I. LÜDERS’ CRITICISM OF BARUA’S WORK ON BHĀRHUT
THE work published by Sir Alexander Cunningham on his excavations at Bhārhut”
was at his time an important achievement, because the reproduction of the sculptures
was done in original photographs and not in sketches as usual up to that date.
Cunningham, helped by Subhūti, also began the interpretation of the sculptures, to which
work in later time Andersen, Chavannes, Coomaraswamy, Foucher, Hultzsch, Minayeff,
Oldenburg, Rhys Davids, Rouse, Waldschmidt, and Warren contributed with merit. The
great progress which has been made in Indian Archaeology and Epigraphy and in the
investigation of Buddhist literature since the publication of Cunningham’s book made the
re-edition of the finds urgently desirable. The first step in this direction was undertaken
by Barua and Sinha in 1926, when they published a new edition of the inscriptions at
Bhārhut. Later on Barua endeavoured to give in a work of three volumes an exhaustive
account of all questions regarding the stūpa.
One has to admit thankfully that the material offered for investigation in Barua’s
latest work is quite large and improved. The 97 plates in part III show a row of
sculptures never published before, and some reproductions are more complete or appear
on a bigger scale. The technical make-up of his plates is generally very good ; but in spite
of this one has to refer here and there to the old photographs of Cunningham which are
The kernel of Barua’s publication is the second Book which contains the description
and the identification of sculptures and bears the title Jātaka-Scenes”. Vogel already
opposed the designation of the sculptures as Jātaka-Scenes, ʄRAS. 1927, p. 593 ff., but Barua
neglected this fully justified criticism. The number of real Jātakas up to then identified at
Bhārhut was 32 ; according to the list given in Barhut I, p. 86 ff., Barua has enlarged it to
double that number. But unfortunately this apparently great rise in identifications proves
to be an illusion. Barua indeed has the merit to have explained convincingly a number
of representations for the first time. He identified rightly, as I believe, the figures on
pillars represented on Cunningham’s plate XIV and XV (see B 60 and B 61) with the
main persons of the Kaṇḍarij. (341) and of the Samuggaj. (436). Besides, he succeeded in
identifying the ‘fragment’ on plate XXVII with the Sammodamānaj. (33), plate
XXXIII, 7 with the Kapij. (250), and the scene of the medallion in Barhut III, Pl. XCIII
 The Stūpa of Bharhut : a Buddhist Monument ornamented with numerous sculptures illustrative of
Buddhist Legend and History in the third century B.C., London 1879.
Barhut Inscriptions. Edited and translated with critical notes by Benimadhab Barua and Kumar
Gangananda Sinha. Published by the University of Calcutta 1926.
Benimadhab Barua, Barhut. Book I Stone as a Story-Teller. Book II Jātaka-Scenes. Back III
Aspects of Life and Art. Indian Research Institute Publications. Fine Arts Series Nos. 1-3. Calcutta
In the following text unless something is specifically mentioned the plate numbers refer to
Cunningham’s publication. When the sculptures bear inscriptions reference has been made to our
number and classification in this publication, e.g. B 60. Sculptures bearing no such numbers do not
Barh. II, p. 117 f.; 132 f.
Ibid. II, p. 91 f.
Ibid. II, p. 109 f. In Barua’s list we find instead Makkaṭaj. (173), although Barua himself had
decided in favour of the Kapij. and denied the Makkaṭaj.