The Amaravati school of art occupies a pre-eminent position in the history of Indian Art. With its beginning in 3rd century BC the Amaravati unfolds its chapters through the galaxy of sculptural wealth that once adorned the Mahachaitya the majestic monument of the Buddhists situated here with its history extending over a period of a millennium and a half. In the key gallery selected examples of the art traditions of Amaravati are displayed.
The lotus and the purnakumbha motifs are typical of Amaravati Art expressing auspiciousness and abundance. The two drum slabs depicting the Stupas, in bas relief give a fair idea of the structure. Buddha in these panels during the early period is represented symbolically in the form of ‘Svastika’ mark on a cushioned seat over a throne (Vajrasana) under the Bodhi tree in one case and a Flaming pillar (agni skanda) in another case. Over the dome are depicted the Jatakas in low relief. The standing Buddha secured from Gummadidurru is datable to eight century AD. In second gallery one can find the life size standing image of Buddha in super human form with marks of great man (Maha Purusha Lakshana).
The round panel over a cross bar depicting the episode of Rahula’s presentation to the Buddha by his father king Suddhodana is another unique piece in narration, composition and carving. Besides a few drum slabs and dome slabs depicting the worship of Stupa, Triratna, animal rows and minor antiquities like coins and beads are interesting. The exhibits in third gallery comprises a few sculptures of 2nd cent. BC including an Yakshi of Bharhut tradition, a stele with labeled panels, and a fragmentary pillar edict of Asoka. Images of Buddha from Alluru, Dharma Chakra from Lingaraja Palli, Bodhistvas, a dome slab depicting the jeweles of the Buddhist order viz. The Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha in a panel represented by a Bodhi Tree, Dharma Chakra and the Stupa worshiped by the devotees are noteworthy. The couple in round in the central showcase is a masterpiece of Amaravati Art, with full of vigour and vitality, of the Satavahana period.