Stupa reliquary
  See it in the Museum
India and Nepal
Orientation 2
Display 1

ABR 013

 Code: ABR 013

  Country: India (north-west)

  Style: Gandhara School

  Date: 300 - 400

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 8.3 x 14.8 x 8.3

  Materials: Silver

Stupa reliquary 

The stupa, or chörten in Tibetan, is a significant religious monument in Buddhism and serves as a reliquary for the remains of eminent masters. Stupas are also portable works of art created from precious materials, as is the case here.

This stupa reliquary was unearthed in the greater area of the Gandharan culture comprising large parts of Northern Pakistan and adjoining areas of Afghanistan. Made of silver, its round shape reproduces the aspect of the architectural constructions of ancient India. It is probably a simplified model of a known monument. Another very similar example from the same region and period made of schist is visible in the collections of the Indian Museum, Calcutta. Although very different from the Tibetan stupas (ABR 002, 021, etc.) or the one visible outside the museum (ABR 093), its constituting elements are identical. One can see the various tiers, the rounded part, the balustrade, and the piled discs. The umbrella and the top ornaments seem to be missing here. Nonetheless, this miniature reproduction of a metallic stupa prefigures the later numerous reproductions ubiquitous in the Tibetan cultural area.