Votive Tablet thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
South-East Asia, Room 47a

Votive Tablet

11th century-12th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This clay votive tablet, reportedly found at Tagaung, Pagan, northern Burma (now Myanmar), depicts the Buddha seated beneath the tower of the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya, in eastern India. He is seated in the lotus pose with his right hand in the gesture of touching or witnessing the earth (bhumisparsa mudra), the gesture which more than any other represents the moment of his enlightenment. He is flanked by standing figures of the Dipankara Buddha on the left and of Maitreya Buddha on the right. The branches of the Bodhi tree, under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment, branch out from the central niche. In the upper part of the tablet are a number of small votive stupas (the funeral mound which housed the Buddha's relics and which became the symbol of his transcendental form and the primary Buddhist monument). At the bottom is the single line of a Buddhist prayer in the devanagari script.

Clay votive tablets of the Buddha, quotes from Buddhist texts, and divine figures represent a significant element of the archaeological record of early Buddhist sites in South East Asia.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Terra cotta, deeply impressed from an intaglio mould
Brief Description
Buddhist votive tablet, terracotta, 11th-12th century, Pagan, Burma.
Physical Description
The round-headed intaglio design is impressed within a pointed-arched slab of terracotta. The figure of the Buddha is depicted seated beneath the tower of the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya, in eastern India. He is in padmasana pose in the Bhumisparsha mudra, flanked by standing figures of the Dipankara Buddha on the left and of Maitreya Buddha on the right. Each figure is placed within a trifoliate niche. From the central niche also issue the branches of the Bodhi-tree. In the upper part of the tablet are a number of small votive stupas, and at the bottom is the "Ye dharma hetuprabhava..." or Buddhist prayer in Sanskrit characters. The design is bordered with

The tablet has suffered some damage along its left hand margin
Dimensions
  • Height: 7.375in
  • Width: 5.375in
Gallery Label
  • Votive Plaque 1100–1200 Pagan period Plaques such as these were donated by pious pilgrims in large numbers to temples in Pagan. This one shows the Buddha seated beneath the tower of the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, in eastern India. He is flanked by Dipankara, Buddha of the Past, to his left and Maitreya, Buddha of the Future, to his right. Terracotta Burma (Pagan) Museum no. IM.305-1921(14/06/2011)
Object history
Bought from H.C.Fanshawe
Historical context
Deeply impressed from an intaglio mould. In the style of tablets made at Bodh Gaya in eastern India.
Production
Tagaung, Pagan, North Burma
Summary
This clay votive tablet, reportedly found at Tagaung, Pagan, northern Burma (now Myanmar), depicts the Buddha seated beneath the tower of the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya, in eastern India. He is seated in the lotus pose with his right hand in the gesture of touching or witnessing the earth (bhumisparsa mudra), the gesture which more than any other represents the moment of his enlightenment. He is flanked by standing figures of the Dipankara Buddha on the left and of Maitreya Buddha on the right. The branches of the Bodhi tree, under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment, branch out from the central niche. In the upper part of the tablet are a number of small votive stupas (the funeral mound which housed the Buddha's relics and which became the symbol of his transcendental form and the primary Buddhist monument). At the bottom is the single line of a Buddhist prayer in the devanagari script.



Clay votive tablets of the Buddha, quotes from Buddhist texts, and divine figures represent a significant element of the archaeological record of early Buddhist sites in South East Asia.
Collection
Accession Number
IM.305-1921

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdAugust 21, 2003
Record URL