Daulton Art
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Buddha Taming the Elephant 

India, 10th-11th century 

 

Buddha Taming the Nalagiri Elephant

stone (probably phyllite)

10th-11th century, Pala Period

Northeast India (Bengal or Bihar)

height 12 1/4 in. (not including base)

provenance: Christie's, circa 1992, at which auction acquired by the present owner, Jack Daulton


Buddha Shakyamuni stands on a lotus base and is flanked, on one side, by a monk attendant and, on the other, by a small cowering figure of an elephant.  The Buddha wears a closely fitted robe (sanghati) with his left hand raised holding the tip of the robe; his lowered right hand hovers above the elephant, and tiny lions emanate from his outstretched hand.  The Buddha is backed by an arched mandorla with flame border and two stupas flanking his head.  The mandorla has an inscription in the Devanagari script.


This stele depicts one of the events in the life of the historical Buddha. In this miraculous episode, the Buddha tames the elephant Nalagiri, who had been inebriated by Buddha's jealous cousin Devadatta, making him wild. The elephant charges the Buddha, but is calmed by him (the tiny lions personify his calming power).






Standing on a lotus base flanked by an attendant and a small figure of the elephant Nalagiri crouching beside him, wearing a closely fitted sanghati with his left hand raised holding the tip of his robe, backed by an arched mandorla with flame border and two stupas flanking his head
detail 1:
detail 2:
Contact: 
The Daulton Collection
info@daultonart.com