Phyllis Granoff, Maitreya and the Yūpa: Some Gandharan reliefs

Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale, Rome, inv. no. 427. Photo: Osmund Bopearachchi.
Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale, Rome, inv. no. 427. Photo: Osmund Bopearachchi.



This paper examines reliefs from Gandhara in which the Buddha is shown standing next to a pillar. Often octagonal in shape and clearly man-made, the pillar is identified as a sacrificial post or yūpa and the scene as Śakyamuni's prediction of the coming of the Future Buddha Maitreya. The reliefs are typically placed next to the Buddha's parinirvāṇa and reflect the close association ofnirvāṇa scenes with images of Maitreya that is amply attested in Central Asia and China.