Asian Art
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Footprints of the Buddha (Buddhapada)

2nd century CE

Schist

34 × 49 1/4 × 2 1/2 in. (86.36 × 125.1 × 6.35 cm)
Gift of the Rubin-Ladd Foundation under the bequest of Ester R. Portnow
2015.141.1
In this relief, auspicious motifs such as wheels, swastikas, and shrivastas (wheels with hornlike tops) fill the soles and toes of the Buddha’s footprint. The snakelike heads of the two devotees in the niches on either side indicate that they are semi-divinities; the male figure on the left is a naga, and his female counterpart, a nagini, is on the right.
Geography: 
Pakistan
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Pakistani, ancient kingdom of Gandhara
Period: 
Kushan Empire (30–375 C.E.)
Classification: 
Sculpture
Provenance: 

Private collection, United Kingdom [see note 1]; sold to John Eskenazi, Ltd., New York, by October 2001; sold to the Rubin-Ladd Foundation, Georgetown, Conn., and New York, October 30, 2002 (R-L inv. no. I0203 22) (on loan as a promised gift to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2006–15); given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2015

Note 1: The private collection was formed by a collector who was originally from Pakistan (Email from John Eskenazi to the Gallery, July 18, 2022, copy in accession file)

This work appears on our "Antiquities and Archaeological Material with Provenance Documentation Gaps" page.
Bibliography: 

Kathryn H. Selig Brown, Eternal Presence: Handprints and Footprints in Buddhist Art, exh. cat. (Katonah, N.Y.: Katonah Museum of Art, 2004), 34–35, pl. 1.

“Acquisitions July 1, 2015–June 30, 2016,” https://artgallery.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Pub_Bull_acquisitions_2016.pdf (accessed December 1, 2016).

David Ake Sensabaugh, “Footprints of the Buddha,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2017): 84, fig. 1.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.