Art, Architecture and Causes of Decline of Mauryan Empire - The Mauryan Empire, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev

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The document Art, Architecture and Causes of Decline of Mauryan Empire - The Mauryan Empire, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims.
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Art and Architecture

  • We possess no ancient monument that deserve any serious consideration so far as Indian art before the Mauryas is concerned.
  • The buildings, palaces, and monuments of Chandragupta have perished as they were mostly made of wood.
  • The artistic remains of the Ashokan period may be described under the four heads: (a) Stupas (b) Pillars (c) Palaces (d) Caves
  • Stupas
  • A stupa is a solid domical structure of brick or stone, resting on a round base.
  •  The main object of erecting a stupa was to enshrine some relics of Buddha or of a great Buddhist saint or to commomorate some sacred place.
  • The most famous example of these is the big stupa at Sanchi.

Pillars

  • Ashokan pillars are a triumph of engineering, architecture and sculpture.
  • Each pillar weighed about 50 tonnes and was about 15 metres high.
  • Pillars were carved out from the Chunar quarries and material used was sand stone.
  • Pillar’s capital consists of 

(a) Some finely executed one or more animal figures, such as, the lion or the elephant.
 (b) The sacred Dharmachakra symbol engraved with sculptures in relic.
 (c) The inverted lotus.

Palaces

  • Greek writers of the age refer to magnificent palaces in Pataliputra and consider them as the finest and the grandest in the whole world.
  • Recent excavations on the site near Patna bore the ruins of some of these buildings, the most wonderful being those of the hundred pillared halls.

Caves

  • The caves were cut out of hard and refractory rocks.
  • Their interior walls are so well-polished that they shine like mirrors.
  • These were meant to be the residences for monks and also served the purpose of churches and assembly halls.
  • A lot of such caves are found on the Nagarjuna hills and Barabar hills near Gaya.

Sculpture
 Lions, horses and graceful deer on the Ashokan pillars speak highly of the Mauryan sculpture.

Few terms of Mauryan period
 1.     Weights and Measures: Pautava
 2.     Slaughter house: Suna
 3.     Gambling: Dyuta
 4.     Port: Paltana
 5.     Passports: Mudra
 6.     Agriculture: Sita
 7.     Spinning and Weaving Industry: Sutra
 8.     Forest products: Kupya
 9.     Commerce: Panya
 10.     Accountant general in charge of the two offices of Currency and Accounts:  Akshapataladhyaksha
 11.     Director of Agriculture: Sitadyaksha
 12.     Pulses: Mudga and Masha
 13.     Linseed: Kalaya, Atasi
 14.     Mustard: Sharshapa
 15.     Wheat: Godhuma
 16.     Sugarcane: Ikshu
 17.     Fodder: Haritaka
 18.     Gardens: Vata
 19.     Superintendent of Mines: Akaradhyaksha
 20.     Warden of Marches: Antapala
 21.     Disabled Women: Nayanga
 22.     Jute: Kshuma
 23.     Silka: Dukula
 24.     Wool of deer: Rankava
 25.     Cotton: Karpasa
 26.     Grazing ground for cattle: Vraja
 27.     Wool: Rauma
 28.     Nalika: was equal to 24 minutes 

Terms related to Revenue
 1.    Sita: Crown land
 2.    Bhaga: the share of agriculture produce payable to the state as revenue.
 3.    Bali: A general land tax
 4.    Kara: Tax on orchards
 5.    Vanik: Tax on merchandise 
 6.    Tara: Ferry charges
 7.    Nava: Tax payable to the superintendent of shipping
 8.    Vivita: Tax on pasture-lands
 9.    Vartani: Road cess
 10.     Rajju: Cess payable for settlement to the rural offices called Vishaya-pala.
 11.    Chora-Rajju: Police tax to be collected at the village.

Causes of Decline of Mauryan Empire
 Scholars have expressed different opinions regarding the downfall of the Mauryas.

 1. H.P. Sastri states that Ashoka’s patronage to Buddhism, his disregard to ritualism and sacrifices, his appointment of Dhamma-Mahamatras and deliberate humiliation of the Mahamatras etc. gave rise to a reaction which was carried to success by the Brahmana Commander-in-Chief Pushyamitra.
 2. Another school of historians point out that the basic cause of the down-fall was Ashoka’s policy of Ahimsa or non-violence which reduced the martial spirit of soldiers and thereby the fighting strength of army which ultimately made it incapable to fight against the Greek invaders or suppress the revolts of provincial governers. Dr. H.C. Raychaudhary has supported this view.
 3. According to Kausambi the primary cause was its financial weakness.
 4. The succession of weak kings after Ashoka and division of the empire into two parts, were the causes of the decline.
 5. Dr. Romila Thapar puts forth the view that the absence of the ideal of one state or one nation were responsible for the down fall of the Mauryas.
 6. The Greek invasion of the north-west, which could not be checked due to political disunity, was yet another important factor.

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