stupa reliquary

Square base for a relic casket made of stone, which has a circular in the centre to contain a miniature gold reliquary. 2nd - 4th century A.D. From Gandhara, Pakistan.

A reliquary set consisting of a stupa-shaped dome with umbrellas and platform, in two separate pieces, both in greenish steatite, the dome acting as a hollow cover to the small round chamber on the top of the platform. The upper vertical zone of the platform is decorated with a series of squares filled with vertical and diagonal crosses and dots. Date: circa 1st or 2nd century. From an unknown site in the part of North West Pakistan now known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but in ancient times known as Gandhara. The famous standing bronze Buddha from Gandhara, now in the British Museum, but originally owned by General Haughton, was found in the excavation for a house foundation at Sari Bahlol, Mardan District. This is the kind of geographic area from which this reliquary might have come though there is no specific mention anywhere of its precise find spot. Clearly the reliquary has been removed from the heart of a Buddhist stupa from somewhere in the Gandharan region (and most likely in the Mardan/Charsadda area). Purchased from: Major General Henry Lawrence Haughton (1883 – 1955) (Indian Army).

Collection Information

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