colour drawings', and very far indeed from having 'attained to 
the splendid technique of the old Indian painters ', which they do not attempt to rival. 
The more sober criticism of Dr. Coomaraswamy is more closely in accordance with 
the facts. 

'The subjects chosen by the Calcutta painters,' he observes, 'are taken from 
Indian history, romance, and epic, and from the mythology and religious literature 
and legends, as well as from the life of the people around them. Their significance 
lies in their distinctive " Indianness ". They are, however, by no means free from 
European and Japanese influence. The work is full of refinement and subtlety in 
colour, and of a deep love of all things Indian ; but, contrasted with the Ajanta and 
Mughal and Rajput paintings which have in part inspired it, it is frequently lacking 
m strength. The work should be considered as a promise rather than a fulfilment. 
So regarded, it has very great significance for the future of Indian Art.' - 

Mr. Roger Fry holds a poor opinion of the work of the modern artists. ' Such 

' Indian Sculpture and Painting, pp. 256, 257. 

- Catalogue 0/ the Indian Court, Festival 0/ Empire, 191 r, p. 106. 




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Plate LXXII. The exiled Yaksha, by Abanindro Nath Tagore. 
(Photo, by Dr. A. K. Coomaraswamy.) 


pictures as that of " The Sidclhas of the Upper Air ",' he observes, ' show that, however 
anxiously these artists strive to adopt the formulae of their ancestors, the spirit that 
comes to expression is that of the American magazine illustrator. Nothing, indeed, 
could provide a stronger proof of the profound corruption which contact with European 
ideas has created in Oriental taste than these well-intentioned but regrettable 
drawings.' ' 

The leader of the school, Mr. Abanindro Nath Tagore, began as a painter in 
oils, after the European fashion, but soon abandoned the oils medium, and devoted 
himself to the ' water-colour drawings '. Many works by him and his pupils have 
been exhibited at meetings of Societies in London, and reproduced in Mr. Havell's 
book or in periodicals. One specimen, therefore, may suffice — the picture of the 
' Exiled Yaksha ', or demigod, an illustration of a passage in Kalidasa's poem, the 
Mcg/iadilia, or ' Cloud Messenger', by Mr. Tagore (PL LXXII). Another good pic- 
ture is ' The Flight of Lakshman Sen ' by the late Mr. Surendra Nath Gangooly 
(Mr. Havell's PI. LXXVIII). Other pupils of Mr. Tagore deserving mention are 
Nanda Lal Bose, Ishwari Parshad, a descendant of hereditary painters at Patna, 
Gogonendra Nath Tagore, brother of Abanindro Nath, Asit Kumar Haldar, and 
Hakim Muhammad Khan.^ 

All well-wishers to India will join in the hope that the promise shown by this 
new Bengali school may lead to something more important than the works hitherto 
produced. Probably all critics will agree that nothing of high worth can be created 
by men who merely seek to imitate foreign models. If modern India is to evolve 
a new art of her own it must have its roots in the Indian past and appeal to Indian 
sentiment. ' L'art dans I'lnde sera indien, ou il ne sera pas ' " ; but ' to be, or not to 
be, that is the question ' which at present no man can ansAver. 

' Qiiarl. Jic'Z'., 1910, p. 237. Sculplure and Painting, PI. LXXIII-LXXVIII. 

-See Studio for 1902, 1905, 1908; iModiTn ^ M. \e comie Go\)\ct A'KWkW&.Cc que Flndc doit 

Pivuw (Allahabad), iMay, 1907; Havell, Indian « /iz G/w (Paris, 1897), p. 94. 



Several classes of Hindu minor works of art, which cannot properly be treated Classifica- 
under the major heads of sculpture and painting, demand notice, and may be ''°"' 
grouped together conveniently in a single chapter. Strict chronological arrangement 
being impracticable, the selected objects are classified, chiefly with regard to material, 
under the heads of (i) coinage ; (2) gems, seals, and jade ; (3) jewellery ; (4) reliquaries 
and gold images ; (5) sAv(tx paterae and bowls ; (6) copper vessels ; (7) wood-carving ; 
(8) ivories ; (9) terra-cottas and clay figures. Merely a small selection of specially 
interesting artistic works is offered, no attempt being made to discuss generally the 
industrial arts. 

Section I. Coinage. 

The early punch-marked and cast indigenous coins of India make no pretence to Numis- 
artistic excellence. Regular double-die coinage with royal portraits and legends '"^ "^ ^^ ' 
recording kingly names and titles was an importation from Europe which never 
became thoroughly acclimatized. The brilliant realistic portrait dies of Eukratides 
and other Indo-Greek rulers on the north-western frontier between 200 and 100 b. c, 
never successfully imitated by Hindu die-cutters, cannot be claimed as the production 
of Indian artists. Fergusson's proposition that the history of Indian art is ' written in 
decay' is absolutely true in the numismatic field, all Indian attempts to carry on 
Hellenistic tradition in coin types being failures. For some reason or other the 
foreign practice of cutting well-designed coin dies did not interest the artists of India, 
who never produced even one coin of high merit. 

Thefew tolerably good specimens are collected in PlateLXXIII. They belong to Kushan 
two periods, that of the foreign Kushan or Indo-Scythian sovereigns about a. d. 100, 
and that of the earlier kings of the native Gupta dynasty in the fourth century. 

Figs. I and 2 are gold coins of the Indo-Scythian king, Wima or Hima, commonly 
called Kadphises II, who conquered the Panjab at some time in the first century of 
the Christian era. They show a fairly successful attempt at realistic portraiture. 
The reverse bears the purely Indian device of Siva and his bull. 

Figs. 3 and 4, which seem to be authentic, recognizable portraits of the great 
Kanishka (? a. d. 78 to 123), are curiously superior in design and execution to the 
contemporary effigy on the Peshawar reliquary {post, p. 358). Figs. 5 and 6 similarly 
give distinctive portraits of Huvishka, the second successor, and probably son of 
Kanishka. The later Kushan coinage is barbarous or semi-barbarous. 

352 HINDU MINOR ARTS chap, x 

A temporary revival in the die-cutter's art, obviously based on European models, 
took place in the reigns of the earlier Gupta kings of the fourth century, whose best 
efforts are shown in Fig. 7, the Tiger type of Samudra-gupta ; Fig. 8, the Archer 
type of the same king; and Fig. 9, the unique Retreating Lion type of his son and 
successor, Chandra-gupta II. This last is the best coin ever struck by a native 
Indian sovereign. ^ Many of the coins of Chandra-gupta II are quite barbarous. 
After A. D. 400 no Hindu coin is worthy of mention in a history of art. 

Section II. Gems, Seals, and Jade. 

The allied art of engraving gems and seals with artistic designs equally failed to 
attract Indian taste, although the lapidaries of India were unsurpassed in manual skill 
and had models of the highest class before their e)'es in the numerous Greek gems 
imported.- Gems and seals of Hindu origin are sufficiently common, but very few can 
claim any considerable degree of artistic excellence. From the British Museum 
collection I was able to select only three trifling examples, of slight merit, as repro- 
duced in Plate LXXIII. Fig. 10 represents in chalcedony a lion, with the symbols of 
Taxila, as seen on the coins of that city. Fig. 1 1 exhibits on a seal of green schist 
the device of a king on an elephant receiving a wreath from a Victory ; and Fig. 12, 
with a conventional lion, is photographed from an ancient clay impression of a seal 
presumably bronze, like two closely related seals also in the British Museum. The 
legend is Sri Siirya-initrasya, ' [the seal] of Sri Surya-mitra.' ■■ 

A few other more or less artistic Indian seals are recorded, some of which were 
excavated from stupas in Afghanistan. One of the most remarkable specimens of such 
seals is that figured in Ariana Antigua, PI. I, 7, an oval sard engraved with two 
figures squatted in the Indian manner, and interpreted as Krishna and Radha, but 
more likely to be Buddhist. Several Indian gems, including three with representations 
of the Indian humped bull or cow, have been described and engraved by Raspe.'* 

I cannot trace a wonderful object briefly described by Mr. King — a sardonyx of 
great intrinsic value, six inches in height and width, and nearly the same in thickness, 
engraved with a representation of Buddha seated in a cave, surrounded by numerous 
attributes, and all cut with marvellous skill.« The subject evidently was the visit of 
Indra, as treated in the Gandhara and Mathura sculpture {ante, Figs. 51, 60). The late 
General Pearse's rich collection of gems and seals, recently bought by the Government 

" The coins figured in PI. LXXIII are: (i) Kad- the Retreaiing Lion type has been discovered 

phises II (Wima), obv., not in Catalogue; (2) the recentlv. 

same, obv, Gardner, Catal. of Greek and Scylhic ^ ^ox the Sanskrit treatises on gems, see Finot, 

Kings, V\. XXN ,% ; (3) Kanishka, obv., ibid., \.., Les Lapidaires indiens,^^^, \i^b. 
PI. XXVI, 16 (in text 17, by mistake); (4) the » Published by Mr. Rapson in/. R. A. S., 1901, 

same, obv., ibid., PL XXVI, 15 (16 m text); p. 104, Fig. 7. 

(5) Huvishka, obv., ibid., PI. XXVII, 9; (6) the * a' Deuripiive Catalogue of Engraved Gems, 

same, obv., ibid., PL XXVIJI, g; (7) Samudra- London, 2 vols., 410, 1791, PI. XIII. 
gupta. Tiger type, B.M. Eden; (8) the same, " Antique Gems and Rmgs,l.onAon, i?,-;2, \^.?>;. 

Archer type, obv., B.W. Eden ; (9) Chandra-gupta, The object is said to have come from a stUpa. Mr. 

B.I\I. All the coins are gold. Another variety of King did not name the owner. 

Plate LXXIII. Hindu Coins and Seals in British Museum, and jewellery. 

Z z 


of India is not yet available for study, and I am unable to offer any other instances 
of truly Indian gems or seals deserving of notice for their artistic qualities. Mr. 
Parker' has published a remarkable large intaglio seal obtained from the very early 
Yatthala da<^aba in Cevlon, which he believes to have been made m India in the third 
century b c The subject is a king seated on a peculiar basket-work chair, with 
a 'rustic' back of curved rods. The gem (o-8" x 0-64") evidently was a royal 
sio-net put into the relic chamber in honour of the relics.^ 

^ The unsurpassed skill of the Hindu lapidaries in working the most refractory 
stones is best exemplified by the great jade (or ? jadeite) tortoise, found many years 
ago in the bank of the jumna near Allahabad, and now exhibited in the British 
Museum Room IV. It is i-,\ inches long, and must be one of the largest known 
works of art in jade (Plate LXXIV, Fig. A). Mr. King observes that ' for fidelity to 
nature and exquisite finish ' it is ' worthy of the ancient Greeks '. The tortoise plays 
a prominent part in Hindu mythology, and we shall presently notice an exquisite 
example of the treatment of the subject in ivory. 

Section III. Jewellery. 
The prevalence in India of the practice of cremation deprives the archaeologist 
of the chance of obtaining the rich sepulchral deposits so abundant in other countries, 
and the frequent catastrophes to which nearly every Indian town of importance has 
been subject have involved the destruction of countless hoards of private wealth. 
Ancient jewellery of intrinsic value is consequently very rarely found in India. The 
few examples known are believed to have all come from the relic chambers oi stupas 
or Mi^adas, in which it was customary to deposit valuables at the time of dedication, 
in honour of the relics. The most artistic specimens extant are a pair of pendants 
bought, with other minor articles, from a dealer at Rawal Pindl, and alleged to come 
from the site of Taxila, but conjectured by Mr. Marshall to be part of a hoard found 
in the Yusufzai subdivision of the Peshawar District, and to date from the third century 
of the Christian era. The better preserved pendant is reproduced in Plate LXXIII, 
Fig- 13- 

'Thelower half of the ornament consists of a fanciful design, on either side of which 

is an infant Eros ridinor on a winoed sea-lion,wIth four chains and bells suspended beneath 

him. . . . The Erotes and sea-monsters appear to have been cast in a mould, and 

afterwards chased with a graver's tool ; the hair of the boys is very carefully worked, 

and falls on their shoulders in a natural row of ringlets. Their wings, and the wings 

and ears of the monsters, both front and back, were inlaid with paste, a fragment of 

which, of blue-green colour, still remains in one of the ears. A very similar figure of 

a boy riding on a sea-lion, but without wings, occurs on a golden plaque discovered 

with a great many other relics on the northern bank of the Oxus in ancient Persia 

[and now in the British Museum]. ... As to the influences traceable in the designs 

and technique of these articles of jewellery, the seemingly Western features which they 

exhibit . . . are the Erotes riding on sea-lions, the granulated decoration, and the 

clusters of gold drops; while the Eastern and Indian elements are discernible in the 

^ Ancient Ceylon, p. 494, Fig. 156. 


incrustate gems, the pendant chains and bells, the shlpa-Yike design of the medallion, 
Fig. 3 [not reproduced], and perhaps also in the floral ;;/^/z/of the upper portion of 
Figs. I and 2 [the pendants].' 

The ornaments presenting this hybrid character may be presumed to be of Indian 
workmanship, designed in accordance with the principles of the widely diffused art of 
Western Asia.^ 

The Hindus, as Mr. King observes, were among the earliest of mankind to attain i 
to mechanical perfection and facility in the treatment of the hardest stones, executing | 
with facility many operations which would baffle the skill of the most expert modern 
lapidary ; such as boring fine holes with the greatest precision, not merely through the 
sardonyx, but even through the sapphire and ruby." The components of the broken 
jewellery deposited with the relics of Buddha in the very ancient Piprawa and Bhat- 
tiprolu stiipas include many examples of minute leaves and other pretty trifles wrought 
in various hard stones with the most exquisite dellcac}'. All considerable collections 
of Indian antiquities comprise numerous specimens of pierced beads made of various 
precious and semi-precious stones, which display the complete mastery of the old 
craftsmen over the most difficult materials.^ 

Section IV. Reliquaries and Gold Images. 

Numerous reliquaries or caskets — made of various materials, gold, silver, bronze, r 
rock-crystal, &c. — have been excavated from stiipas In India and the neighbouring I 
countries. Most of these, while of high archaeological Interest, are of little account r 
as works of art. One such may be briefly noticed because of the testimony borne by 
its contents to the disputed date of Kanishka, a matter which I have been obliged to 
touch on more than once. The reliquary referred to was found In the Ahin Posh 
tope or stupa at Jalalabad in the valley of the Kabul river, and Is now In the Gem 
Room of the British Museum. It is simply a plain octagonal cylinder (If the expression 
be allowable) with a knob at each end set with green stones and almandine garnets. 
It contained one coin of Kanishka and one of Kadphlses II (WIma). Lying around 
it were fourteen other coins of the same kings, with one piece of Huvishka, the 
successor of Kanishka, and one each of Domltian (a.d. 81-96), Trajan (a.d. 98-117), 
and Sabina Augusta, wife of Hadrian (a.d. 117-138). These facts plainly suggest, 
although they do not absolutely demonstrate, that Huvishka, the latest of the three 
Indian kings, must have been the builder of the stupa and the contemporary of Hadrian. 
That natural inference is strongly confirmed by the additional facts that the single 
coin of Huvishka was in good condition, whereas some of the coins of his immediate 
predecessor, Kanishka, were 'much worn', and those of Kadphlses II were 'very 

^ Marshall, 'Buddhist Gold Jewellery ' {Ann.Rep. "- \\Xwg,Antique Gems and Rings {i%T2),y>y>. 86,87. 

A. S., India, 1902-3, pp. 185-94, PI. XXVIII). ' For Piprawa, see /. R. A. S., 1898, p. 573 

For ' Indian Jewellery ' generally, see the exhaustive and plate. For Bhattiprolu, see Rea, South Indian 

treatise by Col. Hendley, C. I. E., in/. Ind. Art, Buddhist Antiquities, vol. xv of A. S. Rep., New 

vol. xiii, fully illustrated. Imp. Series. 

Z z 2 

356 HINDU MINOR ARTS chap, x 

much worn ' ; while the one coin of Sabina Augusta was ' considerably worn '. In all 
probability, therefore, the coins were deposited not earlier than a.d. 130, Sabina 
having assumed the title of Augusta in 1 1 7. This evidence, not noticed or considered 
by Mr. R. D. Banerji, harmonizes so well with his view, based on inscriptions, that 
Huvishka reigned alone from a.d. 123 to 140, Kanishka having died in the former 
year, that at present I accept that theory of the chronology.-" The dates to be assigned 
to the sculptures discussed in Chapters IV and V^of this work depend in large measure 
on the date of Kanishka. 

Two relicjuaries, namely, that from the Bimaran siftpa in the British Museum 
and that from Kanishka's slfipa, lately discovered at Peshawar, can fairly claim rank 
as works of art, and are of considerable importance in the artistic history of India. 

The first-named casket, found long ago by Masson in the foundation deposit 
of No. 2 Bimaran siilpa to the north of the road between Kabul and Jalalabad, and 
now in the British Museum, was associated with freshly minted coins of Azes I, and may, 
therefore, be dated about the beginning of the Christian era, or rather earlier. It is 
made of pure gold, about 2-^- inches high, and 2 inches in diameter, studded with rubies, 
and adorned with repousse Buddhist figures and decorative designs (Plate LXXIV, 
Fig. B). Both the upper and lower rims are studded with balds rubies, separated by a 
four-petalled ornament of the kind known as sri-vatsa. The circumference between 
the jewelled lines is divided into eight niches, which enclose four distinct figures, each 
repeated. Flat pilasters with sunken panels separate the niches, which are crowned 
by arches, circular below and pointed above. The interspaces, or spandrils, are filled 
up by cranes with outstretched wings. All the details are finely executed, and the 
whole composition takes high rank as a specimen of ancient goldsmith's work. The 
four distinct figures are (i) Buddha in the attitude of benediction; (2) lay follower, 
with his hands clasped in adoration ; (3) a male ascetic, with twisted hair and a water- 
pot in his hand ; and (4) a female disciple, praying. Nos. 2 and 4 are shown in the 
photograph. M. Foucher's engraving shows Nos. i, 3, 4. Birdwood's figure places 
No. 3 in the centre, with No. 2 on the proper right and No. i on the proper left. The 
style bears a general resemblance to that of the earlier Gandhara sculptures, with the 
important difference that the quasi-Corinthian capital, characteristic of Gandharan art, 
is absent. The form of the arches also is not exactly the same as that of any 
Gandharan sculpture known to me, and I think that the reliquary may be regarded as 
a precursor of the Gandhara school. ^ 

The little gold statuette of Buddha in the British Museum (Plate LXXIV, Fig. C) 
evidently must havecome, like the casket, from a shipa deposit. Small gold or silver 

' For the coins, &c., see Proc. A. S. B., 1879, in Ariana Antiqua, p. 53, PL III, and Foucher, 

pp. 77, 209, 212, PI. n, III, XI. A fragment of a L'Arl gre'co-bouddhique du Gandhara, p. 51, Fig. 7; 

Roman Ionic capital was obtained from the sliipa, and also by Birdwood, Industrial Arts of India, 

as well as Corinthian capitals. In India proper PI. I. An open lotus is neatly incised on the bottom. 

Vasishka intervened between Kanishka and Hu- The pilasters of the tope or j/«/a were plain, quasi- 

vishka, but the latter probably succeeded Kanishka Doric, with arches enclosed in double lines of 

directly as Emperor. mouldings, a clear indication of early age. 

- The casket or reliquary is described and engraved 

Fig. a. Ancient Jade Tortoise, British Museum ; lyi in. long, 
(From a plioto.) 



Fig. B. Bimaran gold reliquary, British Museum. 
(Full size, from a photo.) 

Fig. C. Gold Buddha, British Museum. 
(Full size, from a photo.) 

Plate LXXIV. Jade and gold objects. 



images of Buddha have been frequently enshrined in the ddi^abas of Ceylon.^ Although 
the feet of the British INIuseum statuette are coarsely executed, the figure and hands 
are fairly well modelled. The style suggests the Gupta period, about a.d. 500. 

The second casket or reliquary claiming special notice, that recently excavated 
from the ruins of Kanishka's huge stfipa at Peshawar, is of equal artistic and still 
crreater historical interest. The material is an alloy of copper, which seems to have 
been o-ilt. The circular, /j'.r/^-shaped, main body is nearly five inches in diameter and 
four inches in height, the total height, including the figures on the lid, being about 
7i inches (1S7 mm.). Mr. Marshall's description is as follows : — 

'The lid, which is slightly curved and incised to represent a full-blown lotus, sup- 
ports three figures in the round ; a seated Buddha in the centre, and a Bodhisattva 
on each side. "^ The edge of the lid is further adorned by a frieze, in low relief, of fly- 
ing geese bearing wreaths in their beaks ; while below, on the body of the vase, is an 
elaborate design'^in high relief of young Erotes bearing a continuous garland, in the 
undulations of which are seated Buddha-figures and attendant worshippers leaning 
towards them out of the background. But the chief and central figure on the casket 
is that of the Emperor Kanishka himself, standing erect with a winged celestial being 
bearing a wreath on either side. The figure of the Emperor is easily recognizable 
from his coins, but the identity is further proved by the inscriptions on the casket. 
These are in Kharoshthi and are four in number, punctured in dots in the leaves of 
the lotus on the top and on the background between the geese and other figures 
on the sides ' (Plate LXXV, Figs. A and B). 

From the point of view of the historian of art the most interesting of the four 
inscriptions is that which records the Greek name of Kanishka's ' Superintending 
Engineer'. The words are: — 'The servant, Agisala (Agesilaos), the overseer of 
works at Kanishka's vihara. in the monastery {sangharama) of Mahasena '. Indian 
inscriptions, apart from coin legends, present only two other Greek names. Kanishka's 
coin legends are in Greek characters, a fact which indicates that Greek was well known 
at his court. 

The surprisingly coarse style of the decoration is cited by Mr. Marshall and 
Dr. Spooner as convincing proof that in the time of Kanishka Indo-Hellenistic art was 
already decadent, and that consequently all the Gandhara sculpture of good quality 
must be anterior to Kanishka.- I cannot accept those inferences. The low standard of 
execution of the repousse figures on the casket must be admitted, but established facts 
negative the opinion that art was generally decadent in the days of Kanishka. His 
best gold coins are far superior to the work of the casket {ante, p. 351), and the Sanghao 
sculptures, certainly executed in his reign, are among the better productions of the 
Gandhara school, although not, perhaps, of the highest class {ante. Fig. 70). There is 
no doubt that many excellent sculptures at Mathura and elsewhere must be referred 
to the reigns of Kanishka and his successor Huvishka, as Cunningham showed long 
ago {ante, 1^1^. 99, 126, 131, 132, 148). Whatever be the correct explanation of the 

^ Ind. Ant., xiii, 15. Specimens are in the Colombo Museum. 
' /. R. A. S., 1909, pp. 1056-60, PI. II. 


^ 6 




















. . 



















1 — 1 


















^ — N 


























inferior st) le of the Peshawar reliquary, it cannot be that advanced by the Director- 
General of Archaeology in India. It may simply be that Kanishka did not command 
the services of any artist good at repousse work. The geese in low relief are not bad. 
The date of the work may be taken as a.d. 100 in round numbers. The walls of 
the s/ilpa were decorated with rows of Buddha-figures in relief, separated by Coriti- 
thian pillars in stucco, a clear proof that the building dates from the time of the 
Roman Empire. The earlier Bimaran stupa had not Corinthian pillars. 

Section V. Silver Paterae and Bowls. 
The Badakshan silver patera, representing the triumph of Dionysus or Bacchus, 
now in the British Museum, was acquired in 1838 by Dr. Perceval Lord from 
Atmaram of Kunduz, by whom it had been bought from the Mirs of Badakshan, who 
claim the honour of descent from Alexander the Great. The dimensions are- 
diameter 8^ in., depth if in,, and thickness from i^ to \ inch. The weight is 
29 oz. 5 dwt. Troy (Plate LXXV'I). Sir George Birdwood's careful description of 
the design may be quoted : — 

' It represents in high relief, with all the usual adjuncts of classical mythology, 
the procession of Dionysus. The god himself sits in a car drawn by two harnessed 
females, with a drinking-cup in his extended right hand, and his left arm resting 
on the carved elbow of the seat on which he reclines, or it may be on the shoulder of 
Ariadne. In front of the car stands a winged Eros holding a wine-jug in his left 
hand, and brandishing in his right a fillet, the other end of which is held by a flying 
Eros. A third Eros is pushing the wheel of the carriage, behind which follows the 
dancing Heracles, recognized by the club and panther's skin. Over all is a rude and 
highly conventionalized representation of a clustering vine ; and in the lower exergue 
a panther is seen pressing its head into a wine-jar, placed between the representations 
of some tree ; possibly the pomegranate, arranged symmetrically on either side of it. 
The figures, which show traces of oilding, are all encrusted on the surface of the 
patera, and the heads of the Dionysus and Heracles are both wanting.' 

The st)le of art is clearly an Asiatic degradation of a Greek motive, and it is 
possible that the work may have been executed in India. The authorities of the 
British Museum probably are not far wrong in suggesting that the date may be about 
a. d. 200.' 

A somewhat similar Bacchic subject is represented in a mmtilated relief from 
Gandhara, now preserved in the Lahore Museum, concerning which M. Foucher 
writes : — 

' Nous y reconnaissons au passage la plupart des figurants habituels du cortege 
de Bacchus, tout comme s'il les avait oublies derriere lui, a son retour de I'lnde, dans 
la lointaine vallee oil la tradition plaoait la fameuse Nysa et qui est encore celebre 
aujourd'hui pour ses raisins magnifiques.' - 

' Badakshan is a mountainous region lying to the Roy. Soc. Liter., vol. xi, N. S. ; by Prinsep, Trans. 

north of the Hindu Rush range between 36° and zf A. S. B., vol. vii ; by Burnes, Cabool (1843) ; and 

N. lat., and 70° and 71° E. long. The patera has by Sir H, Yule, Marco Polo, 2nd ed. 

been described and figured by Sir George Birdwood, ^ LArt grelo-boiidd/wjue du Gandhara, p. 246, 

Industrial Arts 0/ India, p. 148, PI. II; and Trans. Fig. 129. 

' r,«^. ."* ^t A i ", ■- « v.i\^, ! ;*^>^.xs:*'r-iS.tii::ii^-^. 

Plate LXXVI. The Badakshan patera, ' Triumph of Bacchus ' 
(British IMuseum; from a photo.) 

362 HINDU MINOR ARTS chap, x 

A second object of the same class, but probably slightly later in date, and 
thoroughly Indian in subject and style, may be designated the Tank patera, having 
been found in August, 1S92, near Buddhaghara, about four miles west of Tank, 
the ancient capital of the Dera Ismail Khan District, N.W. Frontier Province. 
Mr. Longworth Dames, I.C.S., acquired it and presented it to the British Museum in 
1897 (PI. LXXVII, Fig. A). The material is silver, apparently alloyed with copper ; 
the diameter is 9I inches, and the device is rcpoiissc'. The wide margin is decorated 
with radiating wavy flutes, such as are often seen on modern English crockery. 

The central design represents a man drinking, waited on by a woman, who offers 
him a goblet with her left and a wreath with her right hand. The man wears no 
clothing except buskins with turned-up toes and a waistcloth, dropped so as to expose 
his person. He is squatted on the ground drinking from a horn {rhyion) held in his 
right hand, while his left hand grasps the neck of a full skin of wine resting against 
his left thigh. He has a moustache and bushy hair, and is crowned Vvfith vine-leaves 
and grapes. Even his ear-rings are grapes, while he and his attendant are encircled 
by a thick-stemmed vine loaded with fruit. His ornaments are armlets and a torque.^ 

This carousing personage has been described as the ' Indian Bacchus'. He seems 
to me to be intended for a Yaksha, one of the semi-human sprites who played so 
large a part in ancient popular Buddhism. His action in allowing his waistcloth to 
fall is exactly the same as that of the winged Yaksha in a Gandhara relief, and many 
sculptures from both Gandhara and M^thura. {ante, pp. 134-9) are concerned with the 
representation of hard drinking. Mr. Growse long ago pointed out that a debased, 
licentious form of Buddhism 'would seem to have been very popular at Mathura'. 
1 he textbook of this school is a Sanskrit composition entitled Tathagata Guhyaka, 
or Gii/iya samagha, first brought to notice by Rajendralala Mitra, which is described 
as havmg all the characteristics of the worst Hindu Tantras, and yet as being a work 
to which worship is still constantly offered by the Buddhists of Nepal. The Tank 
patera, I think, was used by votaries of some similar ancient form of villany, posing 
as Buddhist religion. - 

A third work of art in silver, obtained somewhere in Northern India, which maybe 
called the Indo-Persian bowl (PI. LXXVII, Fig. B), is of special interest because of its 
apparent connexion with the paintings of Persians in Cave I at Ajanta (ante, p. 291, 
Fig 210). It is a deep hemispherical bowl, 5-35 inches (13-5 cm.) in diameter, solidly 
wrought in silver, with the design chased in low relief on a gilt background. The 
exterior is ornamented with five medallions, each containing a male bust, the inter- 
spaces being filled by floral scrolls. The persons represented are all dressed alike in 
tunics and mantles fastened by the ends round the neck. They wear conical caps tied 
behmd with ribbons and ear-rings with double pendants. The hair of the head is long, 
gathered up under the cap, and appearing outside it. Two of the men have pointed 

' Described, ^vith full-size plate, by Mr. C.H. Read Gandhara Sculptures, Pi. XXIV = PI XXVI of 

in Archaeolog^a.oV Iv (1897), pp. 534-6- / /. A. I., July, 1898. Compare Foucher, ./. al., 

- Growse, Mathurd, a District Memoir, 3rd ed. p. 248. " 
(1883), p. 170. For the Yaksha, see Burgess, 

Fig. a. The Tank silver patera ; ? a Yaksha. 
(British Museum, from a photo.) 


Fig. B. Indo-Persian bowk 
(British Museum, from a photo.) 

Plate LXXVII. Silver articles. 

.^ A 2 



beards the others, as in the medallion figured, are beardless. The bowl has not the 
conical form of the cups depicted at Ajanta, but the general resemblance of the figures 
to those >f the Persians in Cave I at Ajanta is so strong that the work may be 
referred with some confidence to approximately the same period as the paintings, 
somewhere about a. u. 600. The bowl may have been made in either India or Persia.' 

Section VI. Copper Vessels. 

The Gundla Although domestic utensils of copper, bronze, or other alloys of copper have 

en-raved bgen used in India from time immemorial, ancient examples are extremely rare. The 
''"■''''■ most noteworthy is the copper water-pot {tola) discovered in 1857 in a chamber in 

a Buddhist building, apparently a stfipa, at Gundla (Kundlah) in the Kullu subdivision 
of the Kangra District, Panjab. The vessel, quite ordinary in form, is remarkable 
for the band of engraving carried round the body, which represents a prince, appa- 
rendy Gautama Buddha as Prince Siddhartha, riding in a four-horsed chariot preceded 
by musicians and followed by horsemen and an elephant with a rider. The style 
closely resembles that of the early sculptures at Bharhut, Sanchi, and Bhaja, and the 
approximate date of 100 i;. c. may be assigned to the work. The date, a. d. 200-300, 
suggested by Sir G. Birdwood and entered on the label on the reproduction at 
South Kensington is much too late. The original is in the British Museum. - 

Section VII. Wood-Carvikg. 

Hirrh The art of wood-carving in India unquestionably goes back to time immemorial, 

quality of \^^x. specimens of works of ancient date executed in a material which is specially 
wood- perishable in a country infested by white ants and other destructive pests, naturally 

carving. must be exceedingly rare. The oldest extant examples of considerable artistic merit 
probably are the weird carvings from Kashmlr-Smats. The most beautiful are the 
exquisite modern sandalwood relief pictures of Mysore and Travancore, which display 
exact observation of nature, pleasing fancy, and admirable composition, in addition to 
high manual skill. In Avood-carving the roughl)-drawn division between works of 
fine art and the productions of industrial art almost disappears, and, if space per- 
mitted, examples of beautiful artistic compositions in both India and Ceylon might 
be multiplied indefinitely. It is not practicable for me to give more than a few 
illustrations of Indian pieces which appear to deserve prominence for one reason or 
Kashmir- The only wooden carvings ever found in the Yusufzai country were discovered in 

1888 by the late Sir Harold Deane burled in guano on the floor of a huge, mysterious 
cavern named Kashmir-Smats, containing several chambers and galleries. The carved 
plaques (Plates LXXVIII, LXXIX) were ' in excellent preservation, though blackened 
with age '. It is not easy to determine their date. The form of the trefoil arch and the 

' Fully described and illustrated by Mr. O. Dalton ^ Described and figured by Birdwood, Industrial 

\n The Treasure of the Oxus and other Objects from Arts of India, p. 154, PI. XII; Burgess,^. S. 

