The school of Mathura has the function of guide in the subsequent Gupta production, where the aesthetic and iconographic canons of Indian art are fixed. It is now established that the most “classic” sculptures of this school date back to the lower period (second half of the 5th century). Commonly considered Gupta production, actually to be attributed to the post-Gupta era, it is the later group of the Ajanta caves, some of which are famous above all for the high quality paintings and whose echo is found in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the ” frescoes ”by Sigiriya (5th century). From the architectural point of view, the most important achievement of Gupta art is the Hindu temple, which in the post-Gupta era will be defined, roughly, in three styles: nāgara or “northern”, with a conical-convex roof surmounted by a jar (kalaśa), vesara, derived from caitya, with a barrel roof, drāviḍa, or “southern”, with a roof formed by a succession of pyramidal terraces. The “northern” style temple will have its maximum expression in the “medieval” era, in Khajurāho (Madhya Pradesh) and in Orissa (Bhubaneswar and Puri).
According to Handbagpicks, the Gupta tradition seems to continue in Aihole (Karnataka), under the Cālukya (6th-8th century), while the temples of Paṭṭaḍakal (Karnataka), from the mid-18th century. VIII, represent a transition phase, which sees the coexistence of “northern” and “southern” styles. An example of the Vesara styleit is offered to us by the Bhīma (one of the rathas of Mahabalipuram). Among the most famous Hindu temples in drāviḍa style are the “Temple of the beach” of Mahabalipuram, the contemporary Kailāsanātha of Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu) and the splendid Rājarājeśvara of Tanjore (Tamil Nadu), from the early century. XI. Wanting to trace an evolution, if under the Cola the vamāna (shrine) excels, it is under the Pāṇḍyas that the gopuras (portals-towers) develop, which, in Madurai’s production, in accordance with the phenomenon of gigantism, take on immense dimensions, larger than the temple itself. Vijayanagar’s interest is in the mandapa (room in front of the sanctuary), rich in finely carved figures. Also in the South, under the Hoysala (11th-14th century) star-shaped temples were built (Belur, Halebid, Somnāthpur), where the extremely refined sculptural decoration entirely covers the external walls, leaving no more free space. Rock architecture and sculpture reach their highest levels in the post-Gupta era in the śivaita cave of Elephanta (Maharashtra; mid-6th century) and, between 700 and 800, in the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain caves of Ellora (Maharashtra) – famous for the gigantic Kailāsanātha, a “southern” style monolith – which mark the end of this particular type of architecture. In the South, outside the Templar, the sculptural production is mainly represented by rock reliefs (Mahabalipuram) and a very rich bronze production that reaches the highest artistic levels under the Cola. Among the most important centers of the post-Gupta Northeast are Nālandā, Besnagar and Pāhārpur (7th century). The sculptures of the complex of Nālandā (known for the Buddhist university) mark the transition phase between Gupta and Pāla art, revealing, at the same time, the presence of elements from the North-West, particularly evident in the stucco production. Pāla-Sena art (VII-XIII century), which flourished in north-eastern India, is destined to have a great diffusion in Nepal, Tibet, and Southeast Asia. Characterized by a sculptural production in stone and bronze, Buddhist and Hindu, it departs from the Gupta tradition of which he is heir and which sees the figures, no longer compressed between two planes, now rendered with a certain mechanical and lifeless mannerism, almost virtuosity, often accompanied by a notable heaviness due to the abundance of details.
Finally, in the North, the schools of Kashmir should be mentioned; in the sculptural production of the most ancient monuments we remember the clay one, which once adorned the court of the Buddhist complex of Harwān (end of the 5th century), now submerged by a landslide. The gandharic sculptures of Akhnur and Uṣkur (5th-6th century), originally in raw, they are testimony of the existing ties with the North-West, as well as the numerous Buddhist images in bronze, of the century. VIII and IX, often confused with those of Swāt (Pakistan). The Gandharic influence is also evident in the architecture, which sees the temples (with a square or quadrangular plan with a pyramidal roof) with doors surmounted by a triangular pediment that inscribes a trilobate arch. Among the most famous temples are that of the Sun of Martand (8th century), those of Śiva Avantiśvara and Viṣṇu Avantisvāmi of Avantipur (11th century) and the Purāṇādhiṣṭhāna of Pāndrethan. Finally, to remember the ivories, including the stupendous Buddha of the Prince of Wales Museum (Bombay) of the century. V. In close relationship with that of Kashmir is the Hindu-Śāhi culture (9th century), which flourished in Afghanistan, characterized by a predominantly śivaita marble production.