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A Royal Fortress City

c. 1st - 2nd century BCE
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
This fragment belongs to a railing made up of pillars connected by horizontal bars. Fragments of such railings and their related gateways constitute the most plentiful type of sculpture dating to the reign of the Kushana dynasty (c. 50 - 320) in the Mathura region of northern India. Sculptors cut each element of the railing from a single block of stone and then fitted them together by tenons sliding into slots. In this piece, the holes for holding the crosspieces remain on both sides of the pillar. This kind of construction suggests that this railing form is based on an older wooden prototype. On the front of this pillar fragment is an extremely lively and naturalistic scene of charging buffalo. On the reverse is the body of a yakshi (female nature spirit).

Object Details

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