Three Ancient Indian School of Art: Gandhara, Amaravati and Mathura

Avalokitesvara: Gandhara School of Art

Gandhara School of Art

1. Gandhara Art was a combination of Hellenistic, West Asiatic and native elements.

2. Greek and Roman techniques, modified according to Indian requirements, were employed in fashioning the Gandhara sculpture which truly represents Indian culture in a Western garb.

3. Its area extended from Takshila in India to the Swat Valley in Pakistan and northwards to areas in Afghanistan.

4. The Gandhara sculptors made images of Lord Buddha in the Greco-Roman style. The images of Buddha resembled Greek God Apollo. It gave more stress to the bodily features and external beauty.

5. Early Gandhara School used bluish-grey sandstone while the later period saw the use of mud and stucco

6. In all the Buddha depicted in the Gandhara Art is shown making four types of hand gestures and this is a remarkable feature in this art. The gestures are as follows:
a) Abahayamudra: Don’t fear.
b) Dhyanamudra: Meditation.
c) Dharmachakra mudra: Preaching mudra.
d) Bhumisparshamudra: Touching the earth.

Amravati school of Art

1. The Amravati school of Art evolved during Satavahna period.

2. The sculptures of Amaravati School were made using white marbles.

3. This school of art developed at Amravati, on the banks of the Krishna River in modern Andhra Pradesh.

4. This school of art had great influence on art in Sri Lanka and South-East Asia as products from here were carried to those countries.

5. Lord Buddha is depicted in the form of `Swastika` mark. This has been carved out on the cushioned seat over a throne that is situated under the Bodhi tree.

Mathura School of Art

1. Mathura School of art is purely indigenous style. Mathura art developed during post Maurya period (mainly during Shunga period) and reached its peak during the Gupta period (AD 325 to 600).

2. The sculptures of Mathura School were made using spotted red sandstone.

3. The traditional centre, Mathura, remained the main art production site whereas Sarnath and Kosambi also emerged as important centres of art production. Spotted red sandstone has been used in this school.

4. Themes in the Mathura Art vary from Buddhist to Brahmanical to sometimes secular. More stress was given to the
inner beauty and facial emotions rather than bodily gesture.

5. Under the Mathura Art images of Vishnu and Shiva, Buddha, Yakshas, Yakshinis, Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities were found

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