Persia and India (B. M., igo^). PF. /., vol. iv, p. 6. 



trj HH 






cornice suggest the eighth centur)-, but they may be older. Both designs are con- 
ceived in a spirit of mockery which baffles explanation. The subject of No. 1026 
(Plate LXXMII), a skeleton figure posturing to the music of a demoniac band, suggests 
a burlesque of the Dancing Siva (Natesa), but why such a sacred composition should 
be burlesqued is a mystery. I cannot make any guess concerning the intention 
of No. 1027 (Plate LXXIX), which represents a demon figure receiving with con- 
temptuous gesture a young man who carries an earthen pot suspended from the fingers 
of his left hand. Although the carvings have been already published to a certain 
extent in Ancient Monuments, edited by Dr. Burgess, they are little known, and it 
is possible that wider publicity may elicit satisfactory explanation of their meaning. 
From the artistic point of view both groups deserve high praise for their originality, 
grim humour, and bold modelling.^ 

The Chamba State, a small principality situated among the lower Himalayan 
ranges between Kashmir territory and the British Districts of Kangra and Gurdaspur, 
is rich in temples and inscriptions going back to the seventh century of the Christian 
era. The antiquities of the State, already partially described in the Annual Reports 
of the Archaeological Survey, will form the subject of a special work in three volumes, 
upon which Dr. \'ogel is engaged.'- The temples contain much excellent wood-carv- 
ing. Out of several photographs kindly supplied by Dr. Vogel I have space for 
one only, a fine frieze from the ceiling of the temple of Kail at Mirkula or Udaypur 
(Plate LXXX). Dr. Vogel believes its date to be much later than \. d. 700, but the 
wigs, or wig-like hairdressing, worn by the little demons (gana) in the lower band of 
the frieze suggest a possibility that the work may be as early as the seventh century. 
The principal figures, the male god with sixteen arms, and the female with ten, are 
presumably Siva and Parvatl. A small bull {nandi) stands near the god's right foot. 
The carving is clever and spirited, and the general effect decorative, notwithstanding 
the grotesqueness of the design. But for the wigs I should be inclined to suggest the 
ninth or tenth century as the date. The style is so local that extensive special 
experience is needed to estimate the age of specimens with any confidence. 

Works of art dedicated to the service of the Christian religion are necessarily 
rare in India. A wooden panel in the Roman Catholic Church at the old Danish 
settlement of Tranquebar, dating apparently from the seventeenth century or the 
early part of the eighteenth, evidently is the work of local carvers, copied from some 
old picture of the Descent from the Cross, which cannot be identified (PL LXXXI). 
Another panel preserved in a side room of the Protestant Church at the same settle- 
ment, which appears to have been built in 1718, represents the Last Supper in 
a German or Scandinavian style, and probably was imported ready made (Photo. 
No. 1205, Madras).-'' 

^ The cave was described, with a plan, by Deane 0/ the Bhuri Singh Museum at Chamba (Calcutta, 

in/. R. A. S., 1896, pp. 668-71. The remains of Baptist Mission Press, 1909). 

a wooden coffin were found in it. The carvings " These opinions are in accordance with 'the 

were made over to Dr. Burgess and by him de- judgement of C. F. Bell, Esq., Keeper of the Fine 

posited in the British Museum. Art Dept., University Galleries, Oxford. 

^ See also the same author's scholarly Catalogue 
















Plate LXXXI. Descent from the Cross ; wooden panel in R.-C. church, Tranquebar, 

Tanjore District, Madras. 

(Photo. No. 1206, A. S., IMadras.) 
.^ B 

370 HINDU MINOR ARTS chap, x 

The modern craftsmen of many localities in India produce highly ornamental 
carved work in various styles. That of Mysore and Travancore rises to the level of 
fine art in the best examples, which are wrought in sandalwood with the utmost 
freedom of fanc)' and beauty of execution. Sir George Birdwood [Indush'ial Arts, 
p. 217) mentions a little cabinet, exhibited by Major Puckle in the Annual Inter- 
national Exhibition of 1871, as being the most beautiful example of Mysore sandal- 
wood carving ever shown in England. The subjects illustrated were mythological. 
Sir George Watt describes and reproduces as ' one of the most perfect examples 
of sandalwood ever produced ' a pierced panel intended as a spandril for a doorway 
in the new palace at Mysore, the stone sculptures of which have been noticed in 
Chapter VII of this work. The panel depicts the incident in the life of the youthful 
Krishna when he stole the clothes of the Gopis while they were bathing, and carried 
the garments up into a tree. The basal frieze with its procession of homing cattle is 
delightful. The whole work is admirably composed, being symmetrical without I 
formality (Plate LXXXII, Fig. A).^ 

A third example of Mysore sandalwood carving is, perhaps, equally good. 
Sir George Watt gave a commission to the most expert carvers in the State to produce 
the very best carved work-box they could make, leaving the decoration absolutely to 
their judgement and taste. His confidence was justified by the result. The side 
panels depict hunting and forest scenes with much feeling, in a style which reminds 
Sir G. Watt of Chinese and Japanese ivory carving. 

The top (his Plate 36 a) offers a magnificent picture of a god drawn in a four- 
wheeled car. The borders are filled with rich ornament in the style of the Chalukya 
temples. - 

A Travancore sandalwood carving, which gives a most vivid and delicately 
executed picture of the life— human, animal, and vegetable — in a tropical forest, 
is reproduced in Plate LXXXII, Fig. B. 

It is, indeed, strange that the craftsmen who are capable of producing such 
beautiful and artistic work seem to be half-nnconscious of their power, and wholly 
devoid of anibition. Sir George Watt notes that the most delicate productions, 
the result of weeks of painstaking labour, are often ruined in a few months by 
the effects of careless joinery, and that the eight families of artisans engaged in 
the work at the principal centre in Mysore are ' profligate, apathetic, indigent, and 
of intemperate habits ' ; firmly set against the slightest modification of their accustomed 
ways, and deaf to admonition. 

Section VIII. Ivories. 

There can be no doubt that the art of carving ivory has been practised in India, 
the home of the elephant, for uncounted ages. For instance, the ancient drama, 
' The Little Clay Cart,' composed, perhaps, in the fifth century of the Christian era, 

' Indian Art at Delhi, p. 1 50, PI. XXXVI. rate of exchange, £143 at ' par '. The negative is 

'^ Work of this kind is necessarily expensive. The missing, 

box was priced Rs. 1,438, or £96 at the present low 

Fig. a. Krishna and the Gopis; a panel in the new palace at Mysore. 
(From a negative lent by Sir G. Watt, K.C.I.E.) 

Fig. B. Forest scene, Travancore. 
(From PI. LXI ol Industrial Arts of India, by permission of the Controller of H.M. Stationery Office.) 

Plate LXXXII. Sandalwood carvings, Mysore and Travancore. 

3 B 2 



describes the entrance to Vasantasena's mansion as shining ' with its high ivory 
portal '.' But I am not in a position to mention a single extant ancient object 
in ivory of any importance. In modern times many localities are famous for their 
ivory carvings. 

The productions of Travancore and Mysore are adjudged by Sir George Watt to 
hold ' the very foremost position among the ivories of India ' — an honour partly due 
to the excellence of the material used, but mainly the result of the fine artistic quality 
of the designs and execution, which have been sufficiently illustrated by the similar 
examples of sandalwood carving discussed in Section 7 of this chapter. The 
motives of the patterns are closely related to those of the stone carvings on the 
temples of the Deccan, or so-called Chalukya style [ante, p. 45, Fig. 16), and are 
quite distinct from the grotesque extravagance of the Tamil .yztw;// designs. In 
Travancore the old conventional designs are still favoured, but the Mysore artists 
prefer the more modern 'jungle patterns'. 

The subject not being of sufficient importance to require exhaustive treatment in 
this work, my illustrations will be restricted to two excellent examples produced about 
1830 by Gobind Ratan of Nayagarh in Orissa. The tortoise (Plate LXXXIII, Fig. A) 
is described by Sir George Watt as ' a wonderful creation ', which raises the artist 
who produced it to a position of ' equality with the ivory carvers of Europe, Japan, or 
China'. The statuette of Krishna (Plate LXXXIII, Fig. B) is characterized by the 
same expert critic as an ' exquisite piece of work '. 

The ivories in the Colombo Museum, Ceylon, include contemporary portrait 
figures of the last king of Kandy (i 798-1815), with the chief priest, and two ministers, 
or Adikars. Mr. Joseph has shown me photograjDhs of statuettes of kings and queens 
m the Kandy Museum, which are very quaint and neatly executed, but of little account 
as works of art. - 

Section IX. Terra-cottas and Clay Figures. 

The considerable part played by terra-cotta in the evolution of Indian sculpture 
has not been generall)' recognized, although Cunningham showed long ago that 
the early brick temples which preceded stone edifices in many parts of Northern 

^ Act iv, Rj-dei's transl. (Harvard Or. Series), 
p. 67. Jluch earlier is the record at Sanchi ol circa 
200 to 150 i,.<:., which informs us that one of the 
piers of the southern gate was not only dedicated, 
but executed by the ivory carvers of Bhilsa. ' The 
workers in ivory of Vedisa have done the carvino-' 
(%f^^f? ^cI^inTf^ ^^ ^). This implies 
that even at a date so early the carvers of ivory were 
organized as a guild {sreni) {Ep. Ind., ii, pp. 92, 
378; Tope I, inscr. No. 200 = C. 189). The 
record further shows that workers in ivory were 
prepared to carve in stone. 

■ For a good summary account of Indian ivories 

of all kinds, see Watt and P. Brown, Indian Art at 
Delhi, especially pp. 172-93. Several official mono- 
graphs treat the subject provincially, and describe 
the art of ivory carving as practised in Bombay, 
Bengal, Assam, Burma, Southern India, the Panjab, 
and the N. W. P. and Oudh (now the U. P. of Agra 
and Oudh). They are printed separately, and also 
in vol. ix of/. I. A. I. An account of the Ceylon 
ivories will be found in Dr. Coomaraswamy's work 
on Mediaeval Art. The Kandy statuettes are repro- 
ducerl by Codrington, Notes on some of the Principal 
Kandyan Chiefs and Headmen, and their Dresses 
(Colombo, Government Printer, 1910). 

Fig. a. Tortoise. 

Fig. B. Krishna. 
Plate LXXXIII. Orissan ivories by Gobind Ratan. 
(From negatives lent by Sir G. Watt, K.C.I.E.) 

374 HINDU MINOR ARTS chap, x 

India were decorated with ' terra-cotta ornaments and alto-rilievos '.^ The art of 
handHng terra-cotta as a material for works of art has been extinct for centuries, 
except that it lingered late in a debased form in Bengal ; but in the early cen- 
turies of the Christian era terra-cotta was considered good enough for friezes, 
floral ornaments, animal figures, and even statuettes two or three feet in height. 
Many of the terra-cotta figures at the Bhitargaon brick temple, dating perhaps from 
the fifth century [ante. p. 28\ are, as Cunningham observed, ' boldly designed and 
well drawn,' though marred by a tendency to excessive violence in the expression 
of movement and consequent liability to lapse into grotesqueness. The fragile nature 
of the material naturally causes a dearth of good specimens, and little attention 
has been paid to those few which survive. A single plate (LXXXIV) must suffice 
for the illustration of this ancient and forgotten form of art. The Graeco- Persian 
head from Sarnath dating from the Maurya period (Plate LXXXIV, Fig. A) has been 
published by Mr. Marshall in J.R.A. S., 190S, Plate IV, 6- 

The preference commonly felt by modern European artists for realistic as 
compared with idealistic art finds frank expression in Mr. Percy Brown's dictum that 
' the very highest form of fine art in India is to be met with in the terra-cotta statuettes 
made in Lucknow '.- This verdict is supported by reproductions of some terribly 
realistic figures of the victims of famine made for the Delhi Exhibition by Bhagwan 
Singh of Lucknow, ' a modeller by caste and an artist by instinct,' which the kindness of 
Sir G. Watt enables me to republish from the negative supplied by him (PI. LXXXV). 
Not only do these figures image accurately the horrible facts as 1 have seen them, but 
they do something more, and suggest with moving vividness the emotions and suffer- 
ings hidden behind the visible physical appearances. The effigy of the skeleton son 
carrying the skeleton father pick-a-back opens up to the eye of imagination the whole 
sad story of extremest misery sanctified by intensest filial piety, and the other figures 
are hardly less suggestive of unrecorded tragedy. The man who could model forms 
so adequately expressive of the deepest emotions was no mean artist, and it is strange 
that he should have been content. to waste his genius on petty, unregarded clay 
images, which, in all probability, have been ground to dust long ago, and would have 
been, like himself, utterly forgotten, but for the chance which enshrined them in 
an Exhibition catalogue. A philosophical Hindu, perhaps, would say that Bhagwan 
Singh deserved to be forgotten as a fit penalty for his realism. To the European he 
seems to be a lost spirit, who, in happier surroundings, might have become the founder 
of a school of sculptors and heir to undying fame. Images, like books, habent sua fata. 

A. S. Rep.,vo\. xi, p. 42. See also in same r(;alis(^s,ont du etre pr&^d(^sd'ebauches en terre cuite, 

volume, pp. 21, 35, 44, 52, 53; and vol. xii, pp. premieres expressions de la pens^e du sculpteur' 

47-50. I\I. Migeon considers terra-cotta to be the {Manuel d'Art Musidman, t. II, p. 61). 

primitive mode of expression of the sculptor's art: 2 /„Q?/a« Art at Delhi, p. 450. 
' objets executes en bronze, qui, pour etre ainsi 

Fig. a. Classical head of Mauiya period from Sarnath. 
(A. S. photo , supplied by Prof. Macdonell.) 


Fig. B. Ornament from Mathura, i4"x 8". 
(Cunningham, A. S. Rep., xi, PI. XVIII, i.) 

Fig. C. Ditto from Newal, Cawnpore District, i4"x 7^' 
(Ibid., Fig. 2.) 



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fc^&^l^^i«*fpT(' r 


Fig. D. Panel, Vishnu, &c., from Bhitargaon, Cawnpore District, i9"x9-|". 

(Ibid., PI. XVII.) 

Plate LXXXIV. Ancient terra-cottas from Northern India. 







I— . 























bo ^ 
























The isolation of India, so apparent on tlie map, has never been absolute. Her ■; 
inhabitants from the most remote ages have always been exposed to the action of ^ 
foreign ideas conveyed by one or all of three ways — by sea, through the passes of the [ 
north-eastern frontier, or through the more open passes of the north-west. The only 
foreign art which could influence India from the north-east being that of China, which 
certainly produced no considerable effect on Indian art prior to the Muhammadan 
conquest, the ingress of foreign artistic ideas through the north-eastern passes may be 
left out of account. 

Long before the dawn of history traders from distant lands had brought their 
wares to the ports of India, and in all probability introduced the alphabet and art of 
writing. But in those ancient days the sea, although open to the passage of 
adventurous merchants, was not the bond of union between distant lands which it has 
become in these latter times for a great naval power, and the influence exercised upon 
the art of the interior by small bodies of traders at the ports must have been com- 
paratively trifling. The constant invasions and immigrations from the continent of 
Asia through the north-western passes had more effect. They appear to have 
introduced the elements of Babylonian civilization into the north at a very early date ^ ; 
and one prehistoric immigration, or series of immigrations, which brought the Vedic 
Aryans, ultimately settled the future of all India for all time by laying the foundations 
of the complex, exclusive, religious, and social system known as Hinduism. When 
history opens in the sixth century is.c. Northern India, at all events, was already 
largely Hinduized, and in the third century, when the earliest extant monuments 
:ame into existence, the Hindu system stood firmly established. In attempting to 
estimate the nature and extent of foreign influence on Indian art, as conveyed by sea 
ind through the north-western passes, we must assume the existence of Hinduism as 
in accomplished fact, and acknowledge that nothing positive is known about Hindu 
irt before the age of Asoka. 

In his days, as we have seen {a7i^e, p. 60), the dominant foreign influence was ] 
Persian, traceable clearly in his monolithic columns, in the pillars of structural ? 
juildings, and in architectural decoration. The true Persian capitals, characterized 
Dy remmbent bulls or other animals, are found at Bharhut, Sanchi and elsewhere, in 
he Gandhara reliefs, and at Eran in Central India, even as late as the fifth century 
)f the Christian era. The capitals of the monolithic columns, with their seated and 

^ Indications of Babylonian influence probably See Kennedy, ' Tlie Early Commerce of India wiih 

nclude the earliest Indian astronomy, the knowledge Babylon ' (/. R. A. S., 1898, pp. 241-88). 

if iron, urn-burial, and the marriage-mart at Taxila. 


standing- animals, although distinctly reminiscent of Persia, differ widely from Persian 
models, and are artistically far superior to anj-thing produced in Achaemenian times. 
Mr. Marshall, as already observed {ante, p. 60), can hardly be right in ascribing; the 
beautiful design and execution of the Sarnath capital {cnite, Plate XIII) and its 
fellows to Asiatic Greeks in the service of Asoka ^. 

We are thus led to consider the second foreign element in the most ancient schools 
of Indian art, that is to say, the Greek element, expressed in Asiatic Hellenistic forms. 
In Asoka's age the chief schools of Greek sculpture were In Asia Minor at Pergamum, 
Ephesus, and other places, not in Greece, and the Hellenistic forms of Greek art had 
become largely modified by Asiatic and African traditions, reaching back to the 
ancient days of Assyria and Egypt. It is consequently difficult to disentangle the 
distinctively Greek element in early Indian art. The acanthus leaves, palmettos, 
centaurs, tritons, and the rest, all common factors in Hellenistic art, are as much 
Asiatic as Greek. The art of the Asokan monoliths is essentially foreign, with 
nothing Indian except details, and the fundamentally alien character of its style is 
proved by the feebleness of the Indian attempts to copy it. I think that the brilliant 
work typified by the Sarnath capital may have been designed in its main lines by 
foreign artists acting under the orders of Asoka, while all the details were left to the 
taste of the Indian workmen, much in the same way as long afterwards the Kutb Minar 
was designed by a Muhammadan architect and built by Hindu masons, under the 
orders of the Sultan lyaltimish.- 

Our knowledge of the fine art of Asoka's reign (273-232 B.C.) is restricted to the 
monolithic columns almost exclusively. The other sculptures of the Early Period 
probably are all, or nearly all, of later date. They present a great contrast, 
being essentially Indian, with nothing foreign except details, and they presuppose 
the existence of a long previous evolution of native art probably embodied in 
impermanent materials, and consequently not represented by actual remains. 

Are we to regard these sculptures, and especially the reliefs of Bharhut, Sanchi, 
and Bodh-Gaya, as purely Indian in origin and inspiration, or as clever adaptations 
of foreign models ? The sudden apparition simultaneously of stone architecture, 
stone sculpture, and stone inscriptions during the reign of Asoka, when considered in 
connexion with the intimate relations known to have existed between the Maurya 
empire and the Hellenistic kingdoms of Asia, Africa, and Europe, raises a reasonable 
presumption that the novelties thus introduced into the ancient framework of Indian 
civilization must have been suggested from outside. That presumption is strengthened 
by the foreign style of the monolithic columns, which undoubtedly were a novelty 
brought into being by the command of an enlightened despot in close touch with the 
outer world. 

^ Note also the elegant small capital with Perso- ^ M. Foucher, writing of the Sanchi reliefs, ol> 

lon.c volutes found at Sarnath (/ R. A. S., 1907, serves that ' quantite de motifs d^coratifs nous ont 

p. 997, PI- ni), and the Perso-Hellenic head from paru si directement empruntc^s ti la Perse que leur 

the same place (Ibid., 1908, p. 1092, PI. IV, 6), importation ne s'explique gu&re autrement que par 

both reproduced^;;/, in Fig. 57 and Plate LXXXIV, une immigration d'anisans iraniens '. (La Pork 

Fig. A respectively. 

Orienlale du Sliipa de Sanchi, p. 34.) 


Some years ago I felt convinced that the notion of producing long series of 
bas-relief pictures in stone had actually been suggested by Hellenistic example, and 
more particularly the example of Alexandria, a city where such reliefs were commonly 
executed, and which was in constant communication with India. ^ Althouah I do not 
now feel justified in expressing as confidently as I once did my theory of the 
Alexandrian origin of Indian bas-relief sculpture in sione, I am still disposed to 
believe that such reliefs would never have been executed if works essentially similar 
had not previously existed in the Hellenistic countries, and especially at Alexandria. 
The Indian reliefs certainly are not modelled on those of Persia, which are utterly 
distinct in character ; and it seems unlikely that the Indians should have suddenly 
invented the full-blown art of stone bas-relief out of their own heads without any 
foreign suggestion. The Alexandrian reliefs were available as indications how stone 
reliefs should be executed, and the clever Indian artists and craftsmen, once they had 
seized on the main idea, would have had no difficulty in transmuting it into purely 
Indian forms, just as the Hindu play-writer, mentioned by Weber, transformed the 
Midsummer Night's Dream into a piece thoroughly Indian in character, showing 
no trace of its English source.- Complicated relief pictures, like those of Bharhut 
and Sanchi, placed in exposed positions, could not have been satisfactorily executed 
in wood or ivory ; but trained wood and ivory carvers, who no doubt existed in India 
from time immemorial, could easily have applied their skill to making stone pictures 
as soon as the novel material had become the fashion. Carvers in wood and stone 
often are the same people and use tools substantially identical. The truth seems to 
be that the Indians illustrated the Jatakas with Indian scenes just as the Alexandrians 
illustrated pastoral poems with Greek scenes, and that the Indians got from abroad 
the idea of so doing. But the theory must be admitted to be incapable of decisive 
proof, although to my mind it appears to be highly probable. The subject-matter 
and treatment of the post-Asokan reliefs are certainly in the main Indian, and such 
obviously foreign details as they exhibit are accessory rather than integral. 

M. Foucher, however, is, I think, right when he discerns in the Sanchi sculptures 
more subtle indications of Hellenistic influence in certain examples of bold fore- 
shortening, in clever presentations of the three-quarter face figure, and in the 
harmonious balancing of groups. It is, indeed, inconceivable that the Indian 
sculptors of Asoka's time should have failed to learn something from the Greek art 
which was so readily accessible to them. But whatever they borrowed they made 
their own so that their work as a whole is unmistakably Indian in character, and 
original in substance. 

I proceed to discuss in some detail certain motives of ancient Indian sculpture 
which seem to be of foreign origin, and in some cases lend support to the theory of 
specially Alexandrian influence. 

' Imp. Gaz. (1908), vol. ii, p. 105; Hastings, of the original was the order of the contents and the 

Encycl. 0/ Religion and Ethics, s.v. ' AmaravatI '. substance of the examples. All the rest was Indian.' 

^ Ind. An/., vol. xxx (1901), p. 287, note 59. The Japanese treat European plays and tales in 

Weber relates a similar transformation in a Sanskrit the same way. 

adaptation of Euclid's Elements. 'AH that remained 


The first to be considered is that which may be conveniently designated the 
•Woman and Tree ' (Plate LXXXVI). The form which may be regarded as 
normal represents a woman standing under a vine or other tree, with her legs 
crossed, the left arm twined round a stem, and the right hand raised to her head. 
Many variations, however, occur. Occasionally, the left hand is raised above 
ihe head, as in an example from Mathura, in which also the right arm is not 
twined round a stem. Sometimes the legs are not crossed. The woman, in some 
cases, is more or less clothed, but frequently, and especially at Mathura, is unmistakably 
and aggressively naked. Very often, but not always, she stands on a dwarf, animal, 
or monster (Fig 85). 

The attitude is well calculated to display the charms of the female form, and, as 
M. Foucher observes, is frequently described in Sanskrit poetry, so that it may be 
regarded as ' la pose plastique par excellence ' of India.^ The dates of Sanskrit 
literature are so uncertain that it is quite possible that the descriptions may have 
been suggested by the statuary. It seems to me highly probable that the plastic 
rendering was a foreign introduction. Dates seem to forbid the suggestion that 
Western art might have borrowed it from India. 

The earliest Indian example known to me is the Bharhut draped figure of the 
Yakshi Chanda, who is represented in what I call the normal manner. That may be 
dated about 200 b. c.- The lady also appears on the Sanchi gateways, and in 
Gandharan art over and over again with many variations (see Chap. IV). Slightly 
modified she becomes Ma)a,the mother of Buddha, in the Nativity scene (Plate XXIX). 
I cannot find her at Amaravati, but at Mathura she is specially characteristic of the 
local art, both Jain and Buddhist, and is often represented with lascivious suggestive- 
ness in a manner to which the Mathura school was too m.uch inclined {ante, pp. 139, 
140). The erotic tendency of that school assimilates it to Copto-Alexandrian art. 
The latest example that I can quote is a Brahmanical sculpture of the Vijayanagar 
school at Tarpatri in the Anantapur District, dating from the sixteenth century 
{ante. Fig. 166). Thus, it is established that in Indian sculpture the motive had an 
history of more than 1,700 years. 

In Greek art it occurs in the fourth century B.C., a century or two before its first 
appearance in India at Bharhut. The Hellenistic artists transported the motive to 
Egypt, where, by reason of contact with native Egyptian sensual notions, its treatment 
acquired a lascivious tinge, agreeing strangely with the Mathura presentation, the 
nude figure, however, in Egypt being often male instead of female. M. Strzygowski 
gives the name of Copto-Alexandrian to the mixed or mongrel art produced by the 
intermingling of Hellenic and Coptic ideas. The art of Gandhara does not share with 
that of Mathura the reproach of lasciviousness. It deserves credit, as M. Foucher 
points out, for its ' irreprochable tenue ' in dealing with the relations of the sexes.^ 

' L'Art gre'co-bouddhique du Gandhara, p. 229. ■' EArt gre'co-louddhique du Gandhara, p. 248. 

A sculpture in the Mathura Museum exhibits a male The ' orgy ' relief (ibid.. Fig. 1 30 : Gandhara 

figure in the same pose. Sculptures, PI. XXII. 7) is the only one open to 

' Stupa of Bharhut,Y\. XXII: Griinwedel-Burgess, a charge of impudicity. 
Buddhist Art, Fig. 16. 


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1 The most striking illustration of the close resemblance between the Mathura 

presentation of the Woman and Tree motive and the Copto-Alexandrian form is 
found in an unexpected place, the cathedral of Aachen or Aix-la-Chapelle in Rhenish 
Prussia. Six remarkable ivory panels on the sides of the cathedral pulpit have been 
examined in a special disquisition by M. Strzygowski, who has proved to my satis- 
faction that the Aachen ivories are of Egyptian origin, and should be considered as 
examples of the Copto-Alexandrian school. They may have reached their resting- 
place by way of either Ravenna and Milan or Marseilles.' 

Two figures, one on the right and one on the left ot the pulpit, identical save in 
certain minor details, are known conventionally as ' Bacchus '. Each represents 
a nude young man facing, standing with the right leg straight and the left leg crossed 
over it. The body is supported by the left arm, which is twined round the stem of 
a vine overtopping and surrounding the youth with its foliage. His right hand is raised 
to the crown of his head (Plate LXXXVI, Fig. A). The pose is precisely the same as 
that of the Woman and Tree motive in Indian art, and the resemblance between the 
Mathura and Aachen figures is so close that, in my judgement, it cannot be accidental. 
Both must have a common origin, which should be sought in Syria or Asia Minor, 
from which Eg)ptian Hellenistic art drew its inspiration. The motive was variously 
treated in Egypt, and, at least in one case, a woman takes the place of the youth. 
There is no difificulty in believing in the transference of Alexandrian ideas to India 
either before or after the Christian era. From Asoka's time for several centuries 
intercourse between the ports of Egypt and India was continuous. The cupids, birds, 
and beasts interspersed in the foliage of the Aachen ivory are also often found in 
India. Compare, for instance, the Garhwa pillar (ante, Fig. 115) and various Mathura 

The female figure in the Woman and Tree design used to be described as 
a 'dancing-girl'. But, whether nude or clothed, she is never represented as dancing, 
and Dr. Vogel certainly appears to be right in maintaining that she should be inter- 
preted, not as a dancing-girl, but as a Yakshi, or female sprite.^ The Yakshas and 
Yakshis played in ancient popular Indian Buddhism a prominent part comparable 
with that played by the Nats in modern Burmese Buddhism. Recent students of 
Indian art recognize that fact, and perceive, for instance, that the constant attendant 
of Buddha in the Gandhara reliefs, who carries a thunderbolt, and was formerly 
identified as Devadatta or Mara, is meant for a Yaksha ; and that the impressive 
statuette in the Lahore Museum, which used to be called an ' Indo-Scythian Kino-', 
represents Kuvera, the king of the Yakshas [ante, Plate XXVIII). 

Other motives must be discussed more briefly. At Amaravati and in Gandhara 
a favourite subject is the departure of Gautama Buddha as Prince Siddhartha from 
Kapilavastu on horseback. Generally the horse is shown in profile, but occasionally 
:s represented as emerging from a gateway, and facing the spectator, fore-shortened. 
This latter form of the design especially seems to be connected with the Rider motive 

' Strzygowski, J.—' Helienistische und koptische <f'^/*'-w«rf'r/<^ (Wien, Vienne) 1902) 

Kunst in Alexandria' {^Bidl. de la Soc. ArMol. - Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1906-7, p. 146. 

Fig. a. From Sanghao, Yusufzai, age of Kanishka. 
{The Gandhara Sculpltires, PI. XIX, 2 left =/. Ind. Art, 1898, PI. XXI, 2.) 

Fig. B. From Lower Monastery, Nathu, Yusufzai. 
(Photo. 1 103, I. M. Lisl.) 

Fig. C. From Maihura. 
(Photo. 843, I. M. List; cf. Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1904-5, PI. XXVI c, from Sarnath.) 

Plate LXXXVII. Hellenistic motives : the roll or garland. 


as seen in the Barberini ivory diptych in the Louvre, of the fourth century, and in one 
of the Aachen panels, the origin of both being traced back by Strzygowski to the 
Egyptian representations of Horus triumphing over the powers of evil represented by 

a crocodile. 

The Indian sculptures usually show earth-spirits, or Yakshas, male or female, 
holding up the horse's hoofs. As GrLinwedel and Strzygowski point out, the sculptures 
illustrate the Buddhist legend that the earth-goddess displayed half her form while 
she spoke to the departing hero, and also are a reminiscence or translation of the 
Greek motive of Ge (Gaia) rising from the ground, familiar to Hellenic art from the 
fourth century b. c. Similar earth-spirits are seen in the Barberini diptych. ^ The 
Rider motive does not appear at Mathura or in the Early Period, and may be assumed 
to have reached India after the Christian era. 

