Memory, Memento, and Sacred Bond

Eight-Stupa Votive Plaque and Mold

  • 87
  • Tibet
  • 18th century
  • Sun-dried clay; bronze (mold)
  • Stamp, H. 3 1/2 x W. 1 3/8 in. (8.9 x 3.5 cm); mold, H. 1 1/2 x W. 1 3/8 in. (3.8 x 3.5 cm)
  • Newark Museum, Gift of Mrs. Edward N. Crane & Arthur M. Crane, 1911, 11.747a&c

Throughout the Buddhist world, since at least the seventh century, devotees have made countless votive tablets by pressing local clay and ritual substances—such as ground incense, grains, or ashes—into molds and leaving the impressions to dry in the sun. Called tsha-tsha in Tibet and sachcha in other South and Southeast Asian traditions, these plaques enable a devotional practice that increases the merit of the makers (both those who physically create them and donors who commission their making) and all who view them. This example pairs the invocation of the Buddha (the ye dharma creed encircling the base) with eight differentiated stupas.

PHOTO CREDIT: Richard Goodbody, Newark Museum

©2009 Asia Society 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street New York, NY 10021: