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also mentions Vaisali as the capital of Magadha about the period of Nandi. It was during his reign that the Second Congress of Buddhism was held at Vaiśāli. Nandi after his father greatly consolidated the empire and the second seat of the empire at Vaśāli seems to have been a step in the direction of that policy. He added Orissa to Magadha and history rightly called him "Vardhana ", the Increaser". Nandi seems to have patronized learning as according to Buddhist tradition Panini came to his court.2
The language of the inscription is the vernacular which we find in canonical Pali. That, not Sanskrit, seems Language of the Inscrip- to have been the official language under the Śaiśunākas. The change of j into ch (Acho = Ajo) which later Prakrita grammarians regard as characteristic of the NorthWestern dialect, is known to the official Pali (cf. pūchana=prājana) and to Aśoka's inscription (Vrachanti=vrujanti). Similarly the change of vinto p (sapa=sarva) is found in Pali (p jaдāti=prajāvati.) The softening of Ash into chh is occasional in Pali as in our inscriptions (chhoni; cf. chhuddho = kshudrah). The Sandhi in chloni-achisa (chloni'dhise) is in perfect accord with Pali grammar. The use of Vedic term bhoga and the archaio use of kshatra speak in favour of the ancient age of the inscriptions. These words were still current in their old sense when the inscriptions were carved.
The place where the statues were found bore traces of a brick-built house, very probably their original the Statues. Deva-kula. It would be interesting to read here what Buchanan says about their recovery. I quote below the whole extract kindly given me by Mr. Jackson, as it carries the history of the statues further back than that known to Cunningham:
'J.B.O R.S., 1. 83. luid. I, 82.
The traces that can be considered as belonging to the Hindu city re exceedingly trifling. Every where in cigging broken pots, but very little else, are to be found: and where the river washes away the bank,
many old wells are laid open; but nothing has been discovered to indicate large or magnificent buildings. In the Ganges, opposite to the suburbs above the town I found a stone image lying by the water's edge, when the river was at the lowest. It has represented male standing with two arms and one head, but the arms and feet bave been broken. The face also is much mutilated. It is nearly of a natural size, and very clumsy, and differs from most Hindu images that I have seen in being completely formed, and not carved in relief with its hinder parts adhering to the block, from whence it has been cut. On the back part of the scarf, which passes round the shoulders, are some letters which I have not been able to have explained, and too much defaced to admit of being copied with absolute precision. Some labourers employed to bring this image to my house informed me that it had been ome years ago taken from a field on the south side of the suburbs, and had been intended for an object of worship: but that a great fire having happened on the day when it was removed, the people were afraid and threw it into the sacred river. They also informed me that in the same field the fect of another image projected from the ground, and that many years ago a Mr. Hawkins has removed a third. On going to the place I could plainly discover that there had been a small building of brick, perhaps 50 or 60 feet in length; but most of the materials have been removed. On digging I found the image to be exactly similar to that which I found on the river, but somewhat larger. The feet are entire, and some part of the arms remain, but the head has been removed. On its right shoul·ler is placed something which seems intended to represent a Tibet bull's tail. This is an insignia of the Yatis or priests of Jain, but in other respects the images have little resemblance to such persons one of whom is represented in the Drawing No. 132-I rather suppose that these images have been intended as an ornament to the temple, and to represent the attendants on some God, whose image has been destroyed. In the drawing No. 2 the images have been represented with the inscription on the smaller, that on the larger is totally illegible.
There is no doubt that the statues described as above by
to-day. The device on the right shoulder of the statue of Nandi which Buchanan and Cunningham took to be a representation of "a Tibetan bull's tail" or "chowri” is by no means clear owing to mutilation. I could not come to a decision as to what it was. Mr. Bhandarkar considered
very doubtful to have been a chowri. If it was a chowri our idea that chowri-bearing denotes necessarily an attendant
must now change. Curiously enough I found simultaneously in a painting copied from Ajanta in the house of Sir John Woodroffe a prince holding a chowri on his shoulder, to whom a lady, probably his queen, is presenting lotuses on a tray. It is evidently the king in the Hamsa-Jataka, for two swans [are seated on thrones. 1 Then we must also take into consideration the Jain practice of carrying chowri or flywhisk referred to by Dr. Buchanan, and Nandi was a Jain as evidenced by Kharavela's inscription and also according to some other evidence which Mr. V. Smith has not yet published (J.R.A.S., 1918, p. 546).