The use of a long undulating stem, band, garland, or roll to break up a long 
frieze into sections was familiar to Indian sculptors from early days. As seen on the 
Bharhut coping {ante, Fig. 43), the device used is a lotus stem with jack fruits 
attached. The stem is not carried by anybody. This design seems to be purely 

But the later forms of the motive are clearly of foreign origin, being based on 
the garland carried by amorini, Erotes, or cupids, which was constantly used in the 
later Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman art. In Gandhara an imbricated roll, quite in the 
Graeco-Roman fashion, carried by boys, equivalent to cupids or Erotes, is substituted 
for the Indian lotus stem. At Mathura and Sarnath we find a smooth roll carried by 
men, not boys (Plate LXXXVII, Fig. C), and at Amaravati a bulky tinsel roll with 
Indian decoration, also carried by men {ante, Fig. 103).^ 

The hippocamps, tritons, centaurs, and other weird creatures, which certainly 
were borrowed from Western art, occur, as we have seen in Chapter II, at Bodh Gaya 
and other places in the sculptures of the Early Period (Figs. 34-8). It does not 
much matter whether we call them Hellenistic or Western Asiatic. Forms more or 
less similar recur at Mathura and Amaravati and in Gandhara (pp. 104, 125, 146). 
The strongl3'--marked muscles of some of the Gandhara figures and the snake-tailed 
monsters suggest the notion that the sculptors of the north-west felt the influence of 
the vigorous Pergamene school. The Atlantes of Jamalgarai especially seem to be 
reminiscent of Pergamum ; from the Buddhist point of view they may be regarded as 
Yakshas. A few of these Western Asiatic Hellenistic forms are shown together in 
Plate LXXXVIII, Figs. A, B. Atlantes occasionally occur in later Hindu art.-' 

^ Grunwedel-Burgess, pp. 98-103, Fig?. 50-4. - Anderson, Calal. I. M., Part I, p. 241 ; Griin- 

See also The Gandhara Sculptures, V\. XX, Y'\g. i wedcl-Burgess, p. 148, Figs. 99, 100; Foucher, 

=:/. /, A. I., vol. viii (1898), Pi. XXII, Fig. i, L'Art gre'co-bouddhujue du Gandhara, p. 239, Figs, 

where the spirits are female. In one case at 1 16-18;/. A. S. B., Part I, vol. Iviii (1889), p. 

Amaravati the story of the departure is symbolized, 158, citing a Roman parallel, 

after the Sanchl manner, by the led horse (un cheval ' As in Kashmir and at Chit5r (Foucher, op. cil, 

sans cavalier) with the roynl umbrella held over him p. 208, Fig. 86), and in Western India at Karvali 

{an/e, Fig. 74). (an/e, Fig. 156). 

Figs. A, B. Atlantes from Jamalgarai. 
(Photo. 10 1 3, I. M. List) 

Fig. C. ' Gigantomachia ' fi-om same. Fig- D. Garland from SarnaLh. 

(Photo. 1004, I. M. Lhl) (Arch. S. photo., supphed by Prof. Macdonell.) 

Plate LXXXVIII. Hellenistic motives, apparently Pergamene and Roman. 




In the same plate is shown a garland from Sarnath, which has a curiously Roman 
look (Fig. D). 

Certain architectural details represented in ancient sculptures, in addition to the 
well-known Corinthian and Ionic capitals, may be mentioned as being common to 
Indian and Western Asiatic Hellenistic art. The fluted spiral column, frequently 
met with on the sarcophagi of Asia Minor and in later Roman work, does not seem 
to occur at AmaravatI or in Gandhara, but is found at Mathura in early sculptures.' 
Subsequently it was freely used in Western India. The scallop shell or 'shell-niche' 
canopy, often seen on Asiatic sarcophagi and in Egyptian art, occurs in India, so far 
as I am aware, only in the details of the Corinthian capitals at Jamalgarai {ante, 
Plate XXV). M. Strzygowski holds that the form probably originated in Mesopotamia, 
and that it was ultimately developed into the characteristic Muhammadan mikrdb:^ 
But that suggestion seems to be of doubtful validity. The rectangular incised panel 
frequently found on pilasters in Gandhara reliefs (Fig. 75) is specially characteristic of 
the Roman architecture of Palmyra (a. d. 105-273). Much of the Gandhara art 
resembles that of Palmyra and Baalbec more closely than that of any other specific 
locality. The buildings at Baalbec date from the second century. It is, of course, 
unnecessary to point out in detail the numerous echoes of Greek art in the Gandhara 
sculptures. I have confined myself to noticing certain points of particular interest. 

The introduction of the vine into Indian bas-reliefs used to be considered as in 
itself evidence of copying from Hellenistic models. But that view is not tenable. 
The vine is still largely grown in Chinese Turkistan, and until the recent Afghan 
conquest was freely cultivated in Kafiristan. Sir George Watt believes that the 
plant is indigenous on the lower Himalayan ranges, and is even inclined to think that 
its cultivation may have been diffused into Europe from that region. However that 
may be, it is certain that Indian artists had ample opportunities of studying the 
forms of vine-growth at first hand, and were under no necessity to seek foreign models. 

In certain cases, however, Indian sculptors chose to treat the vine motive after 
the European or West Asiatic manner." The best example of such treatment is the 
well-known frieze from the Upper Monastery at Nathu, Yusufzai, which is almost 
a replica of a similar work at Palmyra, executed in the third century after Christ 
(Wood, Palmyi-a, Plate 41). The design (Plate LXXXIX, Fig. A) consists of a vine 
stem knotted into five circles forming small panels ; the first of which, to the left, con- 
tains leaves only ; the second is occupied by a boy or ' genius ' plucking grapes ; the 
third exhibits a boy playing with a goat ; the fourth displays a crudely-executed goat 
nibbling the vine ; and the fifth represents another boy plucking grapes. Fig. B in 
the same plate reproduces a Mathura sculpture treating the vine after the Indian 
manner, and admirably executed. 

The motive consisting of a vine or other conventionalized plant springing from 
a vase is common to Egyptian and ancient Indian art. M. Strzygowski gives three 

' Jain Siapa of Matlmrd, PI. XLVIII, 3. p. 108, Fig. 12) ; V. A. Smith (/. A. S. B., Part I, 

' /. Hellenic Studies, 1907, p. 114, Fig. 11. vol. Iviii, p. 160) ; Foucher, E Art gr^co-houddhique 

= Simpson (/. Roy. Inst. Brit. Architects, 1894, du Gandhara, p. 240, Fig. 290). 

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Egyptian examples in the essay cited above {jlbd. 47, 50, 52). A good South Indian 
specimen, perhaps contemporaneous with the Sanchi sculptures, is reproduced in 
Plate XC, Fig. A. 

The same plate offers further illustrations of the Indian aptitude for artistic 
representation of plant-life, which certainly was not learned from the Greeks, who 
could not teach the lesson. Sir George Watt points out to me that the pinnate 
foliage motives are distinctively Indian. If space permitted many excellent illustra- 
tions might be given, but one from Mathura must suffice (Plate XC, Fig. B). The 
lotus — that is to say, the indigenous lotus of India — and various other aquatic plants 
are constantly treated with exquisite skill, sometimes naturalistically and sometimes 
more conventionally. Indian sculpture and painting- offer numberless examples. In 
this place one illustration from Mathura and another from Gandhara may be offered 
(Plate XC, Pigs. C, D). The lotus plant symbolizes human life springing from the 
ocean of eternity. 

1 he Indian treatment of indigenous animals in both sculpture and painting is as 
original and artistic as that of plant motives. 

' You have only,' Sir George Watt writes, ' to look at the plants and animals 
employed in the most ancient designs to feel the strong Indian current of thought 
there conventionalized, which must have involved centuries of evolution. The treat- 
ment of the elephant, monkey, and serpent is Indian, and in no way Greek. No 
Greeks (as few Englishmen to-da)) could give the life touches of those animals seen 
on all the oldest sculptures and frescoes.' ^ 

Those observations are perfectly true, and in all discussions of the foreign 
elements in Indian art we must remember that In certain respects Indian artists were 
not only free from obligation to the Greeks, but actually superior to them. The illus- 
trations in this work bear abundant testimony to the Indian power of delineating 
indigenous living forms, both vegetable and animal. The Gandhara treatment of the 
elephant is inferior to that of the same subject by the artists of the interior, who were 
more familiar with that wonderful beast, which is not easy to model or draw well. 

1 he marked pictorial character of the ancient Indian bas-relief sculpture, which it 
shares with the related Alexandrian work, suggests that in India painting may be an 
older art than sculpture. The earliest extant paintings, those in Orissa {mite, p. 273), 
apparendy are indigenous. The history of Indian painting is necessarily so frag- 
mentary that it is impossible,'at present at all events, to trace the genesis of the highly 
developed art of Ajanta and Sigiriya. The hypothesis of a Persian origin for the 
Ajanta paintings Is supported by the facts that they occur in a region known to have 
been in communication with Persia and include Persian scenes. But proof that Persia 
in the fifth and sixth centuries was in a position to teach art to India is lacking. The 
key to the origins of both Persian and Indian painting, if there be a key, should, 
perhaps, be sought in Turklstan, and the truth may be that the Indian schools of 
painting are only branches of a very ancient and widely diffused Asiatic school. But 
more exact knowledge Is needed before any definite theory can be formulated. No 

^ Letter dated Nov. 6, 1909. 


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connexion seems to be traceable between the Indian paintings and those of Greece or 
Rome. So far as appears the pictorial art of India may be considered original, and 
related to the schools of Asia rather than to those of Europe. But the Ajanta 
paintings are far superior to any work from Turkistan yet published, and attain a pre- 
eminentl)- high standard of achievement in their delineation of plant and animal life. 

The principal forms of Indian architecture, so far as appears, were developed in 
India, and it is impossible to connect them with Western forms. They have, as 
M. Le Bon observes, a character of ' frappante originalite '. 

The general result of examination of the foreign influences upon Indian pre- 
Muhammadan art, whether sculpture, painting, or architecture, is to support the 
opinions of those who maintain the substantial originality of Indian art. It may 
be true that the general use of stone for architecture and sculpture was suggested by 
foreign example, and that the notion of making story-telling pictures in stone came 
from Alexandria; but, even if both those hypotheses be accepted, the substantial 
originality of the Indian works is not materially affected. The actually proved 
borrowings by India are confined to details, such as Persepolitan columns and capitals, 
and a multitude of decorative elements, some of which continued in use for many 

M. Le Bon is well supported by facts in his opinion that India, 

' malgre un contact assez prolonge avec la civilisation grecque, ne lui a emprunte, 
et ne pouvait lui emprunter aucun de ses arts. Les deux races etaient trop differentes, 
leurs pensees trop dissemblables, leurs genies artistiques trop incompatibles pour 
qu'elles aient pu s'influencer. . . . Le genie hindou est tellement special que, quel que 
soit I'objet dont les necessites lui imposent I'imitation, I'aspect de cet objet se trans- 
forme immediatement pour devenir hindou.' The same author continues : — ' Cette 
impuissance de I'art grec a influencer I'lnde a quelque chose de frappant, et il faut bien 
I'attribuer a cette incompatibilite que nous avons signalee entre le genie des deux 
races, et non a une sorte d'incapacite native de I'lnde a s'assimiler un art etranger.' ^ 

The readiness of India to assimilate suitable foreign material is shown by her proved 
willingness to borrow freely from Persia in ancient times and again after the Muham- 
madan conquest. 

Whatever influence Greece had exercised on Indian art was practically exhausted 
by A. D. 400. After that date the traces of Hellenistic ideas are too trifling to be 
worth mentioning. The mediaeval Brahmanical and Buddhist schools have nothing 
in common with Greek art, and the strange artistic forms introduced by the Muham- 
madan conquerors at the beginning of the thirteenth century were equally alien 
to Hellenic feeling. / From the fifth century the art of India, whether Hindu or 
Muslim, must stand or fall on its own merits, without reference to Hellenic standards. 
The mediaeval Hindu revival and the advance of Islam, in large part synchronous, 
both involved a revolt against Hellenic ideas and a reversion to a°ncient Asiatic modes 
— a ' renaissance aux depens des influences helleniques '.- 

' Les Moniimenls de Plnde, pp. 12-15. 

' Brehier, L, 'Les Origines de Y Axi musulman ' {La Revue des Lde'es, No. 75, Mars 1910, p. 190). 





Within about eighty years after the death of Muhammad in a. d. 632 the Oi 
followers of his religion reigned supreme over Arabia, Persia, Syria, Western ^^ 
Turkistan, Sind, Egypt, North Africa, and Southern Spain, the marvellously rapid 
extension of Muhammadan power having been rendered possible by the barbarism 
and weakness of the subjugated kingdoms in Asia, Africa, and Europe. The first 
contact of Islam, as MM. Le Bon and Saladin observe, was stimulating to what 
remained alive of the older forms of civilization. Muslim armies, recruited in Persia, 
Syria, and Egypt, carried with them crowds of Asiatic skilled craftsmen, who intro- 
duced everywhere the arts of Asia, and modified the various local forms of art so as 
to suit the needs of the new faith and satisfy the luxurious tastes of magnificent 
courts. The Arabs, although possessing little art of their own, succeeded in impress- 
ing upon the local styles which they utilized for Muslim purposes a general character 
of uniformity, which we now recognize as that of Musalman art. 

The Muhammadan conquest in a. d. 7 1 2 of Sind, which at that time was regarded In 
as distinct from India, did not seriously affect India proper, and the occupation ^^. 
of Kabul in a. d. 870 was equally without appreciable influence on Hindu polity, a. 
which continued its isolated course unchanged by external forces, developing on the 
political side the Rajput kingdoms, and on the aesthetic side the Brahmanical art 
described in Chapter VII. India did not feel the impact of Muslim ideas until 
the beginning of the eleventh century, when the repeated fierce raids of Mahmud 
of Ghazni compelled her to take notice of the new force which had arisen. Before 
his death in a. d. 1030 the Panjab had become a province of the Muhammadan 
Sultanate of Ghazni. But, until the closing years of the twelfth century, Islam made 
no further progress in India. No buildings of the early Arab conquerors in Sind have 
been described, nor are there tangible traces of the rule of the Ghaznivide rulers of the 

The history of Indo-Muhammadan art begins with the year a. d. 1200 in round 
numbers. Between 1193 and 1236 Muhammad of Ghor, Kutb-ud-din Ibak, and 
Sultan lyaltimish (Altamsh) had compelled all Northern India, including Bengal, 
to submit, more or less completely, to the Muslim government established at Delhi. 
The earliest Muhammadan monuments in India date from the reigns of the three 
princes named; the principal works of that time being the mosque at Ajmer, the 
Kutb mosque and minar at Delhi, the gateway of the chief mosque at Budaon 
(a. d. 1223),! and the tomb of the Sultan lyaltimish at Delhi.- 

■ Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. xi, p. 5, PI. III. (' Sun of Religion '). Tieflfenthaler correctly calls 

^ The most correct form of the Sultan's TurkI the Kutb Minar ' la tour de Schams uddin ' (French 

name appears to be Ij'altimish, but some coins read transl.. Geographic de I' Indoustan, Berlin, 1791, 

Iltitmish. His Muslim name was Shams-ud-din p. 130). 


i" The simple, spiritual worship of Muslims, who adore the One Unseen God and 

liate every kind of idol, can be performed satisfactorily without any building. But it 
is convenient to have a spacious edifice in which the faithful can assemble on Friday, 
the Musalman Sabbath, to join in public prayer, and occasionally hear a sermon. 
During prayer the worshippers should turn towards Mecca, the direction of which 
is indicated by a niche or niches in the appropriate wall. The Muhammadan mosque, 
or church, therefore, consists essentially of an enclosure, with a niche in one wall 
to indicate the direction of Mecca. There should be also a pulpit, and a tank 
for ablution. All other things, such as cloisters, chambers, and lofty portals are 
unessential, being needed only for purposes of convenience and dignity. The 
mosque may be wholly open to the air, or wholly or partially roofed. Examples 
of wholly roofed mosques are very rare in India, the only one on a large scale 
being that at Kulbarga in the Deccan. Ordinarily a large open quadrangle is the 
principal feature of an Indian mosque. The covered portions of the more con- 
siderable buildings usually consist of an aisle or aisles (Jhvdii), at the western side, 
with cloisters round the enclosing walls, and often include huge gateways with many 
chambers, and sundry minor structures. The roofs are invariably domed in some 
fashion or other, and pointed arches are a prominent feature. 

The almost universal presence of domes and arches, usually of the pointed kind, 
in Muhammadan buildings is due to the fact that Muslim architecture is based on 
the style practised at Baghdad in the time of the great Abbasid Khalifs (Caliphs), 
of whom Harun-ar-rashid (786-809) is the best known. The Baghdad style was 
derived from the ancient vaulted architecture of Mesopotamia, as transmitted through 
the modified developments of Sassanian times (a. d. 226-641). The beginnings of 
the familiar forms of Muhammadan architecture have been recently traced by 
General de Beylie in the buildings of Samara in Mesopotamia, erected In the early 
part of the ninth century, and abandoned in 875, when Baghdad became the capital 
of the Khallfate. From Baghdad the style spread rapidly throughout the Muham- 
madan world, and became to such a degree universal that it is hardly possible to 
imagine a mosque of brick or stone without domes and arches.^ 

At the beginning of the thirteenth century, when Kutb-ud-din and lyaltimish 
undertook to build mosques and tombs at Delhi and Ajmer, domes and pointed 
arches were recognized to be essential. But the conquerors were obliged to employ 
Hindu masons, unaccustomed to turning true radiating arches and domes, and 
ordinarily able only to make the semblance of such by means of the horizontal 
corbelled construction familiar to them, with which the Muslim architects had to be 

The exceptional wooden mosques of Kashmir Paris, No. 75, Mars 1910, pp. 189-99), and on 

have tall spires, probably derived from Buddhist Saladin, Manuel d'Art musulman, tome i, chap. I 

architecture (Nicholls, 'Muhammadan Architecture (Paris, igoy). The view of Fergusson (ed. 1910, 

in Kashmir,' A,in. Rep. A. S., India, 1906-7, pp. vol. ii, p. 197) that the Musalman invaders of India 

161-70, with plates; a valuable treatise). My text were 'Turanians' with 'a style of their own' does 

is based on the article 'Les Origines de I'Art musul- not express the facts correctly. 
man ', by M, Louis Brehier {La Revue des Ide'es, 







content. The cloisters were easily made up from the materials of overthrown Hindu 
temples, and retained a manifest Hindu character without objection. 

At the Kutb mosque of Delhi the glory of the building is the screen of eleven 
pointed arches, eight smaller and three larger, Muslim in form, but Hindu in con- 
struction. They are so familiar that a small illustration will suffice (Fig. 232). The 
faces of these structures are decorated with ' a lace-work of intricate and delicate 
carving', considered by Fergusson to be 'the most e.xquisite specimen of its class 
known to exist anywhere'. It bears some resemblance to the decorations of the 

'.^ ■'Kvittltif.^^/^:^ ^ .rjfi?-'^' 

Fig. 232. Smaller arches of the Kutb Mosque, and the Iron Pillar. 
(Photo, supplied by Prof. Macdonell.) 

Sassanian palace of Mashita and those of certain parts of Santa Sophia at Constanti- 
nople. The similar screen at Ajmer, built by lyaltimish between a. D. 1200 and 
1235, consists of seven arches, the central one being 22 ft. 2 in. wide. ' Each arch is 
surrounded by three lines of writing, the outer in the Kufic and the other two 
in Arabic characters, and divided from each other by bands of Arabesque ornament 
boldly and clearly cut and still as sharp as when first chiselled. In the centre the 
screen rises to a height of 56 feet ' (Plate XCI). The illustration shows 

Plate XCII. The Kutb MTnar, built by lyaliimish cir. a.d. 1232 
(Pholo. 879, 1. M. Z/j-A) 

3 E 2 


Origin of 
the name 
' Kutb '. 

The Kutb 

clearly the Hindu mode of construction, and the peculiar low conical dome appearing 

The mosque colloquially known as ' the Kutb ' is commonly believed to be named 
after the Sultan Kutb-ud-din Ibak (1205-10), and it is true that it was completed in 
its original form in the year a. p. 1198 by him while he was still Viceroy of Delhi and 
the Indian territory under the Sultan of Ghazni. But the building is really named 
after a famous saint, Kutb-ud-din of Ush near Baghdad, who lies buried near, and is 
popularly remembered as Kutb Sahib. 

Muslim usage requires that the faithful should be summoned to prayer at the 
stated times by a loud call uttered by an official known as muasziu. In order to 

Fig. 233. Gateway of Ala-ud-din Khaljl, Delhi. 
(Photo. 863, I. M. List?) 

facihtate his duty many mosques, although by no means all, were furnished with 
a mmaret, or two minarets, from which the summons could be proclaimed. Sometimes 
the minarets were attached to the mosque, sometimes they were detached. The 
Kutb Minar at Delhi, originally about 250 feet high, and even now not much less, 
IS the most remarkable example of the detached minaret in existence. Like the 
adjoining mosque, it derives its familiar name from the saint, not the prince. It is, 
however, some thirty years or more later in date than the mosque, having been 
erected about a.d. 1232 by the Sultan lyaltimish when he made large additions to 
the mosque. The details of the building are largely due to Hindu masons. The 
structure has been so often described at length, that it will be sufficient to give 
a photograph (Plate XCII), and to cite Fergusson's authority for the statement that 



the Minar is ' the most beautiful example of its class known to exist anywhere '. Fine 
specimens of minars of later date will be illustrated presently. The form, a specially 
Muslim one, offers much scope for variety of treatment. ' The minaret,' as Sir George 
Birdwood observes, 'is the one original feature the Saracens contributed to archi- 


The magnificent gateway erected in a. d. 1310 by the Sultan Ala-ud-din Khalii Gateway of 

----- -^ Ala 


on the south side of the enlarged Kutb Mosque marks an advance in Indo- ^'^""'^"*'' 


^^^liijfA. /i 

Fig. 234. Tomb of Tughlak Shah, Tughlakabad, Old Delhi. 
(Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1904-5, p. ig, Fig. 11.) 

Muhammadan architecture. The local masons had learned in the course ot a century 
how to build true arches with keystones, and were no longer constrained to execute 
the designs of their foreign masters by the structurally inferior Hindu methods. The 
building consists of a rectangular chamber surmounted by a low-spreading dome. 
The ornament is composed mainly of geometrical designs and artistic Arabic 
inscriptions, but sundry details still show the influence of Hindu tradition (Fig. 233).'- 

' y. Roy. Soc. Arts, Jan. 1911, p. 179. at Khairpur near Delhi (Cunningham, A. S. Rep., 

'^ This building was copied for the gateway of vol. xx, p. 156). 

the tomb of Sultan Sikandar Lodi, built in a.d. 1494 


The Kings or Sultans of the Tughlak dynasty of Delhi in the fourteenth century 
introduced a new style of architecture marked by massiveness and extreme simplicity, 
qualities -which have suggested a comparison with the early Norman work in England. 
The most characteristic example of this severe style is the tomb of Ghiyas-ud-din 
Tughlak, who was killed b)- a carefully devised 'accident' in 1324 (Fig. 234). The 
plan is a square measuring 38 2 feet inside and 6i-2- feet outside, and the height to the 
top of the dome is 70 feet. The enormously thick walls slope inwards. The exterior 
decoration is effected in an austere manner by the free use of bands and borders of 
white marble, varied with a few panels of black marble, showing against the large 
surfaces of red sandstone. ^ No trace of Hindu tradition Is retained. The style has 
nothing Persian about it, and I am not able to point out any exactly similar Asiatic 
model. The suggestion has been made that buildings In Mecca may have supplied 
the prototype. 

At the close of the fourteenth century many provinces broke away from the 
suzerainty of the Sultans of Delhi, and set up as Independent kingdoms. Among 
such mushroom states one of the most notable was that known as the Sharki, or 
Eastern Sultanate, with its capital at Jaunpur, forty miles from Benares. Its 
independence lasted until 1476. During Its short period of glory the local sovereigns 
occupied themselves by destroying Hindu temples and replacing them by mosques 
designed on a grand scale, and In a distinctive style. The handsomest of the Jaunpur 
mosques is the Atala, completed in 1408, of which the main portal Is shown in 
Plate XCIII. The gateways and great halls are thoroughly Muslim, with radiating 
arches and true domes, but in the cloisters and Interior galleries, where there was no 
need to roof large spaces, square pillars, often borrowed from Hindu temples, are 
used, and the construction is Hindu. The style, while It has much of the massive- 
ness of the Tughlak buildings at Delhi, Is less severe and more attractive, a curious 
hybrid of Muslim and Hindu. 

Under the patronage of its independent kings Bengal developed a Muhammadan 
style of Its own. 

'It is' (Fergusson observes) 'neither like that of Delhi, nor Jaunpur, nor any 
other style, but one purely local, and not without considerable merit In Itself; its 
principal characteristic being heavy short pillars of stone supporting pointed arches 
and vaults in brick — whereas, at Jaunpur, for instance, light pillars carried horizontal 
architraves and flat ceilings.' 

The second characteristic of the style is the curvilinear cornice copied from 
bamboo structures {ante, p. 18). The best examples are to be seen among the 
extensive ruins of the cities Gaur and Pandua in the Malda District. The buildings 
are mostly in brick and possess little beauty. But one mosque, known as the Small 
Golden, or Eunuch's Mosque at Gaur, is built wholly of basalt with massive solidity. 
This elegant building, which has been called 'the gem of Gaur', was erected about 
A.D. 1500, and Is covered Inside and out with beautifully chiselled designs. Including 
the Indian lotus. The gateway is shown in Fig. 235. There are fifteen domes. 

' Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. i, p. 213. 

Plate XCIII. Main entrance of Atala devi Mosque, Jaunpur. 
(Fuhrer and E. W. Smith, The Sharqi Architecture of Jaunpur, PI. III.) 



The buildings at ?^Iandu, the capital of the kingdom of Malwa, which was 
independent from a.d. 1401 to 1531, are purely Mushm in style, closely related to 
those of the Sultans of Delhi. They are distinguished from the later Mughal 
buildings by the absence of groining and by the spreading domes. 

Unquestionably, the most beautiful of the provincial styles of Muhammadan 
architecture in Northern and Western India is that of Gujarat. By good fortune it 
has been studied more carefully than any other Indian style, all the chief examples 



Fig. 235. Gateway of Small Golden (Eunucli'h) IMosque, Gaur. 
(Ravenshaw, Gaur, PI. XXII.) 

having been elaborately described and illustrated by Dr. Burgess and his staff in three 
quarto volumes, fully furnished with plans, sections, elevations, and photographs. 
The style is that of the Hindu and Jain temples {a7iie, p. 32, Plates VI, VII) with such 
modifications as were necessary for the purposes of Muslim worship, and is characterized 
by all the richness of ornament' distinctive of the temples of Gujarat and Southern 
Rajputana — a strange contrast to the stern simplicity of the Tughlak buildings con- 
temporary with the earlier examples. Hindu construction, too, is freely used, but 
the indispensable domes and pointed arches are introduced. The entrance to the 


chief mosque at Cambay, for instance, erected early in the fourteenth century, is 
simply a Hindu temple porch, with a low dome, plain on the exterior, put on top of it.^ 
The exquisite roofed pulpit of Hilal Khan Kazi's mosque at Dholka, built in a. d. 1333, 
has a purely Hindu pyramidal roof, and much of the panelled ornament with which 
the whole surface has been covered is equally Hindu.^ 

The finest examples of the style, which, of course, gradually discarded some of Ahmadabad. 
its Hindu features, are to be seen at and near Ahmadabad, the ancient provincial 

Fig. 236. Tomb of Abu Turab, Ahmadabad. 
(Burgess, A. S. R., Weslern India, vol. viii, p. 51, Fig. 7.) 

capital, to the architecture of which two of Dr. Burgess's volumes are devoted. The 
name of the city is derived from Ahmad Shah, Sultan of Gujarat from 141 1 to 1443, 
and the earliest Muhammadan buildings date from his time. The domes of his 
cathedral (J ami) mosque are constructed in the Hindu fashion. The elaborate 
traceries and other decorative accessories of the Ahmadabad buildings will be noticed 
in the next chapter. 

The best preserved mosque in Ahmadabad, and one of the prettiest buildings in 

1 Burgess, A. S. R., Weskrii India, ml. \-i, PI. XIX, p. 28. 
^ Ibid., PI. XXX, p. 31. 

916 3 ^ 


the city, is that built by Mahafiz Khan at the close of the fifteenth century. The 
minarets are adorned with panels of rich floral tracery undercut to such an extent 
that it is almost detached from the masonry. The architecture still largely retains 
a Hindu character (Plate XCIV). 

The tomb of Abu Turab, about a century later than Mahafiz Khan's mosque, 
although still preserving the Ahmadabad character, is constructed with arches 
throughout, and is completely free from Hindu pillars (Fig. 236). The perforated 
screens which formerly connected the internal columns have disappeared. 

Fig. 237. Tomb in Golkonda style at Bijapur. 
(Fergutson and Meadows Taylor, Architecture at Beejapoor, PI. LXXI.) 

The buildings designed in the distinctive Ahmadabad style have no specially 
Persian features, and are thus sharply distinguished from the styles which we are 
about to notice. But two exceptional edifices at Ahmadabad, the mosque and tomb 
of Nawab Sardar Khan, built about 1680, are quite Persian in style. The mosque 
IS very elegant.^ 

The Bahmani Sultanate of the Deccan, established in 1 347 by a successful revolt 
agamst the authority of Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlak of Delhi, broke up into five 
• Burgess, A. S. R., Western India., vol. viii, p. 55, PI. LX, LXI. 

Plate XCIV. Mosque of Mahafiz Khan, Ahmadabad. 

(Burgess, A. S. R., Wesleni India, vol. vii, PI. XCVIII.) 

3 F 2 


states at the close of the fifteenth centurj^ The rulers of all those kingdoms 
encouraged architecture, and, consequently, ancient buildings of greater or less 
importance exist at all the local capitals. The covered mosque of Kulbarga (Gul- 
barga) has been already mentioned (ante, p., 392), and other notable edifices exist in 
the same town. Bidar possesses an imposing mosque, several remarkable tombs, and 
the ruins of a great college. The royal tombs at Golkonda, near the Nizam's capital, 
Haidarabad, are more or less familiar to tourists. The special peculiarities of the 
Golkonda style described as being high clerestories, stucco work in minarets, and 
domes of peculiar shape with narrow bases, may be illustrated from a tomb built in 
that style at Bljapur in the seventeenth century (Fig. 237). 

Fig. 238. Ibiahiin Rauza, Bijapur ; front view. 
(Photo. 1S25, I. M. List.) 

The Deccan buildings, except a few of the earliest, are free from Hindu forms 
and constructions, and are related to the Mughal Indo-Persian style. But each 
kingdom had fashions of its own. 
The Bijapur By far the most important of the Deccan styles is that of Bijapur. The buildings 

in it date between the years 1557 and 1686. The most ornate is the comparatively 
small tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II (1579-1626), the character of which may be 
judged from Fig. 238. 

Muhammad , ^^'"'^ ''''''''^' '''"'^ °^ Muhammad Adil Shah (1636-60) is covered with a dome 
Adu'shah. ^''^ ^''^''^^ ^^^^ "^ the world, 'a wonder of constructive skill,' balanced internally 


by an ingenious arrangement of pendentives, fully explained by Fergusson, and with 
an internal height of 1 78 feet. 

' The external ordonnance of this building is as beautiful as that of the interior. 
At each angle stands an octagonal tower eight storeys high, simple and bold in its 
proportions, and crowned by a dome of great elegance. The lower part of the 
building is plain and soliti, pierced only with such openings as are requisite to admit 
light and air ; at the height of 83 feet a cornice projects to the extent of 12 feet from 
the wall, or nearly twice as much as the boldest European architect ever attempted. 
Above this an open gallery gives lightness and finish to the whole, each face being 
further relieved by two minarets.' 

/iTV^i ^'■*^* 


Fig. 239. Gol Gumbaz, or tomb of IMuhammad Adil Shah, Bijapur, front view. 

(Pholo. 1810, I. M. List.) 

The name of the architect of this wonderful structure, commonly known as the 
6^1?/ GjLmbaz, or Circular Dome (Fig. 239), does not seem to be recorded, and we do 
not even know whether he was a foreigner or Indian-born. Foreigners, Asiatic or 
European, were frequently employed by the Indo-Muhammadan sovereigns, and the 
Bijapur style is thought to show the influence of Ottoman architects. An expert 
critic truly observes that 'under Mohammedan influence the dome-builders of India 
attained a mastery over this form unknown [to] and seemingly unappreciated by the 
builders of the Western world '. ^ 

We now pass on to the Indo- Persian styles of the North, the only forms of Siir style : 

Muhammadan architecture in India familiar to the world in general. The short-lived '° . °,^ , 

'^ Sher Shan. 

