- The third type of sculpture art – apart from Gandhara and Mathura – that flourished around the Kushana time was Amaravati School of art in the Andhra Pradesh under patronage of Satvahanas or Andhra dynasty and later under Vakatakas.
- This was focused on Buddhist art and architecture and later also on Brahmin art. Stupas and sculptures were central to this art. Amravati Stupa is one of its magnificent examples was also known as Mahachaitya Stupa.
- Marble was used in this art and the themes were Buddha’s life and Jatakas tales in which Buddha is depicted in human as well as animal form, unlike Kushan art in which figures of Buddha are mainly sculpted. Central characters are human beings, animals and kings, princes and palaces figure prominently.
- Later, Lord Buddha is also depicted in a human form with superhuman qualities. In one of the panels, he is shown as subduing an elephant.
- Nagarjunkonda is another place that is famous for Buddhist architecture which was an offshoot of Amravati school.
- Unlike Kushan art, it was indigenous in nature with no Greeko-Roman influence. Further, unlike Mathura art, it was mainly Buddhist art.
- Sculptures are not individual, but in narrative form in form of panels depicting events from life of Buddha and Jataka tales
GUPTA ARCHITECTURE, 300-550 Century AD
- Gupta period marked the real beginning of temple architecture in India and is known as the golden period of Indian art. Hindu subjects became focus of the art for the first time. The Gupta period marks the beginning of the construction of free-standing Hindu temples. For the first time they initiated permanent materials like brick and stone, instead of perishable materials like bamboo, wood etc in temple buildings.
- Built in the 6th century during the Gupta Empire, Bhitargaon temple is the oldest remaining terracotta Hindu shrine with a roof and a high Sikhara.
- Temple style during Gupta period evolved in various phases. Earliest temples used to have flat roofs. Later, square temples emerged – such as Vishnu and Varaha temples at Eran in Vidisha. In third phase most of the earlier features were retained and new features were added – now low curvilinear shikharas were introduced and apart from main shrine, subsidiary shrines were also built and main temple was build on a crucified platform – this style is generally termed as ‘Panchayatan’ style. Examples include Dashavtara temple at Deogarh near Jhansi and Durga temple near Aihole in Karnataka. Later, circular temples with shallow rectangular projections were also made – for eample – Maniyar Math at Rajgir.
- Gupta style of temple architecture is also said to have given birth to many sub-styles like – Odisha School (Konark, Lingraja, Jagannath Puri etc), Khajuraho School, Solanki School of Rajasthan and Gujarat etc.
- In UP, Dashavatara temple from 6th century is there in Deogarh belonging to late Gupta period and due to presence of a curvilinear tall rekha-deol (or rekha-prasada) type shikhara, it is one of the earliest classical examples of Nagara style. This temple is in the panchayatana style of architecture.
- Guptas were tolerant and encouraged other religions also. While early Gupta period Hindu architecture was largely promoted, later Bhuddhist and Jaina architecture was also promoted. In fact, Buddhist art reached its climax during Gupta period.
- Gupta period is also marked by development of sculpture art. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain sculptures were profusely made. A new school called Sarnath School emerged. Cream colored sandstone was used in it. At Sarnath, Buddha is shown standing, seating as well as in other positions as well. Buddha here is shown in calm position smiling and eyes partly closed unlike Gandhar Buddha which is mainly only in seated position and is in somber mood. Even metal sculptures were developed during this period, for example – Sultanganj Buddha. Majority of metal sculptures of Buddha in North are shown in Abhyamudra.
- Cave architecture and paintings also reached their zenith – Ajanta caves, Ellora caves, Bagh caves near Bagh river in Madhya Pradesh, Junagarh Caves, Nashik Caves are examples.
- The artistic achievement of the age is also exhibited in the delicate workmanship and the variety of designs shown in different kinds of Gupta coins. The general scheme that was followed was to exhibit the portrait of the king on one side of the coin or an appropriate deity.
CHALUKYA ARCHITECTURE, or KARNATAKA ARCHITECTURE 550-1100 Century AD
They followed the Vakatakas who themselves followed Satvahanas. Chalukyas included three individual yet related dynasties. The first one was the Badami dynasty who ruled from Vatapi. Then came the Eastern Chalukyas who ruled over Deccan. The Western Chalukyas ruled from Kalyani. Finally, decline of Western Chalyukyas led to rise of Hyosalas in 12th century. The basic plan of the Western Chalukya style originated from the older Dravida style, many of its features were unique and peculiar to it. The Western Chalukya temples were smaller than those of the early Chalukyas. Chalukya Art is often taken synonymous with Vesara style; however they had architecture in distinctively Dravidian style as well. It is also known as Karnataka style. It is distinctly different from contemporary western Deccan or Vakataka styles seen at places such as Paunar and Ramtek. The hybridisation and incorporation of several styles was the hallmark of Chalukyan buildings. Since this style is a hybrid, it retained two major components of the Dravid style – Vimana and Mandapa. Unlike Dravida style, the ambulatory path is not covered in this style.