One face of a fence-rail from Bharhut: King visits the Buddha (Great Miracle of Sravasti)

Historical period(s)
early 2nd century BCE
H x W x D: 48 x 52.8 x 8.9 cm (18 7/8 x 20 13/16 x 3 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 02: Body Image: Arts of the Indian Subcontinent
Sculpture, Stone

Buddhist sculpture

Buddhism, dharmachakra, India, king, throne
Provenance research underway.

For centuries after the historical Buddha transcended the cycle of rebirth (samsara), artists refrained from depicting his human form. Instead, they portrayed the presence of the Buddha with thrones he had sat upon, trees he had meditated under, and paths he had walked. Here, the visit of a royal couple to the living Buddha is represented by their worship of a flower-strewn throne beneath a garlanded wheel (chakra), which together indicate the Buddha and his teachings.

Published References
  • Alexander Cunningham. The Stupa of Bharhut: A Buddhist Monument Ornamented with Numerous Sculptures Illustrative of Buddhist Legend and History in the Third Century B.C. London. pl. 31, fig. 2.
  • Vidya Dehejia. Stupas and Sculptures of Early Buddhism. vol. 2, no. 3 New York, Summer 1989. .
  • Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. The Two Reliefs from Bharhut in the Freer Gallery. Calcutta, June/December 1938. pl. 35.
  • Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. La Sculpture de Bharhut. Bibliotheque d'art, nouvelle serie; 6 Paris. pl. 25, fig. 66.
  • Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. Elements of Buddhist Iconography. Cambridge, Massachusetts. pl. 5, fig. 18.
  • Capolavori nei secoli: Enciclopedia di tutte i popoli in tutti i tempi. 12 vols., Milan, 1961 - 1964. vol. 3: p. 162.
  • Ludwig Bachhofer. Early Indian Sculpture. 2 vols., New York. pl. 28.
  • Aschwin Lippe. The Freer Indian Sculptures. Oriental Studies Series, no. 8 Washington, 1970. pp. 6, 12, 110, pl. 4.
  • Paths to Perfection, Buddhist Art at the Freer/Sackler. Washington. pp. 26-27.
  • (Forward) Pupul Jayakar. Festival of India in the United States, 1985-1986. New York. p. 61.
  • Anne Bancroft. Religions of the East. New York. p. 84.
  • Donald S. Lopez Jr, Rebecca Bloom. Hyecho's Journey: The World of Buddhism. Chicago, December 2017. p. 157, fig. 16.
  • Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. History of Indian and Indonesian Art. New York and London. p. 231, pl. 13, fig. 45.
  • Report from America (East Coast). New Series, vol. 31, no. 3, Autumn 1985. p. 315.
  • Mizuno Seiichi, Yukio Kobayashi. Zukai kokogaku jiten [Dictionary of Archaeology]. Tokyo. p. 902.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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