The Buddha and the Sacred Site

False Dormer Stele with Scene of Life of the Buddha

  • 10
  • Pakistan (ancient Gandhara)
  • Kushan period, 100–300
  • Schist
  • H. 11 x W. 17 1/2 x D. 2 3/4 in. (27.9 x 44.4 x 7 cm)
  • Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60S255

This stone relief was probably placed at the false gable of a stupa dome. The stele is organized in three concentric registers. The lower register presents the historical Buddha as the young Prince Siddhartha seated below a tree with hands held in the gesture of meditation (dhyana mudra). The Buddha's warrior-protector Vajrapani appears to his right. In the upper register the dais and legs of a seated Buddha are visible at the center of a line of worshippers. The fragmentary outer register contains a two-story hut sheltering four figures who face the Buddha in reverence. The concentric layout of the imagery reflects that of the monastic quarters that surrounded, protected, and regulated access to numerous stupa precincts.

PHOTO CREDIT: © Asian Art Museum Foundation, San Francisco. Used by permission

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