According to Buddhist texts, before the birth of the Buddha, his mother, Maya Devi had a dream in which she saw a white elephant entering her womb. In sculptures, this theme is presented by a lady asleep on a couch with an elephant hovering over her. This panel, found from Mardan, Peshawar, depicts the bed chamber of Queen Maya Devi flanked by vaulted corridors, and supported on Persepolitan pillars without shafts. The queen is asleep on a furnished couch, her head raised on a high pillow. A female attendant, holding a spear, stands guard behind the pillar to the right, while another keeps guard to the left. Two more attendants stand guard, behind the couch one holding spear and other beneath the vaulted roof. From a circular slab the Bodhisattva descending in the form of an elephant is seen. The disposition of the figures, the comely faces of the women and the simplified refinement of the details give a quiet dignity and charm to this relief, making it one of the masterpieces of Gandharan art.


  • Title: Maya's Dream
  • Date: 2nd Century C.E
  • Location: Indian Museum, Kolkata
  • Physical Dimensions: Basalt stone, 18x27x6.2cm.
  • Provenance: Mardan, Peshawar (north-west part of undivided India)
  • Type: Sculptures

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps