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Railing Pillar depicting Asita's visit
Acc. No. 70.L/4
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This depicts a scene from the life of the Buddha.

History of the Object
The panel represents Sage Asita's visit to king Suddhodhana's palace when the Buddha was born as prince Siddartha in the Shakya clan. Upon seeing the auspicious signs on the baby's body, Asita prophesied that he would either become a great king or a great monk, of which, the latter came to be true. In the early days of Buddhism, the Buddha was worshipped in Aniconic form. Certain objects were worshipped that didn't show him in human form. These emblems were Footprints, Bodhi Tree, Dhamma Chakra, an Empty Throne, a stupa, the pillar of radiance and many more. However, it is disputed among scholars whether these emblems stood for specific events from the life of Shakyamuni Buddha or important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Nevertheless, this phase of Aniconic worship culminated into iconic or anthropomorphic worship. In this panel, baby Siddhartha has been depicted symbolically by a pair of footprints on the cloth held by Asita.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
Stone  
Measurements
191 x 85 x 20 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh 
Geography
India 
Time period
AD 1st century ~ AD 2nd century 
Creation date
1st-2nd Century CE 
Function
Buddhism Rituals  
Acquisition
On long term loan from the British Museum, London  
Copyright
National Museum,New Delhi  
Acknowledgements
National Museum,New Delhi  
Owner
National Museum,New Delhi 
Museum
National Museum-New Delhi 
Credit line
National Museum,New Delhi  

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