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I.-The Bodh Gaya Plaque.

By Vincent A. Smith, M.A., I.C.S. (Retd.)

Dr. Spooner assumes (ante volume I, page 1) as a matter needing no proof that the temple depicted on the terracotta from the Kumrahar ruins near Bankipore, part of the site of Pataliputra, is the Bodh Gaya shrine, and that the figure is "unquestionably the oldest drawing of this building in existence." The assumption evidently is based on the facts that the plaque depicts a tall straight-lined temple, containing an exposed seated image of Buddha and surrounded by a railing and a crowd of subsidiary stupas. The railing and the subsidiary stupas are of no account, because many important monuments possessed accessories of the same kind.

But does the figure on the plaque agree with the record of the Bodh Gaya temple? The most remarkable feature of the delineation is the top member, consisting of "a complete stupa with fivefold hti." Is there any reason for supposing that the Bodh Gaya shrine was ever surmounted by such a structure?

The earliest detailed description available is that recorded by Hiuen Tsang (Yuan Chwang), who spent altogether about ten years in Bihar, between A.D. 637 and 642. It is necessary to see what he says, as reported in the condensed version by Watters (II, 116).

"This temple," the pilgrim observes, "was made of bricks and coated with lime; it had tiers of niches with gold images; its four walls were adorned with exquisite carvings of pearl strings and genii; on the roof was a gilt copper amalaka; connected with the east side of the temple were three lofty halls, one

behind another; the woodwork of these halls was adorned with gold and silver carvings and studded with precious stones of various colours, and an open passage through them communiIcated with the inner chamber. On the left-hand side of the outside door of these halls was an image of Kuan-tzu-tsai Pūsa, and on the right, one of Tzu-shi (Maitreya) Pūsa, each made of silver and above ten feet high.

"On the site of the temple there had once stood a small chaitya (or temple) built by Asoka. The present temple had been built by a Brahman (the legend follows):


"...The image he had made represented the Buddha as he sat under the Bodhi tree in the act of pointing to the earth and telling Māra that the earth should bear him witness."

Similarly, Beal (Records, II, 118) says:

"The whole is surrounded [sic, read 'surmounted '] by a gilded copper amalaka fruit. In the thirhara (page 120) they found a beautiful figure of Buddha in a sitting position, the right foot uppermost, the left hand resting, the right hand hanging down."

These passages clearly establish three propositions, namely,— (1) The temple seen by Hiuen Tsang in the seventh century was the immediate successor of the small shrine built by Asoka. No intermediate structure intervened.

(2) The temple was crowned by a gilt copper amalaka, not by a stupa with fivefold hti.

(3) Buddha was seated cross-legged in the bhumi-sparsa or "earth-touching" attitude with his right hand hanging down and the finger pointing to call the Earth to witness.

Dr. Spooner guesses that the plaque may be of Kushān age, the first or second century of the Christian era. It may or may not be; but assuming the correctness of the guess, the pilgrim's text forbids the assumption that the temple seen by him can be crowned by a complete stupa with fivefold hti.

So far as I can can make out from the photograph, the right hand of Buddha on the plaque is raised in the attitude of blessing or giving, and is not hanging down.

Thus, in two essential points the plaque does not suit the Bodh Gaya temple.

Again, Dr. Spooner rashly identifies the two figures outside the cell of the temple on the plaque with the silver images seen by Hiuen Tsang.

But those images were on the right and left of the outside door of the three lofty halls, a structure distinct from the temple, and apparently connected by a passage with it, if the words. "inner chamber" refer to the temple. In that respect, too, the identification fails.

The plaque was found at Pataliputra, not at Bodh Gaya, and it seems to me probable that it may represent one of the great temples at Pataliputra. There is no reason to deny that one of them may have been built with a straight-lined steeple. Nothing is known about the details of their architecture.

The above argument, it will be observed, is in no way dependent on the identification of the existing temple, as restored by Mr. Beglar, with the temple seen by Hiuen Tsang. My criticisms simply deal with the fact that the representation on the plaque does not agree with the description recorded by the pilgrim, whose language forbids the hypothesis that an earlier temple, crowned by a stupa with fivefold hti had ever existed.

