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IN018 – Stupa Reliquary

Country Of Origin:
India (Gandhara)

Year:
2TH/3TH Century CE

Material:
Grey Schist

Dimensions:
12W × 12D × 5.5H (cm)

Provenence:
Hiruma Collection, Japan, before 1986. Sold in Christie’s Indian & Southeast Asian Art, New York, 12 September 2012, Sale 2578 as lot 525 to BTRTM.

Description:
This is a remarkable specimen of a flattened short cylindrical Gandhara reliquary with elaborate incised markings. It might have served a religious function as a primary container for relics.

The opening of the wheel-turned reliquary has been flanged from the inside to accommodate the lid. The knobless lid features concentric circles in the middle enclosed by a rosette of nine stylised lotus petals demarcated by chevrons.

Its body displays an upper tier of horizontally placed lotus petal patterns interspersed with striped and plain thin columns. A lower tier features a band of upright lotus petals which separates the body from its tapered unembellished broadened base.

Stylistically closest to this reliquary is one from Butkara I currently in the Swat Museum (see Jongeward, 69, fig 3.21d) and two sold in a group of reliquaries at Christie’s (Indian and Southeast Asian Art, New York, 23 March 2010, Sale 2300, Lot 115).

Literature:

  1. T. Kuno, Gandhara Art, 1986, pl. no. 56.

References:

  1. Brown, Robert L. 2006. “The Nature and Use of the Bodily Relics of the Buddha in Gandhara”.
    In Gandharan Buddhism: Archaeology, Art, Texts, edited by Pia Brancaccio and Kurt A Behrendt,
    183-209. Vancouver: UBC Press.
  2. Jongeward, David, Elizabeth Errington, Richard Salomon and Stefan Baums. 2012. Gandharan
    Buddhist Reliquaries. Seattle: Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project.
  3. Willis, Micheal. 2000. Buddhist Reliquaries from Ancient India. London: British Museum Press.
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