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The Indus Valley Sculptures and the Buddhist Sculptures are two of the most prominent sculpture forms of India.
Indus Valley Sculptures
The features of Indus Valley sculptures were different from the later ages. Sculptures found during this ancient age were the most primitive types in which statues and figures were grounded on stone or bronze. The popular terra-cotta seals, discovered from the valley divulge the ancient style of sculpture in the form of carvings of leaves, deities and animals worshiped in that period.
Excavations from the ruins of the Indus valley reflect the talent of the artists at that time, in fact Mohenjo-daro and Harappa are the earliest known instances of sculpture in the world.
Indian Sculpture got further modified in the Mauryan Period of Ancient Age during the reign of Emperor Ashoka in 3rd century B.C. He built large number of Stupas (dome shaped monuments) with the inscriptions of Buddhism’s teachings. Few of the illustration of this type of style are Great Stupa at Sanchi and the Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath.
The style of sculpture entirely changed from initial few centuries in A.D. The drastic change in the style occurred from grounding of human figure to the symbolic representation of Buddha and his teachings. Lord Buddha was clearly depicted by the artists of that times in the form of statues by the 5th century A.D.
The most elaborate illustration of Buddhist Sculpture is also found in the famous Ajanta caves present near Mumbai. These caves are festooned with intricate images of animals, guards and deities revealing Buddhist Legends along with the attractive image of calm and tranquil Buddha sculpture.