Column from a Buddhist Stupa
1st century
Asia: India, Uttar Pradesh, Mathura
On View

This column is carved with scenes on two sides, suggesting that it was used as a corner post in a railing or gateway of a Buddhist monument. Of the eight low-relief panels, the lower six depict couples with floral offerings. The top right panel contains a knot of serpents in front of a stupa, a hemispherical funerary mound symbolic of the Buddha as well as the cosmic mountain. The top left panel features an empty bed strewn with flowers, representing Buddha Shakyamuni's death, or great release from the physical world (mahaparinirvana), as witnessed by two of his disciples.


  • Title: Column from a Buddhist Stupa
  • Date: 1st century
  • Medium: Sandstone
  • Dimensions: 91 x 8-5/8 x 8-3/4 in. (231.1 x 21.9 x 22.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1975.07.S
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

  • Leoshko, Janice, Asian Art: Selections from the Norton Simon Museum, figs. 4-4a pp. 8-9
  • Pal, Pratapaditya, Marg, fig. 9 pp. 61-62
  • Knoke, Christine, Arts of Asia, p. 27
  • Knoke, Christine, Minerva, fig. 2 p. 27
  • Pal, Pratapaditya, American Collectors of Asian Art, 1986, fig. 9 pp.125-126
  • Pal, Pratapaditya, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Volume 1: Art from the Indian Subcontinent, 2003, fig. 9, fig. 14, no. 39 pp. 18, 20, 74-75
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 1167 p. 378
  • White, David Gordon, Daemons Are Forever: Contacts and Exchanges in the Eurasian Pandemonium, 2020, Figure 4.13 pp. 104-105, p. 104 (ill.)

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