Two Lotuses, from the Bharhut Stupa

India (Madhya Pradesh)

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 234

These lotuses were part of a wish-fulfilling vine at the top of a high railing (vedika), which enclosed the sacred precinct of the Bharhut stupa (relic mound). This vedika was also embellished with some of the earliest reliefs illustrating past lives of the Buddha (jatakas), depictions of major life events, and local deities (yakshis and yakshas). The lotus is an auspicious symbol that alludes to the Buddha's enlightenment. The row of hanging bells at the bottom is likely a translation into stone of an earlier actual architectural embellishment.

Two Lotuses, from the Bharhut Stupa, Red sandstone, India (Madhya Pradesh)

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