Guest Lecture: A Historical Analysis of the Sanchi Stupa

[photo credit: Photo by Arian Zwegers on Flickr]

Speaker:LI Ling (Institute of Daoism and Religious Culture, Sichuan University)

Date: Thursday November 19, 2020, 3:00pm

Venue: Peking University


Sanchi Stupa is famous for its Stupas No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3. According to the analysis of Dr. John Marshall, Stupa No. 1 represents the main Stupa, storing the Buddha’s relics, while Stupas No. 2 and No. 3 store the relics of the Ten High Abbots, and the relics of the Buddhas two principle disciples, Śāriputra and Maudgalyāyana respectively. Based on this assessment, it has been accepted that Stupa No. 1 was the earliest and primary structure to be built and that Stupas No. 2 and No. 3 were built slightly later and constructed almost simultaneously. Additionally, the rich decorative carvings on the surrounding surfaces and entranceways of the three Stupas showcase entirely Buddhist themes, including Jatakas and imagery of the Buddha’s life. However, based on the author’s survey, the Stupa and temple positions on Sanchi Mountain and their proximity to the uphill pathway and ancient commercial roads might argue that Stupa No. 2 was constructed earlier and Stupas No.1 and No. 3 are later constructions. This lecture is part of the “Buddhist Classics and Art Lecture Series”.

[Event poster]