Bharhut Sculptures

  • The sculptures here are tall like the images of Yaksha and Yakshini in the Mauryan period.
  • In the relief panels depicting narratives, illusion of three-dimensionality is shown with tilted perspective
  • 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.
  • Availability of the space is utilized to the maximum by the sculptors. Folded hands in the narratives as well as single figures of the Yakhshas and Yakshinis are shown flat clinging to the chest.
  • There is a general stiffness in the body and arms. But gradually, such visual appearance was modified by making images with deep carvings, pronounced volume and a very naturalistic representation of human and animal bodies. Sculptures at Bharhut, Bodhgaya, Sanchi Stupa-2, and Jagayyapetta are good examples.
  • Narrative reliefs at Bharhut show how artisans used the pictorial language very effectively to communicate stories. In one such narrative. Ex: Queen Mayadevi’s (mother of Siddhartha Gautama) dream, a descending elephant is shown
  • One main characteristic in all the male images of first–second centuries BCE of Bharhut sculptures is the knotted headgear

Queen Mayadevi’s dream, Bharhut sculpture