Mains Daily Question
Nov. 23, 2020

Q "The Maurayans made a remarkable contribution to Indian art and architecture." Elaborate.



  • Introduce by briefly mentioning the significance of Mauryan rule in India.

  • Point out the contribution of Mauryans in the different forms of Art and Architecture.

  • Conclude your arguments.

Model Answer

The Mauryan kings were great patrons of art due to which this period saw remarkable progress made in the art and architecture. The influence of Buddhism and Jainism can be easily seen in the art and architecture of the Mauryan period. On the other hand, the individual initiatives also contributed to the development of art and architecture in this period. Thus, we can see that Mauryan art was the summation of court art and popular art.

 Contributions During Mauryan Period

  1. Court Art:

  • Palaces: Some of the magnificent structures of Mauryan times are the palaces. The palace of Chandragupta Maurya was inspired from the Achaemenid palaces. The three-storied palace of Ashoka at Kumhrar is another magnificent example. Mauryans used wood as principle building material due to which the remains of these building are in deteriorating condition.

  • Pillars: Mauryans introduced stone masonry to a large scale, the engineering in the erection of monolithic stone pillars is remarkable. Only the capitals in form of beautiful sculptures were joined atop of a pillar. These pillars are erected throughout the country. The Sarnath Lion Capitol pillar is a remarkable masterpiece among them.

  • Stupas: The art of making stupa reached a high during the time of Ashoka. These structures, which were used to keep holy relics of Buddha, display remarkable sculptures and architectural designs. For e.g. most famous of them, the Sanchi Stupa is a world heritage site.


  1. Popular Art:

  • Caves: The Mauryan artisans started the practice of hewing out caves from rocks for the monks to live in.They were marked by highly polished finish and decorated gateways. The Barabar Caves are the prime examples of cave architecture form. Later on, this inspired the development of cave architecture in western and southern India.

  • Pottery: Black paint and lustrous finish were features of pottery in Mauryan times, they are generally referred as Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) and Painted Grey Ware (PGW).

  • Sculptures: The sculptures in Mauryan times were widely used for religious expression. They were used in stupas and making stone figurines of Yaksha and Yakshini. Also, terracotta figures were made by the general public at large scale.

It is befitting to say that the Mauryans gave a great contribution to the art and architecture as it also contributed significantly to the evolution of the Indian art and architecture. The contributions of Maurayans were duly recognised by Indian government as the national emblem and the chakra in the national flag are taken from Mauryan art forms.



Subjects : Art and Culture
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