Depictions of the Buddha in bodily form appear only to have started in the first century AD. Before that, his message was inferred through symbols such as the chakra or wheel. The Buddha upon attaining Enlightenment is believed to have set the wheel of law or the dharmachakra in motion. Devotees commemorate the spot where the Buddha delivered the first sermon at the Deer Park in Sarnath, thereby setting in motion the eternal movement of the faith of Buddhism.
The scene represents worship of the wheel, which was one of the symbols of the Buddha before the introduction of his anthropomorphic image. The wheel stands for the Buddha's first sermon delivered in the deer park at Sarnath, suggested here by the presence of the two addorsed deer on the shaft, when he set the wheel of the law in motion. Of the two flanking couples, the eminence of the couple on the proper right is suggested by the male carrying a garland and the female kneeling down to make an offering.