Vol. 47 No. 3, March 1996, pp. 36-57 [Also in Unseen Presence: The Buddha and Sanchi edited by Vidya Dehejia; Vol. 47 No. 3, March 1996; ISBN: 81-85026-32-7, pp. 36-57]
The average visitor to Sanchi is likely to be both delighted and overwhelmed by the wealth of carved legends and decorative sculptures on the toranas (gateways) of stupas 1 and 3. With panels offering the classic storytelling device of continuous narration through their reliefs, the architraves frame scenes that are strikingly vigorous, imbued with a joyful expression of involvement in all of life's activities. The theological aspect of the Buddhist message was rarely allowed to overshadow artistic creativity. Episodes from Jataka stories and lively portrayals of significant phases in the Buddha's life captivate ancient and modern viewers alike.