Memory, Memento, and Sacred Bond

Votive Plaque of Buddha Calling the Earth to Witness

  • 78
  • India, Bihar, Gaya region
  • Ca. 10th–11th century, possibly Pala period
  • Terracotta
  • H. 7 x W. 4 5/8 x D. 1 3/4 in. (17.8 x 11.7 x 4.4 cm)
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the George W. B. Taylor Fund, 1921, 1921-36-18
  • Bodh Gaya
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The motifs of this molded tablet are organized around a central axis that culminates in a pointed arch. The standard Buddhist creed is inscribed at the bottom. The Buddha is seated on a lotus cushion with his right hand in the earth-touching gesture below a structure suggestive of the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya. These impressed-clay tablets were manufactured in great quantities as commemorative and auspicious objects for pilgrims to carry home from Bodh Gaya.

PHOTO CREDIT: Graydon Wood, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art

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