A TERRACOTTA PLAQUE DEPICTING THE BIRTH OF THE BUDDHA
BURMA, PYU KINGDOM
CIRCA 7TH-9TH CENTURY
H. 12.5 cm, 5 ins
The Pyu kingdom flourished in central and northern Burma from the early years of the first millennium A.D. to about 832, when Halin, the capital, was sacked by forces of the Nanchao kingdom of southern China.
Queen Maya, the Buddha’s mother, stands beside a Sala-tree, representing the Lumbini Forest where the event takes place. She is shown reaching up to break a bough with her right hand, similar in pose to a salabhanjika yakshi, while her left arm passes round the shoulder of her sister, Mahaprajapati, who stretches out a comforting arm across her stomach.
For a related stone relief see plate 47a in G. Luce, Phases of Pre-Pagan Burma: Languages and History, Vol. 2, Oxford: O.U.P., 1985.
PROVENANCE: Private German collection.