Post Mauryan Art

  • Caves, stupas, sculptures continued
  • Sculpture making reached its climax during this stage

Now 2 kinds of caves originated – 1. Chaitya 2. Vihar


  • Prayer hall for monks
  • Karla Chaitya in Mahrashtra


  • Residence / rest places of Monk
  • Nashik Vihar, Ajanta caves (29 caves – 4 chaitya and 24 vihars)


  • Now more enlarged stupas were built
  • Gateways or Toranas were now beautifully carved

In this phase – 3 schools developed with regard to sculpture making

  • Gandhara
  • Mathura
  • Amravati
Basis Gandhara Mathura Amaravati
Outside Influence Greek influence. Also called Indo Greek Art No outside influence – indigenous indigenous
Type of Sandstone Grey Sandstone/Bluish grey sandstone Spotted Red Sandstone White marbles
Religious influence Mainly Biddhist All 3- Hinduism, Jain, Buddhist Mainly Buddhist
Promoted by Kushana Dynasty Kushana Dynasty Satvahanas and Icchavakus
Areas Northwest Frontier Mathura, Sonkh, Kankalitila (Mostly Jain) Krishna Godavari lower valley
Features of sculptures
  • Spiritual Buddha(sad buddha) represents calmness
  • Bearded Buddha, Moustache
  • Wearing Less ornaments
  • Having wavy hair
  • Large forehead
  • Buddha is seated in position of Yogi
  • Having large ears
  • Protuberance on his head

Two Schools:

  • Early – Bluish – grey sandstone
  • Later – Use of mud and lime plaster
  • Delighted Buddha ie not spiritual
  • Head and face shaven
  • Muscularity
  • Dress is tight, energetic body
  • Buddha face reflects grace
  • seated in Padmasana
  • Right hand in Abhaya Mudra raised above shoulders.
  • Left hand on thigh
  • Buddha surrounded by two Bodhisattavas – 1. Padmapani – Holding lotus 2. Vajrapani – Holding vajra
  • Halo around the head of Buddha decorated with geometrical motifs
  • Images of Vaishnava (mainly vishnu and his various forms)
  • Shiva represented through ling and Mukhaling
  • Jain:Sculpture of Mahavira
  • Protuberance on head
  • Reflects narrative
  • Theme based on life of Buddha as Jataka stories
  • Stories of previous birth of Buddha both in human as well as animal form

Indian Architecture – From notes of Nitin Singhania (AIR 53)

Ancient India

Medieval India

  • Delhi Sultunate (1206-1526)
    • Imperial Style (Developed By Empire – a state initiative)
      • Slave Dynasty 1206-1290
      • Khilji 1290- 1320
      • Tughlaq 1320 -
      • Lodhi
    • Provincial Style (Other than Empire)
      • Jaunpur
      • Malwa
      • Bijapur
  • Mughals (1526-18th century)
    • Babur
    • Humayun
    • Akbar
    • Sahjahan
    • Aurangjeb

Modern India

  • Indo- Gothic Style
  • Neo Roman Style

Sculpture vs Architecture

Architecture refers to designing and construction of building whereas Sculpture is 3-D work of Art.

In Architecture, various types of materials are used ie stones, wood, glass, metal etc. Whereas sculpture is made of single piece of material.
Architecture involves study of engineering and engineering mathematics and depends on measurement whereas sculpture involves creativity and imagination, may not depend on measurement.

Harappan Civilization



  • Seals are square, rectangular, circular or triangular piece of material – mainly stones. with an average size of 2′X2′ . Dominantly square seals were found on them, we find picto-graphic scripts along with animal impressions which are yet to be deciphered.
  • Seals are made up of steatite(a river soft stone). Evidences of copper, gold and ivory seal has also been found in some instances.
  • 5 signs or symbols on an average are present on seals.
  • Direction of writing is from right to left.
  • eg . Pashupati seal, Unicorn Seal
  • Seals are decorated with animals motifs such as unicorn, bull, rhinoceros, tiger, elephants, bison, goat, buffalo except cow etc.
  • Inscriptions or human figures are present on both sides of seals. Even in some cases, these are present on all three sides.

