Kadampa Stupa

Accession Number

Kadampa Stupa


Object Creation Date
13th century

Medium & Support
bronze with inlaid turquoise and coral

16 9/16 in x 5 11/16 in x 5 3/4 in (42 cm x 14.5 cm x 14.6 cm);16 9/16 in x 5 11/16 in x 5 11/16 in (42 cm x 14.5 cm x 14.5 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Label copy
March 28 2009
The stupa is an architectural form that evolved from ancient Indian burial mounds meant to hold royal or sacred remains. In a Buddhist context, the stupa’s first function was as a repository for the remains of the Buddha. Tibetan stupas, known as chorten, serve as reliquaries for the remains of revered teachers and also as votive monuments whose architectural details reflect metaphysical principles of Buddhism, symbolizing in particular the Buddha’s enlightened mind.
This type of stupa is often referred to as a Kadam chorten. It is a Tibetan interpretation of the eastern Indian model that was brought to Tibet in the eleventh century with the Indian master Atisha, whose disciples founded the Kadam order of Tibetan Buddhism. Although the design may have been introduced and popularized by the Kadam tradition, it was popular among other Tibetan Buddhist orders as well.
(Label for UMMA Buddhist Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)

Subject matter
A miniature stupa, or reliquary for containing funerary ashes or other items intimately associated with a famous monk teacher in Buddhism. This form of this stupa is characteristic of a type used by the Kadampa School, surmounted with a sun and moon.

Physical Description
A miniature stupa, cast of bronze in several parts, consisting of a bell-shaped base; an inverted cone-shaped tower, capped by an "umbrella" with pendant, fringe-like decoration, inlaid with semi-percious stone, surmounted by a lotus bud. Atop the whole structure is a half-moon and sun disk motif, supported by intertwined ribbons and culminating in another lotus bud.

Primary Object Classification
Ritual Object

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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reliquary busts

5 Related Resources

(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Celestial bodies
(Part of: Natural World)
Devotional Objects Across Religions
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
PAST- Moon & Lunar Study Cases    
(Part of: FFW Lower Level Study Cases     )

& Author Notes

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