The Buddha and the Sacred Site

Model of a Stupa

  • 17
  • Thailand or Cambodia
  • 12th–14th century
  • Copper alloy
  • H. 20 x W. 8 in. (50.8 x 20.3 cm)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Anna Bing Arnold, M.87.243

This fragment was likely the upper part of a reliquary. It may have been originally placed inside a brick stupa. It may not have contained a relic of the historical Buddha, but rather some combination of image, textual extract, and ashes of a high-ranking monk or member of royalty, who might become a Buddha in a future life. The reliquary probably would have echoed the form of brick stupas built in Thailand during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries with eight niches for Buddha images. At the bottom of this fragment are branches of the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha was enlightened.

PHOTO CREDIT: © 2009 Museum Associates/ Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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