and fanciful shapes given to the prow herein represented are not the invention or innovation of an ingenious sculptor trying his wit in original design; they are strictly traditional, and conform to established standards, and are therefore identical with one or other of those possible forms of the prow of a ship which have been preserved for us in the slokas of the Sanskrit work Yuktikalpataru quoted and referred to above.
Next to Sanchi sculptures in point of time we may mention the sculptures in the caves of Kanhery in the small island of Salsette near Bombay, belonging, according to the unerring testimony of their inscriptions, to the 2nd century A.D., the time of the Andhrabhritya or Śatakarni king Vashishthiputra (A.D. 133-162) and of Gotamiputra II. (A.D. 177-196). Among these sculptures there is a representation of a scene of shipwreck on the sea and two persons helplessly praying for rescue to god Padmapani who sends two messengers for the purpose. This is perhaps the oldest representation of a sea voyage in Indian sculpture.
I have come across other representations of ships and boats in Indian sculpture and painting.
- The identity of the form of the prow of the Sanchi barge with that given in the Yuktikalpataru may incline one to hazard the conjecture that the work may be compiled from works at least as old as the Sanchi monument, or at any rate the portions treating of prows.
- See Bombay Gazetteer, vol. xiv., p. 165.