The Dream of Queen Maya (the Buddha's Conception)

Period: Kushan period

Date: ca. 2nd century

Culture: Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara)

Medium: Schist

Dimensions: H. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); W. 7 5/8 in. (19.4 cm); D. 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Marie-Hélène and Guy Weill, 1976

Accession Number: 1976.402


Female attendants and guards, one of whom holds a sword, surround Maya, who is sleeping on a bed that has turned legs and is covered with an elegant floral textile. Maya dreams of a six-tusked elephant that descends from heaven to enter her womb through her right side; originally a small elephant would have been depicted in the broken central disk. This miraculous conception marks the Buddha Shakyamuni's final rebirth and physical entrance into this world.