Silk Road Collection
Central Asia

The Relief of Buddhism: “Birth”

  • Central Asia
  • Gandhara, Pakistan
  • from the 2nd to the 3rd centuries AD
  • The Kushan Dynasty
  • grey schist
  • 28.0cm in height

Queen Maya gives birth to a prince from under her right arm, while grasping the branch of a sal tree in the garden of Lumbini. Maya's pose is borrowed from the Indian tree spirt of good harvest, Yakshi. Indra, the Indian king of gods, receives the prince with both hands indicating how the prince is the supreme being over Indra. To the right is the god Brahman with folded hands and Maya's little sister (later stepmother) Mahaprajapati. A heavenly scene is depicted with gods and celestial beings surrounding them, as well as floating instruments.