JACQUES-EDOUARD BERGER FOUNDATION:World Art Treasures

Strangely enough, in parallel to Mary and Joseph, Maya Devi has a premonition that she will give birth to an exceptional being, while Suddhodana remains fully unaware. The moment illustrated in this bas-relief is not yet quite the Annunciation: Maya Devi - already pregnant - is shown in a reclining position at her country palace (having left Suddhodana at their city palace), where she sleeps surrounded by her attendants. She is lost in a dream of greatness to come, in the form of a little elephant - in some texts portrayed as white, in others with four or six tusks - who floats in the air supported by a lotus blossom. The importance of her dream has been underscored by the "chhatra", or parasol - symbol of royalty and imperialism - carved above her head.


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