Reliquary(?) with Scenes from the Life of Buddha

Date: ca. 10th century

Culture: India (Jammu & Kashmir, ancient kingdom of Kashmir) or Pakistan

Medium: Bone with traces of color and gold paint

Dimensions: H. 5 3/8 in. (13.6 cm); W. 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm); D. 2 9/16 in. (6.5 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of John and Evelyn Kossak, The Kronos Collections, 1985

Accession Number: 1985.392.1


This container likely served as a Buddhist reliquary. There are three scenes: the first shows the miraculous birth of Siddhartha, the historical Buddha. He emerges from the right side of his mother, Queen Maya, who is supported by her sister, Mahaprajapati. The second scene depicts the temptation of Siddhartha as he meditates at Bodhgaya immediately before attaining enlightenment. The third scene is a rare representation of the crowned and jeweled Buddha setting into motion the wheel of law, a reference to his first sermon at the Deer Park at Sarnath.