Quantcast
Videos ()
Buddhism along the Silk Road

Close

"Dharmachakrastambha'" (Buddhist Wheel of the Law Pillar) Relief

Date:
2nd–3rd century
Culture:
India (probably Nagarjunakonda, Andhra Pradesh)
Medium:
Limestone
Dimensions:
H. 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm); W. 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm); D. 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Fletcher and Rogers Funds, by exchange, 2008
Accession Number:
2008.503
  • Description

    This relief shows a Buddhist Wheel of the Law (Dharmachakra) supported by two seated lions atop a pillar (stambha). The Wheel of the Law—an iconic representation of Buddhist teachings (dharma)—is the most important of Buddhist symbols. It serves to evoke the Buddha's First Sermon in the forest at Sarnath ("when he turned the word-wheel") and as a generic symbol of all his teachings. This relief would have formed part of the adornment of a Buddhist stupa, as depicted in the reliefs from Amaravati on display adjacently.

  • Provenance

    [ Spink & Son Ltd. , London, 1963, Catalogue of an Exhibition of Art from India and Thailand, cat. no. 5]; private collection , New York (1963–2008; to Christie's) ; sale, Christie's, New York , September 16, 2008, lot 3; to MMA

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
75200

Close