The present volume contains the results of an examination of the remains of the Amaravati Stupa made in December 1881 and January 1882, soon after the excavation of the site by orders of the Madras Government. By that excavation 255 slabs were laid bare, including a number that had been previously unearthed by Mr. R. Sewell, and again reburied for safety; other 44, which he had stored in a shed, and 29 slabs at Bejwada Library, brought up the total to 329 of all sorts,-some of them mere fragments, with little or no sculpture upon them. To these, by some small excavations, I was able to add 90 more bearing sculptures or inscriptions, and had the time and means at my disposal allowed a systematic examination, still more might have been discovered. The following pages contain a description of specimens of each sort of slab and sculpture, including illustrations of all the larger and best preserved.
The publication of this volume has been very unfortunately delayed, first by the detention of the sculptures at Amaravati for twenty months after they were packed, and so preventing their being photographed; secondly, by cataract in both my eyes, which crippled me for a time, and then laid me aside entirely for four months; and thirdly, by difficulties and delays in the preparation of the plates. In a work which was intended to be complementary, so far as the Amaravati Stupa is concerned, to the Tree and Serpent Worship of the late James Fergusson, Esq., D.C.L., LL.D., C.I.E., &c., I had counted on much and valuable assistance from him. He was naturally greatly interested in it, and had promised to look over the proof-sheets and suggest any improvements that might occur to him. The first two chapters were submitted to him, but offered no point on which he felt disposed to make any remark, and before the next sheets were ready to submit to him, the hand of death was on him, and deprived me. of his ever kindly and considerate criticisms; inspired as they were to the last by a genius so intuitive as his, and a knowledge so wide and minutely accurate in every detail. If the date now assigned to the Amaravati Stupa is earlier than what he had arrived at, his was the genius to assign it to the same age as the Nasik caves; and had I discovered no inscriptions of the Andhra kings at Amaravati, the revised translations of the Nasik inscriptions and the advances made in Indian chronology since he wrote his work would alone have required a rectification of his date. The discovery of an undoubted inscription of King Pulumavi -the same Andhra monarch who has also left us inscriptions at Nasik and Karle-puts the accuracy of his bold induction beyond question.
Among the plates are included copies of all the drawings, made under Colonel Colin Mackenzie's directionthat were not already published in Tree and Serpent Worship. Man), of the scenes depicted in the sculptures thus illustrated cannot be yet identified, but as our knowledge of Buddhist myth and legend advances, it may be expected that more of them will be explained. With reference to the plates, I cannot better express my own opinion than in the words' of Mr. Fergusson in the Preface to the second edition of his work: "The more I study them, the more convinced I am that the plates of this work=-I speak of the plates/and the plates only, wholly irrespective of the text-are the most valuable contributions that have been made to our knowledge of Buddhist history and art since James Prinsep's wonderful decipherment and translation of th~ Asoka inscriptions. These plates present us with an entirely new but most interesting picture of religion, life, and manners in India in the first centuries of the Christian era." The additional fifty- two plates of sculptures in this volume ought to increase the interest, as they add to the information.
In a work dealing with the disjecta membra of a great structure, often added to or partly" restored" for three or four centuries, and with little beyond a few fragments of the' Outer Rail found in situ, a systematic arrangement of the materials and illustrative notices 'is almost impossible : and when it is remembered that most of the text had to be written under the almost daily interruption of official correspondence, its defects in this respect may perhaps find excuse.
To Dr. E. Hultzsch, now Epigraphical Assistant to the Archeological Survey of Southern India, I am indebted for the translation of the Prakrit inscriptions found on the stones. And Professor G. Buhler, LL.D., C.I.E., of Vienna, besides the translation of the Jaggayyapeta inscriptions, has contributed to the volume revised readings and translations of the Asoka inscriptions at Jaugada in Ganjam, and at Dhauli in Orissa, from the facsimiles which I made in April 1882, and his improved versions will doubtless be appreciated by Orientalists. Lastly, to the publish1rs I owe the use of a large number of the woodcuts, and I was allowed the use of several of the others by the late Mr. J. Fergusson shortly before his death.
Language & Literature (443)
Sacred Sites (101)
Tantric Buddhism (87)
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