Q Discuss the developments in the field of art and architecture during the Gupta period.
● Give a brief introduction about Gupta period.
● Then discuss the developments in the various fields of art and architecture such as temple architecture,
sculptures, numismatics, literature etc. in this period,
● Conclude accordingly.
The Gupta Empire stretched across Northern, Central and parts of Southern India from early 4th CE till 6th CE. The period witnessed a culmination of earlier style and the beginning new style and technique in the field of art, architecture, sculpture etc.
Developments in the field of art and architecture during the Gupta period
● Temple architecture
○ The Gupta Age indicated a new era in the history of temple architecture. Free standing sculpture
temples were the chief features of temple architecture. For the first time they used permanent materials like brick and stone instead of perishable materials like wood, bamboo etc. Structural temples, instead of cave temples, were erected for convenience of idol worship.
○ The temple architecture evolved through various stages from flat roof to addition of ambulatory to Panchayatana style temple architecture and so on. One of the chief features was to write down texts around temple buildings.
○ The stone temple in Deogarh of Dasavatara with its excellent carvings and panels on the walls is extant remains of Gupta architecture. The ‘shikara’ or top of the temple are the chief attractions about these constructions.
● Cave architecture and paintings
○ The rock-cut monastery in the Ajanta Caves is well known. The interiors are covered with painted
murals that feature superb figures drawn with a gracefully winding line.
○ The paintings in Gupta period have been testaments of artistic excellence which acquired secular characteristics. The cave paintings at Ajanta, Badami as well Bagh are excellent examples. Jataka tales as well as the life of Gautam Buddha were two most common subjects when it came to painting. Bodhisattva Padmapani was considered as one the best paintings to have been produced during this period.
○ An outstanding feature of Ajanta Art is that it combines architecture, sculpture and paintings in its variety of expressions.
○ Metallurgy had also made wonderful progress during the Gupta period. The cra smen were efficient
in the art of casting metal statues and pillars. The gigantic copper statue of Buddha found at Sultanganj, was about seven and a half feet height and nearly a ton weight. The Buddha statue unearthed at Sarnath was a unique piece of Gupta art. The Delhi Iron pillar of the Gupta period is still free from rust though completely exposed to sun and rain for so many centuries.
● Numismatic art
○ The Gupta coinage was also remarkable. Samudragupta issued eight types of gold coins.
○ The figures inscribed on them are illustrative of the skill and greatness of Gupta numismatic art.
○ Chandragupta II and his successors had also issued gold, silver and copper coins of different
● Literary art
○ The best of the Sanskrit literature belonged to the Gupta age. Gupta rulers over the years patronized
a number of great scholars during this period such as Harisena, Kalidasa Visakhadatta, Sudraka.
○ The Panchtantra stories by Vishnu Sharma and Puranas in their present form were also composed
during this period.
The Gupta period witnessed a tremendous progress in the field of art and architecture on account of enormous wealth of the imperial Guptas which has led to a cultural resurgence in India and is called “a golden age”.