2. Caves                                           2. Terracottas
  3. Stupas
  4. Wooden Palaces
Pillars and Sculpture
The pillars set up by Asoka furnish the finest remains of the Mauryan art.
These pillars, with Asokan edicts inscribed on them, were placed either in
sacred enclosures or in the vicinity of towns.
     The pillars are made of two types of stone: (1) the spotted red and white
sandstone from the region of Mathura, and (2) the buff coloured fine-grained
hard sandstone usually with small black spots quarried in Chunar near
Banaras. It would seem that stone was transported from Mathura and Chunar
to the various sites where the pillars have been found and here the stone was
cut and carved by craftsmen, who probably came from Taxila and had
experience in handling stone.
     Each pillar has three parts: the prop under the foundation, the shaft or the
column, and the capital. The prop is buried in the ground. The shaft, made of
a single piece of sandstone, supports the capital made of another single piece
of sandstone. This round and slightly tapering shaft is highly polished and
very graceful in its proportions. The capital, which is the third part of the
pillar, consists of (a) some finely executed animal figures, such as the lion or
the elephant, (b) the sacred dharmachakra (with 24 spokes) symbol engraved
with animal sculptures in relief, and (c) the inverted or bell-shaped lotus.
     The capital of the Samath Pillar is undoubtedly the most magnificent and
the best piece of the series. The wonderful life-like figures of the four lions
standing back to back, and the smaller graceful and stately figures of four
animals (lion, elephant, horse and bull) in relief on the abacus, and the
inverted lotus—all indicate a highly advanced form of art. (The Indian
government adopted this capital with some modifications as its state
emblem).