The Vessantara Jataka

Sunga Period, ca. 2nd century B.C.E.

Indian Museum, Kolkata

Indian Museum, Kolkata

The coping stone fragment briefly tells the story of the Vessantara jataka. According to legend the Bodhisattva, born as prince Vessantara was very much given to charity. Taking advantage of his philanthropic nature the king of Kalinga, which was suffering from drought, sent some Brahmanas to beg for his favourite elephant, as the elephant was supposed to have the power of bringing rain. The prayer was duly granted and Vessantara made a gift of his elephant.
In the panel the Bodhisattva is seen as having descended from his elephant and offering it to a Brahmana after pouring water into his hands from a vessel with due ceremony.

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  • Title: The Vessantara Jataka
  • Date: Sunga Period, ca. 2nd century B.C.E.
  • Location: Indian Museum, Kolkata
  • Physical Dimensions: Sand stone, 66x41x9cm.
  • Provenance: Bharhut, Satna, Madhya Pradesh, India.
  • Type: Sclupture