' R. F. Chisholm, F.R.I.B.A., F.S.A., in/. Roy. Soc. of Arts, Jan., 1911, p. 173. 


and unstable Sur dynasty (1540-55). of which Sher Shah was the most distinguished 
member, had such a hard fight for existence that it could not have been expected to 
pay much attention to archkecture. Nevertheless, several meritorious buildings are 
due to the Sur Sultans, and the mausoleum of Sher Shah at Sahasram (Sasseram), 
built on a lofty plinth in the midst of a lake, is one of the best designed and most 
beautiful buildings in India, unequalled among the earlier buildings in the northern 
provinces for grandeur and dignity. Cunningham was half inclined to prefer it even 
to the Taj. The dome, although not equal in size to the Gol Gumbaz of Bljapur, is 
I 3 feet wider than that of the Agra monument.^ Externally, the architecture is wholly 
Muhammadan, but Hindu corbelling and horizontal architraves are used in all the 
inner doorways, as at Jaunpur. The style may be described as intermediate between 
the austerity of the Tughlak buildings and the feminine grace of Shahjahan's master- 
piece. Plate XCV may suffice to give a good notion of the merits of this admirable 
style. The plan is octagonal, and coloured glazed tiles were used for decoration. 
Both the octagonal form and the glazed tiles were importations from Persia.- 
Babar's Babar, the versatile founder of the Mughal dynasty, was an active builder during 

buildings. i^jg ^j.jgf ^^^ stormy Indian reign of five years {1526-31). Holding a poor opinon 
of all Indian products, he summoned from Constantinople pupils of the celebrated 
architect Sinan, an Albanian officer on the staff" of the Janissaries, who had planned 
hundreds of important buildings in the Ottoman empire.^ Out of the numerous 
edifices erected by those foreigners to Babar's order at Agra, Delhi, Kabul, and other 
places, only two are now visible, namely, the large mosque in the Kabul Bagh, 
Panipat, built after the great victory of 1526, and the Jami Masjid at Sambhal in 
Rohilkhand, bearing the same date (A. H. 933). The Panipat building has not been 
described, but is said to be in fair condition. The Sambhal mosque has a remarkable 
ovoid dome.* Although the Indian buildings are much more Persian than Ottoman 
in style, there is some reason for thinking that the grandeur of the proportions of the 
existing monuments in Northern India and Bljapur may be partly due to the teaching 
of the school of Sinan. 
Humayun's Babar's accomplished son and successor, Humayun, the rival and opponent of 


Sher Shah, found time in the midst of his unceasinof wars to do some building. But 
most of his works have been destroyed, and, as in his father's case, only two are known 
to have survived, namely, a ruinous mosque near Agra, and one much better preserved 
at Fathabad in the Hissar District, Panjab, which is decorated in the Persian manner 
with enamelled tiles.' The buildings of Babar and Humayun are purely foreign and 

' Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. xi, pp. 133, 137. 1 Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. xii, p. 26; E. W. 

- Octagonal memorial mosque of the fourteenth Smith, Akbar's Tomb, p. 4, editor's note, 

century at Sullaniyah in Persia (Saladin, Manuel * The ruinous mosque at Kachpura opposite Agra 

d' .Art mimilman, t. I, Fig. 267). Tile decoration is described by Carlleyle, in Cunningham, yl. 6'. i?c/>., 

will be discussed in chap, xiii, sec. 7. vol. iv, p. 100; and by Moin-ud-din, History of the 

^ Saladin, op. a'/., pp. 509, 561, with reference Taj, p. in. It is dated a. h. 937=a. d. 1530-1. 

to Alontani, Archilecture otlomane, which I have The Fathabad mosque is a massive, well-proportioned 

not seen. building with domes rather more than hemispherical, 






CO --^ 




Akbar's strong liking for Hindu ways induced him to revert to Hindu styles of 
architecture, and many of the buildings erected during his long reign (1556-1605) are 
more Hindu than Muslim. A conspicuous instance of such reversion is afforded by the 
well-known palace in the Agra Fort, commonly called the Jahangirl Mahall, which 
really dates from Akbar's time and might have been built for a Hindu Raja.^ The 
other buildings of Akbar in the Fort were demolished by Shahjahan. 

The splendid mausoleum of HumayQn, near Delhi, erected early in Akbar's 
reign, while distinctly Persian in style, is differentiated by the free use of white 

Fig. 240. Tomb of Humayun, cir. a.d. 1560. 

marble, a material little emplojed in Persia, and by the abstinence from coloured tile 
decoration so much favoured by the architects of that country. The building (Fig. 240) 
is of special interest as being to some extent the model of the inimitable ' Taj '. The 
dome is built entirely of white marble, the rest of the masonry being in red sandstone, 
with inlaid ornaments of white marble. The four corner cupolas and the narrow- 
necked dome now make their first appearance in India.- 

Space fails to enumerate even in the most summary fashion the architectural 
marvels of Akbar's palace-city of Fathpur-Sikri, begun in 1569, finished fifteen years 

built to the order of Humayun about 1540 or 1541, 
when he was on his way to Sind (Garrick, in 
Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. xxiii, p. 12, PI. 
Ill, IV). 

' Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1902-3, p. 62; and 
1903-4, P- 170- 

''■ Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. i, p. 224. Mr. 
Chisholm points out that in both the Tomb of 
Humayijn and the Taj the small corner domes are 
much earlier in style than the main dome and 

3 G 


later, and practically abandoned after its founder's death in 1605.^ That wondrous 
city bears in every part the impress of Akbar's tact and genius, and justifies the 
courtly phrase of his biographer, who declares that ' His Majesty plans splendid 
edifices, and dresses the work of his mind and heart in the garments of stone and 
clay '. The fullest possible details will be found in the four well-illustrated quarto 
volumesdevoted to the subject by the late Mr. E. W. Smith, a work not easily to be 
matched. But a few words must be devoted to the southern gateway of the great 
mosque, known as the ' Buland Darwaza', or Lofty Portal, a name justified by the 
fact that it is the highest of Indian gateways, and among the largest in the world. 
The height to the summit of the finials from the pavement at the top of the stairs is 
134 feet, and reckoned from the road at the foot of the stairs is 176 feet. The 
structure is a magnificent example of the Persian form of gateway, deriving its dignity 
from the great semi-dome in which the actual doors are inset — an arrangement 
extolled by Fergusson. The mosque, purporting to be copied from one at Mecca, 
was built in 1571. The Buland Darwaza was added in 1601-2 as a triumphal arch to 
commemorate Akbar's conquest of Khandesh, and probably replaced a more ordinary 
edifice consonant with the other entrances. It may be taken as typical of the in- 
numerable similar gateways on a smaller scale which characterize the Mughal style 
(Plate XCVI). It is the most beautiful specimen of the second type of Indo-Persian 
architecture, that in which marble is freely intermixed with sandstone, which was used 
alone in the earlier style exemplified by the Jahangir Mahall. The highest authorities 
regard the Buland Darwaza as ' one of the most perfect architectural achievements in 
the whole of India '.- 

The extant contributions of the Emperor Jahangir (1605-27)^ to Indo-Persian 
architecture, although important, are not very numerous. The design of the magni- 
ficent mausoleum of Akbar at Sikandarah near Agra, in which Jahangir personally had 
an undefined share, is exceptional. The building, completed in 1612 (a. h. 1021), is 
said by one Muslim writer to have been under construction for twenty years, having 
been begun, according to custom, by the sovereign whose remains were to find their 
resting-place within it. But the inscriptions and the Memoirs of Jahangir seem to prove 
that it was wholly erected under his orders between 1605 and 1612.* It is composed 
of five square terraces, diminishing as they ascend, and the only edifice of the period 
at all resembling it is Akbar's five-storied pavilion, or Panch-Mahall, at Fathpur- 
Slkrl. It has been suggested that both compositions must have been copied from 
Indian Buddhist viharas, but the objection to that suggestion is that there is no 

' From 1569 to 1584 Falhpur-Slkn was the when one coin is known to have been struck there 

principal residence of the Court. From 1585 to (Wright, Cat. Coins in I. M., vol. iii, p. xlvii). 

1598 Lahore was the capital of Akbar, who moved - R. F. Chisholm in/. Roy. Soc. Arts, Jan. 191 1, 

to Agra in the latter 3'ear, but continued to prefer p. 173. 

Fathpur-Sikri as a residence until his death. The = Jahangir died in Oct. 1627, but Shahjahan was 

regular issue of coins from the Fathpur mint {Dar- not able to ascend the throne formally until Feb. 

iis-sultanat) continued only until a. d. 1581 (a. h. 1628. 

989). No more is heard of the mint until a.d. * Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1903-4, p. 19. 
1628-9 (a.h. 1038), the first year of Shahjahan, 


reason to suppose that any vihara of the kind existed in India in Akbar's time, except 
the square rock-cut rathas at Mamallapuram, near Madras (ante, p. 36), which have 
some rather distant resemblance to the mausoleum. We know that the Ceylonese in 
the twelfth century imitated Cambodian buildings arranged on the same principle of 
diminishing square terraces [ante, p. 55), and it seems to me not improbable that the 
hint for the design of b'oth the exceptional Mughal structures may have come from 
Cambodia rather than from Madras. Artists and skilled craftsmen from many distant 

Fig. 241. Tomb of Itimad-ud-daula, near Agra. 
(Pholo. 506, I. M. List) 

countries crowded the Mughal court, which was ready to accept hints from divers 
quarters, and there is no difficulty in supposing that Cambodians may have been 
among the number, although not recorded. ^ 

Another famous building of Jahangir's reign, the tomb of Itimad-ud-daula, near Tomb of 
Agra, finished in or about 1628 by that nobleman's daughter, the Empress Nurjahan, ^'™^ 
is almost equally exceptional in other ways. The material is wholly white marble. 

^ Mr. E. W. Smith, after very careful examination 
■of the uppermost floor, agreed with Fergusson that 

the design included a light dome over the cenotaph, 
which, unfortunately, was never built. 

3 G 2 



enriched with pictra dura patterns in semi-precious stones, and equal to or surpassing 
in splendour the finest work of the kind executed in Shahjahan's reign. Although 
the architectural design does not wholly satisfy expert critics, there can be no question 
that the structure possesses rare beauty (Fig. 241). 

Passing by other notable buildings of Jahangir's reign at Lahore and elsewhere, 
we come to the reign of his son Shahjahan (1627-58}, during which the Indo- Persian 
style, by universal consent, attained supreme beauty in the Taj Mahall (1632-53) 
(PI. XCV'II), the Moti Masjid, or Pearl Mosque at Agra (1646-53) (Fig. 242), and 
the palace at Delhi (Fig. 243), begun in 1638.^ Detailed descriptions and criticisms 
of these edifices and others may be read in the pages of Fergusson, Fanshawe, and 
innumerable other writers. Here it is possible only to indicate briefly the general 
character of Shahjahan's modification of Indo-Persian architecture, give a few typical 
illustrations, and note certain points of special interest. 

The style is essentially Persian, but with an undefinable difference of expression, 
and sharply distinguished from the fashions of Isfahan as well as those of Constanti- 
nople by the lavish use of white marble, supplemented by sumptuous decoration in 
pietra dtcra inlay and other enrichments. Coloured tiles were rarely used. Open- 
work tracery of incomparable beauty is a marked feature, and spacious grandeur of 
design is successfully combined with feminine elegance. It is, indeed, impossible to 
exaggerate descriptions of the magnificence of the Delhi palace, nor is there any need 
to insist on the unearthly loveliness of the Taj, the noblest monument ever erected to 
man or woman : — 

' Not architecture ! as all others are. 
But the proud passion of an Emperor's love, 
Wrought into living stone, which gleams and soars 
With body of beauty shrining soul and thought.' - 

The chaste simplicity of the Moti Masjid commands admiration equally ungrudg- 
ing. ' Verily,' says the inscription on its walls, ' it is an exalted palace of Paradise 
made of a single resplendent pearl, because, since the beginning of the population of 
this world, no mosque pure and entirely of marble has appeared as its equal, nor since 
the creation of the universe, any place of worship, wholly bright and polished has 
come to view to rival it.' That testimony is true. After many years there is 
nothing which I remember more distinctly or with greater pleasure than the pearly 
colonnades of this unequalled mosque. My illustrations of Shahjahan's buildings will 
be restricted to three only, necessarily wholly inadequate as a presentation of their 

'^ Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1903-4, p. 184. the main building to represent Arjumand Begum 

= Sir Edwin Arnold. The language of some herself, and the garden in which it was placed to be 

enthusiasts IS ' too floral ', as a Muhammadan author the Garden of Paradise, according to the beautiful 

writing m English quaintly puts it. Sir Frederick symbolism often seen in Persian carpets and paint- 

Treves, quoted with approval by Mr. Chisholm, ing '. He justly censures the Europeanized style of 

describes the Taj as ' the most loveable monument the garden as recently remodelled (/. Hoy. Soc. Arts, 

that has ever been erected'. Mr. Havell has 'not Jan. 191 1, pp. 175, 180). 
the least doubt that the designers of the Taj meant 


^ s 



charms, and intended chiefly to serve as memoranda of the obvious features of the 

The immense enclosed complex of buildings and gardens familiarly designated as 
' the Taj ', comprises the central mausoleum, the mosque on the west, a corresponding 
(jaivdb) edifice on the east, intended as a place of assembly for the congregation of the 
mosque and the persons invited to the annual commemoration services ; huge gate- 
ways with many chambers, massive enclosing walls, and various minor structures, 
some of which have been ruined. The purpose of all was to honour the memory of 
Shahjahan's well-beloved wife, the Empress Arjumand Banu Begam, whose title 
Mumtaz Mahall (' The Chosen One of the Palace ') has been corrupted Into ' Taj '. Out- 

Img. 242. The Moli Masjid, Agra. 
(From a pliolo.) 

side the enclosure a considerable town grew up, named Mumtazabad, now represented 
by Tajganj. The villas and tombs of the great nobles and many other buildings, few 
of which remain, once crowded the approaches and surrounding space. 

The Empress died in childbirth, on June 17, 1631 N.S. (i7''zu'l O'adah, a.h. 1040) 
while m camp at Burhanpur in the Deccan, where her remains rested for six months'. 
1 he)' were then conveyed to Agra, and the wondrous tomb destined to o-ive her 
immortal fame was begun early In a.d. 1632, corresponding to the fifth \ear of 
Shahjahan's When the plans had been settled to the Emperor s satisfaction 
work was pushed on with eagerness, some 20,000 men being employed daily ^ On 
February 6, 1643 N.S. (17 Zu'l Q'adah, a.h. 1052), the anniversary of the death of 

'The number rests on Tavernier's excellent only about 1,000 in 1640 in,nerano ed i6^q 

authority. According; to Manrique the stal^' of chap Ix n ^.2) No HnnhV 2 ', ^^ 

'niaestrn^ nffiriaipc v ^t..^.^ / i \. , ^ ' ^' 352;- J^o doubt the numbers varied 

maestros,otticiales,} obieros (workmen)' numbered much from time to time. 


the Empress, the annual funeral ceremony was celebrated by the bereaved husband at 
the new mausoleum which was then regarded as complete. But the construction of 
the subsidiary buildings continued for many years longer. The latest inscription, one 
on the entrance gateway, was set up in a.d 1647 (a.h. 1057). We know, however, 
from Tavernier, who witnessed both the commencement and completion of the build- 
ings, that operations did fiot cease finally until 1653, nearly twenty-two years after they 
had begun. The general superintendence was entrusted to Mukramat Khan and Mir 
Abdul Karim. 

Fig. 243. Diwan-I-khas of Delhi Palace. 
(From a photo.) 

The statements of cost recorded by writers in Persian vary enormously. The Cost. 
Badshah namah gives Rs. 50,00,000 (50 lakhs) as the cost of the mausoleum itself. 
The highest estimate of the cost of the whole amounts to the huge sum of 
Rs. 411,48,826 : 7 : 6 (411 lakhs, 48 thousand, 826 rupees, seven annas, six pies), as 
stated with curious minuteness, equivalent, at the rate of 2s. id. to the rupee, in round 
numbers to four and a half million pounds sterling. Intermediate estimates put the 
expense at three millions sterling, said to have been about the sum which Shahjahan 
resolved to spend. If the full value of materials be included, the highest figure is not 
excessive, and may be considered as approximately correct. Tavernier notes that the 
expense was increased enormously by the necessity of using brick scaffolding and 


centring. Such lavish expenditure on a single monument and its adjuncts is not 
likely to be repeated anywhere in the world. Shahjahan planned for himself a 
mausoleum of equal magnificence to be erected on the opposite side of the river and 
united with the Taj by a marble bridge, but his family troubles prevented the realiza- 
tion of this gigantic conception, and so he sleeps beside the ' Lady of the Taj '. ' They 
were lovely and pleasant in their lives and In their death they were not divided.' ^ 

The foregoing details, rarely to be found stated with accuracy, help us to realize 
the grandiose scale on which the whole composition known collectively as ' the Taj ' 
was designed, and the absolute disregard of cost in realizing the design. Much of the 
credit for the vastness of the scale must be given to Shahjahan himself, who, of 
course, is solely responsible for sanctioning the unparalleled expense. But nobody 
supposes that the Emperor was his own architect, and much interest attaches to the 
question, ' Who was the architect by whom this noblest of monuments was designed, 
and to what nation did he belong ? ' The controversy on the subject, lately revived, 
excites some heat in the disputants. I approach it simply as a case in which evidence 
should be weighed and appraised impartially. Sleeman's notion that Austin de 
Bordeaux, a skilled French engineer and craftsman employed by Shahjahan, was the 
architect, and identical with the 'Master (Ustad) Isa (Jesus)', also called, more cor- 
rectly, Muhammad Isa Effendi, certainly is erroneous,'-^ and his statement, first 
published in 1844, seems to be the sole foundation for the current assertions about 
the connexion of Austin with the Taj. Balfour's Cyclopaedia of India (3rd ed., 1885) 
boldly asserts that ' Austin de Bourdeaux [was] an artist who erected the Taj at Agra '. 
For that assertion I believe that Sleeman's loose guessing is the only authority. 
The note recently printed by Dr. Burgess stating that the Taj was ' most probably 
designed by AH Mardan Khan, a Persian refugee', Is opposed to the evidence 
of the Persian History of the Taj, and I do not know on what grounds It is based.' 

^ Correct dates have been kindly supplied by Smith, vol. i, p. 385. The MS. used by Anderson 
Wm. Irvine, Esq., I. C. S. Ret. Those in the books (Cakulla Rev., 1873, p. 237) alleges that artist 
are usually wrong. For the value of the rupee see No. i, unnamed, ' a rare plan-drawer and artist,' 
Tavernier, Travels in India, transl. V. Ball, vol. i, was a Christian, as was also Muhammad Sharif. 
413, and Manrique (chap. Lx) 'una rupia medio Sleeman appears to have used a similar document, 
peso Espafiol ' ; and for time of completion, Taver- and agrees with the custodian's MS. in stating that 
nier, p. no. The explanation of the practical pur- Muhammad Sharif was the son of No. i, whom 
pose of the jaivab building is due to S. Muhammad Sleeman names as Ustad Isa. The name Isa may 
Latlf, Agra, Historical and Descriptive, p. 113. have suggested the notion that the Ustad was 
From the artistic point of view, the structure was a Christian (/^(J/h"). If 'Ustad Isa' and Muhammad 
essential to the perfect symmetry aimed at by the Sharif really were Christians, one of the objections 
architect. The highest estimate of the cost is given urged against Father Manrique's statement is re- 
in Anderson's translation of one of the Persian moved. 

MSS., now No. II in Or. 2030, B. M. Much of ' Fergusson, .^;>/. 0/ Indian and E. Archil., 2nA 

the more costly material was presented by tributary ed., p. 306 note. Ali Mardan Khan, a famous 

princes, and its value probably was excluded from engineer in Shahjahan's service, constructed or re- 

the lower estimates. Mr. Chisholm is mistaken in paired canals, and laid out the Shalamar gardens at 

believing that ' these domes seem to have been built Lahore (see Index, j. v. ' Ali Mardan Khan', Imp. 

without centres' (/. Roy. Soc. Arts, Jan., 191 1, Gaz. 1908). I am not acquainted with any evidence 

p. 173). He overlooked Tavernier's statement. connecting him with the Taj. 

^ Sleeman, Rambles and Recollections, ed. V. A. 


The Persian MSS. purporting to give the h'story of the Taj, the names of I 
the chief artists and artificers, and the cost of the buildings, appear to exhibit many J; 
discrepancies in details, but to agree in stating that the chief designer and draughts- t 
man was ' Ustad (or Master) Isa', otherwise called Muhammad Isa Effendi, who drew ' 
a salary of Rs. 1,000 a month, and was assisted by his son, Muhammad Sharif. The 
Agra copy, in the possession of the hereditary custodians of the monument, says that 
he came from ' Rum ', interpreted to mean Turkey or Constantinople, and that his son 
came from Samarkand. Other copies are alleged to assert that the Ustad came from 
Shiraz in Persia. The title ' Effendi ' sometimes given to him Is an Ottoman one. 
No details of his life seem to be on record. 

The rival statement is the categorical assertion made by Father Sebastian ( 
Manrique, a Spanish Augustinian friar, Visitor of his order in the East, that the ^ 
architect was a Venetian named Geronimo Veroneo, who drew a large salary from ; 
Shahjahan. Manrique's words, as translated by Father Hosten, S.J., are : — 

' The architect of those structures was a Venetian, named Jerome Veroneo, who 
went to those parts in the ships from Portugal, and died In the city of Laor [Lahore] 
shortly before my arrival. Emperor Corrombo [ = Khurram = Shahjahan] gave him 
large salaries ; but it Is thought that he profited so badly by them that when 
he died, they say Father Joseph de Castro, of the [Jesuit] Society, a Lombard by 
birth, found on him much less than was imagined.' 

The author then proceeds to give merely as current gossip {fcwia vclocissinia) the story 
of Geronimo Veroneo's supposed interview with Shahjahan. The positive assertion 
quoted above seems to be made of his own knowledge, and not as hearsay.^ I attach 
little importance to the hearsay gossip, but much to the categorical allegation of fact. 

Father Manrique spent about a month at Agra in December, 1640 and January, 
1 64 1, and thence travelled to Lahore where he met Father de Castro. He thus had 
ample opportunities of learning facts as well as gossip, and, moreover, he was on 
friendly terms with the greatest of the Muhammadan nobles, Asaf Khan, ' the ancient 
and only protector of the priests,' and father of the Lady of the Taj, who gave him 
' a goodly alms '. Geronimo Veroneo died at Lahore as stated, but was buried at Agra, 
some four hundred miles distant, where his tomb, dated a. d. 1640, still exists. Before 
his death he had spent money, presumably a considerable sum, to ransom Christians 
from prison. Father Manrique's accuracy is thus confirmed on several points, and 
the fact that Veroneo's body was removed to Agra for burial indicates that he must 
have been a person of considerable importance and specially connected with Agra. 

I have no doubt that the good Father's positive assertion that Veroneo was the 

' The Spanish text is : 'El Aichiteto destas y de nacion Lombaido, muy menos de lo que si 

fabiicas fue un Veneciano por nombre Geionimo imaginava ' {Itincrario de las Misswm-s que hizo el 

Veroneo q passb a aquellas partes en las naves de Padre F. Sebas/ian Manrique, p. 352 ; ed. Roma, 

Portugal, ymurio en la Ciudad de Laor poco tiempo 1649). A reprint with an altered tiile-page appeared 

antes de mia llegada. A este dava el Corrombo at Rome in 1653. Both impressions are in the 

Emperador grandes s.ilarios : mas supose aprovechar British Museum. The Bodleian possesses only 

tan mal dellos, que quando murio, dizan que le the earlier one, which alone I have consulted, 
hallara el Padre Joseph de Castro de la Conipania, 

.IB ■; H 


architect of the Taj was made in perfect good faith, and, indeed, nobody impugns his 
personal veracity. But it is argued that he must have been misinformed. The most 
weighty objection raised is that the Taj unquestionably is Asiatic in style, a develop- 
ment from the tomb of Humayun, and that even in the decoration, except perhaps the 
technique, as distinguished from the designs of the pietra dura inlay, there is little 
trace of European influence. The objection, although deserving of attention, is not 
conclusive, because, so far as I can see, there is no reason why a seventeenth-century 
Venetian of genius, aided by skilled Asiatic technical advisers, should have been 
unwilling or unable to design a group of buildings on Asiatic lines, in accordance with 
a general idea prescribed by Shahjahan, who must have known and declared what he 
wanted. M. Saladin, writing without reference to or apparent knowledge of the 
documentary evidence, simply in his capacity of architectural expert, expresses the 
opinion that ' the hand of a European architect has traced the exact symmetries and 
the outlines, perhaps too regular, of the monument' ; adding that the decoration com- 
bines Florentine elegance with Oriental richness, while the breadth and symmetry of 
the composition give the design the appearance almost of a classical conception.^ 
Conclusion. On the whole, after considering: all the arg-uments, includingr that drawn from the 

silence of other authors, I do not see any reason sufficient to discredit the positive 
assertion of Father Manrique, published in 1649 before the work on the Taj buildings 
was completed. It is not inconsistent with the Persian authorities. I accept their 
evidence as proving that ' Ustad Isa ',- whether he was a Turk or a Persian, was the 
chief architect during the later stages of the construction ; and it is easy to understand 
that when the history of the monument was being put on record no Muhammadan 
writer would have cared to recall the leading part taken by a long-deceased Christian 
European in framing the original design. Thus the matter stands. I abide by the 
opinion expressed by me in 1893 that ' the incomparable Taj is the product of a com- 
bination of European and Asiatic genius '. It should be observed that no authority 
ascribes the design to an Indian architect. The credit for it belongs to either or both 
of two foreigners, one a Venetian, the other most probably a Turk. The lively 
interest felt in the question of the authorship of the building, which may fairly claim 
to be the most beautiful in the world, will, I trust, be considered justification sufficient 
for this long, although much condensed, disquisition on the subject.^ 

' ' Lc Tadj-Mahal a Agra.—W semble que la correct. The fuller form, Muhammad Isa, really 

mam d'un architecte europeen a tracd les sym^iries means ' Muhammad the son of Isa ', as Professor 

exactes et les profils peut-eire trop reguliers de ce Margoliouth points out. 

monument . . . cet art qui, en effet, allie I'^lcgance - The principal Persian authorities, as enumerated 

florentine a la richesse orientale ' {Manuel d' Art by Mr. Wm. Irvine, are (i) the contemporary 

Miisidman, t. i, p. 571). ' Le Tadj n'est que le Bddshdh ndmah by Abd-ul-hamid, Lahorl {Bibl. 

centre de la composition... On voit done que, par Ind., 2 vols., Calcutta, 1868; vol. ii, pp. 322-31); 

I'ampleur de la composition et par la S3m($trie, ce plan (2) Aml-i-Sdlih, by Muhammad Salih, Lahori (a.ii. 

est presque de conception classique ' (Ibid., p. 575). 10.52), perhaps copied from No. i ; (3) a group of 

M. Saladm's wide experience of Muslim art in coun- MSS., mostly anonymous, purporting to give the 

tries where it comes in contact with that of Europe en- history of the Taj. One copy at least is in the 

inles his critical opinions to respectful consideration. hands of the custodians at Agra, and another is in 

The name Uilad Isa commonly used is in- the Imperial Library, Calcutta. The MSS. in the 


The long and unhappy reign of Aurangzeb Alamglr (i 659-1 707) ^ was marked by Archi- 
a rapid decline in art, including architecture. The emperor was more eager to throw ^^^^^^^ °^ 
down Hindu temples than to construct great edifices of his own. Some few buildings zt"b's"feign ; 
of his time, however, are not without merit ; for instance, the tall minarets of the ^"'^ ^^'^'^^' 
mosque which he caused to be erected at Benares on the site of the holiest temple are ^™' ^" 
graceful objects well known to all travellers in India. The principal mosque at 
Lahore (1674), almost a copy of the great mosque at Delhi, but inferior to that noble 
building, is described by Fergusson as being ' the latest specimen of the Mughal 
architectural style'. The emperor's own tomb at Aurangabad in the Deccan is 
insignificant. The buildings in Persian style of Aurangzeb's age, being merely 
examples of growing deterioration, are not worth detailed study or illustration. The 
tomb of Nawab Safdar Jang of Oudh near Delhi (1756),. a passable copy of the 
mausoleum of Humayun, is marred by wretched plaster decoration in the interior. 
The shoddy buildings of the Nawab Vazirs at Lucknow are pretentious abominations. . 
I am not acquainted with any recent effort of Muhammadan architecture in India 
deserving of mention, e.xcept the buildings of composite style, usually on a modest 
scale, described in the following paragraph. 

In many places modern architects have effected a graceful compromise between Composite 
the Hindu and Muhammadan styles by combining Persian domes with Bengali bent ^'^'''^' 
cornices and Hindu or half-Hindu columns. Excellent examples of this pretty though 
feeble style, as used for both civil and religious buildings, are to be seen at Mathura 
and in hundreds of other localities.- It is quite impossible to tell merely from 

B. M. with similar contents are Addl. 8910 (62 foil.), arranged to publish in TAe ArrMec/ {London) a note 

Or. 194 (94 foil.). Or. 195 (55 foil.) — all in Rieu, giving 'the architectural proof of some foreign hand 

Ca/a/., p. 430: Or. 2030, containing two MSS., viz. at work in the building of the Taj Mahal'. Mr. Havell 

(i) by Manik Chand, foil. 1-30, and (2) notice of erroneously denounces the positive, contemporary 

the Taj Mahall, foil. 32-81, nearly identical with evidence of the Spaniard Father Manrique as 'the 

Addl. 8910. This is the version partly translated old Anglo-Indian legend' {/. Jioj. Soc. Ar/s, Jan., 

by Capt. Anderson in Calc. Review, vol. Ivii (1873), 191 1, P- 180). 

pp. 233-7. The above are on p. 958 b of Rieu, The question has not been thoroughly threshed 

Catal. Or. 2031 (Rieu, p. 1044 a), No. IV, foil. out yet, the Persian MSS. especially requiring 

148-226 is another copy of Manik Chand's account. careful examination and comparison. Mr. Irvine 

The Agra version, used and partly translated by has made a beginning at my request by examining 

Sleeman, S. Muhammad Latif {Agra, Historical and the Manik Chand MSS., Or. 2030 and 2031. They 

Descriptive, Calcutta, 1896), and Muhammad Moin- are of no independent value as authorities, and the 

ud-din {History of tiu Taj, Agra, 1905), seems (o text of Manik Chand's late compilation in Or. 2031 

exist in more than one form. F. Manrique's account is merely a copy of that in Or. 2030, made for the 

is discredited by the two Muhammadan writers use of Sir H. Elliot. 

named, as well as by Mr. E. B. Havell, ' The Taj ^ Shahjahan was deposed in 1658. Aurangzeb's 

and its Designers' {Nineteenth Century and After, formal accession took place in 1659. 
June, 1903; xepnnied'm Essays on Iitdian Art, Sf-c, " Mr. Growse traces the local history of the 

Madras, n. d), and by Mr. J. H. Marshall in Ann. modern fashion through the ' Jat style ' of Aurang- 

Rep. Arch. S., India, 1904-5, pp. r-3. Father zeb's time back to the eclectic style of Akbar. His 

Hosten, S.J., stoutly defends Manrique in his remarks on the subject are worth reading {Mathura, 

article, 'Who Planned the Taj.?' (/. and Proc. a District Memoir, o^xded., pp. \'12-Ji). In Northern 

A.S.B., N. S. vol. vi (1910), pp. 281-8). Mr. India, Mathura is almost the only town where archi- 

Keene also accepted his statement {Tur/;s in India, tecture can be described as ' still a living and pro- 

pp. 251-5). Mr. Chisholm informs me that he has gressive art'. 


inspection of the architecture Avhether a building is intended for Muslim or Hindu 
use. The modern part of the ancient shrine of Sayyid Salar in Northern Oudh 
(Fit^r. 244) is a good example of the style in its more Muhammadan form. 

Fig. 244. Shrine of Sa3'yid Salar, Bahraich. 
(From a photo.) 

