Asian Art

Attack of Mara

2nd–3rd cencury CE

Gray schist

21 1/4 x 10 9/16 x 4 1/2 in. (53.98 x 26.83 x 11.43 cm) base: 1 1/2 x 10 7/16 x 5 3/16 in. (3.81 x 26.51 x 13.18 cm)
Gift of Georgia and Michael de Havenon, B.A. 1962
2015.16.1
After he revived himself following years of austerity, the historical Buddha Shakyamuni sat beneath a tree and vowed to meditate until he became enlightened. The two figures on this relief, one lay and one monastic, were part of a larger narrative showing the attack instigated by the demon Mara in a vain attempt to distract Shakyamuni and stop him from achieving enlightenment. The two demonic faces and the elephant at the top represent the members of Mara’s gang.
Culture: 
Indian, Gandharan
Period: 
Kushan period (ca. late 1st–early 4th century)
Classification: 
Sculpture
Status: 
On view
Provenance: 

Michael de Havenon, New York.

Bibliography: 

“Acquisitions 2015,” http://artgallery.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Pub_Bull_acquisitions_2015_updated%2012_16_15.pdf (accessed December 1, 2015).

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.