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reliquary / casket

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1880.27

  • Description

    Reliquary casket, globular in shape with a lid; made of grey steatite; inscribed.
    On the lower wall of the body is a partly damaged band of three grooves which fail to join up exactly; between it and a single such groove just below the rim is a line of Kharoṣṭhī characters. On the lid, from the rim upwards, is a band of three grooves, a band resembling a bead-and-reel ornament in low relief, the beads pierced or grooved horizontally, and above them a broad cross-hatched band. The shoulder of the lid carries a broad plain fillet and two thin convex mouldings and on the top is a slightly convex band with a line of Kharoṣṭhī; a broad fillet rings the foot of a small hollow bowl surmounting the lid to form a second smaller compartment. This has an inner flange at the rim to accommodate another lid as on 1880.98, which was already missing when the relic deposit was first uncovered. The lid and body of the casket are flanged to fit as on 1880.99. The body must originally have been compartmented as in 1880.98, for traces survive on the inner wall of four rough projections aligned as if to meet in the middle. They were evidently removed prior to interment to make room for the gold casket 1900,0209.1 found inside it. The oblong recess on the base, presumably for turning, has traces of red pigment (Zwalf 1996).

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  • School/style

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1stC (circa)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 13.5 centimetres
    • Diameter: 13.7 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Kharoshthi
      • Inscription Position

        on lid and on body
      • Inscription Language

        Prakrit
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Lid: bhag̱avaṯa śarirehi śivarakṣiṯasa muṃja[v]aṃdaputrasa daṇamuhe Base: śivarakṣiṯasa mu[ṃ]javaṃdaput[r]asa daṇamuhe ṇiyaṯide bhag̱avaṯa śarirehi sarvabudha[ṇa] puyae
      • Inscription Translation

        Baums 2012: Lid: 'In place of relics of the Lord, donation of Śivarakṣiṯa, son of Mujavada'.
      • Inscription Comment

        The lid inscription is an abbreviated version of the body inscription, the third and last phrases excluded.
  • Curator's comments

    For a discussion of the finds from BImaran Stupa 2 relic deposit, see A 1900,0209.1. For other finds, see also 1880.3691, 1880.3695, 1880.3696, 1880.3851, 1880.3855, 1880.3893, 1880.3982; IOC 201-IOC.204.
    E. Errington: The top compartment which forms the 'knob' of the reliquary lid originally also had a lid, but this was missing at the time of excavation, as can be seen in Masson's sketch (Masson Uncat. MSS Bundle 1b, f.1). For its complete original form see 1880.98.
    When found, the casket contained a small quantity of fine mould, small burnt 'coral' and pearl beads, larger 'sapphire' (i.e. amethyst) and crystal beads and the gold reliquary 'without cover' known as the 'Bimaran Casket' (1900,0209.1). According to the published account of the find (Wilson 1841, pp.70-1), 'without the steatite vase were also deposited four copper coins [late imitations in the name of Azes: see IOC 201-IOC.204] in excellent preservation, having been inserted as new' (Errington & Cribb 1992: pp.15-16).

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  • Bibliography

    • Masson Uncat. MSS Bundle 1b, f.1 bibliographic details
    • Masson MSS Eur. E161/VII ff.1-2, 16(v) bibliographic details
    • Errington & Cribb 1992 no.186, pp.186-7 bibliographic details
    • Zwalf 1996 no.652, pp.212-13 bibliographic details
    • Errington & Curtis 2007 p.220-1, fig.186. bibliographic details
    • Errington 1999 p.231 bibliographic details
    • Errington 1987 p.424, fig.2.14a bibliographic details
    • Le May 1943 pl.Ic bibliographic details
    • Jongeward, Errington, Salomon & Baums 2012 pp.142-4, 249, 286-7, fig.4.24, no.332. bibliographic details
    • Konow 1929 pp.50-2, pl.X.2 bibliographic details
    • Fussman 1987 pp.69-71 bibliographic details
    • Wilson 1841 pp.70-1, p.52, fig.1, Antiquities pl.II.1 bibliographic details
    • Carter 1997 pp.71-94 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    The Crossroads of Asia Exhibition, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (6 Oct. to 13 Dec., 1992).

  • Condition

    1. Light grey steatite, turned; chipped and with vestiges of pigment and some discoloration. 2. Small loss at rim of lid; scratches on lid and body. 3. Inside casket, vestiges of soil and patches of green and red, especially along rim. 4. Very small damage on rim of body corresponding perhaps to greater damage at rim of lid. 5. Paper label under lid inscribed '1007' and outside '5'; on body '10'.

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1880

  • Acquisition notes

    Excavated between November 1833 and April 1834 (Masson MSS Eur. E161/VII, ff.1-2).

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1880.27

  • Additional IDs

    • 10 (India Museum no. on body)
    • 1007 (South Kensington Museum no.)
    • 5 (India Museum no. on lid)
Globular casket with a lid and two lines of inscription. On the lower wall of the body is a partly damaged band of three grooves which fail to join up exactly; between it and a single such groove just below the rim is a line of kharo??hi characters. On the lid, from the rim upwards, is a band of three grooves, a band resembling a bead-and-reel ornament in low relief, the beads pierced or grooved horizontally, and above them a broad cross-hatched band. The shoulder of the lid carries a broad plain fillet and two thin convex mouldings and on the top is a slightly convex band with a line of kharo??hi; a broad fillet rings the foot of a hollowed bowl-shaped handle which has an inner flange at the rim to accommodate another lid (lost) to form a smaller compartment as on BM 1880.98. The lid and body of the casket are flanged to fit as on BM 1880.99. The body must originally have been compartmented as in BM 1880.98, for traces survive on the inner wall of four rough projections aligned as if to meet in the middle. The oblong recess on the base, presumably for turning, has traces of red pigment.

Globular casket with a lid and two lines of inscription. On the lower wall of the body is a partly damaged band of three grooves which fail to join up exactly; between it and a single such groove just below the rim is a line of kharo??hi characters. On the lid, from the rim upwards, is a band of three grooves, a band resembling a bead-and-reel ornament in low relief, the beads pierced or grooved horizontally, and above them a broad cross-hatched band. The shoulder of the lid carries a broad plain fillet and two thin convex mouldings and on the top is a slightly convex band with a line of kharo??hi; a broad fillet rings the foot of a hollowed bowl-shaped handle which has an inner flange at the rim to accommodate another lid (lost) to form a smaller compartment as on BM 1880.98. The lid and body of the casket are flanged to fit as on BM 1880.99. The body must originally have been compartmented as in BM 1880.98, for traces survive on the inner wall of four rough projections aligned as if to meet in the middle. The oblong recess on the base, presumably for turning, has traces of red pigment.

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