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The artistic center of Butkara I and Saidu Sharif I in the pre-Kusana period

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Chapter Summary

The spiritual center of the sacred area at Butkara I is the Great Stūpa (GSt.). It shows five successive extensions reflecting the habitational periods in the sacred area, from the third century B.C. to the tenth century A.D. In this paper we consider the major data for the three periods that interest us, marked respectively by GSt. 1, GSt. 2 and GSt. 3. The minor stūpas of Butkara I and Taxila witness another, equally important event, namely the inclusion in their schema of a new element the square storey, divided by half-columns or pilasters which spread into these northwestern regions and became peculiar to them. On the second cylindrical storey of the stūpa, a frieze in chlorite schist occurs. This frieze documents an important phenomenon, namely the placement of the scenes of the life of the Buddha onto the storey of the stūpa itself.

Keywords: architectural elements; Buddha; Butkara I; frieze; Gandhāran-Corinthian capitals; Saidu Sharif I; stūpa; Taxila



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