Art and Architecture in post Mauryan period

Art and Architecture in the post Mauryan period

Art was primarily religious in the post-Mauryan age.

The two most significant features about this period’s art and architecture are the building of stupas and the creation of regional sculpture schools.

Buddha idols were first carved out during this time.

During this time a particular art school called Gandhara School of Art established due to contact with foreigners from the northwest.

To a large degree, it was inspired by the Greek style of art forms.



A stupa was a wide hemispheric dome with a central chamber in which Buddha relics or some Buddhist monks were held in a tiny casket.

At Bharhut and Sanchi (both in M.P), which were originally built by Ashoka but later enlarged, there are three prominent stupas of this time, and Amravati and Nagarjunkonda (both in Andhra Pradesh).

The stupa sculptures are taken from the themes that are based on Jataka and other Buddhist legends.


Rock-cut architecture

This time marks a development in rock-cut architecture.

In Maharashtra, under the Satavahanas, a large number of temples, halls and places of residence for monks were cut off from the solid rocks near Pune and Nasik.

Usually, the place of worship had a shrine cell with a votive stupa in the middle. This place was known as a chaitya.

A vihara was the rock-cut building that used to be the monks ‘ house.


In this time there were three major schools of sculptural art.

These are Mathura School of Art, Gandhara School of Art and Amravati School of Arts.


Mathura School of Art:

Mathura School’s most important contribution to contemporary art is the pictures of Buddha that could be produced in this art form for the first time.

Mathura also created a large number of Jaina deities ‘ sculptures besides ayagapatas or stone slabs in order to position worship objects.

During the time of Kushana, a number of Brahmanic deity sculptures were sculpted, including Kartikeya, Vishnu, and Kubera.


Gandhara School of Art:

The territory of Gandhara was in the northwest of the Indian Subcontinent. The Greeks, Mauryas, Sungas, Shakas, and Kushanas ruled this area successively for many centuries.

The art school that developed during the early Christian period was called Graeco-Roman, Indo-Greek or Graeco-Buddhist.

The Shakas and Kushanas were the key patrons of Gandhara art.


Amravati School of Arts:

In the Andhra Pradesh region, the Amravati art school flourished between the lower valleys of the Krishna and Godavari rivers.

The Satavahans were the key patrons of this art form.

It is said that between 150 BC and 350 AD this art prospered.

The thematic depictions include the history of the Buddha’s life.

The’ narrative art’ is an important feature of the Amravati School.