Note that the Egyptians began with stone-built. as opposed to rock-cut structures. Sanchi. Ajanta). Ajanta. influencing the India's first stone architects. and Ellora). These Egyptian/Mesopotamian forms were borrowed by the Persians -. Buddhist rock cut caves and Hellenistic-inspired painted and sculptural forms -. rather than as conventional stone-built architecture (assembled stone pieces to form a whole). The Egyptians were probably the first civilization in the world to build in stone.serves as the foundation for the Indian aesthetic. finally.approachguides. was never transformed from a stepped pyramid to a smooth-edge pyramid.g. Orissa. the earliest probably date from the late part of Sumeria's Early Dynastic period (2900-2350 BCE). the royal tombs of Darius (521 BCE to 486/485 BCE) and the rest of the Old Persian (Achaemenid) Empire were rock-cut. we then offer a similar analysis of Buddhist sculptural and painted forms.   Ancient Buddhist art and architecture -. We begin by reviewing the historical origins of and characteristic elements of Buddhist architecture. • • • © 2008 Approach Guides Indian Art & Architecture: Buddhist p. as was the case in Egypt.e. historically. These "architects" borrowed inspiration from their existing wood-based forms in creating the rock-cut cave structures. designed specifically for the traveler in India. 1 of 23 www. It is speculated that India’s rock-cut architectural tradition was drawn indirectly from the Egyptians. we provide a condensed. Buddhists and Jain monks. Related Approach Guides o “The Stupa Form's Transformation over Time” o “Ancient Buddhist Caves India & China” o “Religion: Buddhism” o “East-West Trade Connections” BUDDHIST ARCHITECTURE EGYPTIANS LIKELY PROVIDE THE FIRST (ALBEIT INDIRECT) INSPIRATION FOR BUDDHIST ROCK-CUT ARCHITECTURE • Indian (Hindu and Buddhist) architecture began as a rock-cut (carving into rock formations to form structures.in fact. they had been building in stone since the 27th century BCE (Djoser's Step Pyramid) and had begun to build tombs cut into the rock since the 16th century BCE (Valley of the Kings). o It is interesting. this architecture resembles sculpture in many respects) endeavor. which makes them slightly later than their Egyptian counterparts. In this ApproachGuides document. From Persia. however. to note that similar stone-built structures were being built not too far away in Mesopotamia (modern day Iran/Iraq). The ziggurat design. These very similar stepped pyramids are called ziggurats.com . yet comprehensive overview of Buddhist art and architecture. these forms made their way in the 2nd century BCE into Indian lands (Bihar. we provide detailed reviews of the chief Buddhist architectural and artistic sights in India (specifically.

through which communications were laid with the East.   o The Gandhara images were probably more influential on early Asian Buddhist art of this period. unique to Indian art. GANDHARA BUDDHA SCULPTURE 2NDC CE. which carried on to influence all subsequent Indian sculptural depictions. thicker lips. in that it mirrors the earlier yakshi sculptural works the pre-date Greek influence and can still be seen at Sanchi on the toranas. wider eyes and a more prominent nose. given the area's closer proximity to the trade caravan routes of the Silk Road. The style is characterized by the following: o This is clearly the more indigenous "Indian" style o The form of the body appears to be expanded or bloated by what has been termed "sacred breath" (prana). the Mathuran Buddha’s face features longer earlobes. and most noticeable. NAT’L MUSEUM OF SCOTLAND MATHURA BUDDHA SCULPTURE 2ND C CE. only the left should be covered by the robe (as opposed to both shoulders in Gandhara tradition). Further. rather than actually creating a realistic fabric representation). • Mathura Art (area of Gangetic plain). 7 of 23 www.approachguides. ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM MUTTRA © 2008 Approach Guides Indian Art & Architecture: Buddhist p. o The monastic robe (formerly the Greek toga) is more shear and seemingly transparent. This was a particularly defining element. creating a less natural form characterized by rounded limbs.com . It is also worth pointing out that this is most likely an indigenous (rather than Greek-adopted) sculptural style. o Abstract "snail-like twisted curl" hair style o Characteristically. with less obvious folds (the robes have a network of ridges that suggest drapery folds.

these structures are (like Ellora) cut into the volcanic granite stone of the hillside. This is the earliest stage in chaitya composition. o Cave 10 (2nd century BCE). ARCHITECTURE • This area is volcanic in geological profile. Their designs served to inspire the earliest stone-built architecture in India. • These temples are the earliest architecture in stone in India. not Buddhist.these beams have since rotted away.   • Keep in mind that the Satavahana and Vakataka Empires were actually Hindu in religious orientation. CAVE 10 © 2008 Approach Guides Indian Art & Architecture: Buddhist p. You will notice (when compared with those to follow) the following:  That the stupa is more roundish and lower lying. 14 of 23 www. From this perspective. • You can clearly see the evolution of the chaitya (sanctuary) hall in this complex. that of the Chalukyas and Pallavas in the 6th century.  Actual wood beams had been inserted on the inside of the sanctuary to replicate earlier all-wood structures -.approachguides. This leads us to believe that the Ajanta caves were not constructed with imperial sponsorship (as was the case with many other Buddhist cave sites). Accordingly. but rather with sponsorship by wealthy individuals. these caves serve as the progenitor for all stone-built temple architecture (both the northern and southern temple styles) in India.com . leaving only the hollowed out stone flat-surfaced ceiling (although you can still see the markings made by the wooden beams when they were in place).