Thus the story of Indo-Muhammadan architecture ends, as it began, with 
the subjection of foreign innovations to the irresistible pressure of native taste and 


In addition to Fergus'on's Hislorv and Dr. 
Burgess's article 'Indian Architecture' in vol. ii of 
Imp. Gaz. (1908), the following books and aiticles 
will be found the most useful : — 

Cunningham, ^..S'.7?c/., vol. iii, p. 9 — distinguishes 
eight Muhammadan styles in Northern India. Fuhrer 
and E. W. Smith, The Shanji Archilccture of Jaiin- 
pur, 4to, Calcutta, 1889. Ravenshaw, Gaur, ils 
Ruins and Inscriptions, i,Xo,'Lo\\Aow, 1878. Burgess, 
A. S. Rep., Weslern India, vol. vi, 4to, London, 1896, 
■Architecture of Gujarat'; ibid., vol. vii, 410, London, 
19CO ; and vol. viii, London, 1905, 'Architecture of 
Ahmadabad'. Eekgusson and Taylor, M., Archi- 
tecture at Becjapoor, foL, London, 1866. S.mith, 
E. W., il/itghal Architecture of Fathptir Sil;ri, 
4 Parts, 4to, Allahabad, 1894-8; AI;bar's Tomb, 
Sikandarah, near Agra (Allahabad, 1909, revised 
by W. H. Nicholls, &c.). 

No work similar to those e.xcellent treatises by 
the late Mr. E. W. Smith exists describing the Taj. 
The little book. The History of the Taj, hy'SlviiA^mAO 

MoiN-UD-DiN, 8vo, Agra, 1905, is crude. The work 
of S.Muham.mad \.m\¥, Agra, Historical and Descrip- 
tive, 8vo, Calcutta, 1896, though rather rough, con- 
tains valuable matter. Havell, E. B., A Handbook 
to Agra, and the Taj, ^-c, London, 1904, 139 pp., 
small 8vo, is very slight. None of the regular guide- 
books is satisfactory. 

The five published Annual Reports of the A. S., 
India, from 1902-3 to 1906-7, by Marshall, J. H., 
and his assistants and contributors, include much novel 
informaUon. Specially to be noted are the articles 
on conservation in vol. for 1903-4, pp. 1-45 ; Nur 
Baksh, ' The Agra Fort and its Buildings,' ibid., 
pp. 164-93 ; and Nicholls, W. H., 'Muhammadan 
Architecture in Kashmir,' vol. for 1906-7, pp. 161- 
70. M. Saladix's work, Alanuel d'art musulman, 
tome I, I' Architecture, Paris, 1907, valuable for the 
history of the art generally and in the Mediterranean 
and West Asian regions, is weak in the Indian 
chapter, and there neither accurate nor up to date. 


Section I. General Observations. 

MuHAMMADAN architecture, excluding the styles most deeply affected by Hindu 
influence, and in spite of infinite variety in detail, presents, as we have seen in the last 
chapter, a character of general uniformity throughout the Muslim world, partly due to 
the practically universal use of pointed arches and domes, and pardy to the free 
interchange of architects between different countries, resulting in the frequent imitation 
of foreign models. Muhammadan decorative art presents a similarly uniform character 
by reason chiefly of the Koranic prohibition of images, which, although not universally 
respected, was observed in all ages and countries sufficiently to impose narrow limits 
on the field open to the creative artist. 

The orthodox Muslim decorator has found himself in practice constrained to 
restrict his invention to the dexterous use of calligraphy, geometrical patterns, and 
floral devices. However varied in detail the application of those elements may 
be, the effect is necessarily flat and somewhat monotonous. The distinction between 
Fine Art and the Industrial or Applied Arts, therefore, as observed in the Intro- 
duction [ante, p. i), almost vanishes in relation to Musalman decorative art, the 
designs of which for the most part can be readily repeated by trained craftsmen. 

In this chapter a few pages will be devoted to the art of calligraphy as displayed 
in coinage, to the rare figure types on coins and gems, and to the exceptional attempts 
at stone sculpture in the round or in high relief They will be followed by a con- 
densed account of the leadinof forms of Musalman architectural decoration arranged 
under the heads of Calligraphy and Decorative Reliefs, Lattices, Inlay and Mosaic, 
and Enamelled Tiles. No attempt will be made to follow the Muhammadan decorator 
in his treatment of minor objects of luxury, which is essentially the same as that 
of architectural ornament. Even in his floral designs the tendency of the Muslim 
artist is in favour of a formal, over-symmetrical conventionalism, calculated to 
harmonize with his favourite geometrical patterns. Akbar's taste inclined to a more 
interesting naturalism, as displayed m the exquisite ornament on his cenotaph 
executed a few years after his death, and designed in his spirit. The small number of 
works selected for description and reproduction will, it is hoped, be sufficient to 
enable the reader to form a fair judgement of the general character of Indo-Muham- 
madan decoration in its various forms, and to appreciate the high excellence of that 
decoration within the limits prescribed by religion and usage. The art of painting, in 
the exercise of which greater liberty was assumed, will be discussed at considerable 


length in the conckiding chapter. The student will thus have at his disposal a sum- 
mary review of the whole field of Indo-Muhammadan art subject to the limitations 
imposed b)" the plan of this book. 

Section II. Coins, Gems, and Seals. 

It is a common error to suppose that the ancient Semitic prohibition of images, 
repeated in the Koran, invariably prevented Muhammadan artists from representing 
the forms of living creatures, real or imaginary. As a matter of fact, the prohibition, 
although respected as a rule, has been disregarded frequently in almost every Musal- 
man countr}' from the earliest ages of Islam to the present day, and especially in those 
countries, like Persia, where the Shia sect prevails. The introduction of figure types in 
many ancient Muhammadan coinages was due to the business necessity of maintaining 
for a time the forms of currency to which people had become accustomed. For 
example, when the Sassanian dynasty of Persia fell in the seventh century the newly 
appointed Arab governors continued to issue coins in the familiar national form with 
the king's head, distinguished from the native issues merely by the insertion of Arabic 
legends in minute characters. In India Muhammad of Ghor was obliged to accept 
a similar compromise and even to issue coins bearing the image of a Hindu goddess. 

In most Muhammadan kingdoms such numismatic compromises with idolatry 
were only temporary, and the die-cutters of the Muslim sovereigns were ordinarily 
obliged to content themselves with calligraphic devices, on which much skill was 
lavished. The coins issued by Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlak of Delhi (a. d. 1324- 
51), who has been called ' the prince of moneyers', are exceptionally brilliant examples 
of calligraphic art. A specimen is shown in Plate XCVIII.Fig. i, and may be taken as 
a typical illustration of well-executed Muhammadan orthodox coinage. 

Akbar, notwithstanding his scant respect for orthodoxy, submitted as a rule 
to Koranic restrictions in the types of his coinage, which exhibits many varieties 
of artistic ornamental writing. A highly elaborated specimen, a rupee struck at 
Agra, is shown in Plate XCVIII, Fig. 5. On three occasions only did he permit himself 
the luxury of figure tj-pes, and the pieces struck on those three occasions are medals 
rather than ordinary current coins. A falcon (ibid., Fig. 2) commemorates the 
capture of Aslrgarh, the strong fortress commanding the road to the Deccan. A duck 
appears on an Agra coin, for some unexplained reason (ibid.. Fig. 4). Both birds are 
well designed and surrounded by pretty floral scrolls. A curious piece, exhibiting the 
figures of a crowned archer and a veiled lady (ibid., Fig. 3), is a memorial of the sub- 
mission in A.u. 1013 (a. d. 1604-5) of the King of Bljapur, who gave his daughter 
in marriage to Prince Daniyal, Akbar's youngest son. 

Jahanglr, although officially a better Musalman than his father, was less orthodox 
in his coinage. He alone of all the Muhammadan sovereigns of India dared to put 
his own portrait on coins intended for circulation. He habitually disregarded the 
Prophet's prohibition of strong drink, and was not ashamed to show himself on 
the coinage holding a goblet of wine (ibid., Figs. 7, 8). He also indulged in the 
freak of issuing a coinage, both gold and silver, on which the months were indicated 

Fig. I. Muhammad b. Tughlak. 
{B. M. Catal. Coins of Sullans of Delhi, No. 260.) 

Figs. 2-5. Akbar. 
(B. M. Catal. of Coins of JMoghid Emperors, Nos. 166, 172, 173, 250.) 

Figs. 6-10. Jahanglr. 
(Ibid., Nos. 315, 319, 324, 341.) 

Plate XCVIII. Indo-lMuhammadan Coins. 


by pictorial s)-mbols of the zodiacal signs, instead of by words or numbers (ibid., 
Fios. 9, 10). The figure of Virgo is a Europeanized angel. ^ The great bulk, 
however, of jahanglr's coinage is perfectly orthodox in form. His five-mohur piece 
(ibid.. Fig. 6) is an excellent example of first-class calligraph}'. 

Many of the coins of the later Mughal emperors are well executed, but the 
specimens given are enough to illustrate the general character of calligraphic dies. 

Muhammadan gems and seals with artistic devices other than calligraphic are 
necessarily extremely scarce. Mr. King, after referring to the rarity of cameos in 
purely Oriental style, mentions one conspicuous Muhammadan specimen : — 

'The most remarkable example of all in the Oriental class,' he writes, 'although 
of modern origin, came to my knowledge among the Webb gems (when sold b)' Christie 
and Manson in 1S54), the subject being the feat performed by Shahjahan in cleaving 
asunder a lion which was mauling a courtier. The inscription consists of two parts 
[nameh ], " The portrait of the Second Sahib-Oiran, Shahjahan the victorious emperor," 
and the artist's signature " Made by Kan Atem " [sic, the reading is impossible]. ^ The 
gem probably must be dated early in his reign, for it shows Shahjahan with a 
moustache but no beard. He wears a long double row of big pearls round his neck, 
and, as a pendant, a great convex gem, perhaps the Kohinoor.' ^ 

I do not know where the gem so described now is. The feat commemorated 
was similar to that performed by Shahjahan, as Prince Khurram, when he rescued 
Anup Rai from the jaws of a tiger. •• The Mughal emperors v^/ere men of great 
personal prowess. 

The onl)- other notable Indo-Muhammadan artistic gem which has come to my 
notice is the beautiful sardonyx cameo of the Mughal period, bought by Mr. Marshall 
some years ago and now in the Lahore Museum, which is 3-6 inches broad and 3-3 
high. It represents two elephants with riders, locking their tusks and trunks together 
apparently in combat.* Others may exist in the Pearse collection recently acquired 
by the Government of India, which is now under examination and not 3'et available 
for reference. 

Section HI. Figure Sculpture. 

Musalman representations of living forms In stone or stucco of various ages from 
Egypt, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Spain have been published, and although rare 
in any one country, amount in the aggregate to a considerable number. A few bronze 
figures of a riider kind, mostly dating from the time of the Fatimite sovereigns of 
Egypt and S)ria {a. d. 969-1 171) are also known. ''' 

In India the examples of sculpture in the round or in high relief, executed to the 
order of Muhammadan princes, but probably by the hands of Hindu artists, are 

' 'Mais les beaux chtTs-d'tL'U\i-c numismaliques 314-16. 

sonl Ics dt'licieuics monnaies d'or de Djehangir - Memoirs of Jahangir, transl. Rogers and Beve- 

(1605-1628) fraiipees d'animaux el de personnages ridge (1909), pip. 185-8. 

d'un dessiii si paifait et d'un relief si pirecis et si vif ' ^ Ann. Rep. A. S., India, 1905-6, \i. 40, Fig. i. 

(;\Iigeoii, iManiicI d'art miimlman, I. ii, p. 164). ■''' Catalogued b}' Migeon, ]Manud d'arl viiindman, 

- Aniiitil Gems and Rings, London, 1872, jip. t. ii, chap. ii. \'ii. 



extremely few ; the most notable of which any remains exist being the elephants, 
sometimes with riders, set up at the gateways of fortresses, in continuance of Hindu 
custom. Nearly every stronghold of importance had its Elephant Gate {Hathipol). 
The portal of that name at Akbar's city of Fathpur-Sikri is still guarded by the mutilated 
figures of two colossal elephants, perched on supports \2\ feet high, whose trunks 
originally were interlocke'd across the entrance. Aurangzeb caused the heads to be 
knocked off The elephants, being clumsily made up of large blocks of hewn stone 
laid in mortar and joined by iron cramps, are of no account as works of art.^ 

The statues, presumably of Hindu origin, which once guarded the Elephant 
Gates of Gwalior, Mandu, and other fortresses have been destroyed. 

William Finch, the English traveller, who visited Agra early in the reign of 
Jahangir (16 10), there saw ' a second gate, over which are two Rajaws in stone, who 
were slain in the King's Derbar before the King's eyes, for being over-bold in speech, 
they selling their lives bravely, in remembrance of which they are heere placed '. 
From a note appended by Purchas, it would seem that the two ' Rajaws ' were 
mounted on elephants. The note states : — • 

' It is said that they were two Brothers, Resboots, Tutors to a Prince, their 
nephew, whom the King demanded of them. They refused, and were committed ; but 
drew on the Officers, slew twelve, and at last, by multitudes oppressing, were slain, 
and here have Elephants of stone and themselves figured.' - 

Mr. Keene is of opinion that ' the allusion probably is to the three sons of 
Akhiraj, son[s] of Akbar's brother-in-law. Raja Bhagwan Das of Jaipur, killed in 
a fight arising out of a tumult caused by themselves in the Palace ' ? Whoever the 
originals may have been. Finch's testimony is clear that two statues of men over one 
of the gates of the Agra Fort were erected by order of either Akbar or Jahangir, and 
Purchas's note indicates that they were mounted on elephants. The pedestals for two 
elephants have been found, but all trace of the figures of men or animals has 

The similar, but wholly distinct, statues of elephants with riders which formerly 
stood at the Delhi Gate of the Delhi Fort, and of which fragments still exist, have 
been the subject of so much discussion and misunderstanding that it is desirable to 
state the facts as recently elucidated by the officers of the Archaeological Survey. 
The statements in all the ordinary books of reference are erroneous. The Delhi 
groups certainly possessed considerable merit as works of art, and the riders at least 
must be counted as examples of sculpture executed to Musalman order. 

But before going into the history of the much debated Delhi statues it is well to 
note that Jahangir, in the eleventh year of his reign, had caused life-size figures of 

' E. W. Smith, Falhpm-S'tkn, Part III, p. 33, p. I2. Purchas does not cite any authority for his 

PL LV. Small elephants, poorly modelled, occur note. 

among the decorative sculptures of various Mughal "' The incident, which occurred Dec. 28, 1605, is 

buildin<^s. described by Jahangir {Memoirs of Jahangir, iransl. 

^ Hakluyius Posthumus or Purchas His Pilgrims, Rogers and Beveridge (1909), p. 29). 
in 20 volumes, MacLehose, Glasgow, mcmv, vol. iv, 


the Rana of Chitor (Amar Singh) and his son Karan to be carved in marble and set 
up in the palace garden at Agra, below the window (darshan jharokha) where the 
Emperor made his daily public appearance.' This undoubted fact, recorded by 
jahangir himself, is clear proof that the earlier Mughal emperors had no objection to 
life-size statues of men, and sometimes had them made. No trace has been found 
of the oarden effigies, which appear to have been carved at Ajmer and thence sent to 

The history of the Delhi groups may be summarized as follows : — 
In 1663, early in Aurangzeb's reign, Bernier saw and warmly admired the effigies 
of two elephants with riders which then stood at the Delhi Gate of the Delhi Fort. 
A few years later they were seen still in position by Thevenot. Subsequently they 
were broken up by order of Aurangzeb, and the fragments cast away. In 1863 the 
buried fragments were found, and after an interval some of them were pieced together 
and made into an absurd monster, which was set up in the Queen's Gardens, with 
a ialse inscription based on an erroneous guess of Sir Alexander Cunningham. Lord 
Curzon expressed a desire to reconstruct the groups from the broken pieces, but it 
proved impossible to carry out his wishes. A skilled European artist, Mr. R. D. 
Mackenzie, was commissioned to make a new model. He did so, and his work is 
preserved in the Delhi Museum. Native sculptors were then instructed to make two 
elephants without riders from that model. They carried out their orders as well as 
they could, and their productions have been erected on the old pedestals. The new 
elephants, consequently, have no connexion with the broken groups, the fragments of 
which are kept in the Museum. I understand that the Queen's Gardens monster has 
been destroyed. The experiment carried out under Lord Curzon's direction has not 
been a success. l\Ir. Mackenzie's model lacks the massive dignity which ancient 
Hindu sculptors were so well able to give to their elephant statues, and the enlar^^ed 
copies bv native carvers are lifeless, worthless things. 

The original elephants were made of black stone (? marble), and accorchng to 
Mr. Marshall, who has examined the fragments carefully, were 'moulded with masterly 
skill and care ' and ' true to nature'. They are believed to be of Hindu origin. The 
riders were carved in red sandstone, and ' their material, style, and technique establish 
beyond a doubt', according to the same authority, that they were 'carved by Mughal 
sculptors ', a phrase presumably to be interpreted as meaning ' sculptors of the Mughal 
period'. The actual artists are more likely to have been Hindus than Musalmans. 
Whoever wrought them, the statues of the riders also seem to have been good, well- 
finished work. 

Bernier was told that the riders represented the brothers Jaimall and Palta, the 
brave heroes of the defence of Chitor in 1568, who 'with their still braver mother, 
immortalized their names by the extraordinary resistance which they opposed to the 
celebrated Ecbar. ... It is owing to this extraordinary devotion on their part that 
their enemies have thought them deserving of the statues here erected to their memory.' 
' Ik'vendge, /. R. A. S., 1909, p. 743; J/ewous </ /u/iangir, mml Rogers and Beveridge (1909), 

Fig. a. From Kaiam Rasul Mosque, Gaur ; a. d. 1480. (Ravenshaw, Gaur, PI. XLVIII, No. 6.) 

'i '''C^i i.T^'^s;^^i 

Fig B Fiom J im 1 Masjid, tathpui Sikii. (E. W. Smith, Faihpm Si'n, Pan iv, PI. XXn .) 

Fig. C. South end {jalla jalalahu) of Akbar's cenoiaph. (E. W. Smith, The Tomb o/Akbar, PI. XVII.) 

Plate XCIX. Decorative Inscriptions. 


I see no reason to doubt the truth of this explanation, which is confirmed by the fact 
already noticed that Jahanglr erected statues of two other chiefs of Chitor in the 
palace garden at Agra. But if the statues of the riders date from the time of either 
Akbar or lahanglr, they must have been placed originally somewhere else, and 
subsequently shifted by Shahjahan who built the Delhi (Shahjahanabad) Fort. There 
is, however, nothing in Bernier's statement to indicate that the statues were not 
ordered by Shahjahan, who may have been influenced by the precedent set at Agra 
b)' his father.' 

A life-size statue of a horse in red sandstone standing on the left-hand side of the 
Sikandarah road about two miles from Agra, near the garden of Suraj Bhan, and 
opposite a masonry Muhammadan tomb, may be a work of Mughal age, but nothing 
definite about it is known, and no photograph is available. Mr. Beglar's conjecture 
that it may date from the time of Sikandar Lodl, the idol-breaking Sultan in the 
fifteenth century, is extremely improbable.' 

Section IV. Calligraphv and Decorative Reliefs. 

The Arabic alphabet in its various forms, as used for writing both the Arabic 
and Persian languages, is so well adapted for decorative purposes, as will be explained 
more fully in Chapter XIV, that almost every Muhammadan building of importance 
is freely adorned with texts from the Koran or other inscriptions arranged decoratively 
to form part of the architectural design, and often signed as the work of famous 
calligraphists. A good early Indian example of such calligraphic decoration is afforded 
by the great arch of the Ajmer mosque {anfe, PI. XCI), where the outer line of writing 
is in the angular Kufic script, while the other lines are in a more rounded Arabic 

Later examples from Indo-Muhammadan buildings of all styles and ages might 
be multiplied indefinitely. It will suffice to exhibit in a single plate three small chotce 
specimens, one from Bengal, and two from edifices of the early Mughal period ; the 
latter being exquisitely combined with floral devices (Plate XCIX)t and in another 
plate an example on a larger scale (Plate C). In some cases, as in the 7m/ira6 
illustrated, the eftect w^as heightened by gilding and colour, with charming results. 

iMusalman figure sculpture in the round has, as we have seen, slight artistic value 
and IS mterestmg chiefly as a curiosit)-. But Musalman decorative sculpture in bas- 
rel.ef applied to architecture may fairly claim on its merits to take at least equal rank 
with first-rate Italian work of the kind. 

'Lon nesaurait; writes M. Migeon, ' trop recommander I'etude des arts de 
I Islam aux artistes decorateurs et aux ouvriers dart. Par la puissante beaute de ses 

■ For fuller details ^ee lAIr. Marshall's illustrated Abul Fa^i. For Bernier see Constable's translation 

aititle in .!„„. 7?,/, A. S.. India, 1905-6, pp. 33- (1891), p. .56. Mr. Keene's observations, largely 

42. tor Jaimall and I'alta m Nepalese tra- erroneous, are in App. A to his //a«^^.«/->r F«//.« 

dition see anle, p. 48. It is now quite certain tiiat lo Delhi {i?,i2). 

the Uelhi groups had no connexion either with the 2 Cunningham and Bcglar, A. S Reb vol iv 

Agra Fort statues seen by Finch, or with the single p. 183 : Latif, Agra, Descrrpiive and Historical, 

Lrwahor elephant also seen by that traveller and by p. 180. 

■ i 

Plate C. Inscribed principal Mihrab, Jam'i Mosque, Fathpur-SlkrI. 
(E. W. Smith, Faihptir-Sikrl, Part iv, PI. XLII.) 


formules, par sa fantaisie tou;ours regie par les lois les plus rigoureusement logiques, 
par le rayonnant eclat de la coulcur, il n'est pas d'art qui offre plus de richesse 
decorative et plus de souveraine harmonie. II renferme des germes feconds qui 
transplantes doivent fructiher a Tinfini.' ^ 

The validity of the concluding proposition may be doubted, and it seems to me 
by no means certain that the teaching of Musalman art to European craftsmen would 
produce satisfactory results. But, however that may be, M. Migeon's enthusiastic 
praise of the decorative quality of Muslim art generally may be accepted. The best 
Indian specimens, with which alone we are concerned at present, could not be sur- 
passed as pure decoration. The general absence of all human interest and expression 
in the infinitely varied patterns is, of course, a great drawback, but if we are content 
to regard the works simply as surface decoration intended to please the eye they can- 
not be beaten. Amono- all the many varieties of Muhammadan decorative desio-ns 
none are more agreeable than the best of those carved in relief on the Mughal build- 
ings, from the time of Akbar to that of Shahjahan. The work of Akbar's time beino- 
more naturalistic, is more interesting than that of the later period, which is formally 
conventional, with a tendency to monotony. 

The choicest Italian work does not surpass, if it equals, the superb carving 
on the white marble cenotaph of Akbar, which occupies the centre of the topmost 
stor)- of his mausoleum at Sikandarah. 

' The two oblong sides and the top are adorned with the ninety-nine titles of the 
Creator in alto-rilievo, set in delicate Arabic tracery (Plates XI and XV oi Akbar s 
Tovib). The words Allahu Akbar jalla jaldlahu are inscribed on the head and foot, 
set in panels surrounded by most beautiful and delicate floral ornamentation {ibid., PI. 
XVT, XVII ; aiiU\ PI. XCIX, Fig. C). The carving, which is most exquisitely done, 
IS \\\ very low relief and savours of Chinese workmanship. Amongst other flowers 
and plants portrayed one recognizes the lily, the almond, and the dahlia, all of which 
are found carved or painted upon Akbar's palace at Fathpur-Sikrl. In the left-hand 
corner of each of the panels, cloud-forms carved after a most distinctive Chinese type 
are noticeable. Similar cloud-forms are met with upon the dado panels in the Turkish 
Sultanah's house at Fathpur-SlkrI, and it is generally supposed that they were executed 
by Chinese workmen.' 

But forms of a like kind so often appear in Persian art that it is unnecessary to 
assume the employment of Chinese craftsmen by Akbar. 

' Small butterflies and insects flitting from flower to flower are carved upon the 
panels. Upon the top of the cenotaph a qalam-daii or pen-box is sculptured, signify- 
nig that the tomb is a man's, in distinction from a woman's, which is o-enerallv provided 
with the takhti or slate.' - & .y r 

A good specimen of the conventional Persian vase motive, which became fashion- 
able from Jahanglr's reign, is found on a panel of the south side of the east wall of the 
eastern false gate of Akbar's tomb (PI. CIj. 

Shahjahan's architects relied on inlay rather than relief sculpture for decoration; 


umel d'arl mumhnau. t. ii, p. 454. 2 ^^^.^^^..^ j^^^j^^ Sikandarah, p. i 5'. 

!. ,:! ;Mi' Mi.'iJ^S,,.. I J^ . 


11 «' 










1 . 


1 ^yip 


y^0 ^ 

*■ ra 

is s 




ak ^ 


K * 


H r.' 





past fdsp fvitp nr Akbar's tomb. (E. W. Smith, yiX-,^.7r'j Tow^i, PI. LXIII.) 


but at the Taj dados are ver)' effectively adorned by conventional flowers cut on red 
sandstone in low relief (Plate CII, Fig. A). 
3id The same plate illustrates the totally different style adopted in the much earlier 

Sarangpur mosque at Ahmadabad, erected about a.d. 1500 (Plate CII, Figs. B, C). 
The tree motive is characteristic of Ahmadabad. The whole design is far more Hindu 
than Muhammadan, and even the ancient Persepolitan bell capital as adopted by 
Hindu art appears in the pilasters. 

Section V. Lattices. 

Pierced stone screens or lattices used as windows were not unknown to Hindu 
architects, and were especially favoured by the builders of the highly decorated 
temples in the Mysore, Deccan, or Chalukyan style. For example, at Belur there are 
twenty-eight such windows, all different. Some of these are pierced with merely con- 
ventional patterns, generally star-shaped, with bands of foliage between; others are 
interspersed with figures and mythological subjects.^ 

an- But the Musalman architects, who were more restricted than the Hindus in 

their liberty of decoration, developed the art of designing and executing stone lattices 
to a degree of perfection unknown to other schools. Endless variations of geometrical 
patterns, generally pleasing, although wearisome when examined in large numbers, 
are the most characteristic forms of Muhammadan lattice-work, which is seen at its 
best in the Gujarat (Ahmadabad) and Mughal buildings. The designs both in 
Gujarat and the earlier Mughal work have been often influenced by Hindu tradition. 
The Muslim artists used the lattice, not only for windows, but also for the panels of 
doors and for screens or railings round tombs with excellent effect. 

ibad. The m.ost beautiful traceries at Ahmadabad are to be seen in ten nearly semi- 

circular windows of Sldl Sayyad's mosque built about a.d. 1500, which may be fairly 
described as the most artistic stone lattice-work to be found anywhere in the world. 
I give two examples — one with geometrical patterns, and the other with the tree 
motive of Hindu origin, which should be compared with the modern carving in the 
Mysore Palace [ixnte, p. 236). 

'It would be difficult,' Fergusson observes, 'to excel the skill with which the 
vegetable forms are conventionalized just to the extent required for the purpose. 
The equal spacing also of the subject by the three ordinary trees and four palms takes 
it out of the category of direct imitation of nature, and renders it sufficiently structural 
for its situation ; but perhaps the greatest skill is shown in the even manner in which 
the pattern is spread over the whole surface. There are some exquisite specimens 
of tracery in precious marbles at Agra and Delhi, but none quite equal to this.' ^ 

The material of the Ahmadabad windows is Gujarat sandstone. (Plate CI 1 1.) 

^ Ycr'g^%i,on,Hist.ofInd.andE.Archil.,ftd..\i)\o, familiar to the Indian traveller, of a banyan-tree 

vol. 1, p. 440, with a bad illustration. growinp; out of and around a palm, until in its 

Hist. Ind. and E. Archil., ed. 19 10, vol. ii, snake-like entanglements of root and branch the 

p. 236. The companion window (PI. IV of Burgess) banyan strangles its foster parent' {Indian Art at 

represents more distinctly ' the phenomenon, not un- Dellii, p. 122, PI. XXVII). 

, „ jr^ ^ '' * ■• ' ■ W WII ■.^n^Xm'niM ^m.1^ ' -^ , 

Fig. a. Panel in dado of ' false mosque ' (jazvcU) at the Taj, A<: 
{Ami. Rep. A. S., India, 1903-4, PI. H a.) 


wwwm\ j *'*f'^ 


Figs B, C. Panels from Sarangpur Mosque, Ahmadabad, cir. a. d. 1500. 

{A. S. Ret., Wes/eni India, vol. viii, PI. XXXIII, Figs. 3, 4.) 

Plate CII. Relief carvings. 

_^ K 

> MlWM|P^PlHif 

'liill'f i |it|iPllllffill,#iwrt 

' WniinWiL'iiiiibiiVr'' 
imm 11 .1.1(1' :,'! 

Fig. a. Geometrical. (PI. XLIX, vol. vii, A/r/i. S. WcsUr/t India?) 


Fig. B. Tree motive. (PL LI, ibid.) 
Plate CIIL Windows in Sidi Sa)7id's Mosque, Ahmadabad, cir. a. d. 1500. 

iliir Piiii;i!!i 

illlihiir:!:'!--'!:^'!;:"!!! !!;;!■ i!^i!|';'^^^^^^ 


,lii iKil!:, 


''I l' M 

Plate CIV. Marble verandah screen, tomb of Sallm Chishti, Fathpur-SlkrI, a.d. 1571. 
(E. W. Smith, Fathpur-Sikri, Part III, PL XXXV.) 

~».^'' ',vH')t^'!ji;^t^"7 - 




^^ISw-l. _ 

Plate CV. ^Marble screen round the cenotaph of the Taj. 
(From a photograph.) 



The examples ot well-designed and well-executed open-work tracery, chiefly in Mughal. 
marble, at Agra and Delhi are so numerous that it is difficult to select typical speci- 
mens. But it is impossible to do better than to illustrate the style of Akbar's time 
from the tomb of Salim Chishti at Fathpur-Sikri, built a.d. 1571. Plate CIV repro- 
duces some of the marble screen-work enclosing the verandah, exhibiting an elegant 
and effective combinationbf a geometrical pattern with a conventionalized plant design. 

The well-known railing round the cenotaph in the Taj may be taken as an un- 
surpassed example of the art in Shahjahan's time (Plate CV). The lines of therepeat- 

FiG. 245. Geometrical repeat. 
(Ami. Rep. Arch. S., India, 1904-5, p. 14, Fig. 6.) 

ing pattern in this case are more like Italian renaissance than Asiatic work. This is 
the only case in which Mr. Marshall can discern Italian influence in the decorations 
of the Taj. 

.. . Section VI. Inlay and Mosaic. 

The device for breaking the monotony of a wide wall surface by inserting broad Marble inlay 
bands of white marble, as employed in the fourteenth century on the tomb of Tughlak mosaic. 
Shah [anie, Fig. 234), and a few years earlier on Ala-ud-din's gateway {aufe, Fig. 233), 
was commonly used in the Musalman art of Central Asia, Syria, and Egypt, and was 
freely adopted for Christian buildings in Italy. In Akbar's time this early severe 
form of decoration was supplemented by mosaics made up after the Roman and 
Byzantine fashion from small tesserae, which were combined in Persian geometrical 
patterns. The great mosque at Fathpur-SikrI offers many examples, as for instance 
the inner architrave of the mihrdb in Plate C. Sometimes the effect was enhanced 
by the insertion of little bits of blue or green enamel. 

A great innovation was effected by the introduction of the form of inlay known Pkira dura. 
technically by the Italian name oi pietra dtira, which is composed of hard precious 
or semi-precious stones, such as onyx, jasper, cornelian, &c., cut into thin slices and 
neatly bedded in sockets prepared in the marble. This process, of which the best 


comparatively small specimens are to be seen at Florence, is capable of producing 
charmino- decorative effects when executed by capable workmen. In India, where 
expense was disregarded, it was applied to buildings on an enormous scale. 

The bold i^oral mosaics made of marble or red sandstone which appear on the 
south gateway of Akbar's tomb (1605-12) are nearly equivalent in effect to pietra 
dura work, but are not identical with it. ^ The Mughal kings evidently loved flowers, 
which are admirably treated in all forms of art patronized by them. 

