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Mains Answer Writing

30-November-2023

Q1) ‘Although there were many differences between the Gandhara and Mathura art, they considerably influenced the Amravati school of art.’ Elaborate.

ANSWER

It is between the 2nd and 5th century CE that Gandhara Art and the Art of Mathura came into existence as their separate identity. While the early Buddhist artists used symbols to represent the presence of the Buddha, beginning with the Kushana rule, the Buddha was represented in human form. Both Gandhara and Mathura Art schools reached their peak during Kanishka.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GANDHARA AND MATHURA SCHOOL OF ART

  1. Gandhara Art flourished in the areas of Gandhar, i.e., present-day Afghanistan and North West Frontier while Mathura Art developed in the Indo-Gangetic plains.
  2. Gandhara Art was influenced by Hellenistic features of Greek and Persian Art, while Mathura Art was thoroughly influenced by Brahmanical features which were purely indigenous.
  3. Gandhara Art is largely based on Buddhism while Mathura School is influenced by Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.
  4. Gandhara School uses grey sandstone as the basic unit for sculptures while Mathura School uses white spotted red sandstone.
  5. Gandhara School focuses more on external beautification and intrinsic sculpting while Mathura School focuses on inner beauty more than external features. For e.g., Buddha is shown with a Halo to depict masculinity, beauty, and charm in Gandhara School while a less divine humanistic form in Mathura School.
  6. The presence of Halo is a unique feature of Gandhara School which is missing in Mathura School.
  7. The presence of Secular and non-Buddhist sculptures is an expression of the Mathura School which is missing in the Gandhara School of Art.

GANDHARA AND MATHURA SCHOOLS INFLUENCED THE AMARAVATHI SCHOOL OF ART

One more important stage of development in sculptural history is marked during the Satavahana period in the form of the Amaravati School of Art. Though this School was developed much later than the two schools, it is heavily influenced by both Schools in its features.

INFLUENCE OF GANDHARA SCHOOL OF ART

  1. Eroticism: One of the important features of the Amaravati School of Art is the Eroticism, Grace, and Spontaneous Energy which is heavily inspired by the Gandhara School of Art.
  2. Enlightenment of Buddha: Amaravati School of Art is focused on the enlightenment process of Buddha through the depiction of the Bodhi Tree, Asanas, and Mudras is an influence of the Gandhara School of Art.
  3. Bodily Features and External Beauty: The focus on bodily features, and external beauty is influenced by the Gandhara School of Art. Buddha’s features like shoulders, ears, and lips were intrinsically carved in Amaravati School of Art.

INFLUENCE OF MATHURA SCHOOL OF ART

  1. Human Character: Amaravati Art focussed on more humanistic features of Buddha. Buddha is depicted more as a King rather than a God. This feature comes from Mathura Art.
  2. Brahmanistic Tendencies: The use of the Red Robe, Chandan, etc. in the depiction of Buddha, more Brahmanistic influence is reflected which is a feature heavily inspired by Mathura.
  3. Secular Themes: The presence of themes like the visit of Kushan, seated Kubera, etc. which were secular in depiction is the influence of the Mathura School of Art.

However, there were several features that were indigenous to the Amaravati School of Art

  1. The stupas at Amaravati were made of a distinctive green marble unlike White Spotted Sandstone in Mathura and Grey Sandstone in Gandhara Art.
  2. The presence of nature art was distinct across the subcontinent to the Amaravati School.
  3. The illusion of Life and Voluminous Sculptures were features of Amaravati School.
  4. Presence of finest miniature sculptures in the friezes and on the casing slabs.

All of these art schools have a long history and were mostly influenced by religion. These numerous artistic works are a flawless and complete depiction of the spiritual and religious aspects of India’s creative creativity.

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