Legendary and real places

Mathura is a city in northern India. In antiquity it was an important Buddhist centre. Beginning roughly around the second century BCE, numerous workshops were established in the area around Mathura that specialized in the production of stone sculptures. In the first century CE it was here and in the Gandhara region to the northwest that the first portraits of the Buddha were created. In a relatively short time, Mathura grew to become a leading centre of Indian art. In addition to Buddhist figures, sculptors also created statues which feature prominently in Jainism and Hinduism, using the red sandstone typical of the region.