While I do not suggest for a moment that the plaque actually represents the temple at Ti-lo-shi-ka (Tiladaka) described by the pilgrim (Beal, II, 103; Watters, II, 105), description of that structure agrees as well with the plaque as that of the Bodh Gaya temple. But in neither case is the agreement complete. Watters writes:

"At the head of the road [or 'passage'], through the middle gate were three temples (ching-she) with disks on the roofs and hung with small bells; the bases were surrounded by balustrades [i.e., railings'], and doors, windows, beams, walls, and stairs were ornamented with gilt work in relief. The middle temple

had a stone ['erect' in Beal] image of the Buddha thirty feet high; the left-hand one had an image of Tara Bodhisattva; and the right-hand one had an image of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva; these three images were all of bronze."


To sum up. I am of opinion that the temple depicted on the plaque cannot be identified with any approach to certainty. does not agree with Hiuen Tsang's description of that building, and there is no sound reason for believing that the representation on the plaque is the "oldest drawing" of the Bodh Gaya temple.

II.-Reply to Mr. Vincent Smith's Note.
By D. B. Spooner, B.A., Ph.D.

I am indebted to the Secretary for affording me an opportu nity of commenting upon the criticisms with which Mr. Vincent Smith has honoured my short notice of the Bodh-Gaya plaque. The notice in question was intended merely as an explanation of the design selected by the Society for the cover of their Journal, and was, as Mr. Smith rightly infers, written on the assumption that the temple depicted on the plaque was indeed the temple at Bodh-Gaya. The adoption of the plaque by the Society was based upon the same assumption, and as the Society is familiar with the monument and has had access to the plaque, I had looked upon their adoption of it as confirmatory of my own opinion in regard to it. If I have taken the accuracy of this identification too much for granted, or if I have expressed myself too positively on the subject, I can only express my regret for the circumstance. I must admit that there is no absolute proof that the two buildings are the same, but I may nevertheless maintain that of all the buildings known to us in Bihār to-day, the famous temple at Bodh-Gaya is far and away the most like this one which we see depicted on this plaque. If the Bodh-Gaya shrine were of an ordinary type, this would signify but little, possibly. In point of fact, it is a most unusual style, almost (I do not say quite) unique in India; and it seems to me that this fact lends the visible and obvious resemblance between the two an

added weight. It is also clear from the plaque itself that the temple it depicts was one of great importance and celebrity, in which again the agreement between the two is quite correct. An unimportant temple would not show either the extensive and costly railing round about it, nor this multitude of minor stupas, nor would there be such a column set up in front of it as this one which we see. I therefore do not agree with Mr. Vincent Smith that the rail and the little stupas should be summarily eliminated from consideration. It may be true, as he observes, that they are features common to other monuments of importance, but the fact remains that the only important Buddhist monument in the neighbourhood of Patna where these features actually do occur, is the great temple at Bodh-Gaya; which does not seem to me. an altogether negligible factor in the case. When the type of temple is so unusual as this, and when the drawing here agrees so generally as it does with the one important monument of this period known to us in this region, it does not seem to me that the assumption under challenge is indefensible. That a residuum of doubt remains, however, may be admitted. Whether that doubt is quite so large as Mr. Smith makes out is perhaps less sure.

His objection to my identification is based upon certain discrepancies between the figure on the plaque and the description of the Bodh-Gaya temple given by Hiuen Tsang, particularly the fact that Hiuen Tsang tells us (1) that the roof was crowned with an amalaka, (2) that the image in it had its hand in the Bhumisparsa mudrā and (3) that on the east of the temple there was a series of three subsidiary halls which do not appear upon our plaque.

Now it seems to me that despite these discrepancies my identification may still be right on either one of two quite possible hypotheses. Mr. Smith says that up to Hiuen Tsang's time (middle of the seventh century) there had been only two temples at this site, (a) the one erected by Asoka and (b) the one built by some Brahman to replace the older one. It was the latter which the pligrim saw, and the account of which is held to be discrepant with our plaque. What precludes the possibility

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