Many Buddhist monuments had been created in the wide-spread area. In these edicts, Buddhism and the Buddha are also mentioned. While in the western parts of the empire, the script used is Kharoshti, written in Prakrit. To add to the variety, one extract in the Edict 13 is written in Greek and Aramaic. The world came to know of these details of Mauryan empire and Ashoka when the edicts and inscriptions were decoded by British Archaeologist James Princep. Major Rock Edicts: There are fourteen major rock edicts in series and two separate.
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See also: Mauryan polish The traditional idea that all were originally quarried at Chunar , just south of Varanasi and taken to their sites, before or after carving, "can no longer be confidently asserted",  and instead it seems that the columns were carved in two types of stone.
Some were of the spotted red and white sandstone from the region of Mathura, the others of buff-colored fine grained hard sandstone usually with small black spots quarried in the Chunar near Varanasi. The uniformity of style in the pillar capitals suggests that they were all sculpted by craftsmen from the same region.
It would therefore seem that stone was transported from Mathura and Chunar to the various sites where the pillars have been found, and there was cut and carved by craftsmen. The shafts are always plain and smooth, circular in cross-section, slightly tapering upwards and always chiselled out of a single piece of stone.
There is no distinct base at the bottom of the shaft. The lower parts of the capitals have the shape and appearance of a gently arched bell formed of lotus petals.
The abaci are of two types: square and plain and circular and decorated and these are of different proportions. The crowning animals are masterpieces of Mauryan art , shown either seated or standing, always in the round and chiselled as a single piece with the abaci. Lion designs Left image: Vaishali lion of Ashoka. Many stylistic elements design of the whiskers, the eyes, the fur etc Western origin[ edit ] There has been much discussion of the extent of influence from Achaemenid Persia ,  where the column capitals supporting the roofs at Persepolis have similarities, and the "rather cold, hieratic style" of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka especially shows "obvious Achaemenid and Sargonid influence".
Hellenistic influence has also been suggested. It has also been suggested that 6th century Greek columns such as the Sphinx of Naxos , a A relief of Bharhut stupa railing portrays a queenly personage on horseback carrying a Garudadhvaja. Lumbini inscription, Brahmi script. Stylistic argument[ edit ] Though influence from the west is generally accepted, especially the Persian columns of Achaemenid Persia, there are a number of differences between these and the pillars. Persian columns are built in segments whereas Ashokan pillars are monoliths , like some much later Roman columns.
Most of the Persian pillars have a fluted shaft while the Mauryan pillars are smooth, and Persian pillars serve as supporting structures whereas Ashokan pillars are individual free-standing monuments.
There are also other differences in the decoration. But the transition from stone to wood was made in one magnificent leap, no doubt spurred by the imperial tastes and ambitions of the Maurya emperors. Commenting on Mauryan sculpture, John Marshall once wrote about the "extraordinary precision and accuracy which characterizes all Mauryan works, and which has never, we venture to say, been surpassed even by the finest workmanship on Athenian buildings".
Several pillars were relocated by later Mughal Empire rulers, the animal capitals being removed. Pillar missing capital, one Ashoka edict. Erected in the 20th regnal year of Ashoka c. Also erected in the 20th regnal year of Ashoka c. Capital missing, but was apparently a horse. The abacus of the bull capital features honeysuckle and palmette designs derived from Greek designs. It only consists in 6 lines in Brahmi which are hardly decipherable. Only the word vijaya victory can be made out, arguably a word also used by Ashoka.
C Living in the violence-ridden world today, the message of these oldest inscriptions of emperor Ashoka 3rd century B. The greatest emphasis is the regard for sanctity of life. The other points are reverence, sympathy and truthfulness. Cruelty, irreverence, intolerance and falsehood were to be avoided. Ashoka insisted on liberality and reverence to all persons.
Edicts of Ashoka
Minor Rock Edict from Maski. Map of the Minor Rock Edicts The Minor Rock Edicts are often Buddhist in character, and some of them specifically mentions the name "Asoka" , center of the top line in conjonction with the title "Devanampriya" Beloved-of-the-gods. The Minor Rock Edicts of Ashoka r. Chronologically, the first known edict, sometimes classified as a Minor Rock Edict, is the Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription , in Greek and in Aramaic, written in the 10th year of his reign BCE at the border of his empire with the Hellenistic world , in the city of Old Kandahar in modern Afghanistan. The dedicatory inscriptions of the Barabar caves are also sometimes classified among the Minor Rock Edicts of Ashoka. The Minor Rock Edicts can be found throughout the territory of Ashoka, including in the frontier area near the Hindu Kush , and are especially numerous in the southern, newly conquered, frontier areas of Karnataka and southern Andhra Pradesh. The inscription technique is generally very poor compared for example to the later Major Pillar Edicts , however the Minor Pillar Edicts are often associated with some of the artistically most sophisticated pillar capitals of Ashoka, such as the renowned Lion Capital of Ashoka which crowned the Sarnath Minor Pillar Edict, or the very similar, but less well preserved Sanchi lion capital which crowned the very clumsily inscribed Schism Edict of Sanchi.