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With reference to the Bharhut sculptures, consider the following statements:

1. The narrative art of Bharhut, depicts Jatakas of Buddha's previous birth in sculptures.

2. At times more than one event at one geographical place is clubbed in the picture space.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?


1. 1 only
2. 2 only
3. Both 1 and 2
4. Neither 1 nor 2

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Correct Answer - Option 3 : Both 1 and 2

The correct answer is Both 1 and 2.

  • At Bharhut, narrative panels are shown with fewer characters but as the time progresses, apart from the main character in the story, others also start appearing in the picture space.
  • The narrative art of Bharhut, depicting Jatakas of Buddha's previous birth in sculpturesthe decorative art of Sanchi and the Jain Stupa of Mathura belong to the same tradition. Hence, statement 1 is correct.
  • At times more than one event at one geographical place is clubbed in the picture space or only a single main event is depicted in the pictorial space. Hence, statement 2 is correct.

  • Narrative reliefs at Bharhut show how artisans used the pictorial language very effectively to communicate stories.
    • In one such narrative, showing Queen Mayadevi’s (mother of Siddhartha Gautam) dream, a descending elephant is shown.
      • The queen is shown reclining on the bed whereas an elephant is shown on the top heading towards the womb of Queen Mayadevi.
    • On the other hand, the depiction of a Jataka story is very simple—narrated by clubbing the events according to the geographical location of the story like the depiction of Ruru Jataka where the Boddhisattva deer is rescuing a man on his back.
    • The other event in the same picture frame depicts the King standing with his army and about to shoot an arrow at the deer, and the man who was rescued by the deer is also shown along with the king pointing a finger at the deer.
    • Such Jataka stories became part of stupa decoration.

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