enshrinement of ‘the five worshipful Vrishniviras’ in a stone temple (saila
deva-griha) by a Saka lady named Tosa. Many other inscriptions of the early
centuries of the Christian era refer to the enshrinement of the divine images
belonging to various other theistic cults. The discovery of many inscribed and
un-inscribed images of the Buddha, the Bodhisattvas, the Jinas and their male
and female attendants (Yakshas and Sasanadevatas) belonging to the early
centuries of the Christian era prove how iconism had come to play a great
part in the rituals of the various Brahmanical and non-Brahmanical religions
of contemporary India.
Secular Sculptures Simultaneously secular sculptures were also made. A
passage in the Sukranitisara says that ‘images of divinities’, even if they are
without the characteristic signs, are valuable to men; those of mortals, on the
other hand, even if they are endowed with them, are never so. This suggests
that statues of royalty and dignitaries were also made. The inscribed
sculptures of Wima Kadphises, Kanishka and the Mahakshatrapa Chashthana
found in the vicinity of Mathura also authenticate this theory. The Kushana
emperors no doubt claimed divine traits, and their statues were put in royal
galleries with some sanctity attached to them, but they certainly did not
belong to the same category of the images of gods and goddesses. Secular
sculptures were also being engraved in high relief as accessories and
decorative motifs on sections of religious structures from a very early period.
The funerary monuments of Bharhut, Sanchi and Amaravati contain scenes
portraying divine and secular themes side by side in a very interesting
manner. This practice persisted into later periods; Indian artists generally
filled empty spaces with reliefs depicting mythological themes connected not
only with Buddhism, Jainism and Brahmanism, but also with those
illustrating the various aspects of secular life.
Gupta and Post-Gupta periods
Icon-making rules There was an unparalleled growth in art during the
Gupta age when sculptural representations of divinities reached their climax.
Many modifications were made in the tenets of the different cults, and with
this reorientation new varieties of icons had to be made. There was also an
attempt to codify the canons followed      by the artists. Some of the Puranas, the