Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Birth of the Buddha

Period:
Pala period
Date:
11th century
Culture:
India (Madhya Pradesh or Bihar)
Medium:
Black stone
Dimensions:
H. 24 1/4 in. (61.6 cm); W. 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm); D. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gift of Dr. Mortimer D. Sackler, Theresa Sackler and Family, and Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 2007
Accession Number:
2007.305
Not on view
Queen Maya reaches up to grasp a branch and miraculously gives birth to the Buddha. Emphasis is given to the representation of Maya, who affirms her status as both a yakshi (female nature deity) and the mother of the historical Buddha. The newborn Buddha is shown a second time, standing on flower petals receiving his first bath. Such an iconic representation of Maya reflects the status that Taras (female bodhisattvas) had assumed in the esoteric Buddhist communities of eastern India.
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