Ashokan Pillar with a Single-Lion Capital at Vaishali, India
This is a photograph of one of the Ashokan pillars, topped with a single lion. (Other pillars are topped with three lions, an emblem that is now on the state seal of India and Indian coins,
or lions and the Buddhist wheel of law, an emblem reproduced on India’s flag.) Each of these pillars—more than thirty have been discovered—was transported hundreds of miles from
the same quarry and polished very smooth before it was inscribed.
Questions I pose to students as they examine this source: Why might Ashoka have regarded this effort as important? Why would pillars such as these be an effective way to relay the information found in the rock and pillar edicts? How would the pillars complement the visits by officials and by Ashoka himself described in the rock and pillar edicts?
This source is a part of the Emperor Ashoka and Buddhism teaching module.