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Lion Capital of Asoka

Emperor Ashoka

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Lion Capital of Asoka

The Lion capital of Ashoka is a sculpture of four Indian lions standing back to back. It was originally placed atop the A?oka pillar at Sarnath, now in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. The pillar, sometimes called the A?oka Column is still in its original location, but the Lion Capital is now in the Sarnath Museum. This Lion Capital of Ashoka from Sarnath has been adopted as the National Emblem of India and the wheel Ashoka Chakra from its base was placed onto the center of the National Flag of India.The capital contains four lions (Indian Asiatic Lions), standing back to back, mounted on an abacus, with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull, and a lion, separated by intervening spoked chariot-wheels over a bell-shaped lotus. Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the capital was believed to be crowned by a Wheel of Dharma (Dharmachakra popularly known in India as the Ashoka Chakra).

The Ashoka Lion capital or the Sarnath lion capital is also known as the national symbol of India. The Sarnath pillar bears one of the Edicts of Ashoka, an inscription against division within the Buddhist community, which reads, No one shall cause division in the order of monks. The Sarnath pillar is a column surmounted by a capital, which consists of a canopy representing an inverted bell-shaped lotus flower, a short cylindrical abacus with four 24-spoked Dharma wheels with four animals (an elephant, a bull, a horse, a lion).


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Accession to the Throne
Ashoka Chakra
Legacy of Ashoka
The Battle of Kalinga
The First Buddhist King
Lion Capital of Asoka
Perceptions
Great Public Works Projects
Death of Ashoka
Early Life
Foci of debate
Biography
More ...


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