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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Birth of the Buddha

Birth of the Buddha

2nd-3rd century

Some of the most popular themes in Gandharan art are scenes from the life of the Buddha. In this relief fragment, the attendants at his birth witness the wondrous event. Queen Maya had conceived the future Buddha by dreaming that a six-tusked white elephant entered her side. It was prophesied that the future child would become a great world leader. The figure on the right is the Vedic god, Indra, dressed in princely garb, ready to receive the newborn child on a folded towel.

Queen Maya gave birth in a garden under a sala tree. The child emerged from her right hip and miraculously took seven steps, stating, "No further births have I to endure, for this is my last body.''
11 3/4 x 9 1/4 x 3 1/2 in. (29.85 x 23.5 x 8.89 cm)
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Indian Buddhist Sculpture", February 3 - August 20, 1990, (02/03/1990 - 08/20/1990)

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