Pakistan, ancient region of Gandhara
Schist with traces of gold foil; 9 5/8 x 9 in. (24.4 x 22.9 cm)
Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Gift of Samuel Eilenberg, 1987 (1987.142.1)
The identification of the subject of this relief as the Gift of Anathapindada is by no means certain. The presence at the far left of the figure holding a waterpot suggests that a gift is about to be made, as a donor traditionally poured water over the hands of a recipient to seal a gift. However, determining the overall meaning depends on identification of the objects in the bowl being proffered to the Buddha. Sudatta, called Anathapindada (the Incomparable Almsgiver), was the richest merchant of the town of Shravasti (in Kosala). He met the Buddha at Rajagriha and proposed to donate money in order to buy land for a monastery in Shravasti. The amount of the payment exacted from Anathapindada was calculated by covering the grounds of the park to be purchased with gold coins. The identification of the objects in the bowl as coins is speculative, and the precise scene in the life of the Buddha that is represented is therefore unclear.