Photograph of Buddhist monuments at Sanchi by James Waterhouse, Museum no. 56:280

Photograph of Buddhist monuments at Sanchi by James Waterhouse, Museum no. 56:280

Photograph of Buddhist monuments at Sanchi, India
Front view of Eastern Gateway, Plate III
Photograph by James Waterhouse, 1861
Albumen print from a wet colloidion negative
Museum no. 56:280

This photograph shows a view of the Eastern Gateway (torana) at Sanchi. The gateway has two square upright pillars with three architraves, all of which are elaborately carved in relief with scenes from the Buddha's life and stories from the Buddha's previous existences (jatakas). The bottom architrave shows King Asoka and his royal entourage venerating the bodhi tree. The middle architrave illustrates the story of the Great Departure of the Buddha. The topmost architrave shows various standing figures venerating stupas and bodhi trees together with images of people riding bulls. The end of each architrave is carved with a scroll design, with standing elephants on top. A wheel surmounted by a trident shape (triratna) is seen on the topmost architrave above the right hand pillar. The square upright pillars are carved with framed scenes, such as the miracle of walking on the waters (left pillar, second frame from the bottom) and the veneration of a bodhi tree (left pillar, third frame from the bottom). Caparisoned elephants encircle the pillars just below the lowest architrave and between the pillars and the architrave a female nature spirit (yakshi) leans out, holding onto the branch of a mango tree. A smaller yakshi appears between the top and middle architraves. The brick stupa, covered with vegetation, appears behind the gateway surrounded by a stone railing (vedika). There is a person standing in the foreground to the right of the gateway which gives a sense of scale.