We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Reliquary stupa

1st century-3rd century


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Swat Valley Ancient Gandhara Pakistan
    Kushan period mid 1st century - early 5th century
    1st century-3rd century
    Media category
    Materials used
    crystal, gold, copper and pearls
    28.0 cm
    Purchased 2007
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    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.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

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

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

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

  • Provenance

    The provenance of this work is under review and records will be updated as new details become available. The Gallery welcomes any information. Contact provenance@ag.nsw.gov.au

    Private Collection, 2007, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, family heirloom of several decades