STUPA RELIQUARY

Country Of Original: India (Gandhara)
Year: 2TH/3TH Century CE
Material: Grey Schist
Dimensions: 12W x 12D x 5.5H (cm)
Provenence: Hiruma Collection, Japan, before 1986. Sold in Christie’s Indian & . Southeast Asian Art, New York, 12 September 2012, Sale 2578 as lot 525 to BTRTM.
Description: This is a remarkable specimen of a flattened short cylindrical Gandhara reliquary with elaborate incised markings. It might have served a religious function as a primary container for relics. The opening of the wheel-turned reliquary has been flanged from the inside to accommodate the lid. The knobless lid features concentric circles in the middle enclosed by a rosette of nine stylised lotus petals demarcated by chevrons.
Its body displays an upper tier of horizontally placed lotus petal patterns interspersed with striped and plain thin columns. A lower tier features a band of upright lotus petals with separates the body from its tapered unembellished broadened base.
Stylistically closest to this reliquary is one from Butkara I currently in the Swat Museum (see Jongeward , 69, fig 3.21d) and two sold in a group of reliquaries at Christie’s (Indian and Southeast Asian Art, New York , 23 March 2010, Sale 2300, Lot 115).
Literature:

T. Kuno, Gandhara Art, 1986, pl. no. 56.

References:

Brown, Robert L. 2006. “The Nature and Use of the Bodily Relics of the Buddha in Gandhara”.
In Gandharan Buddhism: Archaeology, Art, Texts, edited by Pia Brancaccio and Kurt A Behrendt, 183-209. Vancouver: UBC Press. Jongeward, David, Elizabeth , Errington ,Richard Salomon and Stefan Baums. 2012. Gandharan
Buddhist Reliquaries. Seattle: Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project.
Willis, Micheal . 2000. Buddhist Reliquaries from Ancient India . London: British Museum Press.