The statues are made of Mirzapur sandstone which was utilized also by Aśoka in cutting his columns. The statues are monoliths, cut in the round. Aja's legs have been restored in the usual ugly style of restorations.
They, as already
Polish and its
stated, bear a high and shining polish. Now the force of the evidence of these statues must change our view on the origin of this so-called 66 Mauryan "polish. Before the discovery of these statues I had already come across a piece of evidence which had greatly shaken my belief in the current archæological theory which ascribed the art (undoubtedly, in the absence of pre-Mauryan monuments) to Persia. My friend Babu (now Rai Bahadur) Sarat Chandra Roy some time back showed me in his private collection a neolithic piece which is generally known as 'Vajra' (thunderbolt) with the polish! That unmistakably pointed to an Indian origin of the polish coming down and developed from the art of pre-historic times when primitive man devoted much attention to his stones. That vajra destroyed the theory in my mind. Then I recalled the slight polish on the soap-stone vases of the Sakya tope, now at the Indian Museum. The last evidence now comes in the shape of these statues which
1 Some other Ajanta printings as well throw very great doubt on the theory that a flywhisk must necessarily indicate a dependent position of the holder. In a painting of Muhammadan times a flywhisk is held as a fashionable decoration (see Plate LVI, Loan Exhibition of Antiquities, Coronation Durbar, 1911)
carry the art two centuries back from the date alleged for its import from Persia. The origin of the art, in my opinion, is to be sought in the art of Dravidian India which shaped the polished vajra and not in Persia.
The general vigour and realism of the statues makes one assign a pre-Mauryan period to the monuments. The decadence which marks the imperial art of Asoka does not even begin in the statues. Mr. Sen had not to think long in declaring them emphatically" Pre-Mauryan! Without doubt". Yet the statues prove a previous history of the art of the Indian sculptor. A point of importance is the attempt of the artist to Statues as show the waves in the royal gowns or mantles, Evidence of hanging on the back, down to the heels. It Earlier Art. is done, it seems to me, on the principle of illusionism. This fact and the perfect familiarity of the sculptor with a conventional representation of hair which is found on the head of Aja, prove a previous history of his art extending back to some centuries. Mr. Arun Sen who drew my attention to the conventional hair laid great stress on its significance as telling a previous history of the sculptor's art in the country.
Details in the two statues show two different hands, though of the same school. On the arm of the father there is an armlet which is to be seen on sculptures of kings on Bharhut railings. On the arm of the 'son there is an ornament with mouths of alligators and with goldsmith's designs all over. The ears of Aja have earrings. On the figure there is an upper garment, mantle-like, and beneath it there is a vest intended to be of diaphanous texture, as is evident by the line at the waist and the treatment of the navel. These two garments are mentioned in Vedic literature, e. g. in Coronation ceremony. The overgarment is fastened at the waist by a girdle tied in a bow, hanging down in front in an elaborate loop and tassel ends. The over-garment has got an embroidered neck beneath which passes a cord which is tied behind. The embroidered neck has two different designs on the two statues. There is a studied
attempt to show the feet and make it bare by making the gown shorter at the front than at the back. The convention of artist and poets in describing bare feet side by side with earliest and continued references to the use of shoes, is probably explainable in view of the fact that while in court Hindu kings took off their shoes and that feet were objects of reverence by convention. The execution of the feet (they are intact only in one statue) is the most unsuccessful from the modeller's point of view. It is not in conformity with the rest of the work, falling far too inferior. Does the execution of the feet indicate an earlier cycle of convention and decay in art? The artists have succeeded on the whole in producing the effect of majesty with masterly chisel.
As historic monuments they are not only the most important remains in India but have to be classed amongst the important pieces of the world.