Difference Between Gandhara and Mathura School of Art

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 15, 2022, 4:39

India has a rich history of art and culture. The origin of art and craft in India can be traced back to the 3rd century BC. Two distinct art forms emerged between the 1st and 3rd centuries BC in Gandhara (now Pakistan) and Mathura in northern India.

Let us dig deeper to understand the Difference Between Gandhara and Mathura School of Art.

About the Gandhara School of Art

Gandhara is one of the major schools of art that flourished in India during the Kushana Empire. It touched its peak during the reign of Kanishka, one of the greatest emperors of the Kushana dynasty, from 127 to 151 AD.

The Gandhara art form is an amalgamation of Greco-Roman, Indian styles, and other foreign influences. The art form was closely associated with Mahayana Buddhism, and hence Lord Buddha was the central theme of the art. However, images of the Greek God Apollo and other kings were also carved. This art form flourished in prominent areas, including Taxila, Peshawar, Begram, and Bamiyan.

Gandhara art is best known for its fine detailing and bluish-grey colour

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About the Mathura School of Art

Mathura school of art was another art form that thrived during the rule of Kushanas. It was the first art form to depict sculptures of all three religions- Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. The indigenous art form carved sculptures of Buddha in a human form.

The Mathura school of art sculptures were gracious with sharp and beautiful features, a slim body, and several folds of transparent drapery. The art flourished further during the 6th and 7th century Gupta period.

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Difference Between Gandhara and Mathura School of Art

Areas of Difference

Gandhara School of Art

Mathura School of Art

Area

Gandhara school of art flourished in Areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and present North-west India.

Mathura School of art flourished in Mathura and other areas of Uttar Pradesh.

Time Period

Gandhara art flourished between the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD.

Mathura art originated in the 1st century BC and flourished till the 12th century AD.

External Influence

Gandhara art was influenced by Greek and Roman sculptures. The Buddha sculptures showed Hellenistic features.

Mathura art was purely an Indian art form with no external influence. The sculptures were based on Yaksha images discovered during the Mauryan period.

Religious Influence

Buddhism inspired the Gandhara art, and hence Lord Buddha was the central theme.

Mathura art produced sculptures relating to Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

Material Used

Gandhara sculptures were made from bluish-grey and grey sandstones.

Mathura sculptures were made from spotted red sandstone.

Description of Buddha

Gandhara Buddha sculptures were spiritual and exuded calmness.

Mathura Buddha sculptures were less spiritual. It depicted a masculine, smiling Buddha, often seated in Padmasana.

Other Features

Gandhara images depicted longer eyes, shorter ear lobes, and sharper noses. The eyes were partially closed in meditation.

Mathura images depicted longer ear lobes of Buddha with thick lips, wide-open eyes, and a prominent nose.

Indian art and sculptures are known for their religious and spiritual dimensions that mirror the Indian soul. Both Gandhara and Mathura's art has stood the test of time and still influence many artists. Therefore, we must preserve and propagate them to the future generation.

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FAQs on the Difference Between Gandhara and Mathura School of Art

Q.1. What is the Difference Between Gandhara and Mathura School of Art in terms of external influence?

The Difference Between Gandhara and Mathura School of Art in terms of external influence is that Gandhara art was influenced by Greek and Roman sculptures. On the other hand, Mathura art was purely an Indian art form with no external influence.

Q.2. What is the Difference Between Gandhara and Mathura School of Art in terms of religious influence?

The Difference Between Gandhara and Mathura School of Art in terms of religious influence is that Buddhism inspired Gandhara art. Mathura art was inspired by all three religions- Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

Q.3. What is the Difference Between Gandhara and Mathura School of Art in terms of material used?

The Difference Between Gandhara and Mathura School of Art in terms of material used is that Gandhara sculptures were made from bluish-grey and grey sandstones, whereas Mathura art was made from spotted red sandstone.

Q.4. What is the Difference Between Gandhara and Mathura School of Art in terms of the image of Buddha?

The Difference Between Gandhara and Mathura School of Art in terms of the image of Buddha is that Gandhara sculptures depict a spiritual Buddha. However, Buddha in Mathura art is less spiritual, more masculine, and mostly smiling.