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

The Great Departure

Relief Panel
2nd century-4th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This rectangular panel shows the departure of Prince Siddhartha from his father's city of Kapilavastu. He rides his great white horse, Kanthaka, whose hooves are held above the ground by yakshas to avoid making any sound (the front one of whom is kneeling with the rear one only visible at head height. Before him stands a male figure who may be the tempter Mara, holding what appears to be a bow, with one of his daughters wearing an elaborate headdress topped with what may be feathers, and behind them, three of his minions. It has been suggested by Foucher that this woman may represent the city goddess of Kapilavastu.( See Ackermann, 1975) Behind Siddhartha stands the bearded and curly-haired figure of Vajrapani, holding a large thunderbolt (vajra).
Tenons are apparent at the upper and at the two lateral margins, and a wide plain fillet defines the scene at the base and right hand side.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Talcose schist carved in high relief and thickly coated with a lime deposit
Brief Description
Relief panel depicting Prince Siddhartha departing from his father's city, grey schist, 2nd century AD.
Physical Description
This rectangular panel shows the departure of Prince Siddhartha from his father's city of Kapilavastu. He rides his great white horse, Kanthaka, whose hooves are held above the ground by yakshas to avoid making any sound (the front one of whom is kneeling with the rear one only visible at head height. Before him stands a male figure who may be the tempter Mara, holding what appears to be a bow, with one of his daughters wearing an elaborate headdress topped with what may be feathers, and behind them, three of his minions. It has been suggested by Foucher that this woman may represent the city goddess of Kapilavastu.( See Ackermann, 1975) Behind Siddhartha stands the bearded and curly-haired figure of Vajrapani, holding a large thunderbolt (vajra).

Tenons are apparent at the upper and at the two lateral margins, and a wide plain fillet defines the scene at the base and right hand side.
Dimensions
  • Height: 21cm
  • Width: 25cm
  • Depth: 7cm
Style
Gallery Label
The Great Departure of the Buddha AD 100–300 Ancient Gandhara Pakistan Schist Prince Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha to be) is shown as he departs secretly at night from his father’s city of Kapilavastu. He rides his horse Kanthaka, whose hooves are held off the ground by the gods to prevent them making any noise. Behind him follows the guardian Vajrapani, holding a large thunderbolt or vajra. Museum no. IM.30-1935 300–100(1/4/2009)
Credit line
Given by Mrs Helena Custance
Object history
Given by Mrs Helena Custance, 1935
Subject depicted
Bibliographic References
  • Ackermann, Hans Christoph. Narrative Stone Reliefs from Gandhara in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Catalogue and Attempt at a Stylistic History. Reports and Memoirs. Director of the Series Giuseppe Tucci. Volume XVII. IsMEO, Rome, 1975.p. 73, pl. XVb
Collection
Accession Number
IM.30-1935

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record createdMay 16, 2002
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