February 21, 2024

HPAS/Allied Mains 2022 Answer Writing Challenge Day 267: Model Answer

Question: What is the difference between Gandhara School and the Mathura School of Art? (8 marks)


During the Kushana Empire’s rule, the Gandhara art prospered in India. Above all, Kanishka, the greatest of the Kushanas was a famous backer of art and architecture. The Gandhara School of art flourished in his reign. Gandhara School was profoundly influenced by Greek methodologies.

The Mathura School of Art was entirely influenced by Indianism. The stone used in the Mathura school of arts was red sandstone. The sculptures were less spiritual.


Areas of differencesGandhara School of artMathura School of Art
ReignKushana DynastyKushana Dynasty
AreaGandhara  (Now located in the Peshawar Valley of Modern-day Pakistan)Mathura
Outside influencesGreek and possibly Macedonian influence
  • Entirely indigenous
  • No external influence
Religious influenceBuddhism
  • Hinduism
  • Buddhism
  • Jainism
Material UsedBluish- Grey sandstone

Grey sandstone

Spotted red sandstone
Features of Buddha sculpturesSpiritual Buddha

Sad Buddha

Bearded Buddha

Less ornamentation

Great detailing

Buddha in Yogi postures

Greek factors like wavy hair, large forehead, long ears

Smiling Buddha

Less emphasis on spiritual aspects

Shaven head and face

Muscular Physique

Graceful posture of Buddha

Seated in Padmasana

Buddha surrounded by two monks: Padmapani (holding Lotus) and Vajrapani( Holding Vajra)

Halo around the head of Buddha decorated with geometrical motifs

The Standing Buddhas of the Sravasti, Sarnath, and Kausambhi


Various Mudras of Buddha in Gandhara ArtAbhayamudra- Don’t fear

Bhumisparshamudra -Touching the earth

Dhyana mudra- Meditation

Dharmachakramudra- A preaching mudra





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