The earliest Indian example of true pidra dura, according to Major Cole, is said 
to be that in the Gol Mandal, a domed pavilion in the small Jagmandir palace, at 
Udaipur in Rajputana, built in or about 1623 for Prince Khurram, afterwards the 
Emperor Shahjahan, while he was an exile from his father's court. 

The process is very extensively employed on the approximately contemporary 
mausoleum of Itimad-ud-daula near Agra, erected by his daughter Nijrjahan after her 
father's death in a.d. 1621. The general effect oi \\-\(t pietra dtira decoration is well 
shown (so far as it can be without colour) in Plate CVI, which represents one of the 
white marble turrets at the corners of the tomb. The older style of marble mosaic is 
seen in the lower panels. 

Shahjahan (1627-5S) Avholly abandoned mosaic in favour oi pietra dura, which 
probably he learned to admire while residing in the Jagmandir palace at Udaipur 
before his accession. The decoration is applied so lavishly in the Taj and the 
palaces of Agra and Delhi that volumes might be filled with reproductions of the 
designs, which are familiar to most people from modern copies. One plate will be 
enough to show their character (Plate CVI I). They are remarkable for their restraint 
and good taste, and are superior to the similar work in the Delhi palace. 

The Florentine pietra dura inlay, a revival of the ancient Roman opiis sectile, 
first appears, according to Major Cole, in the Fabbrica Ducale built by Ferdinand I, 
Grand Duke of Tuscany, in 1558. The earliest certain Indian examples being 
considerably later in date and identical in technique, a strong presumption arises that 
the art must have been introduced into India from Italy. There is no doubt that the 
Mughal sovereigns freely entertained artists from Europe as well as from most parts 
of Asia. The presumption is not rebutted by the obvious fact that the designs of the 
Mughal work are essentially Asiatic, and in the main Persian, because the ordinary 
Indian practice is to transpose foreign importations, so to speak, into an Indian key. 
Persian designs were readily assimilated, but in the seventeenth century nobody in 
India cared much for outlandish European forms, or wanted to have them. Now, 
of course, things are different, and European forms are fashionable because the 
government is English. If Mr. Marshall was correctly informed when he wrote some 
years ago that 'pietra dura work in a rougher and earlier stage than was hitherto 
known' had been discovered in the ruins of the Khalji mausoleum at Mandu in 
Central India, the presumption of Italian origin would no longer hold good, because 
Mahmud Khalji, in whose honour the mausoleum seems to have been erected, died in 

^ E. W. Smith, Akhar's Tomb, PI. XLI, XLII. 

Plate CVI. Upper part of a corner turret, Itimad-ud-daula's tomb, Agra, showing 

pietra dura inlay and marble mosaic. 

(E. W. Smith, Moghul Colour Decoration of Agra, PL LXXI.) 

Plate CVII. Pietra dura inlay on the cenotaph of the Taj. 
(Plate, /. Ind. Art, vol. i, p. 76.) 



1475.1 But the details given in an earlier report suggest that the remains found 
were those of marble mosaic, not of pietra dura inlay. As the evidence at present 
stands, I continue to believe in the Italian origin of \\\^\.-3a\ pietra dura work, so far as 
the technique is concerned.' 

The decline and fall of the Mughal empire during the eighteenth century 
necessarily involved the rapid decay of the arts which had ministered to the splendour 
of the imperial court. Among other arts that of producing pieira dura inlay had 
been almost forgotten until about 1830, when Dr. Murray, Inspector-General of 
Hospitals, induced the craftsmen to revive it for commercial purposes. Since that 
time it has been practised sufficiently to provide a constant supply of pretty trifles for 
European tourists and visitors, but nobody dreams of decorating a building in the 
fashion which appealed to Shahjahan the Magnificent. The plaques and other inlaid 
objects now made at Agra are too familiar to need illustration. A selection of first- 
class specimens is figured in Indian Art at Delhi, Plate 17-A. 

Inlay with mother-of-pearl occurs at Sahm Chishti's tomb, Fathpur Sikrl, and 
elsewhere. Glass mosaics are to be seen in several ' Shish Mahalls ', or ' glass 
chambers ', at Udaipur, Amber, Agra, Lahore, and other places. Those in the ceiling 
of the Shish Mahall, Lahore, are said to be particularly well done. But such 
meretricious bedizenment certainly is not fine art, and need not be further discussed. 

Section VII. Enamelled Tiles. 

The practice of decorating wall surface with coloured enamelled bricks or tiles . 
was of very ancient date in Persia, and derived ultimately from Babylonia. The Lion 
and Archer friezes from Susa now in the Louvre, and well reproduced by Perrot and 
Chipiez, are the best examples of the art as practised in Achaemenian times.^ But 
the style of those friezes is not imitated in any extant Indian work. The Indo- 
Muhammadan enamelled or glazed tiles were copied from a much later development 
of the art in Persia, where the ancient technique apparently was never wholly 
forgotten. This later Persian work shows traces of Chinese influence. 

M. Migeon believes that the Muhammadan use of enamelled tiles in numerous ] 
Persian building-s of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was derived from Khorasan. *^ 
From that province it seems to have spread to Samarkand, where we find coloured 
tile facings on the tomb of Timur at the beginning of the fifteenth century. Coloured 
tiles had become known in India at an earlier date, certainly in the first quarter of 
the fourteenth and possibly in the thirteenth century, but the Timiirid tradition of 
the Mughal emperors made them still more fashionable. The Indian work, although 
sometimes very good, is not admitted by experts to equal the best Persian in either 
the beauty of the colours or the brilliancy of the enamel.* 

"^ Ann. Rep. A. S., India, \^o\-Z,^.^. London, 1892, p. 420 and plates. Persian and 

^ Ibid., 1903-4, p. 38. I cannot find any distinct Indian tiles are not strong enough for use in 

record of the finding of fragments ol pieira dura at pavements. 

Mandu. ■* Migeon, Manuel d'arl musiilmaii, t. ii, pp. 295, 

' Perrot and Chipiez, Hist, of Art in Persia, 296. 



The tomb of Baha-ul-hakk at Multan, built between a.d. 1264 and 1286, still 
retains, or retained in 1S82 when Cunningham wrote, ' some fairly preserved specimens 
of diaper ornament in glazed tiles,' which may or may not be contemporaneous with 
the buildino- in its original form. The tomb Avas extensively rebuilt in the seventeenth 
century, and Mr. Marshall is of opinion that most of the tile-work belongs to 

that age. 

The tomb of Baha-ul-hakk's grandson, Rukn-ud-din (a.d. 1320), a well-designed 
octagonal domed building of brick, in the same city, has its whole exterior 

'elaborately ornamented with glazed tile panels and string courses and battle- 
ments. The only colours used are dark blue, azure, and white ; but these are 
contrasted with the deep red of the finely polished bricks, and the result is both 
effective and pleasing. These mosaics are not, like those of later days, mere plain 
surfaces, but the patterns are raised from half an inch to two inches above the 
background. This mode of construction must have been very troublesome, but Its 
increased effect is undeniable, as it unites all the beauty of variety of colour with the 
light and shade of a raised pattern.' 

The tile from Baha-ul-hakk's tomb figured by Cunningham exhibits the ' key 
pattern ' In white on a dark blue ground ; that from Rukn-ud-din's tomb has a white 
ground with interlacing circles in dark blue, the Interspaces being partly filled by 
six-petalled stars and polygonal blocks in pale azure. ^ 

The Indo-Muhammadan use of glazed or enamelled tiles undoubtedly was 
imported from Persia and Turkistan in the forms of art practised In those coun- 
tries from the thirteenth century onwards. But ages earlier more ancient foreign 
conquerors seem to have brought with them into India an old variety of the art. 
The excavations at Kanishka's stftpa at Peshawar have revealed the surprising 
fact that 

' at some point higher up the walls [than certain reliefs] there appears to have been 
a band of enamelled tiles, with an Inscription in Kharoshthi letters boldly incised upon 
it. Many of the tiles belonging to this band have been found on the western side of 
the monument, and it is likely that more may turn up in the yet unexcavated debris. 
These tiles, which are covered with a pale blue vitreous enamel, are the first of their 
kind, I may notice, that have yet been discovered in India.' - 

Kanishka's workmen («'r. a. d. 100) presumably imitated Turkistan tiles, but there 
is, of course, a bare possibility that the art may have been invented independently in 

Two of the mosques at Gaur In Bengal [anie, 400), the Tantipara and Lotan 
(Lattan), erected between a.d. 1475 and T480, are decorated with true encaustic tiles. 
Those of the Lotan mosque are the best preserved. A collection of earlier glazed 
tiles from Gaur in the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, is described 
as having ' a marked Hindu character, quite distinct from the blue, and diapered, and 

^ Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. v, pp. 13 1-3, elude yellow. The Silpur tombs date from the- 

Pl. XXXIX. At Sitpur in the Muzaffargarh District, fifteenth century, 

where similar tile decoration occurs, the colours in- = Marshall,/. 7?. A. S., 1909, p. 1057. 

Plate CVIII. Minaret of Wazir Khan's Mosque. 
(Plate XXVIII of/. Ind. Art, vol. x.) 



banded tiles which are distinctive of Mahommadan manufacture elsewhere in India, 
before the florid designs of the Mogul period came into vogue.' ^ It is possible that 
the art, however introduced originally, may have been known to the Hindus of 
Bengal in an imperfect form before the Muhammadan conquest. 

The palace of Raja Man Singh at Gwalior, built at the beginning of the sixteenth 
century, ' was once profusely decorated with glazed tiles of various colours,' as noticed 
by Babar, who recorded in his Memoirs : ' The outside of the walls they have inlaid 
with green painted tiles. All around they have inlaid the walls with figures of plantain 
trees made of painted tiles.' Cunningham, writing in 1871, states that 

' the plantain [i. e. banana] trees mentioned by Babar still exist. They are of the 
natural size, but the leaves made of bright green glazed tiles are very regularly dis- 
posed on each side of the yellow stems, and the effect is consequently too stiff and 
formal. The diamond patterns in blue tile, and the long narrow lines of the same 
colour, are, however, both effective and pleasing.' " 

I have not seen these curious and unique tiles or any illustrations of them. The 
design is purely Hindu, and it is difficult to say whether or not the manufacture of 
such tiles was learned from the Muhammadans or was previously known to the Hindus 
of Central India. But the probability is that the art was imported. 

We now pass on to the more highly developed and artistic use of glazed tiles 
after the Persian manner on the walls and domes of Muahal buildings. Most of the 
Mughal tiling is of the kind called Kaslii or Chini, composed of pieces cut out from 
a painted sheet and laid as mosaic. The larger part dates from the seventeenth 
century, with a range of colours considerably more extensive than that employed on 
the early Panjab tiles already noticed.^ Such Kdshi tile casing, sparingly employed 
on the tombs of Sher Shah and Humayun, came largely into favour in the reigns of 
Jahangir and Shahjahan (1605-58), and continued to be used in Aurangzeb's time. 
The art is now extinct. 

The most remarkable series of tile pictures in the world is the huge band on the 
walls of the Lahore Fort, extending from the Elephant Gate (Hathi Pot) to the north- 
eastern tower of Jahanglr's quadrangle for a length of 497 yards, with a height of 
17 yards. Nearly the whole of this enormous surface is faced with painted tiles 
representing elephant fights, a game of polo, and other scenes. Dr. Vogel has 
obtained tracings of 116 panels, of which many select examples have been repro- 

' Birdwood, Industrial Arts 0/ India, p. 322. 
These objects are rather enamelled bricks or terra- 
cotta than tiles. The body is similar to that of red 
bricks, moulded on the edges or sides into relief 
patterns, which are covered with a poor vitreous 
dip, forming a ground of opaque dark blue, upon 
which patterns in opaque white — either enamel or 
clay — have been laid. The patterns include Muham- 
madan (Saracenic) and Hindu forms, and may be 
referred to the eleventh or twelfth century (Furnival, 

Leadkss Decorative Tiles, p. 118, Figs. 72-5). 

'^ Cunningham, A. S. Rep., vol. i, pp. 347-9. 

' Opinions differ as to the mode of manufacture. 
Mr. J. L. Kipling thought that the designs were 
painted on large sheets, which were cut up into tiles 
lefore firing (/. Ind. Art, vol. ii, pp. 17, 18) ; but 
Mr. F. H. Andrews, after making experiments, 
believes that the shaped pieces were cut after glazing 
and firing (Ibid., vol. x, pp. 27-30). 

Plate CIX. Chini-ka-Rauza. 
(PI. XXV, E. W. Smith, Colour Decoration, Agra.) 


duced on a reduced scale in colour.^ One is here given (PI. CX) by permission of the 

Government of India. , • • n 

The most beautiful example of KdshJ tile-work on a large scale is universally 
recoo-nized to be the mosque built in 1634 at Lahore by the governor, Wazir Khan. 
The^buildin- is a well-designed domed structure with four handsome mmarets, con- 
structed of "small thin bricks. The exterior is panelled, the panels and mmarets 
being veneered with Kds!n tile-work of great brilliancy, still in fairly good preserva- 
tion.'' The minaret figured in Plate CVIII gives a good idea of the effect. 

Passing by several interesting buildings exhibiting more or less decoration in 
coloured tifes, we come next to the tomb near Agra known as the Chinl-ka-Rauza, 
which has had the advantage of being exhaustively described and illustrated by the 
late Mr. E. W. Smith in a volume mainly devoted to it. The building, a large 
octagonal domed tomb of uncertain date, supposed to have been built early in the 
reign of Aurangzeb, in memory of Afzal Khan, a poet who died in 1639, was originally 
covered on the outside from top to bottom with mosaic in Kdshi tiling of various 
colours, worked up into numerous patterns so as to form one unbroken flat surface. 
It is now much dilapidated. The tiles, f of an inch thick, are bedded in a layer of 
fine plaster an inch thick, which was laid on a stratum of coarser plaster two inches in 
thickness. The principal colours include blues, greens, orange, vermilion, lake, &c., 
in a variety of delicate shades with a metallic lustre, the unavoidable slight irregu- 
larities of the surface producing wonderful play of light. One illustration may be 
given to show the style (Plate CIX).- 

The tomb also exhibits some painted internal decoration in excellent taste. 

Mr. Marshall describes as follows a third type of Indian tile decoration :— 

' A third kind of tiles is found on buildings of the eighteenth century, such as 
the mosque of Muhammad Amin at Lahore (beginning eighteenth century) and the 
mosque of Zakariya Khan near Lahore. The founder of the latter was a viceroy of 
the Punjab from a. d. 171 7 to 1738. It is strange to find the same tjq^e combined 
with KdshT work on the tomb of Asaf Khan at Shahdara as early as a. d. 1634. The 
tiles of this class are square. They form, consequently, not a tile-mosaic as the two 
earlier types, in which each separate piece has its own shape and colour, but are 
similar to the tiles known in Europe, from where presumably they were introduced 
into India. The colours are faint as compared to \_sic\ those of the Kdsht tiles, pale 
green, blue and yellow being the most prominent. In one case, the tomb of Sharf-un- 
nissa, known as the cypress tomb [Sarvvdli maqbara), not far from Begampura near 
Lahore, we find, besides Kcishi \^ox\l on the lower part of the walls, square blue and 
white tiles of a type well known in the west of Europe. This building also would 
seem to belong to the eighteenth century. 

' It would be interesting to know whether there exists any connexion between 
the use of such tiles in the Punjab and the visit of an ambassade of the Dutch East 
India Company to Lahore in a. d. 171 2. It should be noted that at present square 
white and blue tiles are fabricated in great number at Multan, which are now com- 

' Progress Rep. A. S., PanjCih Circle, 1901-2, with tiles, prepared by Mr. C. Stanley Clarke, see 

par. 13; /. /. A. I., 1911, Furnival, Leadless Decorative Tz/cj-, pp. 121-6. The 

- For a long list of Indian buildings decorated subject is continued to p. 132. 

Fig. B. Enamelled earthenware tile from Delhi; 
? sixteenth cent. ; ii"x io|" sq. ; dark blue, red, black, 
Fig. a. Glazed earthenware tile from Panjab, seven- ^^^ gi'^e" «" ^^"0^^ ground ; humped bull and flowers : 
teenth cent.; pi" sq.; green ground: No. 941-1873, No, 303-90, Ind. Sec, V. and A. Museum. 
&c., Ind. Sec, V. and A. Museum. 

Fig. C. Enamelled earthenware tile from Lahore ; seventeenth cent. ; antelopes and flowers on yellow 
ground; 8|" x 8i" sq. : No. 1-98, Ind. Sec, V. and A. Museum. 

Plate CXI. 


monly used to decorate graves with, but are entirely different from the tiles found in 
the ancient buildings mentioned above, that is to say, the early type of the Rukn-i- 


es Inasmuch as Mr. IMarshall himself notes that square tiles of the type he 

"^ describes occur on Asaf Khan's tomb at Shahdara dating from 1634, I do not see 
what the Dutch embassy of 171 2 can have to do with them. 

In Plates CXI, CXII reproductions are given from photographs specially taken of 
six artistic square tiles in the Entrance Hall of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Indian 
Section, all believed to date from either the sixteenth or seventeenth century, and not 
previously published. 

Fig. A, Plate CXI, showing the complete figure of a young woman seated on her 
heels, with part of another woman offering her a fruit, appears to be unique, and is 
supposed to date from the seventeenth century. The drawing is good, and the 
general aspect suggests European influence, of which there was plenty in those times. 
The broken tile from Delhi (Fig. B) presents a humped bull and flowers in 
brilliant colours. The fragments of a hunting scene on two perfect tiles (Plate CXI, 
Fig. C, Plate CXII, Fig. A) from Lahore are vividly designed and, I think, rightly 
referred to the seventeenth century, when such pictures of Persian origin were 
much in fashion. The floral devices on the Lahore tiles (Plate CXII, Figs. B, C) are 
pretty and well coloured. 

The modern tile-work of Sind and Multan is described in various books dealing 
with the industrial arts. The oldest Sind tiles on the Dabgir mosque and Mirza 
Jani Beg's mosque at Tatta, dating from about a. d. 1509, exhibit only two colours, 
a deep rich blue and a pale turquoise blue, on a white ground, and so resemble the 
early Multan tiles. Multan used to be reckoned as in Sind, not in the Panjab, as it is 
now. The most artistic tile panel from Sind is one from the J ami Masjid, Khudabad, 
near Dadu, built a. d. 1710, which represents a tall lily or tuberose in a stiff, 
symmetrical style." 

In addition to the architectural works noted in thick 8vo, published by author at Stone, Staff., 

Chapter XII, and some others mentioned in the 1904 ; especially contributions by Clarke, C. S., and 

notes to this chapter, the following may be con- Marshall, J. H. Hendley, T. H.-' Decorative 

suited with advantage : Andrews, F. H.-' Mosque Art in Rajputana,' / Ind. A rt, vol. ii, No. 2 1. Jacob, 

of Wazir Khan,' /. I„d. Art, vol. x, pp. 27-30, Sir Q.—Jeyporc Porlfolio of Architectural Details, 

vith plates. Birdwood, Sir G. — Industrial Arts 

atlas fol., London, i8go; and later years. Kipling, 

of India ^ London, 1880. Burgess, J.-' Indian J. L.-' Mosque of Wazir Khan at Lahore,'/ Ind- 

Architectural Details,' /. Ind. Art, vol. iii. No. 32, Art, vol. ii, No. 19. Migeon, G.-' Les Arts plas- 

with 15 plates. Cole, H. Yi.~Illmtratious 0/ Uqaas tt mdn'iixl&h,' Majmel d'art 7nusulnmn,t. v, 

Bmldwgs near Muttra and Deltn, 4to, London, Paris, 1907. Smith, E. W .—Portfolio of Indian 

1872, 28 plates ; Preservation of Ancient .Monuments, Architectural Drawings, atlas fol, London, 1897 ; 

India, 10 parts, 104 plates, Calcutta, 1884-5, foHo ; Moghul Colour Decoration of Agra, 4to, Allahabad, 

and slightly different, London, 189O, and later years. 1901. Watt, Sir G., and Brown, J>. -Indian Art 

CousENs, Yl.—Portfolw of Sind Tiles, Griggs, 1906. .,/ Delhi, 1903, large 8vo, Calcutta. 
FuRxiVAL, W. ].—Leadh:ss Decorative Tiles, ^V., 

' Furnivall, op. cif., App. C. 

-' Cousens, H., Par folio of Sind Tiles, Griggs, 1906. 

Fig. a. Wall-tile of grey silicious earthenware, enamelled 
on white slip ; wounded antelope yellow, horse white ; from 
Lahore, seventeenth cent. ; io"x9ysq. : No. 4-1900, Ind. 
Sec., V. and A. Museum. 

Fig. B. Enamelled earthenware tile from Lahore, 
seventeenth cent. ; red, yellow, and green flowers 
on green ground ; Q^" X 9 J" : No. 60-1898, Ind. .Sec, 
V. and A. Museum. 

Fig. C. Similar tile from Lahore, seventeenth cent. ; flowers of various colours on red ground ; 
9i" sq. : No. 65-1898, Ind. Sec, V. and A. Museum. 

Plate CXIL 

3 M 


Section I. Origin, History, and Technique. 

The st)-le of drawing and painting introduced into India by command of Akbar 
late in the sixteenth century, although essentially and avowedly foreign, was quickly 
made their own by Indian native artists, both Hindu and Muhammadan, who may 
be fairly credited with having improved on the foreign models in certain respects. 
Modern Persian connoisseurs, however, do not admit the alleged improvement, and 
are said to regard with contempt the productions of the Indian imitators. 

The art thus suddenly brought into India by the action of an enlightened despot 
came directl}' from Persia. But in origin it was not mainly Persian, that is to say, 
Iranian ; nor can its descent be traced from the art of Sassanian times. The style, as 
we know It, entered Persia from Transoxiana, now Russian Turkistan, which received 
the technique from China. The Indigenous Iranian elements, which must exist in the 
earliest examples of the Persian ' miniaturist's ' art, are matters of faith rather than of 
knowledge, having been obscured and overwhelmed by the dominant Chinese and 
Mongol character. When first Introduced into India, the art was largely Mongol 
in both subject and treatment, with obvious marks of strong Chinese influence. 

The earliest Persian paintings, or so-called ' miniatures ', In the Pnbllotheque 
Nationale, Paris, date from a. d. 1279-80, but pictures earlier than the fifteenth 
century are rare.' One of the most ancient illuminated manuscripts in Perso-Mongol 
style is the history in Persian of Chinghiz Khan and his family (J ami -tit-tawarlkh), 
produced in the fourteenth century, and now in the library of the Royal Asiatic 
Society, London. Its numerous Illustrations may be regarded as the best examples 
of the style In its early form. Chinese Influence Is apparent throughout, the figures 
being nearly pure Chinese ; but the landscape is crudely conventional, and without 
any traces of that Chinese delight In the beauties of nature which prompted a critic of 
the Middle Kingdom to observe that ' only in landscape are depth and distance to be 
found, coupled with delights which never cease to please. Human figures, birds, 
insects, flowers, and plants belong more to "artisan art", and, although painted with 
exceeding skill, their beauties are exhausted at a glance.' ^ In the Royal Asiatic 
Societ)'s manuscript landscape Is not treated In this reverent spirit, being used 

' E. Blochet, 'Inventaire et description des dated a.h. 678 = a.d. 1279-1280 ; see vol. for 1898, 

manuscrits orienlau.x conserves a la Bibliotheque p. i35\. 

Nationale, Paris' (Rnnie des BibUothiques, Paris, ^ Giles, An Inlrod. to the Hist, of Chinese Pic 

1898-1900. The MS. indicated is 'Pers. 376', torial Art, ^^. 10%. 


merely as an accessory and background for figures. The colouring is not brilliant. 
Mr. BInyon remarks that 

' It IS noticeable that the farther back one goes, certain characteristics tend to assert 
themselves. Colour, which is the paramount quality in the later paintings, is often 
restricted to a few discreet touches of red and blue ; the work is mainly in outline, and 
this outlme in the finest specimens has a calligraphic sweep, a rhythmical beauty, 
which betrays an affinity to the art of China.' ' 

The proper subject of this chapter, the I ndo- Persian school, invites discussion 
at such length that we cannot linger over its remoter sources, and must pass on to 
bestow a few words upon the two masters more directly connected with Akbar's 
innovation in India, namely, Bihzad of Herat and his pupil Aga (Aqa) Mirak of 
Tabriz. Good examples of the work of both are to be seen in London. The pro- 
fessional ancestry of Bihzad, who was alive in 1524, and was praised by his con- 
temporary, the gallant and artistic Babar, is traced back, through Pir Saiyid Ahmad 
of Tabriz, and Ustad Jahangir of Bukhara, to a dumb artist known as UstadGung, or 
' the dumb Master '. 

The art of Mirak is adequately represented by a signed picture (Fol. 166) in the 
magnificent manuscript of the KIiavisa-i-Nizami written between a. d. 1539 and 1542 
for Shah Tahmasp, king of Persia, by Shah Muhammad Nishapuri, the first calli- 
graphist of his age (B. M. Or. 2625). The subject comprises hills and forest, with 
leopards, and other animals. The landscape is purely formal and conventional, after 
the Mongol manner, but many of the beasts are well drawn and true to nature. 

Bihzad (Kamal-ud-din, a. d. 148 7- 1524), who enjoyed the favour of both Sultan 
Husain Baiqara and his successor, Shah Ismail, the founder of the Safavide dynasty 
of Persia (ace. a. d. 1500), marks the transition from the Mongoloid style of the 
Timurid age to the more refined art patronized by the Safavide kings. He had 
numerous pupils, and so formed a school, the works of which, in Abul Fazl's opinion, 
were surpassed by those of Indian disciples. Seven of his drawings are preserved 
in the Imperial Library, Vienna; and six miniatures, ' merveilleuses compositions 
de ce grand peintre ' (including one with his signature), which adorn a manuscript of 
the Bostdn at Cairo, are from his brush. - 

The British Museum possesses a specially interesting example of the work of 
Bihzad, one of the illustrations in the copy of the Darixbnamah, a book of stories 
from the Skahnamah, formerly in the Royal Library at Lucknow, and supposed to 
have been prepared to Akbar's order (B. M., Or. 4615 ; Suppl. Cat., p. 385). ^ This 

^ 'Qm)-ox\,Paintinghiihe Far East (\i)o%),-^. 152. Mongoloid or Timurid in character; the work of 

- Huart, Les Calligraphes el hs Minialiiristes de Mahesh, a Hindu artist, being especially Mongol. 

I'On'ent Musulman, Paris, 1908, p. 331. Migeor, The subjects include games of polo and sundry 

Manuel dart musulman, t. ii, p. 40, Fig. 18, 19. adventures. Si.\ of the painters named in AbiJl 

In 19 10 Mr. Kevorkian exhibited in London a Fazl's list are among the signatories. The picture 

MS. of poems by Saadi containing five miniatures on fol. 34 is by Basawan, and that on fol. 113 by 

by Bihzad. Kesu (Kesava) Qahhar, the ]\Iuhammadan spelling 

^ This notable MS. contains a multitude of signed of Kahar, the palanquin-bearer caste, to which 

llustrations in various styles. Most of them are Daswanth also belonged. 




picture (Fol. 103, rev.) represents two men and a woman among conventional rock 
scenery, the foliage being treated with remarkable delicacy (Plate CXIII). 

The signature ' Avial Bihzad iva isldh KJnvaja Abdul Samad — means that the 

composition painted by Bihzad was corrected or touched up by Khwaja Abdul 
Samad, a favourite artist of Akbar's, and the teacher of Daswanth. 

The Khwaja, a native of Shiraz, surnamed Shirtn-qalam, or 'Sweet-pen', pre- 
sumably on account of his skill as a calligraphist, had been an intimate friend of 
Humayun, and was known as a poet and accomplished artist before he attracted the 
attention of Akbar, who enrolled him in the official nobility, appointing him first to be 
INIaster of the Mint at Fathpur-Slkri, and subsequently to be Diwan, or Revenue 
Commissioner of Multan. His name appears in the list of the adherents of the 
Divine Faith, the short-lived eclectic religion invented by Akbar.^ 
■hy In Persia and India, as in China, calligraphy was regarded as a fine art worthy 

of the most serious study, and masters of it enjoyed fame throughout Asia like that 
of great painters in Europe. They were careful to sign and date their works, which 
were eagerly collected by connoisseurs. Abul Fazl gives a list of calligraphic experts, 
among whom in Akbar's time the most eminent was Muhammad Husain of Kashmir, 
who survived the emperor for six years. Many of the albums in the London collec- 
tions containing ' miniatures ' include hundreds of specimens of beautiful writing in 
various styles and of different periods, which often seem to have been more valued 
than the drawings and paintings associated with them. AbQl Fazl enumerates eight 
calligraphical systems as current during the sixteenth century in Iran (Persia), Turan 
(Turkistan), India, and Turkey, distinguished one from the other by differences 
in the relative proportion of straight and curved lines, ranging from the Kufic with 
five-sixths of straight lines to the Nastahk, Akbar's favourite script, with nothing but 
curved strokes. The forms of the Arabic alphabet used for writing Persian, although 
not distinctly reminiscent of pictorial hieroglyphs, as the Chinese characters are, lend 
themselves readily to artistic treatment, and even Europeans may understand to some 
extent the high technical skill of the masters of the calligraphic art, and admire the 
beauty of their productions. But full enjoyment and appreciation are possible only to 
persons familiar with the character from infancy and sensitive to all the associated 
ideas. The subject is not of sufficient general interest to warrant detailed treatment 
in this work.- 

' Among the general characteristics of Chinese painting the most striking, and the 

' Aln-i-Akbarl, transl. Blochmann, pp. 107, 209; 
ISIemoirs of Jahdnglr, transl. Rogers and Beveridge 
(1909), p. 15. His son, Sharif Khan, was appointed 
by Jahanglr to the high dignity of AniTi-ul-umara. 

* The technicahties of the art are explained by 
Huart in Les Calligraphes el les Miniaiiiristes de 
r Orient Miisulman, Paris, 1908. He gives (p. 256) 
a list of Indian calligraphists in the eighteenth cen- 
tury, and also mentions Jawahir Raqam, Aurangzeb's 
librarian, who died in 1683. The Department of 

Design, &c., at S. Kensington, possesses specimens 
of the work of Roshan Raqam, one of the artists 
named. Col. Hanna's two volumes of Asiatic 
Drawings at Petersfield contain specimens of calli- 
graphy signed by the artists, and ranging from Mir 
Ali, A.D. 1535 ( = A.H. 942) to Muhammad Murad, 
A.D. 1638 ( = A.H. 1048). A long catalogue of 
calligraphists might be compiled from the collections 
in England, if anybody cared to take the trouble. 

Plate CXIII. Illustration of the Ddrdbnamah ; by Bilizad and Abdul Samad. 
(B. M. Or. 46 IS, fol. 103 rev.) 


one which has prevailed most strongly throughoiit its long historical evolution, is the 
araphic quality of the painting; Chinese painters are, first of all, draughtsmen and 
calligraphists '. . . The different legends all carry out the leading idea of the common 
origm and essential unity of writing and painting, and this unity is constantly insisted 
upon by Chinese critics of the two arts.' "^ 

The same idea dominated the Persian artists and their Indian imitators at 
Akbar's court. Abul Fazl, accordingly, devotes Ain 34 of his Institutes of Akbar 
to the discussion of the 'Arts of Writing and Painting', passing naturally from the 
account of calligraphic systems summarized above to the invaluable notice of the early 
history of Indo-Persian painting, which forms our only source of knowledge of the 
subject other than the information to be gleaned laboriously by minute study in detail 
of individual works. M. Huart sums up the close relations between calligraphy and 
Asiatic painting in the phrase : — ' En Orient la miniature n'est que la servante de la 
calligraphie.' The phrase, however, is not applicable to the ancient Hindu schools 
of painting, which, e.xcept in so far as they may have been influenced by Chinese and 
Persian ideas, were independent of the scribe's art. None of the many varieties of the 
square Brahml or Sanskrit script ever tempted the calligraphist to regard his manu- 
script as a picture, nor did anybody dream of collecting specimens of writing in that 
script merely for the sake of their beauty. 

