c. 11th - 12th century

Detail of part of a miniature stupa. A stupa is a Buddhist shrine for relics. It is a dome-shaped construction usually containing statues of the Buddha, or other sacred objects. In course of time the stupa came to have a cosmic significance. Ultimately a stupa can be regarded as the centre of the universe, and reflects in its architectural components the structure of the cosmos. A miniature stupa made of stone, like this example, may have been an offering to a temple or monastery. Some such stupas were evidently used for storing the ashes of ecclesiastics or other important persons. These were given a place in the grounds of a monastery.

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