Significance and Purpose of seals

  • Mainly used as a unit of trade and commerce
  • Also used as an educational tools
  • Used as amuletes(for protective and spiritual purpose). Found with dead bodies and had a hole for wearing.

Terracotta Figures(Sculpture)

  • Fired/ Baked clay
  • These figures are hand made using pinching method
  • Mother goddess, toy carts with wheels, bird and animal figures

Bronze sculptures

  • Bronze casting was practised on wide scale under harappan art.
  • The technique used for casting is known as lost-wax technique
  • Under this technique, at first wax figures are covered with a coating of clay and allowed to dry. Then it is heated and molten wax is allowed to drain out through a tiny hole at the bottom of clay cover. The hallow mould is then filled with bronze or any other metal. Once the metal is cooled, the clay is removed.
  • Excavations where it was prevalent- Kalibangan, Daimabad, Harappa.
  • eg. Bronze dancing girl => It is naked girl wearing only ornaments which include bangles, armlets, necklace, amulets. The left hand is on the hip. It is made using lost wax technique.

Other stone sculpture

  • Bearded Priest
  • Male torso (Red sandstone>

Red and black pottery ( Painted pottery)

  • It consists of mainly, wheel-made. Very few are handmade.
  • The more common is plain pottery
  • Under red and black pottery, red color was used to paint the backgraound and black color to draw design of trees, birds, animals, human figures and other geomatrical patterns.

Use of pottery

  • For household purposes – storage of water, foodgrains etc.
  • For decoration – miniature vessels were used for decoration(Less than half inch)
  • Used as perforated pottery (Large hole at the bottom and small holes all over the wall and was probably used for straining liquor)


    • They are made of large variety of materials ranging from preceious metals, gemstones, bones and even baked clay
    • Necklaces, armlets and finger rings were common and worn by both males and females, While women wore ear-rings and anklets.
    • evidences of dead bodies buried along with ornaments have also been found
    • Harappans were also conscious of fashions as different hair styles, wearing of beard etc has been found
    • Cinnabar was used as cosmetic lipstick, face paint and even eye liner were all known to them
    • Spinning of cotton and wool were most common among harappans.

Extensive Town Planning

    • Houses were built of baked bricks, of fixed sizes
    • Use of stones and wood in building have also been found
    • the concept of 2 storied house was also present
    • Public bath was common feature. eg – Great bath at Mohan jodaro. It has galleries and rooms on all sides.
    • Granaries was another important creation which used to be located in citadels.
    • Drainage System of harappa was note worthy. There was temporary cover of drains, underground.
    • Roads used to cut at right angle

Mauryan Art

Mauryan Art is divided into 2 =>

  • Court Art – with state initiative eg. Pillars, stupas etc.
  • Popular art – With individual Initiatives eg. Caves, Sculptures and pottery


Mauryan Pillars

Mauryan Pillars

  • Mauryans Pillars have outside influence (Perisan or Iranian or Achaemenian influence) – Bell shaped capitals have been taken from Persian.
  • Mauryan Pillars were made up of Chunar sandstones
  • Uniformity can be seens in the pillars
  • Edicts are inscribed on pillars
  • Animals were bulls, galloping horses, lions , elephants etc.

Achaemanian Pillars versus Mauryan Pillars

  • Shaft monoliths in mauryan whereas in achaemanian pillars were made up of various pieces of sandstones.
  • Achaemanians pillara not independently erected, found in buildings
  • High polishing can be seen in both

Purpose of Pillars

  • as a symbol of the state
  • To commemorate victory – eg- Lauria Nandangarh – Champaran in Bihar, Sarnath Pillars near Varanasi.


