Stupa reliquary
  See it in the Museum
India and Nepal
Orientation 3
Display 2

ABR 094

 Code: ABR 094

  Country: Nepal


  Date: Unknown

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 9 x 20

  Materials: Brass

Stupa reliquary

The stupa (chöten 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.

In Tibet, stupas all share a similar general structure with symbolism associated with the elements: a stepped square base for earth, a cylindrical “vase” for water, a conical spire for fire, a parasol for air, and at the top the sun and moon representing space and wisdom. Tibetan stupas are often found in groups of eight. Each of the eight stupas represents one of the eight most important events in the life of Buddha, which is expressed in eight different shapes. These events were: the birth at Lumbini; the victory over the maras (inner demons) at Bodhgaya; his first teaching at Sarnath; the miracle at Shravasti; the descent from Tushita Heaven at Sankasya; the taming of the raging elephant at Rajgriha; the prolongation of his lifetime at Vaishali; and his extinction at Kushinagara.