Teaching Buddha

Polished black stone
India (Bihār or Bengal)
10th – 11th century, Pāla period
H. 30 cm or 11 ⅞ in



This magnificent stele from the Pāla period depicts the Buddha’s First Sermon, when he is sketching the Turning of the Dharma wheel. Symbol of the perfection of Buddhist law and its transmission to all sentient beings, this episode is one of the most decisive in Buddhism and Śākyamuni Buddha’s life. The wheel is represented below his feet and on both sides is a deer. On the bottom right is Māyā, Buddha’s mother. The balance of the composition, the refinement of the sculpture and the polish of the stone are exemplary.


Provenance: Private collection, Germany, 1981.