Sanchi Gate: an Enduring Companion of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst
News from 04/21/2023
A symposium was held on April 20, 2023, to celebrate the installation of the East Gate of Sanchi outside the Humboldt Forum. This copy of the ancient Indian structure was created by Bamberger Natursteinwerk Graser with the assistance of two stonemasons from India.
The Sanchi Gate in Berlin is a reconstruction of one of four entrance gateways – the eastern gate, to be precise – of the Great Stupa at Sanchi, one of ancient India’s most important Buddhist monuments. In 1886, a true-to-scale plaster-cast reproduction was purchased in London and set up in the foyer of the Völkerkundemuseum (Royal Museum of Ethnology) in Stresemannstraße. In the early 1970s, a second replica made of artificial stone was installed on the grounds of the Dahlem museums, where it became something of a landmark. Countless museum visitors drank coffee there in its shadow, in front of the cafeteria.
When plans were being laid to move the exhibition of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Asian Art Museum) to the Humboldt Forum, there was a desire to carry on this tradition at the new site. With the help of the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss (Humboldt Forum Foundation in the Berlin Palace), that dream has been made a reality. Last December, a Sanchi Gate was erected in front of the reconstructed Berlin Palace in the central district of Mitte. This latest replica is made of fine-grained red Main sandstone from Röttbach in Lower Franconia. The symposium held in April to honor the installation of the new Sanchi Gate highlighted the relevance of the project from the point of view of art history, architecture, craftsmanship and urban development.