Gandhara, Mathura & Amravati Schools of Art

The Kushanas brought artisans trained in different countries to India and this gave rise to several schools of art such as Mathura and Gandhara forms. Gandhara art shows the synthesis of both local and foreign elements under the influence of Buddhism.

Indian craftsmen came in contact with the central Asians, Greeks, and Romans in the northwestern frontier of India in Gandhara. This gave rise to a new kind of art called Gandhara art in which images are made in Greco-Roman style. Buddha’s hair was fashioned like a Greek warrior.

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An indigenous style developed in Mathura. It used mostly red sandstone. Mathura produced beautiful images of Buddha. Mathura art flourished in the early Christian era, and this art is influenced by Gandhara art.

During the same period, Amravati art flourished in the south of Vindhya in Andhra Pradesh. Amravati became a great centre of Buddhist art and the stories connected with the Buddha came to be portrayed in numerous panels.

Also, read the Difference Between Art and Culture

About Gandhara, Mathura & Amravati Schools of Art

Gandhara School of Art

  • Gandhara school of art was one of the major schools of art in the history of ancient India which is uniquely associated with the Greco-Roman style of art
  • The Greco-Roman effect on Gandhara art can be traced through:
    • Halo around the head of Lord Buddha
    • Buddha’s wavy hair
    • The forehead lines
    • Ornaments
    • Drape and style of the garments
  • The Gandhara art is assumed to have flourished during the Kushan dynasty
  • The material used for Gandhara sculptures were green phyllite and gray-blue mica

Read in detail about the Gandhara School of Art for the upcoming UPSC examination at the linked article. 

Mathura School of Art

  • The Mathura School of Art flourished under the Kushana emperor Kanishka during the first century AD
  • Mathura, Sarnath and Kosambi were the main traditional centre of production
  • Spotted red sandstone was used for creating such sculptures
  • Wema Kadphises and Kaniska, Maholi Bodhisattva and the seated Kubera are a few masterpieces from this school of Art
  • Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism were the main religious motivations for the Mathura School of Art

Aspirants can get a tabulated Difference between the Gandhara and Mathura Schools of Art at the linked article. 

Amravati School of Art

  • The school has been involved in the evolution of regional art style based on the commercial and imperial system
  • The Amravati sculptures are made out of white marble
  • Another feature of Amravati sculptures is that the figures have slim blithe features with complex curves

Refer to the UPSC Syllabus for prelims and mains examination and accordingly start your IAS exam preparation. 

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Refer to the following links to learn in detail about the various types of paintings:

Question: With respect to the ancient history of India which of the following are true?

  1. Gandhara art is a Greco-Roman art
  2. Mathura art used red sandstone extensively in its art

a) 1 only b) 2 only c) Both d) none

Answer: C

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