The Sculptural Art of Amaravati

The Sculptural Art of Amaravati

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Book Specification

Item Code: AZG777
Author: Jyoti Rohilla Rana
Language: ENGLISH
Edition: 2013
ISBN: 9788173201325
Pages: 300 (Throughout B/w Illustrations)
Other Details 11.00x9.00 inch
Weight 1.19 kg

Book Description

About the Book
The book. The Sculptural Art of Amravati, is an innovative study of the sculptures of Amaravail, a centre of art activities and a pilgrimage centre, which promoted the glory of Indian Buddhism in the south. The book gives an introduction to Amaravall, its geographical setting, historical and political hackground of the Satavahanas and Iksvikus, followed by the discovery of maha-caitya and the site existing today. While comparing other sipas of northern India (eg. Bharhut and Sañc) the stupa and its architecture in Andhradela is discussed in terms of evolution and changes in style and structure emphasizing stylistic differences, and material and technique used in the sculptural representation. The development of the railing and its different parts, i.c. pillars (stambha), crossbars (suci) and coping (uniya) has been dealt upon, in addition to describing the drum, drum slab, drum pilasters, dome slabs (ayaka-patta) and frieze, gate, circumambulatory path (pradakṣiņā patha), and ayaka-khamba.

The narrative art of Amravati is illustrated with the depiction of jätakas, ie. the stories associated with the previous births of the Buddha, depiction of avadanas and scenes from the life of Buddha-comparing the differences sof depicting narratives at other Buddhist sites in India. The inscriptions at Amravati reflect the socio-economic and cultural status of the society of that time and also help to know about the variety of donors who contributed in making of the stupa. The influence of Amravati style on the sculptures led to further expansion to other areas within the boundaries as well as beyond it.

The stupa of Nagarjunakonda an extension of Amravati School, is discussed with a view to highlight the influence of Amaravatī School on its art, and also in the art of Sri Lanka. In case of the latter the metal images of Buddha have exhibited their indigenous features combined with the influences from the Amravati School. The book at the end presents the salient features of the research in respect to architectural history and symbolism of Amravati stupa that existed before and after the maha-caitya.

About the Author
Dr. Jyoti Rohilla Rana (b. 1976) is Assistant Professor in the Department of History of Art, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. After completing BFA (1999) from College of Art, New Delhi, she did. MA in History of Art (2001) from NMI, New Delhi. She was awarded Ph.D. (2007) from the National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology, National Museum, New Delhi. She has published research papers in the national and international journals like Kala and Itiahās Darpan, and also contributed article on 'Green Tara' in an anthology published from Cambridge Scholars Publishing U.K. She has presented papers in a number of national and international seminars, including a special lecture on 'Development of Indian Art through the Ages', in the Workshop on 'Religion, Society, Art, Education and Tourism' at Oslo University College, Norway.

The stupa of Amravati once stood as the glory of south as well as Indian Buddhism. In this book, The Sculptural Art of Amravati, an attempt has been made to study the sculptural art of Amravati and also its importance as a centre of art activities and a pilgrimage centre. For this, both primary and secondary sources have been consulted. The primary sources include Pali texts like Tripitaka, Nidänkatha, Avadanakalpalata, etc. and Sanskrit text like Lalitavistara. A brief survey of inscriptions has been done to investigate the nature of patronage of this grand stupa. It also includes several visits to the site of Amravati. Archaeological Museums at Amarlivati, Nagarjunakonda, Madras (Chennai) Government Museum and also Musée Guimet, Paris to see the collections of Amravati housed there The comparative study with Nagarjunakonda has led to the inference that Amravati was an independent and an important school of early Buddhist art which exerted a wide influence to places as far as Sri Lanka in the south to Burma (Myanmar), Siam (Thailand), in south east Asia and also to Begram in the north-west of Afghanistan. Generally, Amravati has been studied as separate collections in different museums. This book attempts at presenting a holistic picture, cutting across the limiting boundaries of various museums and collating the material together in which several unpublished sculptures have been included.

As far as the works of earlier scholars is concerned, it is after the first visit of Colonel Colin Mackenzie at Amravati in 1797, he re-visited the site again in 1816 along with his staff of draughtsmen and assistants. It was then a folio of volume of plans and drawings of the site that was prepared which is now in the custody of the Library of Commonwealth Office, London. The reports of the site were prepared by Mackenzie that was published in 1807 and 1823 respectively. After him Robert Sewell published the reports of his survey in 1880. The next and outstanding work on Amravati was done by James Fergusson in his book, Tree and Serpent Worship in 1868 which not only discussed the two great stupas of Sañci and Amaravatī but it introduced, initiated and inspired further research on the following subjects. The work by Fergusson discussed the history of the stupa as well as the sculptures of Amravati.

Andhra Pradesh has unveiled more than hundred Buddhist establishments making it one of the richest states having Buddhist monuments. From about one thousand years (300 B.C.E. -600 C.B.), Buddhism exerted a profound influence on the socio-cultural life of Andhra, especially during the Satavahana- Iksvaku period. It was the outcome of patronization by rich artisans and trading communities who raised magnificent monuments in the honour of Buddha; especially around the mouth of the river Krsna and along the trade routes across the plateau.

The maha-caitya of Amravati was one such example which stood as the finest monument of Buddhism in south India. The base of Amravati was a flourishing city in the times of the Satavahanas which was known as Dhanyakataka (in its ancient variants of Dhammakada, Dhammakadaka and Dhannakadaka). The prosperous city of Dhanyakataka (the first capital of the Satavahanas) and the stupa of Amravati must have flourished due to its trade activities in the southern part of India and also its connectivity with north India and north western routes through the Daksinapatha. These relations not only linked south and north India but also resulted in the exchange of cultural and artistic activities which is evident from the inscription of the southern gateway at Sañci. With this hypothesis we may presume that the major art activities in north India represented at Bharhut and Sanct was to a great extent inter-related with the art activities at Amravati and that the influences from south to north were more apparent. The stupa architecture and sculptures at Amara vati that represent the early phase of art may be put in the same line of activities in the north during the Sunga period as they were the contemporary of the Andhras.

The sculptural art of Amravati experienced a long stretch of development starting from 3rd century B.C.E. 3rd century C.E., representing the highest glory of artistic activities.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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