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An image of Reliquary stupa by

Swat Valley, Ancient Gandhara, Pakistan

Reliquary stupa
Place of origin
Swat ValleyAncient GandharaPakistan
Kushan period mid 1st century - early 5th century → India
1st century-3rd century
Media category
Materials used
crystal, gold, copper and pearls

28.0 cm

Purchased 2007
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Originally a funeral mound, constructed either to commemorate a great person or to house his relics, the stupa is the quintessential symbol of the Buddha. While architectural stupas serve as places of worship, smaller ones are used as reliquaries and votive offerings.The veneration accorded a reliquary stupa is determined by its size, rarity and preciousness of the materials from which it is made, such as gold, rock crystal, or silver. This stupa contains a reliquary containing a small gold stupa inside it. The whole ensemble would have been placed within at least one other case, perhaps of stone, before being placed at the base of an architectural stupa.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, September 2013.

Bibliography (2)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2007-08, Sydney, 2008, 18 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, Look, 'The Stupa', pg.27, Newtown, Mar 2008, 27 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (1)

One hundred flowers (2011), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 01 Sep 2011–15 Jan 2012