Mauryan Stupa Structure

Mauryan Stupa2

  • It is conventional representation of funeral cunrulus, in which ashes of the dead are buried
  • It is a Buddhist monument which is hemi-spherical dome with Buddha’s relics and ashes inside
  • However the concept of stupas started in the vedic period
  • In Buddhist tradition, originally 9 stupas were built after the death of Buddha, 8 of them over his relics and ashes and 9th over the vessel in which the relics were originally deposited.
  • Core of stupas were made of unburnt bricks and outer surface with burnt brick covered with a thick layer of a plaster.
  • CHHATRAS represents TRIRATNAS(Buddha-enlightened, Dham – Doctrine, Sangha – Order) of Buddhism – They are umbrella shaped.
  • Sculpture can be seen on Torana and Medhi
  • Maximum number of stupas were constructed by King Ashoka – 84000
  • Examples of Stupas are – Sanchi Stupas built by Ashoka, Barhud Stupa By Shunga Dynasty, Oldest Stupa – Paprahawa in UP

Popular Art


    • The beginning of rock cut architecture. Two features were added by Mauryans-
        Polishing inside the cave
        Development of artistic Gateway
    • Examples = Barabar Cave(4) and Nagrajuni cave(near gaya)(3) – called 7 sisters

Uses of Caves
Caves were used as viharas in Mauryan Age. The viharas were given to Jain Monks – Ajeevikas.


  • Yaksh and Yakshini – Objects of worship in folk religion
  • Yaksh has been found at Parbham in UP and also Pawaya in Gwaliar
  • Yakshini found at Didarganj in Bihar
  • These figures are associated with all 3 religions – Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism.
  • In Buddhism, figures found on stupas
  • In Jainism – all 24 Jain Thirthankaras are associated with a Yakshini.
  • In Hinduism – A Tamil text ‘Shilpodiganam’ also mentions about Yakshini.


Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW)

  • Black color was used
  • Highly lusturous Polish
  • It is a luxury ware showing maturity
  • Highest level of pottery making

Take aways from Civil Services Examination – Mains 2013

Its being a long time since I wrote last post. So far, I was syncing in Failure of 2013 mains. Marks came out recently and everyone must be knowing their weaknesses. There is clear strategy told by Topper Gaurav Agarwal and that is working on your weaknesses.

One more thing I would like to add in that strategy and that is harness your strength as well. That is, while working over weakness, never lose your strength. Generally it is difficult to get over with habitual or behavioral weaknesses but easy to tackle tactical and strategical weaknesses. At age of us (average will be 27 years) , it is almost impossible to get over with behavioral weaknesses. Therefore, I am trying to identify tactical and strategical weaknesses and will chalk out strategies for getting over with those.

There was huge vulnerability of making strategical mistake in 2013 Mains esp in General studies since nobody knew the format of the papers. If you go through the marksheets of toppers, you will find a clear trend, marks in Essay and optional papers were decision makers. Rank 1 got only ~ 33% in GS papers. So if somebody did badly or average in optionals, you chances are gone for being in final list. It is like CSAT paper 2 of mains. If you score less than 150-160 in CSAT paper 2, you are gone even if you got 90+ in CSAT paper 1, where as someone with 180 in CSAT paper 2 with even 60 in CSAT 1 will be in the list.

One take away I took from 2013 mains is that optional paper matters most and you have to find a way to get minimum 50 to 60% in it to at least stay in the game. Marks in GS are very unpredictable but there is lesser chances of deviation from average marks whereas it is huge in optional papers.

I was disappointed from results but I am optimist and knowing the unpredictability of mains 2013, I do not see scope for living in despair. Hmmm…..Let us give it another try.


Halla Bol!

Foreign Policy – Definition and objectives

  • Definition – System of activities evolved by countries/ states for changing the behaviour of other states and adjusting their own activities according to international environment. It has definite objective and principles which are determined by domestic and international factors to achieve national interest.
  • Any of policy should be an adjunct to national policy objectives
    • aligned to domestic politics e.g. economic policy
    • Pre 1992 India voted more with USSR earlier. Post 1992, it is aligned to USA
  • Foreign policy is an instrument to protect and promote national interest of any country.
  • Foreign policy has to be dynamic because of vast changes in last 60 years eg. collapse of USSR, unification of Germany, birth of EU, rise of emerging economies etc. It also evolves because national interests also vary from time to time.

