chapter  12
39 Pages

Non-Buddhist Ritual Sites

Having discussed the spatial and temporal patterns in the Buddhist landscape, it is important to stress that this landscape was never exclusively Buddhist. The aim of this chapter is to examine other strands of Sanchi’s multi-religious geography, based on the distribution of architectural and sculptural remains, whether previously published or documented for the first time during the SSP (Table 12.1). By thus separating Buddhist and non-Buddhist material into different chapters, there is a danger of overlooking the degree of fluidity that no doubt existed, both in time and space, between different denominational zones. However, this was the most convenient way of ordering the survey data. The primary focus will be on material datable between Phases Id (third to second century BC) and IV (fourth to sixth century AD); about 110 newly documented sculptures, documented at 62 find-spots, belong to this category. A number of previously unpublished sculptures stored in the Gwalior Gujari Mahal Museum (GGMM), the Sanchi Archaeological Museum (SAM) and the Vidisha Museum (VM) are also included in the discussion. For the later period between Phases V (seventh to eighth century AD) and VI (ninth to twelfth century AD), it is more difficult to provide precise quantifications, because finds usually consist of large piles of sculpture and temple fragments, often dislocated from their original architectural context. Approximately 1,190 sculpture and architectural fragments from this period are listed in Appendix IIa; however, it is more accurate to refer to the number of findspots rather than individual sculptures. As shown in Figure 12.1, around 197 ritual find-spots of this period were documented, while Appendix IIc lists non-Buddhist cult spots and temples based on

the primary context (where known) of associated material. Similarly, the overall spatial and temporal patterning of the ritual landscape, in both the earlier and later periods, reflects a site-bysite analysis rather than the total number of sculptures. As elsewhere in the study, these fragments are listed in the endnotes by their Site Group and Installation numbers.