A remarkable set of twenty-four large paintings on cotton, in Mongol style, pre- 
served in the Indian Section of the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, 
seems to have been produced in Kashmir about the middle of the sixteenth century 
before Akbar took measures to encourage painting after the Persian manner. These 
cotton paintings, bought in Kashmir for low prices by Sir Purdon Clarke, are said to 
have been illustrations of a manuscript book of stories which has not been preserved 
or identified. The subjects, comprising many battles and scenes of bloodshed, are 
often repulsive. No. 5 show^s a man being thrown from a window and caught 
by a horseman below. The most pleasing and best preserved composition is No. 15, 
which represents a central garden plot with conventional banyan-trees and a highly 
decorated palace in the Persian style ; cranes are seen flying above. The rocky 
scenery found in all, or almost all, the pictures is connected with Kashmir in one case 
by the introduction of black bears, and with India in two cases by the insertion of 
banyan-trees. These works may be conjectured to have been executed in Kashmir 
between a.d. 1540 and 1551, when that country was ably ruled by Babar's cousin, 
Haidar Mirza Dughlat, the accomplished author of the Tdrikli-i-Rashidl. They may 
be compared with the two big pictures on paper — the largest Indo-Persian composi- 
tions known — measuring 2 feet 8 inches by 2 feet 2 inches, which formed part of the 
illustrations of the Romance of Amir Hanizah Sahib Kiran, probably from the brush 
of Mir Saiyid Ali of Tabriz, the illustrator of that work, as recorded by Abul Fazl. 
Possibly the South Kensington pictures may be concerned with the same story. Quaint 
representations of fights with black bears are also found in the B. M. MS. Or. 

' Bushell, Chinese Art, ii. 207. 




4615 of the Darabnamah, executed near the close of the sixteenth century by Akbar's 

The history of Indian painting between the close of the Ajanta series in a.d. 642 ] 
and the importation of Persian art by Akbar about a.d. 1570, a period of more than | 
nine centuries is almost a blank, as has been shown in Chapter I X of this work.^ j 
But the art cannot have been extinct on Indian soil at any time, although practically 
no specimens of it have survived from the ages referred to. The rapidity with which 
the teaching of Abdul Samad and his Musalman colleagues was assimilated and then 
modified by scores of Hindu artists of various castes is in itself sufficient proof that 
the foreign teachers must have found trained indigenous scholars with whom to work. 
Men accustomed to draw and paint could easily learn new methods and a foreign 
style, but not even the despotic power of Akbar would have been able to create 
a numerous school of Hindu artists out of nothing. 

This inference, inevitable from a general survey of the facts, is established with ] 
certainty by the positive testimony of Abul Fazl that Daswanth, who disputed with 
Basawan the first place among the Hindu painters of Akbar's court, had ' devoted his 
whole life to the art, and used, from love to his profession, to draw and paint figures 
even on walls '. He was the son of a poor man, a member of the Kahar or palanquin- 
bearer caste ; and when such a man, in spite of all social disadvantages, could become 
a professional artist, many others more favourably situated must have done the same. 
Daswanth's genius was rescued from obscurity by the royal favour. ' One day,' 
writes the courtly historian, 'the eye of His Majesty fell on him ; his talent was dis- 
covered, and he himself handed over to the Khajah \_scil. Abdul Samad]. In a short 
time he surpassed all painters and became the first master of the age. Unfortunately 
the light of his talents was dimmed by the shadow of madness ; he committed suicide. 
He has left many masterpieces.' Abul Fazl goes on to say that the work of 
Basawan is so excellent that many connoisseurs preferred him to Daswanth. 

The Koran, following the Semitic principle formulated in the Mosaic Second 
Commandment, absolutely forbids Muslims to make the likeness of anything in heaven 
or on earth ; and the prohibition has been and is strictly obeyed, with rare exceptions, 
in all countries and at all times, so far as the decoration of mosques and other build- 
ings devoted to religious purposes is concerned. ^ But, as explained in Chapter XII 
{p. 422), Muslims often have taken the liberty of disregarding the prohibition in 
secular matters. In book illustrations such liberty is commonly assumed. The 
Persians, adherents of the Shia sect of Islam, always have been especially lax in their 

' Four of the cotton pictures are hung in the 
Entrance Hall of the Indian Section, Victoria and 
Albert Museum ; the remaining twenty are in Room 
VI. My numbering of those in Room VI runs from 
the wall of Room VII. Most of them have been 
■mutilated by cutting out heads. 

''■ The buildings at Fathpur-Slkrl, two of which 
■contain the remains of frescoes in Indo-Persian style, 
were begun in A. D 1569. 

' Two exceptional cases are cited by Migeon. 
The Khalif Abd-ul-Malik (a.d. 685-705) erected a 
mosque at Jerusalem decorated with images of the 
Prophet and paintings of heaven and hell. The 
Jumai Mosque at Isfahan exhibits on the walls two 
paintings, one of All, son-in-law of the Prophet, and 
another, perhaps representing Fatima veiled [Manuel 
d'art micsidman, t. ii, pp. i, 56). 


open disregard of the Koranic prohibition. The Mughal emperors of India looked 
to Iran for the graces of civilization, and it was natural that Akbar should desire to 
add the charms of Persian pictorial art to the amenities of his court. Regarding 
himself as Head of the Church and pontiff of a new religion, he cared little about 
the Prophet, and at a private party was heard by his Boswell to observe : — 

' There are many that hate painting, but such men I dislike. It appears to me 
as if a painter had quite peculiar means of recognizing God ; for a painter in sketching 
anything that has life, and in devising its limbs one after the other, must come to feel 
that he cannot bestow individuality upon his work, and is thus forced to think of God, 
the Giver of life, and will thus increase in knowledge.' 

Whatever may be the value of this theological argument, it was good enough for 
Akbar, who, like all the members of his race, excepting, perhaps, Aurangzeb the 
Puritan, keenly enjoyed art, and prided himself on his skill as a connoisseur. 

He found no difficulty in gratifying his taste. Liberal pay and abundant honour 
drew crowds of artists, both foreigners and Indians, Muslims, and Hindus, to his 
magnificent court, where the more distinguished were enrolled as mansabdars, or 
members of the official nobility, and assigned ample salaries. His system of govern- 
ment making no distinction between civil and military employ, or rather giving 
military titles to all official rank, the successful artists ranked as army officers of good 
standing, while their assistants and allies, gilders, binders, and the like, were enrolled 
either as members of the imperial bodyguard {ahadi), or as private soldiers, with pay 
ranging from fifteen to thirty rupees a month, suffi.cient for comfortable subsistence. 
The industry of all grades was stimulated by weekly inspections, at which His Majesty 
generously rewarded merit. 

Imperial libraries of large extent were formed at Agra, Delhi, and other places, 
stored with all that was best in Asiatic literature, both originals and Persian translations, 
the volumes being enshrined in the richest bindings, and adorned with miniatures 
regardless of expense. 

For example, the Razvinamah, or Persian abridged translation of the Malta- 
bharata, with preface dated a. d. 1588, now at Jaipur, is said to have cost ^40,000 
sterling ; and Colonel Hanna estimates that his copy of the Ramayana, now at 
Washington, must have cost quite half that sum.^ The Akbarndmah, from which 117 
large paintings are preserved at South Kensington, was a similar work, and Abul Fazl 
mentions many others.- According to the Spanish priest, Father Sebastian Manrique, 
who was at Agra in 1641, the imperial library at that city contained 24,000 volumes, 
valued by him at the astounding figure of 6,463,731 rupees, or ^720,000 sterling, an 
average per volume of almost 270 rupees, equivalent then to about ^30.^ 

\ ol. IV of Hendley, Memorials of Ihe Jeypore ' Manrique, Itinerario de las musiones que hizo el 

Exhihilion, 1883, 4to, is solely devoted to repro- padre F. Sebastian Manrique, Roma, 1649, p. 417- 

ductions from the Razmndmah, of which two are in See ante, chap, xii, p. 417. Some of Manrique's 

cooui. ^ observations are summarized in English in Murray, 

- The ^w-2-yJ/'^ar7, usually regarded as a separate Historical Account of Discoveries and Travels in 

work, was really part of the .4/'^a/7wraa/^, or 'History Asia, 1820, vol. ii, pp. 96-119, and again, more 

of Akbar . briefly, in Oaten, European Travellers in India, 1909, 



The libraries thus formed were maintained and increased by Jahanglr, Shahjahan, I 
and Aurangzeb (1605-1707) ; and even the weak successors of the last Great Mogul j: 
were not indifferent to the delights of choice books and dainty pictures.^ But the 
political convulsions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries destroyed the imperial 
libraries, with most of the similar collections formed by subordinate potentates like the 
Rohilla chief and the Nawab-Vazir of Oudh.= Fragments of these wonderful accumu- 
lations are now scattered over the world in private and public collections, and although 
constituting but a small fraction of the great mass once in existence, supply ample 
material for the history of Indo-Persian calligraphy and the sister art of the miniaturist. 
In a book like the present, covering a wide range of topics and a space of more than two 
thousand years, it is impossible to go into minute details about individual manuscripts, 
but I cannot refrain from noticing briefly the most pathetic bit of wreckage from 
a princely library which has come under my observation. 

When Shahjahan began to grow old, his four sons, each eager to secure for I 
himself the succession to the throne, engaged in bitter, internecine strife. Aurang/.eb, ^ 
the third son, a master of craft and guile, won the prize, imprisoned his father, and 
assumed power in 1658. Dara Shukoh, his eldest brother, doubly hateful as a rival 
and a heretic, was pursued to the death with unrelenting rigour. Driven into the 
deserts of Sind, he was foully betrayed, and, to augment his affliction, before reaching 
the house of his betrayer, 

' received by a foot messenger the sad intelligence of the death of that one of his 
wives whom he loved most, and who had accompanied him always during his mis- 
fortunes. He learnt that she had died of heat and thirst, not being able to find a drop 
of water in the country to assuage her thirst. The Prince was so affected by the 
news that he fell as though he were dead.' ^ 

The memory of this sad tale is recalled by a beautiful little album recently 
purchased by the India Office Library, which bears the unhappy prince's autograph 
inscription written across a splash of gold smeared over the delicately decorated fly- 

pp. 97-102 ; but his work has never been translated ^ B.M. MS. Add. 22470 belonged to Hafi^ 

from the Spanish, although it contains much matter Rahmal of Rohilkhand, and came into the possession 

not in the pages of other travellers. The note on of an English officer after Hastings's Rohilla war, in 

the Agra library is now cited for the first time. the course of which the Bareilly library was plundered. 

Manrique estimated the imperial treasure of various Asaf-ud-daulah, Nawab-Vazir of Oudh, secured most 

kinds, including the library, at Agra alone, to be of the books for Lucknow, where they were again 

worth 348,226,386 rupees, more than 42 millions plundered and scattered in 1858. B.M. MS. Add. 

sterling. His precise figures may have been obtained 18579 '^^'as illustrated for the last king of Bijapur 

from official records. The exchange is taken at in the Deccan, whose capital was sacked by Aurang- 

2j. 3(2' per rupee, the rate current in Shahjahan's reign. zeb in 1686. Most princes probably owned libraries 

' For instance, the splendid B.M. MS. Add. 20734 of considerable value. 

(Pers. Catal., p. 259) was given to an English ' Tavernier, 7>-(7zr/j-, transl. V. Ball, i. 350. The 

officer by Akbar II in 1815 as an official present. title Dara Shukoh (or Shikoh) means 'equal in 

Wir Muhammad, the artist from whom Manucci splendour to Darius'. The common practice of 

obtained the portraits of the imperial family which calling the prince simply Dara, i. e. Darius, is erro- 

he brought to Venice before 171 2, was in the service neous. His personal name, given in the signature 

of Shah Alam (Irvine, Sloria do Mogor, vol. i, pp. on the album, was Muhammad, as is usual with 

liii-lvi). Muslims. 

915 3 N 


leaf: ' This album was presented to his nearest and dearest friend, the Lady Nadirah 

Be^-^am. by Prince Muhammad Dara Shukoh, son of the Emperor Shahjahan, in the 
year 1051 ( = A.D. 1641-2).' 

The illustration of manuscripts Avas only one form of Indo-Persian art, and that, 
as 1\I. Blochet truly observes, was not always the most successful. The book 
illustrations, like those in the Clarke MS. of the Akbarnamah at South Kensington, 
even when executed by Basawan, Daswanth, and other famous artists, are generally 
inferior to Persian work. The highest achievements of the Indian draughtsmen and 
colourists were often attained in separate pictures of varying sizes, which were 
frequently bound in albums, like that given by Dara Shukoh to his beloved wife. 
The British Museum collection includes many such albums, some of which, such as 
Hai^z Rahmat's volume above noticed, constitute historical portrait galleries of the 
deepest interest. The fashion set by the court of Delhi and followed by all the 
feudatory courts and many individual nobles, was passed on to the wealthy English 
' Nabobs ' in the latter part of the eighteenth century, who gladly seized opportunities 
of procuring specimens and bringing them home. Certain pictures in B.M. MS. Add. 
1 8801 were much admired by Sir Joshua Reynolds in July, 1777. 

Occasional memoranda of prices give some notion of the pecuniary value of such 
pictures. One of those specially noticed by Sir Joshua — a large sketch of Shahjahan 
holding court — is marked Rupees 200, equivalent in those days to at least .£2'^ 
sterling. In the Johnson Collection at the India Ofifice formed by Warren Hastings's 
banker, Richard Johnson, a drawing of Nawab Shayista Khan, a great noble of 
Aurangzeb's time (vol. xxii, fol. 5), is priced Rupees 170, and in another volume 
a number of more ordinary small portraits are priced at 25 rupees each. During the 
nineteenth century the taste for the work of the school was lost by both Europeans 
and Indians, and very few persons seemed to care what happened to the pictures, 
which were then procurable for nominal sums. Interest in them has now been revived, 
chiefly by reason of Mr. Havell's efforts and the publications of French scholars. 
Accordine to Badaoni, Akbar's hostile critic, the courtiers' taste for illuminated books 
had been stimulated in his time by a certain amount of compulsion, and it was natural 
that, during the ' great anarchy ' of the Maratha period, when the influence of the Delhi 
court sank to nothing, the amount of liberal patronage by the minor native courts 
should diminish. Nevertheless, even during those stormy times much meritorious 
portrait work was produced, and some good portraiture was executed as late as the 
nineteenth century. 

When Bernier was writing to Colbert in 1669, early in the reign of Aurangzeb, 
who had the Puritan dislike for art, the position of artists had become much less 
favourable than that enjoyed by them in the days of Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah- 
jahan. The observant French physician, a thoroughly trustworthy witness, described 
as follows the relations between artists and their patrons, or rather taskmasters, 
as seen by him : — 

' Can it excite wonder that under these circumstances \_scil. of general misery] 
the arts do not flourish here as they would do under better government, or as 


they flourish in our happier France ? No artist can be expected to give his mind 
to his calling in the midst of a people who are either wretchedly poor, or who, 
if rich, assume an appearance of poverty, and who regard not the beauty and ex- 
cellence, but the cheapness of an article ; a people whose grandees pay for a work 
of art considerably under its value, and according to their own caprice, and who 
do not hesitate to punish an importunate artist or tradesman with the korrah, that 
long and terrible whip hanging at every Omrah's [nobleman's] gate. Is it not 
enough to damp the ardour of any artist when he feels that he can never hope 
to attain to any distinction ? . . . The arts in the Indies would long ago have 
lost their beauty and delicacy if the monarch and principal Omrahs did not keep 
in their pay a number of artists who work in their houses, teach the children, and are 
stimulated to exertion by the hope of reward and the fear of the korrah. The 
protection afforded by powerful patrons to rich merchants and tradesmen who pa)' 
the workmen rather higher wages tends also to preserve the arts. I say " rather 
higher wages ", for it should not be inferred from the goodness of the manufactures 
that the workman is held in esteem, or arrives at a state of independence. Nothing 
but sheer necessity of blows from a cudgel keeps him employed.' 

In a subsequent passage the author describes the workshops attached to great 
houses : — 

' In one hall embroiderers are busily employed, superintended by a master. 
In another you see the goldsmiths, in a third, painters, &c.' ^ 

Bernier's description of the servile position of artists, while applicable specially 
to the experts in the industrial arts, must have been generally true also for that 
of the professors of the fine art of painting. A tyrannical ' Omrah ' and his hench- 
men would not have drawn nice distinctions between the artist who painted the 
miniatures and the embroiderers or carvers who executed the binding of a sumptuous 
manuscript. Indeed the binding is sometimes as much a work of art as the pictures 

Wall-paintings, doubtless executed for the most part as ' Indian fresco ' in 
the manner described in Chapter VIII (ante, p. 277), constituted the third branch of 
Indo-Persian pictorial art, and are known to have been numerous on the imperial 
residences. As might be expected, few specimens have survived the destruction and 
neglect from which the Mughal palaces have suffered so severely. The best preserved 
examples are those which decorated two buildings at Fathpur-Sikri near Agra, namely, 
Akbar's bedroom and the residence of his Hindu queen, who bore the title of 
' Mariam-uz-zaman ', the ' Mary of the Age '. Even these pictures, many of which 
were in tolerably good condition forty or fifty years ago, are now mere fragments, 
measures of conservation having been deferred too long. The remains are fully 
described and illustrated in the first volume of the late Mr. E. W. Smith's elaborate 
work on Akbar's palace-city. 

' Bernier, Travels, transl. Constable, pp. 228, of rich early bindings in ihe Museum collection. 

258. See Indian Art at Delhi, p. 203, several papers in 

^ B.M. MS. Add. 18579, a copy of the Anwar- J. I. A. I., and Migeon, Manuel d'art musulman, 

i-Suhailim a beautiful minute script, has a handsome t. ii, p. 59. 

stamped gilt binding, and there are other examples 

3 N 2 


The subjects, like those of the book illustrations and album pictures, are extremely 
various, comprising winged angels, a Chinese figure supposed to be Buddha, a boating 
scene, hunting parties, a tournament, a battle, and elegant floral designs in Japanese 
taste. The most interesting fragment is the boating scene, reproduced in Plate CXIV. 

The pictures, executed about 1570 or a little later, in the early Indo-Persian 
style, without any shading, are the earliest known examples of the Indo-Persian 
school. The winged angels are a clear proof that European pictures were studied. 
One scene is called the 'Annunciation' by the local guides, who may be right in 
their identification. The purely Chinese form of the personage supposed to be 
Buddha is equally clear proof that Chinese models were imitated, and the foliage 
decorations have a Japanese look. Akbar's taste In art, as in religion, was eclectic, 
and he delighted in foreign notions of all sorts. 

The small paintings on ivory, generally oval in shape, produced freely at Delhi 
for the benefit of tourists, are obviously imitations in form of the English miniatures 
made fashionable at native courts towards the close of the eighteenth century by 
John Smart, Ozias Humphreys, and other able artists who then came out to India 
to ' shake the pagoda-tree '. The subjects of the modern Delhi miniatures, as a 
rule, are copied b)- a mechanical stencil process from older pictures or stock draw- 
inos, and thus have no claim to rank as works of original art. The execution of the 
better specimens is admirable, displaying to advantage the Indian qualities of patience, 
steadiness of hand, and firm drawing of line, but the lack of inspiration deprives these 
pretty trifles of artistic Interest and reduces them to the level of mere curiosities and 
mementoes of travel. The style of the painting follows the tradition of the Indo- 
Persian school of the seventeenth century. 

Excepting the modern Delhi miniatures on Ivory, the frescoes, the early paintings 
on cotton, and a few pictures on vellum, the Indo-Persian paintings are all executed 
on paper.^ I do not know any Indian examples of painting on silk In the Chinese 
manner. The Indo-Persian, like other Asiatic artists, conceived every object as being 
bounded by firm lines, and consequently, his first step was the drawing of an outline. 
For the illustration of ordinary Persian books, according to M. Blochet, the outline 
drawn directly on the page in red or black chalk was filled In with colours at once. 
For more costly and elaborate volumes the process was more complicated, the illus- 
trations being executed upon a separate sheet subsequently applied to the blank space 
left In the manuscript. That sheet was first covered with a layer of very fine plaster, 
mixed In a solution of gum arable. The outline was then drawn upon the perfectly 
smooth surface thus obtained, and opaque body-colours, mixed with water, were laid 
on in successive layers, just as in oil-painting, but with the difference that mistakes 
could not be rectified. Jewels and ornaments were indicated by needle prickings 
in sheets of gold-leaf, or even by the insertion of pearls or diamond chips.^ The work 

' Co!. Hanna's Collection, now at Washington, ^ Blochet, ' IMusalman MSS. and Miniatures as 

U. S. A., included three examples on vellum, namely, illustrated in the Recent Exhibition at Faris,' Burling- 

No. 28, Jahanglr standing on globe; No. 52, a /on Afagazine, \o\. i\, ]une to Aug. igo^. 
Sultan of Turkey; and No. 86, Babar. 

Plate CXIV. Wall-painting : eight men in a boat ; in Akbar's bedroom, Fathpur-Sikr 
(E. \V. Smith, The Moghul Archikctwe of Fathpur-Slkrl, PI. XIII.) 




was all done by the Indian artists with fine squirrel-hair brushes, the most delicate 
strokes being executed with a brush of a single hair, an instrument requiring the 
utmost correctness of eye and steadiness of hand. The collections in London contain 
many examples of unfinished drawings and paintings, which, if examined critically by 
experts, would reveal fully the Indian methods of work, and show how far they agreed 
with or differed from the Persian methods described by M. Blochet.^ 

The blue was ordinarily obtained from powdered lapis lazuli, imported from 
Badakshan, but indigo blues appear in early book illustrations of Hindu subjects. The 
reds used were cinnabar, vermilion, or cochineal.^ The yellow was chrome, and 
other colours were made up by mixing these. Gold was freely used in the form 
of gold-leaf, and also as a wash of which the Indians had the secret.^ The Per- 
sians applied an admirably transparent varnish made of sandarac and linseed-oil, 
mixed as a paste and dissolved in either petroleum or highly rectified spirits of wine.* 
Probably the Indians used all the Persian appliances with some additions and 
modifications, but the ascertainment of full details would require special expert study 
and hardly repay the trouble. 

The practice of beginning a picture by laying clown a firmly-drawn outline led 
to a curious division of labour, the outline often being drawn by one man and the 
painting done by another. For example, in the Clarke MS. of the Akbarnamah at 
South Kensington the picture (No. .fW) of the execution of Adham Khan was drawn 
by Miskin and painted by Shankar. Sometimes three artists collaborated in one work, 
and I have noticed one instance in which the collaborators numbered four, namely, 
the audience scene (f i,) in the Clarke MS. The outlines in that picture were drawn 
by Miskin, the painting was done by Sarvvan, the faces icliilira-nami) by an artist 
whose name is indistinct, and the figures [silrat) by Madho. It is not clear how such 
a complicated arrangement was worked. The method, whether only two artists or 
four collaborated, necessarily tended to reduce their art to the level of a skilled 
mechanical craft ; and, as a matter of fact, the mechanical nature of much of the fine 
Indo-Persian work is its greatest defect.'* 

The early Indo-Persian book illustrations, such as those in the Clarke MS. of the 
Akbanid)iiah,dirQ. wrought in excessively brilliant colours, chiefly red, yellow, and blue. 

' Further technical details are given in the appen- 
dix to Havell's Indian Scidplure and Painling. 

- Eefore the discovery of cochineal in 151 8, 
it-rmcs, a pigment obtained from Coccus Indicus, an 
insect found in Persia, must have been used (Burling- 
ton Magazine, vol. iv, p. 144). Oiher authorities 
call the species Coccus ilicis. 

' Recipe in Ozias Humphrey MSS. in B.M., No. 
15962, first leaf. See also Moor, Hindu Panlheon 
(ed. 1 8 10), p. 63 n. 

' Blochet, Burlington Magazine, vol. ii, ut supra. 

'- The word _^, h^rh, or tarrali, primarily means 
' foundation ' ; e.g. tarh a/gandan, ' to lay a founda- 
tion,' tarh-kash, a ' plan-drawer ' (Steingass, Pers. 

Diet.). The transition to the meaning ' outline ' was 
easy, and the word always has that meaning in the 
signatures to the Indo-Persian drawings, as M. 
Blochet rightly perceived. Blochmann's erroneous 
rendering ' back-grounding ' in his translation of the 
Ain-i-Akbart made the signatures unintelligible. 
' Painting ' or ' colouring ', as distinguished from 
' outline ', is expressed by either the Arabic word 
J^c, a'mal, ' execution,' or the Persian term rang- 
amezi, ' colouring.' When dmal stands alone, it 
implies execution of the picture by a single artist. 
The term rang-dmezi, to signify ' colouring ', is pre- 
ferred in the Jaipur Razmndmah. 


They are avowed imitations of Persian work of the Timurid school, and are not as 
good as the prototypes. The composition is usually overcrowded. ' The subjects, in 
accordance with Mongol taste, are frequently horrible and disgusting. Nothing 
could be more repulsive than the picture {^^{^) in the Clarke MS. representing the 
execution ground, on which nine wretches are being torn to pieces by elephants, while 
two more, standing in the«corner near the gallows, await their turn. Such a picture 
proves that, even under Akbar's comparatively mild government, the administration 
of justice was associated with much sanguinary cruelty, common, unhappily, in most 
countries during that age. 

In Persia, at the close of the fifteenth centur)', the character of Timurid art 
began to change, passing into the more delicate and sentimental style of the Safavide 
period in the sixteenth century. During the seventeenth century the refined Safavide 
style, with its lowered scale of colour, became familiar in India, where further local 
modifications were effected under the influence of Hindu tradition. The Indian 
artists ' had a truer feeling for colour and more sober tonality ' than their Persian 
teachers, according to M. Blochet, who Is disposed to think that the Indians some- 
times carried the policy of softening colour to an undue extreme. They were wonder- 
fully successful in their grisaille drawings of a single colour, frequently a pale sepia, 
with delicate gradations of tint, very pleasing to my eye. At the same time they 
developed a mastery over individual characteristic portraiture never equalled, I think, 
by the Persians. The best Indian work dates from the first half of the seventeenth 
century, but good portraits are to be found executed as late as the early years of the 
nineteenth century. 

During Akbar's reign (1556-1605) and a portion of Jahangir's (1605-27) the 
standing portrait figures are usually represented in profile in a formal, conventional 
manner, with the right hand holding up a flower or jewel, and the feet placed one In 
front of the other. Gradually this stiff formalism was dropped, and men and women 
were drawn in natural attitudes. The more ancient Indo-Persian works, like their 
Persian models, follow unreservedly the style known to modern critics as ' primitive ', 
that is to say, a style marked by the total lack of roundness, depth of tone, and aerial 
perspective, every object being represented as absolutely flat. During the later years 
of Jahangir's reign and subsequently, this flat style was modified by the Indian artists, 
who frequently introduced slight line shading with admirable effect, so contriving to 
give their figures a sufficient degree of roundness with wonderfully few strokes. The 
change adds much to the attractiveness of seventeenth-century Indian work in 
European eyes. 

This improvement, if it may be so called, may have been the result of European 
influence, which certainly became a potent factor in Persian and Indian art at that 
time. Most of the albums show it plainly. For Instance, Dara Shukoh's album 
includes two wood engravings (fol. 42 b, 43), one of S. Caterlna dl Siena, dated 1585, 
and the other of S. Margarita of about the same period, while the picture on folio 74 
exhibits a lady and gentleman in European costume. Biblical subjects were frequently 
treated by the artists, and were specially favoured by the royal family, who used them 



for palace decorations at both Fathpur-SikrI and Lahore. The treatment at times 
seems very quaint, as when we see the Good Shepherd depicted in the form of a stout 
middle-ac^ed man with a black beard, wearing a Muslim's robe and a twisted turban 
of gold brocade (Plate CXV). A second Good Shepherd in vol. xvi, fol. i of the 
Johnson Collection is signed by Ustad Miskin, probably to be identified with 
Muhammad Miskin, the author of a lady's portrait in vol. xxi, fol. i of the same 
collection, and with Miskin, Akbar's artist, who signed some of the pictures in the 
Clarke MS. of the Akbarnamah. Many other biblical subjects will be found in the 
collections, and it must be confessed that the pictures are not usually equal to those 
devoted to topics more congenial to the artists. 

One subject, frequently treated with variations, has been mistakenly identified as 
Christian, and dubbed ' Angels ministering to Christ ', although all the compositions 
dealing with it are purely Muslim. The main motive Is the miraculous supply of 

' ■ food to a hermit saint dwelling in the wilderness by angels, who vary In number 
in different replicas, and are generally, if not always, provided with wings in the 
conventional fashion borrowed by Christian art from the Greek figure of Victory. 
Most of the pictures show a second figure, a discontented darvish sitting sulking 
in a corner or at the mouth of a cave. As is proved in several Instances by the 
labels, the principal figure undoubtedly is that of Ibrahim, son of Adham, who re- 
signed the kingdom of Balkh, and withdrew as a hermit into the wilderness already 
haunted by a darvTsh, whose food had been provided regularly by the angels. When 
the ex-king appeared on the scene, the angels, while continuing to supply their old 
client the darvish with a single daily dish as a bare subsistence, liberally brought ten 
dishes to the retired monarch, In recognition of the sacrifice made by him. The 
darvish naturally was annoyed, and whenever he is introduced into the picture his 
feelings are indicated by the artist.^ 

n- The later pictures constantly display the effects of European example and teaching 

in ways more subtle than the selection of Christian subjects or the representation of 

)e. people in European dress. The discreet use of shading to suggest an appearance of 
roundness, already noticed, may or may not be the result of study of European 
models. The development of landscape backgrounds, with a partial introduction of 
aerial and linear perspective, unquestionably Is an Imitation of Western exemplars. 

)od Many of the attempts to combine the methods of the West with those of the 

East are decided failures, as similar attempts in China have failed, but some few attain 
a high level of executive excellence. One such picture of good quality — a large 
landscape with a fortified town in the distance ; a girl wading in the river, &c. — has 
been selected for reproduction as Plate XCV in the Portfolio de l' Exposition des 
Arts Miisulmans, Paris. Another pleasing composition, fol. 221 of B.M. Or. 2265, 
depicts a lady in European dress with her husband or lover drinking under the shade 
of trees- (Plate CXVI). Numberless pictures indicate in a less conspicuous manner 

' /. R. A. S., 1909, p. 751 : 1910, p. 167. contains fourteen pictures, all of high quality, eleven 

'' This MS. has been cited above (p. 451) for a being sixteenth-century works, and three being later 

specimen of the work of the early artist Mirak. It additions, showing the extent to which Persian taste 



Plate CXV. Grisaille Good Shepherd ; anonymous. 
(Johnson Coll., vol. vi, fol. 7.) 


the influence produced b)' the example of Europe on the treatment of landscape 
backgrounds and perspective, both Hnear and aerial. A skilled expert might possibly 
succeed by careful stud)- in tracing the influence of particular individual Western 
masters, but I cannot attempt to do so, and, if I could, the task would hardly repay 
the pains. 

The Persian kings admired European art, and deliberately sought to introduce 
its methods into their country. During the residence of Sir Robert Sherley at the 
Persian court, sometime about a.d. 1606, Shah Abbas I (1587-1629) sent to Rome 
a party of students, one of whom became a Christian and published a book under the 
name of Don lohn of Persia. Shah Abbas II (1642-67) repeated the experiment and 
dispatched a second party. One of these, by name Muhammad Zaman, also was 
converted, and returned to Persia as a Christian under the name of Paolo Zaman. 
Having been obliged to quit his native land, he obtained in India the protection of 
Shahjahan, who granted him, with other exiled Persians, allowances as a mansabdar 
in Kashmir. Early in Aurangzeb's reign all the Persian refugee mansabddrs were 
summoned to court for the verification of their grants, and on that occasion, about 
A.D. 1660, Manucci made the acquaintance of Muhammad or Paolo Zaman, who 
avowed his Christian profession, while continuing to live in the ordinary Musalman 
manner. The three Europeanized pictures in B.M. Or. 2265 evidently are from his 

To this day the painters and illuminators of Isfahan, the earlier, and Teheran, 
the later, capital of Persia, cherish as their ideal the ambition to ' paint like Raphael ', 
and pride themselves on their descent from certain of the students sent long ago to 
Rome who survived to return to the home of their fathers.^ 

The attempt to weld Asiatic ideals and methods with those of Europe, although 
responsible for some pretty pictures, was not a permanent success In either Persia or 
India. It is now being renewed by the clever Bengali artists of Abanindro Nath 
Tagore's school in a different form, and with considerable ability, but, I fear, without 
much prospect of producing any really Important results. 

