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Stupa drum panel with protective serpent

India, Amaravati Great Stupa, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 999

This drum panel depicts an elegant stupa with a shrine, at center, framed by pilasters that resemble a stupa enclosure railing gateway. The entwined snake that occupies the shrine is the naga, the supreme protector of the relics housed within the stupa drum. A canopy of foliage-like umbrellas (chattras) crowns the structure, with the branches of the bodhi (wisdom) tree metamorphizing into a profusion of honorific umbrellas. Inscribed railings from the period link the donors to officials in the service of King Sivamaka Sada, the last of the Sada rulers, reigning in the second half of the first century CE.

Stupa drum panel with protective serpent, Limestone, India,  Amaravati Great Stupa, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh

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