The Buddha and the Sacred Site

Stupa Reliquary

  • 16
  • Sri Lanka
  • Anuradhapura period, ca. 200
  • Crystal and gold
  • H. 5 5/16 x W. 1 7/8 in. (13.5 x 4.8 cm)
  • The James W. and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection
  • Anuradhapura
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This stupa reliquary is believed to have been deposited in a larger stupa. The small chamber in the central crystal dome contains what appear to be gold and amber relics. The container is crowned by a pole that supports the customary three tiers of umbrellas, all of gold. Sinhalese relics of the Buddha or important monks were often kept in stupa-form reliquaries (karanduva) made of gold and/or rock crystal. These reliquaries were often placed in stone reliquary caskets within the relic chamber of a stupa.

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Tropea

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