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Consider the following statements with reference to the Mathura School of Arts.

1. Buddha in the symbolic form got a human form in Mathura.

2. The best example Mathura School of Arts is the stupa sculptures found at Sanghol in Punjab.

3. In Mathura only Buddhist images are found. No images of Vaishnava or Shaiva are found here.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?


1. 1 and 2 only
2. 2 and 3 only
3. 1 and 3 oly
4. 1, 2 and 3

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Correct Answer - Option 1 : 1 and 2 only

The correct answer is 1 and 2 only.

  • The first century CE onwards, Gandhara (now in Pakistan), Mathura in northern India and Vengi in Andhra Pradesh emerged as important centres of art production.
  • Buddha in the symbolic form got a human form in Mathura and Gandhara. Hence, statement 1 is correct.
  • The local sculptural tradition at Mathura became so strong that the tradition spread to other parts of northern India.
  • The best example in this regard is the stupa sculptures found at Sanghol in PunjabHence, statement 2 is correct.
  • The Buddha image at Mathura is modelled on the lines of earlier Yaksha images whereas in Gandhara it has Hellenistic features.

  • Images of Vaishnava (mainly Vishnu and his various forms) and Shaiva (mainly the lingas and mukhalingas) faiths are also found at Mathura but Buddhist images are found in large numbersHence, statement 3 is NOT correct.
  • It may be noted that the images of Vishnu and Shiva are represented by their ayudhas (weapons).

  • There is boldness in carving the large images, the volume of the images is projected out of the picture plane, the faces are round and smiling, heaviness in the sculptural volume is reduced to relaxed flesh.
  • The garments of the body are clearly visible and they cover the left shoulder.
  • Images of the Buddha, Yakshas, Yakshinis, Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities and portrait statues are profusely sculpted.
  • In the second century CE, images in Mathura get sensual, rotundity increases, they become fleshier.
  • In the third century CE, treatment of sculptural volume changes by reducing the extreme fleshiness, movement in the posture is shown by an increasing distance between the two legs as well as by using bents in the body posture.
  • The trend continues in the fourth century CE but in the late fourth century CE, the massiveness and fleshiness is reduced further and the flesh becomes more tightened, the volume of the drapery also gets reduced and in the fifth and sixth centuries CE, the drapery is integrated into the sculptural mass.

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