Objectives of foreign policy

  • Socio-economic
    • Getting help from developed countries eg. in 2nd FYP – Non alignment Movement, steel plants, setting up IITs
    • Partnership with USA for agriculture and education
    • PL-186 – USA help for food grains
    • BRICS
  • National Security
    • economic growth and development can not occur without protecting countries boundaries
  • Protecting and promoting countries ideological agenda
    • Normally it is not followed by India
    • eg. USA exports democracy – Egypt, Tunisia
    • India has good opportunities to do this in its neighborhood countries like  Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar
    • We never export our ideology as per Panchsheel we do not interfere in other countries
    • Our Foreign policy contains both Nehruvian and Gandhian ideas like non-violence, peace
  • Maintain communal harmony within India
    • India is multi-cultural, multi-ethnic
    • It has to take into account Tamils while dealing with Sri Lanka, Muslims with West Asia
  • Our Foreign Policy has regarded neighborhood and concentric circle around central axis of historic and cultural commonalities- buddhism, invasions, civilizational contacts – Iran, Egypt, SE Asia


  • India is not able utilize this much
  • Before independence, we have even geographical contacts with our extended neighbors
  • Though India does not just follow concentric circle theory eg. USA, Brazil, Venezuela etc are far away but it has made considerable progress in relations with them
  • Foreign policy has to be an integral part of larger effort of building nation’s capacities through economic development, strengthening social fabric, well being of the people and protecting our sovereignty and territorial integrity.


Civil Rebellions and Tribal Uprisings – snippets

The backbone of the rebellions, their mass base and striking power came from the rack-rented peasants, ruined artisans and demobilized soldiers.


  • The major cause of the civil rebellions was the rapid changes the British introduced in the economy, administration and land revenue system.
  • The revenues were enhanced by increasing taxes.
  • Thousands of zamindars and poligars lost control over their land and its revenue either due to the extinction of their rights by the colonial state or by the forced sale of their rights over land because of their inability to meet the exorbitant land revenue demanded
  • The economic decline of the peasantry was reflected in twelve major and numerous minor famines from 1770 to 1857.
  • The new courts and legal system gave a further fillip to the dispossessors of land and encouraged the rich to oppress the poor.
  • The police looted, oppressed and tortured the common people at will.
  • The ruin of Indian handicraft industries pauperized millions of artisans
  • The scholarly and priestly classes were also active in inciting hatred and rebellion against foreign rule.
  • Very foreign character of the British rule


  • From 1763 to 1856, there were more than forty major rebellions apart from hundreds of minor ones.
    • Sanyasi Rebellion: (1763-1800)
    • Chuar uprising (1766-1772 & 1795-1816); Rangpur and Dinajpur (1783); Bishnupur and Birbhum (1799); Orissa zamindars (1804-17) and Sambalpur (1827-40) and many others



  •  These rebellions were local in their spread and were isolated from each other.
  • They were the result of local causes and grievances, and were also localized  in their effects.
  • Socially, economically and politically, the semi-feudal leaders of these rebellions were backward looking and traditional in outlook.
  • The suppression of the civil rebellions was a major reason why the revolt of 1857 did not spread to South India and most of Eastern and Western India.


  • Santhals
  • Kols of Chhotanagpur (1820-37)
  • Birsa Munda (1899-1900)


  • The colonial administrators ended their relative isolation and brought them fully within the ambit of colonialism.
  • Introduced new system of land revenue and taxation of tribal products
  • Influx of Christian missionaries into the tribal areas
  • They could no longer practice shifting agriculture
  • Oppression and extortion by police officials
  • The complete disruption of the old agrarian order of the tribal communities provided the common factor for all the tribal uprisings