Ashoka Pillar

Ashoka Pillar

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The Lion Capital of Ashoka is the capital, or head, of a column, erected by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in Sarnath, India, c. 250 BCE. Its crowning features are four life-sized lions set back to back on a drum-shaped abacus. The side of the abacus is adorned with wheels in relief, and interspersing them, four animals, a lion, an elephant, a bull, and a galloping horse follow each other from right to left. A bell-shaped lotus forms the lowest member of the capital, and the full 2.1 metres tall, carved out of a single block of sandstone and highly polished, was secured to its monolithic column by a metal dowel. Erected after Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism, it commemorated the site of Gautama Buddha’s first sermon some two centuries before.The capital eventually fell to the ground and was buried. The Archeological Survey of India was excavated in the very early years of the 20th century. F. O. Oertel undertook the excavation in the ASI winter season of 1904–1905. The column, which had broken before it became buried, remains in its original location in Sarnath, protected but on view for visitors. The Lion Capital was in much better condition, though not undamaged. Wikipedia

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