Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Great Departure and the Temptation of the Buddha

Ikshvaku period
ca. first half of the 3rd century
India (Andhra Pradesh, Nagarjunakonda)
H. 56 3/4 in. (144.2 cm); W. 36 1/4 in. (92.1 cm); D. 6 in. (15.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1928
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 235
The lower scene shows Siddhartha on horseback leaving his father's palace in order to seek enlightenment. A groom leads the horse, whose hoofs are supported by ganas (semi-divine dwarves), so the people of the palace will not be awakened. The other figures are divine beings that have come to witness his departure from the material world. Above, the Buddha's enlightenment at Bodhgaya is shown. The evil god Mara attempts to thwart Siddhartha first by sending his beautiful daughters to tempt him and then by attacking the Buddha with his army of demons, here shown as ganas brandishing weapons and riding an elephant.
[ C. T. Loo & Co. , New York and Paris, from August 1926 until 1928; sold to MMA]
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