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2. Shikarakuta (small temple) Chaitya
15th-16th century
Copper alloy, gilt, semi-precious stones
Object 384/5, (gallery E, case 5, E-15)

Chaitya This exquisitely-wrought temple-like chaitya was undoubtedly destined for a monastery or household shrine. The chaitya is subordinated to the elaborate temple-like substructure, a two-story plinth arranged as a mandala of 20 angles. Each niche in the upper story holds a tiny, movable Transcendent Buddha. Between the projecting tympanums (toranas) at each corner are kinnaras, mythical beings half-bird, half-human. Against the nine-ringed finial are shields embedded with jewels of the color associated with the Buddha enshrined below. The crest jewel, a crystal, represents the Buddha's cranial bump, the ushnisha. The pair of rings beside the finial probably once held a sacred canopy.

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text © Mary Slusser and images © Patan Museum
photo by Rupert Steiner