Asiatic art, whether Chinese, Japanese, Persian, or Indian, depending essentially 
on skill In the drawing of lines, cannot accommodate Itself to the traditions and 
requirements of European realistic painting, based on different principles. The 
Chinese, Dr. Bushell observes, 

'attribute an extreme importance to the line in pictorial art; bodies appear to 
them, not as they are in reality, that is to say, round and with light playing about 

was affected by European models. Of those three, vol. vii (1897), pp. 25, 26, PI. XLII-XLVI. The 
fol. 221 is the best. All the three are signed author of that article heard the tradition of the artists 
' Muhammad Zaman', and dated a. n. io86=a.d. when he was visiting Persia in 1874-6. It is said 
' -'75-0- th^t Muhammad Zaman, who was converted, had 
' The strange stor)- of the Persian missions to been sent abroad to learn how to confute the Chris- 
Rome is pieced together from Irvine, Storm do lian missionaries. The adventurous lives of the 
Mogor, n. 17 ; and Sir C. Purdon Clarke's article Sherley (Shirley) brothers may be read in the Did. 
'A Tradition of Raphael in Persia', /. Ind. Art, of Nat. Biography. 


.:-,„ i>^:5^'» 

H*r-.- ' -■'''i^'U 





*«-.■■ \«!fe 


them, but as if circumscribed by a precise line, defined visibty from the ambient air. 
So the painters of the Middle Kingdom have never appreciated the real substance of 
things in modelling or relieving the surface ; even at the finest epochs of their art 
they have remained incapable of representing solid and living forms, and after some 
twenty centuries of production are still where Italian painting was in the time of Giotto 
[1266-1366]; ' 

Genuine Persian and Indo-Persian art rests upon the same basis. 

Europeans are now so accustomed to expect in painting solid effects, with the 
play of light and shade, and aerial perspective, that they are tempted to welcome as 
obvious improvements the partial adoption of Renaissance methods by Indian artists, 
which render the modified product more easily intelligible and consonant with 
European taste. But stricter criticism hesitates to applaud attempts to reconcile 
incompatible ideals, even when most skilfully executed, and decides that it is better 
for the Asiatic to go his own way. An exception may be admitted in favour of the 
strictly limited line-shading introduced into some of the later Indian works. The 
Indian paintings, in so far as they conform to Asiatic principles, always remain 
coloured drawings, no matter how gorgeous may be the pigments, or how elaborate 
the detail. When the artist starts, as he invariably does, by drawing a firm clear-cut 
outline, nothing can change a composition so begun into a picture in the modern 
European sense. No European artist now living is capable, I imagine, of rivalling 
in certain respects the mastery over line displayed by the best Asiatics, nor is any 
Asiatic artist qualified to compete with the great Renaissance painters or their 
successors. Each at his best is unsurpassed and perfect in his way, and it is better 
for each ' cobbler to stick to his last '. 

It is customary, especially with French writers, to describe as 'miniatures' all the 
Indo-Persian drawings and paintings on paper or vellum, irrespective of size, whether 
book illustrations or independent works. The term suits sufficiently well for the 
smaller illustrations of manuscripts, and, when so used, retains to a certain extent its 
et)'mological sense, as a derivative from minium, and is applied in accordance with 
Q'eneral usaee. 

But modern practice, influenced apparently by a false popular etymology, tends 
to restrict the application of the term ' miniature ', as applied to independent works, 
to portraits on a small or minute scale, whether executed on ivory or other material. 
The extension of the term to comparatively large independent pictures, often including 
crowds of figures and complicated landscapes, is embarrassing. 

The largest known Indo-Persian pictures on paper are the two illustrations of the 
Story of Amir Hamzah in the British Museum (Or. 3600; antc,^. 454), which each 
measure 2 feet 8 inches by 2 feet 2 inches. It seems absurd to describe such works 
as ' mmiatures ', the term not being applicable to them in any sense. It is almost 
equally inappropriate when applied to Colonel Hanna's elaborate picture representing 
a cavalry review b)' Shahjahan, which measures 23 by 17^ inches, or the picture, 

ttiincsc Ar/, 11. 107. Chinese painting now attracts criticism in a more sympathetic spirit. 


nearly as large, which depicts the audience scene when Jahangir received the Persian 
embassy, while he caressed a tiger on each side of the throne.^ 

On the whole, it seems to be advisable to drop the use of the term ' miniature ' 
as a general designation of the works of the Indo-Persian school. The earlier English 
collectors commonly labelled them as 'drawings', a term strictly applicable to many, 
which are simply outline drawings, and not inapplicable to any, because even the most 
elaborate paintings are essentially coloured drawings. 

Section II. The Artists and their Works. 

The Indo-Persian or Mughal school of drawing and painting having lived in con- Ei 
siderable vigour from about a.d. 1570 to 1820 or 1830 — a period, roughly speaking, °^ 
of two centuries and a half — and not being quite dead even now, naturally produced 
an enormous output. The extant works, notwithstanding all the mishaps to which 
Indian art has been exposed, still can be numbered by thousands. Almost at the very 
beginning of the operations of the school, about the year 1590, when Abul Fazl, the 
minister of Akbar, wrote his memorable description of his sovereign's administration, 
a hundred artists were reckoned to be masters of their craft, while tolerable practi- 
tioners were past counting. During the reigns of Akbar's son and grandson, in the 
first half of the seventeenth century, when the new form of art grafted upon the stock 
of ancient Indian tradition attained its highest development, the number of proficients 
must have increased. Although the long-continued political and social agony which 
accompanied the decline and fall of the Mughal empire necessarily limited the oppor- 
tunities for the practice of art and diminished its rewards, art did not die, and as we 
have seen in Chapter IX, a synthesis between Hindu tradition and Persian technique 
produced a new variety of Indian pictorial art possessing high merits. It is plain, 
therefore, that even when the eighteenth-century mythological painting is placed on 
one side for separate treatment, the mass of material to be dealt with by the historian 
is enormous, and that it is not possible within reasonable limits to do more than select 
a small number of typical examples. 

Many, perhaps most, of the extant Indo-Persian compositions are anonymous, but i 

hundreds are signed, and it would not be difficult to compile a list of the names of ^^ 

from one hundred to two hundred artists. Abul Fazl's list of those considered by him 

to be the most eminent numbers seventeen persons, all of whom, with possibly one 

exception, are represented by extant works. In one manuscript, the Waqiat-i-Babari, 

or history of Babar, written and illustrated about a.d. 1600, towards the close of 

Akbar's reign (B.M. Or. 3714), I noted the names of twenty-two artists, and probably 

overlooked several. Similar long lists might be put together from other collections 

Unfortunately nearly all the names thus freely recorded are mere names, nothing being 

known concerning the men who bore them, so that the perusal of nominal lists offers 

little of interest. 

Perhaps the most fruitful general observation arising from such perusal is that of i 


' Nos. 2 and i in the album ' Persian Drawings ' at Petersfield. c 


artists in 


the predotninance of Hindu names. For instance, in the Wdqiat-i-Babarl above 

mentioned, out of twenty-two names, nineteen are Hindu, and only three Muslim. 

Similarly, in Abill Fazl's catalogue of seventeen artists, only four are Muhammadan, 

while thirteen are Hindu. 

Arul,am- The four Muhammadans named are :-(i) Mir Sayyid Ali, the illustrator of the 

"'^^^''^" story of Amir Hamzah, whose work probably is represented by the two large pictures 

U,arF"zl-- in B M. Or. ^,600 {.mtc, p. 46S) ; (2) Khwajah Abdul Samad {cxnfe, p. 452) ; (s) ^arrukh 

I'st- the Oalmak (Calmuck) ; and (4) Miskin [ante, p. 464)- Farrukh certainly deserves 

high 'praise. He contributed good work to the Clarke MS. of the AkbarnUwiah, and 

was the author of a remarkable painting in three scenes occupying a full page on the 

reverse of folio 13 of B.M. Or. 3714. Miskin, who drew the outlines of two pictures 

(117. I'l'y) iri the Clarke MS., seems to be identical with the Ustad [scil. 'Master') 

Miskin who painted the Good Shepherd in the Johnson Collection and the Muhammad 

Miskin, author of a lady's portrait in the same collection (LVIII, 15). Both those 

works are early in st)-le. 

The thirteen Hindu names in AbCil Fazl's list are :— (5) Daswanth ; (6) Basawan ; 
(7) Kesu (Kesava) ; (8) Lai ; (9) Mukund ; (10) Madho ; (i i) Jagan[nath] ; (i 2) Mahesh ; 
(13) Khemkaran; (14) Tara ; (15) Sanwlah ; (16) Haribans ; and (17) Ram. The 
signatures of all the seventeen artists named by Abul Fazl appear in the Clarke MS., 
except Haribans, No. 16; and reappear in the Jaipur Razmnamah, excepting Nos. i, 
2, and 16. I do not remember seeing any picture signed by Haribans. There were 
two Madhos, the Elder [Kaldn) and the Younger [Khiird). Kesu (Kesava) and 
some other artists are similarly duplicated in the signatures. Abul Fazl probably 
referred to the elder persons bearing the names. In the Rasmndmah I have noted 
twenty-eight names, of whom twenty or twenty-one are Hindu. 
Daswanth. The sad story of Daswanth has been told already [aiiic, p. 455). Good specimens 

of his work as draughtsman are to be seen in Plates XII and XV of Col. Hendley's 
reproduction of the Jaipur Razmndmali, both of which were drawn in outline by him, 
and coloured respectively by Madho the ETder and Kanha. The subjects are Hindu 
legends, treated in the Persian manner, but with differences. The principal figures 
are distinctively Indian in feature and form, and even in the minor figures where the 
chubby cheeks characteristic of the Persian style are preserved, the bodies are much 
less elongated than in Persian pictures. The scheme of colour too is lowered in 
brilliancy, and indigo blue is introduced for the bodies of deities. 
Basawan. Basawan, whom some critics preferred to Daswanth, is represented by Plate XXI 

of the Razvindniah illustrating the story of the Raja who married the daughter of the 
King of the Frogs. The lady, divesting herself of her fine clothes, returned to the 
water and resumed her froggy form, whereupon the angry husband proceeded to kill all 
the frogs he could find, until the lady was restored to him. These incidents are illus- 
trated in the picture, reproduced (Plate CX\"II) from a good copy lent by Col. Hendley. 
The prevailing colour is green in various shades. The birds, frogs, trees, and flowers 
are drawn and painted with the utmost delicacy, but the general effect is marred by 
the intrusion of blocks of manuscript. The perspective convention is the same as that 

Plate CXVII. The Raja and the Frog Princess ; by Basawan and Bhawani. 
(From a copy lent by Col. Hendley, CLE.) 




of the ancient bas-reliefs. If the spectator imagines that all the persons, trees, &c. 
are on hinges and can be raised to their feet, they will then all fall into their proper 
relative positions. The artist saw with his mind's eye all the figures standing 
up, but in order to paint them, conceived them all to be laid down on one side. The 
subject seems to be regarded and viewed from above, all the parts being equally 
bathed in light, which is not represented as coming from any particular direction. 
Consequently, there are no shadows, and there is hardly any shading. Strong sunlight 
is indicated by a wash of gold behind the big tree. The drawing is by Basawan, the 
colouring by Bhawani. I am inclined to prefer Basawan to Daswanth. 

The two Kesus, or Kesavas, like Daswanth, v/ere members of the lowly Kahar 
or palanquin-bearer caste. The elder (Kesava-dasa) dedicated a collection of 
pictures, including copies and imitations of Christian works, to Akbar in a.d. 1588 
(Sam. 1646).^ 

Fig. 246. Peacocks; by Jagannath. 
(B.I\r. Or. 3714, fol. 383 rev.) 

I was much struck by the beauty and exquisite delicacy of the tiny peacocks 
painted by Jagannath, whom Abul Fazl designates shortly as Jagan, and hope that the 
accompanying illustration (Fig. 246) may be successful in conveying a true idea of the 
perfect execution of these little figures. 

A full-page picture of a banquet by Tiriyya, rightly marked by a former owner 
as 'incomparable' [be-nazir), is a fine example of Indo-Timurld style, bright, but not 
too garish in colour, and free from the common fault, of overcrowding (PI. CXVIII). 

The Indo-Persian artists excelled in the delineation of animals, both quadrupeds 
and birds, and a delightful album might be composed of their pictures of animal life. 
Jagannath's peacocks have been illustrated above, and other birds will follow. I give 
here a capital wild buffalo by Siron or Sarwan (ujr") (Fig- 247). 

A charming pale green acacia by the same artist, a line-drawing, may keep it 
company, and be compared with Basawan's palm-trees (Fig. 24S). .-i 

' ' Assess. 9278, 9360 ' in Royal Library, Berlin ; cited by Weber, Ind. Anl., vi. 353. 

Plate CXVIII. The Banquet; by Tiriyya, cir. a.d. 1600. (B. M. Or. 3714, fol. 260 rev.) ^ p 



The same manuscript contains other excellent trees by various artists, and 
beautiful birds by Shankar of Gujarat. 

The celebrated artist ^lansur, ^vho enjoyed the special favour of Jahangir, and was 
honoured by him with a title of nobility, began his career in Akbar's reign. Two 


Fig. 247. Wild Buffalo; by Sarwan, ci'r. a. d. 1600. 
(B. M. Or. 3714, fol. 380.) 

hunting scenes {^-^^ and ^-^^) in the Clarke MS. of the A /cda7^ndma/i are his work. ^]_ The 
JVaqidl-i-BdiarJ, B. M. Or. 3714, contains a series of eight exquisite little miniatures 
from his brush (Persian, Nos. i lo-i 17, on folios 387-9), from which I select the cock, 
No. 1 13, on folio 3S8, and the quail on the reverse of the same folio (P~igs. 249, 250). 




■ Mr. Havell has reproduced successfully a beautiful white crane by Mansur in the 
Calcutta Art Gallery {Indian Sculphire and Painting, Plate LXI). 

In Dara Shukoh's album {ante, p. 457) only three pictures (folios 25, 27, and Date of 
21 6) are elated — the dates being a.ii. 1014 = a.d. 1605-6 ; a. 11. 1018 = a.d. 1609-10; ^^\ v^. 
and A.H. 1043 = A.D. 1633-4. The first of those years was that in which the sceptre album. 

Fig. 248. Acacia; by Sarwan, cir. a.d. 1600. 
(B. ]\I. Or. 3714, fol. 400 rev.) 

Fig. 249. Cock; by Mansur. 

passed from the hands of Akbar to those of Jahangir ; the third falls in the reign of 
Shahjahan. Six of the paintings (folios i-] b, 18, 19 b, 33 b, 35 b, and 45 b) seem to 
include portraits of Jahangir (Prince Sahm) in his youth and early manhood. The 
collection, as a whole, therefore, may be ascribed to the time of Jahangir and the 
earlier part of Shahjahan's reign, or in other words, to the first forty years of the 

seventeenth century. 

^ p 2 


The only si-ned composition is that on folio 21 b, dated 1633-4. which bears 
the name of Alultammad Khan. The picture is characteristic of Jahanglr's bibulous 
court. It represents a young man clad in a bright yellow robe and large green turban, 
kneelln'.- before a vase of ilowers and a golden dish containing four earthenware jars, 
and eno'aged in pouring red wine from aijewelled goglet into a cup held in his left 

hand. No shading is used. 

The picture on folio 18, of special excellence, is selected for reproduction (PI. CXI X). 

The birds in this album, exquisitely drawn and coloured, are worthy of Mansur 
and may possibly be from his brush. I admire particularly the picture on folio 8 of 
a long-legged, brown bird standing by the side of a pool fringed with grass, flowers, 
and bamboos in tolerably good perspective. The blue sky, unfortunately, is rather 
crude (Plate CXX). 

Fig. 250. Quail, by Mansur. 

Another remarkable bird study is that on folio 10 representing admirably a wild 
duck standing by the side of a pool at the foot of a hillock (PL CXXI). The sunlight 
on the face of the hillock is boldly indicated, as in Basawan's picture [ante, PL CXVII), 
by a wash of gold, with surprisingly fine effect. I fear that it is impossible to repro- 
duce this effect by modern processes, but the appended photographs may give the 
reader some notion of the exquisite beauty of these two pictures. Such charming 
delineations of bird-life evidently were suggested by Chinese example, and may be 
compared with the picture of the white falcon in the British Museum, attributed 
to the Emperor Hui Tsung in the twelfth century (Bushell, Chinese Art, vol. ii, 
Plate opp. p. I 38). PIsieh Chi, in the seventh century, was a specialist in painting cranes. 
No Chinese work could surpass the picture of the turkey-cock, ordered specially by 
Jahangir, and now in the Calcutta Art Gallery, reproduced by Mr. Havell in PI. LXII 
o{ Indian Sculpture and Painting. The name of the artist is not known. ^ 

The handsome album, B. M. Add. 22363, mostly devoted to Hindu mythological 
subjects, by eighteenth-century artists, dealt with in Chapter IX, includes two 

' See dlemoirs cfjalidnglr, transl. Rogers and Bcveridge (1909), p. 215. 

Plate CXX. Brown bird ; anonymous. 
(Fol. 8, Dara Shukoh's album.) 



^vorks on fol. 28 ^vhich seem to date from the seventeenth century, namely, an 
excellent bro^vn hawk on the obverse (Fig. 251), and a pair of camels, one of which 
is crlvino- suck, on the reverse (Fig. 252). This latter drawing is in grisaille of a sepia 
tin"'t, widi sufficient shading to give the appearance of relief, and the herbage is 
treated with crreat delicacy. 


Fig. 251. Brown hawk. 
(B. M. Add. 22363, fol. 28 obv.) 

The works of the I ndo- Persian draughtsmen and painters furnish a gallery of 
historical portraits, lifelike and perfectly authentic, which enable the historian to 
realize the personal appearance of all the Mughal emperors and of almost every public 
man of note in India for more than two centuries.^ It may be doubted if any other 

' They are, as stated, perfectly authentic for the 
men, but I share Manucci's doubts about the authenti- 
city of the numerous supjposed likenesses of Nijrjahan 

and other ladies. The rigid seclusion of females 
prescribed by Muslim usage seems to preclude the 
possibility of real portraits of ladies of rank. 

■*;*&jsasisa^*$*'-''*m^-i. -tpm 





rorlrails of 
Akhar and 
his frifiids. 

countn- in the world possesses a better series of portraits of the men who made 
history-. Pictures of this class are so numerous, and so many of such excellence, that 
it is difficult to make a representative selection. One of the most interesting early 
portraits is that of i\kbar as an elderh? man, standing leaning on his sword ; the 
costume is tinted in pale colours with a little gold. The artist's name is not known 
(Plate CXXII). 

Portraits of Akbar are too many for specification in detail. One (B. M. Add. 
iSSoi, fol. lo) shows him standing with Prince Salim (Jahangir) as a child beside him; 

Fig. 252. Q.d.meh, gn'sail/i\ 
(B. M. Add. 2236,3, fol. 28 rev.) 

and another (B. M. Add. 22470, fol. 4) exhibits him as the enthroned monarch hearing 
a woman's petition. The principal courtiers in this latter scene are all represented 
by careful likenesses with the names attached in minute script. Volume Ivli of the 
Johnson Collection in the India Ofike Library, presented in 1 816 by Dr. Buchanan 
(Hamilton), contains fift)-three rather rough sketches of princes and nobles includlna 
Akbar s fncnds, AbCil Fazl, Birbal, and Raja Man Singh. Volume Ivlii of the same 
collection is mostly filled with similar sketches of better quality and some unfinished 
portraits. No. 18, a finished work by Miskin, may be the earliest in the set. 

Plate CXXIIIJrom a photograph by Dr. A.K. Coomaraswamy, is a good example 
of the numerous court scenes, and includes a faithful likeness of Jahangir. 

Plate CXXIII. Reception of Persian embass} ; 

Jahangir in centre of lower panel; anonymous. 

(Plioto. by Dr. A. K. Cooniaraswamy.) 

3 Q 




Art in rei^ii 
of Shah- " 

Some of the 

by Sir 

Mir Hashim 
mad Nadir 
of Samar- 

All critics, presumabl)-, would admit that Indo-Persian art attained its highest 
achievements during the reign of the magnificent Shahjahan (a.d. 1627-58), when the 
land enjoyed comparative peace, and a luxurious court offered liberal encouragement 
to all artists capable of ministering to its pleasure. The fierce scenes of bloodshed in 
which the earlier artists delighted were replaced by pageants of peaceful courtly 
splendour, the old aggressive colouring was toned down or dispensed wnth, and 
a general refinement of style and execution was cultivated. In the portraits of men 
and favourite animals a little shading executed by a few delicate strokes was dexter- 
ously introduced, sufticient to suggest solidity and roundness, and yet managed with 
such reserve that the Asiatic reliance on the power of line was not interfered with. 

The compositions of this period comprise a 
variet)- of subjects and are the work of many artists. 
The names of a few whose productions have attracted 
my special attention may be mentioned : — Chitarman, 
a/ias Kalyan Das ; Anupchhatar ; Rai Anup (possibly 
the same person), court painter to Prince Dara Shu- 
koh ; Manohar ; Muhammad Nadir of Samarkand ; 
Mir Hashim ; and Muhammad Faklrullah Khan. 

One of the richest albums in the British Museum 
is the manuscript Add. 18801, inscribed with a note 
stating that the volume was dedicated as a pious dona- 
tion in a. ii. io72 = A.D. 1661-2. In selecting from 
it certain pictures for reproduction, I am able to avail 
myself of the authority of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 
who examined the collection in July, 1777, and ex- 
pressed his particular admiration for the followinfr 
six works : — 

No. 20. Pencil sketch of an officer of Shahjahan, 
by Chitarman, who was also called Kalyan Das ; 

No. 21. Similar sketch of Azam Khan Koka,'by Muhammad Nadir of Samarkand ; 

No. 27. Smiilar sketch of Asaf Khan, anonymous; 

No. 28. Large anonymous sketch of Shahjahan holding court, surrounded by 
nobles whose portraits are named. The price is marked as 200 rupees, equivalent at 
that tune to ^25 or more ; 

No. 30. Sketch of head of Hakim Maslh-uz-zaman, a noble who had lived in 
Akbar s tmne, by Mir Hashim, very small and very good ; and 

M ^°; ^°./^''' ^''''''^^''- The principal one !s a sketch of Sher Muhammad 
^awal, by Muhammad Nadir of Samarkand. The minor ones are small coloured 
miniatures of Jahanglr and Shahjahan by the same artist 

,.- JJ°' 41, a delicate little head of Mirza Nauzar, a noble of Shahjahan's court, by 
Mir Hashim, is worthy to rank with Sir Joshua's selections 

The small sketch No 30 is reproduced in Fig. 253, and the three portraits in 
iNo. 40 are shown together in Plate CXXIV. 

Fig. 253. Sketch portrait of Hakim- 

Waslli-uz-zaman ; by Mir Hashim. 

(B. M. Add. 18801, No. 30.) 


Turning to animals, we find in the Johnson Collection (vol. iii, fol. i) a lifelike 
portrait of Dilpasand, or ' Heart's Delight ', a favourite charger of Dara Shukoh, by 
an artist named Manohar (Plate CXXV). An equestrian portrait of the same prince 
mounted on another charger is also notable (ibid., vol. iv, fol. 9) and of unusually 
large size, about 1 1 inches by 9. 

The tiny cat sitting up, in vol. liii, Fig. 5, of the same collection, is excellent, and 
is shown in Plate CXXVI. This is not the only example of pictures of cats. One 
appears at the feet of the Emperor Farrukhsiyar in volume No. 5 of Exhibition 
Case B in the King's Librar)', British Museum, and a few others occur in other 
compositions. A Chinese artist was famous as a specialist in cats, and it is probable 
that Ills example was followed in India. 

Perfectly drawn elephants are numerous. Indian artists, whether sculptors or 
painters, rarely failed to produce good representations of the huge quadruped, the 
nature of which they understood thoroughly. Volume Ixvii in the Johnson Collection 
is specially devoted to elephants, several of which are admirable. One of the best 
is that on folio 7, b}' Nadir-uz-zaman (Abul Hasan). ^ Another fine picture is that 
on folio 15. The main subject is a magnificent elephant standing in a palace court- 
yard, Avith other elephants, a bullock, &c., as accessories. The drawing \?, grisaille in 
a brownish sepia tint, no other colour being used, except that the golden ornaments of 
the elephant are yellow. 

The many charming pictures treating of miscellaneous subjects, including 
' illustrations of popular stories, offer a wade field for description and selection, far 
too large to be treated exhaustivel)-. 

A favourite subject was the story of Baz Bahadur, king of Malwa, and his lady- 
love. Princess RupmatT, who are represented in several pictures as riding together by 
torchlight. A good example in the Calcutta Art Gallery has been reproduced in 
Plate LXIV of Mr. Havell's Indian Sculpture and Painting; another, in Mr. C. 
Hercules Read's rich collection, is of special value because of the label indicating the 
subject ; and a third is on folio 22 of B.M. Add. 21928. Other romances frequently 
illustrated are the tales of Laila and Majnun, Khusru and Shlrln, and Kamrup and 

Mr. Havell has rightly drawn attention to the skill with which the Indian artists 
treated the contrast between the pitchy darkness of night and the flare of artificial 
light, Several pictures are extant which exhibit this contrast in scenes of hunting by 
night, flaming torches being used to dazzle and hypnotize the deer. Colonel Hanna's 
collection, now in Washington, includes two such scenes, Nos. 42 and 102, of which 
the latter excited the warm admiration of the late Sir Frederick Burton. A more 
modern specimen in the Calcutta Art Gallery is reproduced in Mr. Havell's 
Plate LXV. 

The same motive, which also attracted Rembrandt, inspires the pictures repre- 
senting a lady standing on a balcony watching the eff"ect of fireworks over the dark 

' Nadir-uz-zaman was the official title of Abul Hasan, a favourite artist of JahaiigTr. He seems to have 
continued to work in the following rei^'n. 

Plate CXXVI. Cat : 

anonymous. (Jchiiso.i Collection, vol. liii, fol. 5.) 


Plate CXXIX. Reading the Koran ; anonymous. (Data Shukoh's Album, fol. 60.) 


waters of the Jumna. Sometimes she is shown in the act of discharging a squib 
herself.^ In folio 4 of vol. xv of the Johnson Collection, the lady, clad in bright 
scarlet and standing against a background of inky darkness, produces a very impressive 
effect. A picture by }*Iuhammad Fakirullah Khan (folio 7 of the same volume), 
depicting the nocturnal pursuit of a warrior, is equally successful in bringing out the 
opposition of light and darkness. Other compositions exhibiting people grouped 
round a camp-fire aim at like effects. 

A slightly different motive, the contrast between bright sunshine and shade, is 
treated with masterly skill in a picture, 5 inches by 2^ inches, painted by Rao Gobind 
Singh, apparently in the seventeenth century. The subject is a lady seated on a balcony 
watching golden sunlight illuminating the water below (Plate CXXVII). Such 
chiaroscuro effects probably are the result of the study of European art. 

One of the best pictures extant, in my judgement, is that by Muhammad 
Fakirullah Khan (fohnson Coll., vol. xvii, fol. 3), representing a domed building of 
white marble with a youth seated in the window, and a woman standing outside. 
The flesh tints and the texture of the marble are rendered with rare perfection. 
A mango-tree in fruit fills up the background (Plate CXXVII I). 

A picture by Nanha Rai (vol. xxi, fol. 3, of same collection) is somewhat similar, 
but not so good, and the young man is omitted. Mr. Havell has reproduced, in his 
Plate LX, a portrait of Surajmal by an artist named Nanha, who worked in Jahangir's 
reign, in a style likened by the critic to that of Holbein. I suspect that Nanha Rai 
was a different person of later date. 

Many artists took great delight in depicting holy men and ascetics of all sorts, 
Musulman and Hindu, singly or in groups. Two of the most exquisite works dealing 
with this class of subject, and no doubt executed in the reign of Shahjahan, are the 
companion pictures, folios 11 d and 12, in Dara Shukoh's album, representing an old 
fakir in two positions, holding a book in the one case, and a rosary in the other. The 
outline of the figure is drawn with less than the usual sharpness, and shading with fine 
lines is employed sufficiently to give an impression of roundness. In the old man's 
beard the delicacy and accuracy with which Individual hairs are drawn display a won- 
derful mastery over that most difficult Instrument, the single-hair brush. The colouring 
is subdued, and the perspective fairly correct. 

Another drawing in the same volume, in similar style, and probably by the 
same artist, Is that on folio 60. The subject is the reading by a young mullah 
(Muhammadan teacher) from a Koran resting on a stand. Two of his companions 
are listening attentively, while the third, in the foreground, is engaged in pouring 
water over the toes of his left foot held up in his hand. The drawing of the difficult 
position of this figure is extremely clever (Plate CXXIX). 

Most of the albums contain examples of gorgeous court scenes elaborated with 
infinite patience and minuteness of detail, harmoniously coloured, and often enriched 

' Dr. Coomarasv;amy possesses a good picture cf io69 = a.d. 1658-9, commendatory of the painter, 

girls discharging fireworks, signed by Muhammad Another of his works is in volume xi of the Johnson 

Afzal, with a Persian verse on the back, dated a.h. Collection. 


with gold. It would be next to impossible to reproduce the most splendid of these 
pictures in colours with success, and I think it better not to make the attempt. The 
composition being the weak point in these works, photographs do them an injustice. 
Colonel Hanna possesses two of the richest specimens in existence, Nos. i and 2 
in his volume marked Persian Di-awings. No. 2 is the largest Indo-Persian picture 
known to me, excepting the early illustrations of the Story of Avilr Hainzah [ante, 
p. 468), the measurements being 23 inches by 173 inches. The subject is a review of 
cavalry on the bank of the Jumna by Shahjahan mounted on an elephant. The 
portraits of the principal chiefs and officers in the crowd have their names attached. 

The manuscript B.M. Add. 20734, '"^ official present given by the titular 
Emperor of Delhi in 181 5, contains nine pictures in the most highly-finished style, 
of which two may be specified. One representing the infant Shahjahan (Prince 
Khurram) lying in his mother's lap, surrounded by admiring attendants, is wrought 
with colouring so rich and decorative details so elaborate that an attempt to copy 
it would certainly fail. Another picture, extending across two pages (fol. 689, 690), 
and depicting Shahjahan seated on the peacock throne in all his glory, while Asaf 
Khan offers a present of costly pearls, gives a vivid notion of the extravagant 
magnificence of the Mughal court in its prime. 

Volumes ix, x, xi of the Johnson Collection may be noticed as being specially 
devoted to the ladies, some of whom are represented half nude in the bath or at 
their toilet. The pictures in volume xi are particularly good, the most noticeable 
being a charming portrait of a lady wearing a high conical head-dress, and admirably 
shaded. From an inferior replica (B.M. Add. 11 747, fol. 52) we learn that the 
lady's name or title was Malkah Zamanlya. 

Passing on to the reigns of Aurangzeb (1658-1707) and his decadent successors 
during the eighteenth century, we find the artists still numerous and specimens of 
their work abundant. Although Aurangzeb was too zealous a puritan to care for art 
himself, the fashion set by his predecessors had not died out, and princes and nobles 
still kept court painters. During this period Hindu painters frequently quitted the 
traditional grooves of Indo-Persian art, and applied a modification of it to the 
illustration of their own mythology. Such Hinduized art is discussed more con- 
veniently here than in Chapter IX, dealing with the later schools of Hindu painting. 

Portraiture continued to be practised with great success, although the delicacy 
of execution rarel)' attains the perfection of the first half of the seventeenth century. 
The example first cited is one whic