Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Buddhism, Room 20, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Galleries of Buddhist Art

Votive seal with the Buddha and attendant Bodhisattvas

Votive Seal
10th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

All major sites marking key events in the life of the Buddha assumed an ongoing importance in the Buddhist world as major pilgrim centres. The production of votives and other auspicious objects was an important activity, both for objects to be deposited by pilgrims as meritorious offerings, and to be taken away as pilgrim souvenirs. This clay votive would have served as a religious souvenir. It depicts the Buddha enthroned on a lotus (padmasana), seated in the earth-touching gesture (bhumisparshamudra). He is flanked by two flywhisk-bearing attendant bodhisattvas, one flanked by a lotus stem, suggesting an identification as Avalokiteshvara-Padmapani. All three figures have flaming halos, standing on lotus plinths. The Buddha’s posture points to this seal being produced at Bodhgaya, the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment. The entire composition is surrounded by chaityas, small stupas, and a seal impression in the lower rim bears an indecipherable inscription.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Moulded terracotta clay
Brief Description
Votive seal with the Buddha and attendant Bodhisattvas, terracotta, Bodhgaya, 10th century
Physical Description
A votive seal with seated Buddha and attendant Bodhisattvas

This votive seal depicts the Buddha enthroned on a lotus (padmasana), seated in the earth-touching gesture (bhumisparshamudra). He is flanked by two flywhisk-bearing attendant bodhisattvas, one flanked by a lotus stem, suggesting an identification as Avalokiteshvara-Padmapani. All three figures have flaming halos, standing on lotus plinths. The Buddha’s posture points to this seal being produced at Bodhgaya, the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment. The entire composition is surrounded by chaityas, small stupas, and a seal impression in the lower rim bears an indecipherable inscription.
Dimensions
  • At widest point diameter: 8.9cm
  • Depth: 3cm
Style
Gallery Label
  • VOTIVE SEAL WITH SEATED BUDDHA AND ATTENDANT BODHISATTVAS Terracotta Bodhgaya, Bihar, eastern India Pala dynasty circa 10th century IS.123-1999 Bequeathed by Alexander Biancardi(25/09/2000)
  • Votive Plaque 900–1000 Plaques like this were produced at sacred Buddhist sites for pilgrims to take away as religious souvenirs.This example is from Bodhgaya, where the Buddha achieved enlightenment. It shows the Buddha justbefore his enlightenment, touching the ground to ask the earth to witness his resistance to temptation. On either side are two bodhisattvas (Buddhist saviours). Terracotta Eastern India (possibly Bodhgaya, Bihar) Bequeathed by Alexander Biancardi Museum no. IS.123-1999 (06/06/2011)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Alexander Biancardi
Object history
Bequeathed by Alexander Biancardi
Subject depicted
Summary
All major sites marking key events in the life of the Buddha assumed an ongoing importance in the Buddhist world as major pilgrim centres. The production of votives and other auspicious objects was an important activity, both for objects to be deposited by pilgrims as meritorious offerings, and to be taken away as pilgrim souvenirs. This clay votive would have served as a religious souvenir. It depicts the Buddha enthroned on a lotus (padmasana), seated in the earth-touching gesture (bhumisparshamudra). He is flanked by two flywhisk-bearing attendant bodhisattvas, one flanked by a lotus stem, suggesting an identification as Avalokiteshvara-Padmapani. All three figures have flaming halos, standing on lotus plinths. The Buddha’s posture points to this seal being produced at Bodhgaya, the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment. The entire composition is surrounded by chaityas, small stupas, and a seal impression in the lower rim bears an indecipherable inscription.
Bibliographic References
  • L'escultura en el temples indis : l'art de la devoció : exposició organitzada per la Fundació "La Caixa" i el Victoria & Albert Museum, Londres. [Barcelona: Obra social, Fundació "la Caixa", c2007 Number: 9788476649466p.160, Cat.120
  • Willis, M. (ed.), India: the Art of the Temple. Shanghai : Shanghai Museum, 2010. 254p, ill. ISBN 978-7-5479-0092-5. Cat. 1:10, pp. 66-7.
Collection
Accession Number
IS.123-1999

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record createdApril 18, 2002
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