The Lion Capital of Ashoka


Arguably the most recognisable sculpture to modern Indians - the Lion Capital of Ashoka has four Asiatic lions standing back to back, on an elaborate base that includes other animals. Also, otherwise known as the State Emblem of India (you see it everywhere!) .


It was originally placed on the top of the Ashoka pillar at Sarnath by the Emperor Ashoka, in about 250 B.C. Currently seven animal sculptures from the Ashokan pillars survive. Together, these form "the first important group of Indian stone sculpture", most of them exhibiting the characteristic Mauryan polish.


We recommend reading up on the complete list of pillars and the animal capitals - Ishva is barely scratching the surface!