India, Andhra Pradesh, Nagarjunakonda / Buddha's Descent from the Trayastrimsha Heaven / second half of 3rd centuryIndia, Andhra Pradesh, Nagarjunakonda
Buddha's Descent from the Trayastrimsha Heaven
second half of 3rd century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Indian Sub-Continent; Indian; Andhra Pradesh, Nagarjunakonda
Creator Name-CRT: India, Andhra Pradesh, Nagarjunakonda
Title: Buddha's Descent from the Trayastrimsha Heaven
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 250
Creation End Date: 299
Creation Date: second half of 3rd century
Creation Place: India, Andhra Pradesh, Nagarjunakonda
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: Limestone
Dimensions: 48 x 29 3/4 in. (121.9 x 75.6 cm)

This large limestone panel was originally designed to decorate the lower part of an apsidal stupa from the site of Nagarjunakonda in the southeastern province of Andhra Pradesh. Patronized by the ruling Ikshvakus, Nagarjunakonda houses both Hindu establishments supported by male members of the family and Buddhist ones sustained by their wives and daughters. The detailed imagery of the slab, the somewhat elongated proportions of the people and animals, and the corpulence of the Buddha in the center are typical of the art of Nagarjunakonda.

According to several texts, after his enlightenment, the Buddha Shakyamuni visited the Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods (Trayastrimsha) to preach to his motherâ??who had passed away without benefit of hearing the doctrineâ??and the other inhabitants. After living there for three months, he descended to earth at Samkashya. Located in Uttar Pradesh in the north, Samkashya is one of the eight traditional sites of Buddhist pilgrimage. Here, the Buddha is shown flying at the upper right of the panel and preaching to the gods at the upper left. The large central image, shown standing on a lotus , depicts the moment of Shakyamuni's descent at Samkashya. He is attended at his right by a standing figure holding a vajra (thunderbolt scepter) who most likely represents Indra, ruler of the Trayastrimsha Heaven; two women kneeling at the front; and two larger figures placed to the right and left of the central scene.

AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 28.31
Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1928
Copyright: Copyright ?? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
Style or Period: Ikshvaku period (3rdâ??4th century)
AMICA ID: MMA_.28.31
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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