The Journey

Laksha Chaitya Offering

  • 30
  • Nepal
  • Dated 1809
  • Opaque watercolor on cotton cloth
  • H. 38 x W. 24 in. (96.5 x 61 cm)
  • Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The Avery Brundage Collection, B61D10+
  • The Great Stupa of Svayambhu
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The Great Stupa of Svayambhu, built on top of a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, is revered by Buddhists and Hindus alike. This sacred place is believed to be a symbol of Mount Meru, the cosmic mountain and axis mundi. The Great Stupa of Svayambhu, identifiable by the eyes of the Supreme (Adi) Buddha, is painted here in the top register between the two white shrines dedicated to Chakrasamvara and his consort Vajravarahi. The two figures standing next to the shrines are the white and red forms of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. The second register shows the laksha chaitya offering in progress. Men and women are depicted preparing clay, making a hundred thousand miniature chaityas (stupas), and piling them up to form a pyramid, with a small version of Svayambhu Mahachaitya on top.

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

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