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The Buddhist Antiquities of Nagarjunakonda, Madras Presidency

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The Buddhist Antiquities of Nagarjunakonda, Madras Presidency
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Item Code: NAL162
Author: A.H. Longhurst
Publisher: Archaeological Survey of India
Language: English
Edition: 1999
Pages: 132, (141 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 11.0 inch x 8.5 inch
weight of the book: 610 gms
Author’s Note

Most of the scenes portrayed in the beautiful bas-reliefs recovered from the ruined stupas at Nagarjunakonda illustrate well-known stories from the Jataka, or incidents in the life of the Buddha and their identification is an easy matter. There are, however, a number of uncommon scenes which are difficult to identify, some of which have not been met with before in Buddhist art. This difficulty is further enhanced owing to the careless arrangement of the sculptures. For instance, a series of carved panels may illustrate a complete story from beginning to end, or on the contrary, each panel may depict a scene taken from different stories in no way related to each other. It seems that the sculptors were given a free hand in the ornamentation of the buildings at Nagarjunakonda, each man choosing his own subject as his fancy and ability dictated, just as Indian sculptors do to-day when they are employed in decorating a modern temple.

In Part I, I have described the locality, the history of the place so far as it is known, and the chief buildings and antiquities discovered during the explorations. I have to thank Dr. J. Ph. Vogel of Leiden University, for permission to use his valuable paper on the Nagarjunakaonda Inscriptions published in the Epigraphia Indica, Vol. XX, 1931, in giving a brief history of the site here.

I am greatly indebted to Dr. S. Paranavitana, Epigraphical Assistant to the Archaeological Commissioner, Ceylon, for the scholarly description of the interesting bas-reliefs illustrated in Part II. The identification of the different scenes portrayed in these sculptures entailed a considerable amount of careful research work which Dr. Paranvitana very kindly undertook in addition to his official duties. In the spelling of proper names occurring in the stories, the method adopted has been to use the Pali form when the source is a Pali text and the Sanskrit form when the story is taken from Sanskrit sources. Familiar names like Siddhartha, Rajagrha, etc., are given in their Sanskrit forms, which are better known, even when the story is taken from a Pali text.

In conclusion, I would like to add that this account of the Nagarjunakonda explorations would never have been published except for the keen interest taken in the discoveries by Mr. J.F. Blakiston, late Director General of Archaeology in India, from whom I have received every encouragement and assistance in the work.

Contents

Part I
Locality1
History3
Temples8
Monasteries9
Stupas12
Carved slabs24
Ayaka- Cornice stones30
Part II
The Buddha Dipankara's Prediction regarding Gautama Buddha34
The admission of the six Sakya princes and the Barber Upali to the Order36
The Conversion of Nanda36
The gift of Earth37
Prince Siddhartha in the pleasure garden39
The novice Sumana and the Naga39
The Devas congratulating the Buddha after the Enlightenment41
Lady Amara and the four wise men (Ummagga Jataka)41
Champeyya Jataka43
Mandhatu Jataka44
The Naga King Apalala subdued by the Buddha45
Sibi Jataka46
Transport of Relics47
Mandhatu Jataka47
The Buddha visited by Indra in the cave if Indrasaila48
Dasaratha Jataka49
Mahapaduma Jataka51
Upasagara and Devagabbha (Ghata Jataka)53
The Buddha preaching to four monks54
Dighitikosala Jataka55
The first offering of food to the Buddha after the enlightenment and the Buddha's meeting with the friar Upaka56
Sagata and the Naga of the Mango-ferry57
The conversion of the Yaksha Alavaka58
King Kappina the Great's Conversion60
Episodes in the career of the Buddha61
Index63

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