Bodhgaya, Bihar, Eastern India
1st century BC-1st century AD (Maurya-Sunga period)
Museum no. IS.1065-1883
Given by Surgeon-Major F A Turton
This pillar was found in Bodhgaya and formed part of the original sandstone railing surrounding the tree shrine at Bodhgaya, marking the site of the Buddha's enlightenment.
The pillar is decorated on two faces with roundels, the upper roundel shows devotees worshipping the sacred Bodhi tree and a princely figure receiving a hunter with a bird on a pole. This is probably a scene from the Hamsa Jataka story which recounts the Buddha's previous existence as a goose who offered his life for another. A Brahmi inscription records the pillar as 'the gift of the noble lady Kurangi'.