One face of a fence-rail from Bharhut: Worship at a Stupa


Historical period(s)
Shunga dynasty, early 2nd century BCE
H x W x D: 47.5 x 51.9 x 8 cm (18 11/16 x 20 7/16 x 3 1/8 in)
India, Madhya Pradesh
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 02: Body Image: Arts of the Indian Subcontinent
Sculpture, Stone

Buddhist sculpture

apsara, Buddha, Buddhism, circumabulation, dharmachakra, India, Shunga dynasty (ca. 185 to 75 BCE), stupa, worship
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Hagop Kevorkian 1872 - 1962


This carving, from a stupa at the site of Bharhut in northwest India, provides an early document of Buddhist faith and art. Images of a man and a woman are repeated three times to represent their movement as they walk around the stupa and kneel before it in worship. Flying celestial beings above bear offerings of flower garlands with which to adorn the dome of the stupa. Hand prints on the stupa's base indicate worship by ritual touching.

Published References
  • Aschwin Lippe. The Freer Indian Sculptures. Oriental Studies Series, no. 8 Washington, 1970. pl. 7.
  • Ludwig Bachhofer. Early Indian Sculpture. 2 vols., New York. pl. 28.
  • Mireille Benisti. A propos de la sculpture de Bharhut. vol. 5, no. 2 Paris, 1958. p. 131.
  • Eleanor von Erdberg Consten. Kunst und Religion in Indien, China, und Japan. Geisteswissenschaften Heft 120 Cologne. pl. 21.
  • Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. La Sculpture de Bharhut. Bibliotheque d'art, nouvelle serie; 6 Paris. pl. 25, fig. 65.
  • Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. The Two Reliefs from Bharhut in the Freer Gallery. Calcutta, June/December 1938. pp. 149-162, pl. 34.
  • Alexander Cunningham. The Stupa of Bharhut: A Buddhist Monument Ornamented with Numerous Sculptures Illustrative of Buddhist Legend and History in the Third Century B.C. London. pp. 6, 12, 110, pl. 31, fig. 1.
  • Pratapaditya Pal. Art and Ritual of Buddhism. vol. 2, no. 3 New York, Summer 1989. p. 35.
  • Ratan Parimoo Kanak Publications. The Life of Buddha in Indian Sculpture, Ashta-maha-pratiharya: An Iconological Analysis. New Delhi. fig. 41.
  • Benjamin Rowland. The Evolution of the Buddha Image. Exh. cat. New York. p. 7.
  • Sekai bijutsu zenshu (A Complete Collection of World Art). 40 vols., Tokyo, F1951-1953. pl. 2.
  • Jonathan Mark Kenoyer Kimberley Heuston. The Ancient South Asian World. The World In Ancient Times London. p. 134.
  • Buddhist Stupas in South Asia: Recent Archaeological, Art-historical, and Historical Perspectives. SOAS studies on South Asia Delhi and Oxford. cover image.
  • Freer Gallery of Art. Gallery Book IV: Exhibition of September 24, 1934. Washington, September 24, 1934. .
  • pp. 26-27.
  • p. 98, fig. 9.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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