India (Jammu & Kashmir, ancient kingdom of Kashmir) or Pakistan
Bone with traces of color and gold paint
H. 5 3/8 in. (13.6 cm); W. 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm); D. 2 9/16 in. (6.5 cm)
Gift of John and Evelyn Kossak, The Kronos Collections, 1985
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 237
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.