Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information




Asian art

View More:


Reliquary box with lotus design,

1st century


Unknown Artist


This rare box is in remarkable condition and still contains its precious relics, most likely because it was preserved inside a stupa. The contents are essentially intact and comprise the gold finial of a stupa (consisting of a square entablature, or 'harmika', and parasol), a small round gold box filled with tiny beads and rock dust, and a larger round copper box, the contents of which have been removed.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.28.


Place where the work was made

Ancient Gandhara Pakistan


Kushan period mid 1st century - early 5th century


1st century

Media category


Materials used

schist, contents gold


a - base, 7.3 x 8.7 cm

b - lid, 1.4 x 5.3 cm

c - gold piece, [preserved inside box]

d - gold piece, [preserved inside box]

e - gold piece, [preserved inside box]

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Bequest of Alex Biancardi 2000


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

  • Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–06 Jan 2019

Referenced in 3 publications


Martin Lerner and Steven Kossak, The lotus transcendent: Indian and Southeast Asian art from the Samuel Eilenberg collection, 'The Lotus Transcendent, pg. 77, New York, 1991, 77. 43

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Buddhist Art', Sydney, 2003, 28 (colour illus.).

Pratapaditya Pal, Orientations, 'Sensuous Spirituality: Hindu and Buddhist Art from the Indic Cultural Realm', pg. 80-87, Hong Kong, Sep 2000, 83 (colour illus.). fig.5