Buddha Approaching the Bodhi Tree
2nd-3rd century
Asia: Pakistan; Asia: Gandhara
On View

This panel depicts the Buddha’s selection of the tree under which he will meditate and ultimately achieve enlightenment. After approaching but declining a mango tree, the Buddha chooses the fig tree (Ficus religiosa). The fig tree became known as the bodhi tree because the Buddha reached enlightenment (bodhi) after meditating beneath one such tree for 49 days. A handsome couple stands opposite the Buddha, gesturing him towards the grass covered seat beneath the bodhi tree.


  • Title: Buddha Approaching the Bodhi Tree
  • Date: 2nd-3rd century
  • Medium: Schist
  • Dimensions: 16-1/2 x 18-1/2 x 3-1/4 in. (41.9 x 44 x 8.3 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1975.14.5.S
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

  • Kurita, Isao, Gandharan Art, 1988,
  • Pal, Pratapaditya, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Volume 1: Art from the Indian Subcontinent, 2003, fig. 12, no. 26 pp. 20, 58-59
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 1203 p. 382
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