Gupta Sculptures - Blend of Mathura, Amravati and Bahrut schools of art

Gupta Sculptures - Blend of Mathura, Amravati and Bahrut schools of art

Question: Gupta sculpture is seen as a blend of Mathura, Amravati and Bahrut schools of art. Explain with examples.

- Golden Age, as the Gupta age is known, marks the beginning of a new era. The 4th century CE is considered to have been at the peak of literature, art, architecture, science etc.

- This period witnessed the culmination of all the artistic trends practiced until now. Thus Gupta art is an outcome of the earlier arts of Amravati, Mathura and Bahrut, although completely different in its own way.

- A new outlook was seen with an attempt to set up a closer harmony between art and the thought behind it. It was the classic phase of sculpture.

Culmination of art: In the art that blended, the focus now moved to the female figure, making humans a pivot of Gupta sculpture. For centuries now, art of sculpture making was prevalent and had now reached perfection, transforming stone into masterpieces with precision. Deities of Hindu and Buddhist faiths were now perfectly sculpted along with other images to be placed in shrines and temples.

Best known Gupta art: The finest examples of the Gupta sculpture is unmistakably the seated Buddha from Sarnath. The composure reflecting from his face and the posture are beautifully achieved. The standing Buddha from Mathura and the colossal copper statue of Buddha some more superior examples of the Gupta sculpture. All images are fashioned based on the canons of beauty, like the smile on Buddha's face depicting ultimate achievement. Sarnath was an active centre of Buddhist sculpture in this period and records an advance of the new artistic ideal.

The excellence of Gupta sculpture lies in not merely in the amalgamation of all previous arts but in attaining a balance between major schools of art. Poise and grace are visible in all of the sculptures. To mention a few, a relief of Goddess Ganga from Besanagar, variety of sculptures from Bhumra, gandharva couple from Sondani etc.

The shape of every part of the body is given in a sculptor's manual. Like the head in the shape of an egg, the eyebrows like an Indian bow, the eyelids resembling the lotus petals, the lips with the fullness of the mango fruit etc. The standing statue of Sakyamuni is now clothed in a monastic robe, with a carved halo around the Buddha’s head.


• The finest example of temple architecture is the Dasavatara Temple at Deogarh which is also an example of early stone temple mounted with a Shikara.
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