Padmakataka Stupa – The Heap of Lotus Stupa
  See it in the Museum
Chapel
Orientation 2
Display 2

ABR 018

 Code: ABR 018

  Country: Tibet

  Style:

  Date: 1300 - 1400

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 5.5 x 9 x 5.5

  Materials: Brass

Padmakataka Stupa – The Heap of Lotus Stupa

The stupa, or 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 are the birth at Lumbini; the victory over Mara 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 Kushinagar.

This is a model of the Padmakataka Stupa initially located at Lumbini (Terai in actual Nepal), the birthplace of Siddhartha, the future Buddha Shakyamuni. This stupa is described as having four circular steps with lotus petals. This sober example does possess the four circular steps but they are devoid of lotus petal ornaments.