Architecture in the Mauryan Period

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The Mauryan period is an important period in the history of Indian art and architecture, with the foundations for Indian art being laid, which would later reach their height during the golden age of the Guptas. Our main pieces of evidence and material come from the time of the great Mauryan king Ashoka.
Some of the finest examples of Ashokan art, are the famous Ashokan pillars that he erected across the country. These columns were works of art, architecture and engineering. The pillar was made out of a single stone which was cut, shaped and polished. Adorning the pillar was a four lion sculpture which rested on a highly polished and chiselled capital depicting animals and flowers. The engineering skill required to make all this possible was indeed substantial, massive blocks of stone had to be hauled in from quarries that were often hundreds of miles away. In some cases they even had to haul the stone to the tops of hills. The fine chiseling and the lustrous polish are examples of well developed skills in this department. The artistic skills of the period are also reflected in the work on the pillar. Fine sculptures which realistically depicted movements were made. One of the best examples of such work is the Sarnath Pillar, which has four lions back to back at the top of the pillar. The remarkable accuracy and beauty associated with these sculptures is a fine example of the skill that the artisans of that period possessed.
Mauryan architecture is also reputed to have been fabulous. The capital of Patlipatura had been described by many travelers as one of the most amazing cities of the ancient world. Unfortunately since the building material was essentially wood, not much of this has survived. Excavations have come up with a few structures like a hundred pillar hall. The Mauryans were adept at cutting caves out of hillsides, and were able to polish the inside walls so highly that they shone as if they were glass. Ashoka also constructed several stupas across the

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