A. Foucher. L'art greco-bouddhique, Vol.I. Figs 238 and 261 N.G.Majumdar. Guide to Sculptures in Indian Museum, Pt.II, 1937, pp.52-53 Archaeological Survey of India. Annual Report, 1902-3. Pl. XXVII, Fig 5 Ingholt, Harald. Gandharan Art in Pakistan, New York, Pantheon Books, 1957, No. 116, p.82
Relief Panel depicting two Buddhist scenes, grey schist, 2nd century AD, Gandhara.
Height: 62 cm Including tangs on base, Height: 60.5 cm Excluding tangs under base, Width: 39 cm, Depth: 9.5 cm
South-East Asia, room 47a
The narratives in both panels have not been identified with any certainty, but Ackermann suggests that the lower one may represent the story of Srigupta who fails in his intent to destroy Buddha by setting a trap for him and the upper one the Abduction by Buddha of Nanda. However, the lower scene bears several resemblances to one in the Museum at Karachi, which has been identified by Harald Ingholt as a depiction of the story of Sumagadha and the naked ascetics. The tale is that of Sumagadha, the daughter of a rich merchant, who marries into a family of supporters of the naked ascetics of the Jaina sect. Sumagadha is shocked by their nudity and, to the consternation of her in-laws, who witness the scene from a balcony, she belabours one of the ascetics with a stick, but unfortunately during the beating her garments slip off her upper body. Fearing that she might be sent back to her family,she prays to Buddha who immediately flies to her aid and appears emitting flames from his feet, with the result that all are converted to Buddhism.
The panel is deeply carved in relief and is divided into two scenes, separated by a string course of conventional acanthus leaves above a saw-tooth moulding which is repeated above the upper scene. The top group, which has the upper left corner of the narrative scene missing, depicts a semi-nude Vajrapani standing on the extreme left, holding the thunderbolt in his right hand and a chauri whisk in his left. Next to him, the taller figure of the Buddha stands with his right hand in abhayamudra, apparently addressing a youth who stands in an attitude of supplication on his proper left. A second youthful figure (perhaps the same character) turns away carrying a bowl; and on the extreme right a male figure, apparently despondent, is sitting with head buried deep in his chest. Five other male figures observe the scene in various postures of concern and amazement.
The lower grouping, which is carved on a plain plinth, shows two naked ascetics, possibly Jains, on the extreme left, and in the centre a kneeling figure in an attitude of prostration before a tall standing figure of the haloed Buddha, whose feet rest on lotus blossoms. Six other male figures are in attendance, and in the background there is a tree next to a doorway, which is incidentally balanced in the upper relief by a similar architectural setting on the right of the panel, both having a rectangular slatted object projecting at an askew angle from above the cornice of the doorway.