Precious Treasures from the Diamond Throne: Finds from the Site of the Buddha’s Enlightenment [Paperback]

Sam van Schaik (Editor); Daniela De Simone (Editor); Gergely Hidas (Editor); Michael Willis (Editor)

ISBN: 9780861592289 | Published by: British Museum Press | Series: British Museum Research Publications | Volume: 228 | Year of Publication: 2021 | Language: English 224p, H297 x W210 (mm) 175

Precious Treasures from the Diamond Throne


The Mahābodhi temple at Bodhgayā in eastern India has long been recognised as the place where the Buddha sat in meditation and attained enlightenment. The site, soon identified as the ‘Diamond Throne’ or vajrāsana, became a destination for pilgrims and a focus of religious attention for more than two thousand years.

This volume presents new research on Bodhgayā and assesses the important archaeological, artistic and literary evidence that bears witness to the Buddha’s enlightenment and to the enduring significance of Bodhgayā in the history of Buddhism. The book brings together a team of international scholars to look at the history and perception of the site across the Buddhist world and its position in the networks of patronage and complex religious landscape of northern India. The volume assesses the site’s decline in the thirteenth century, as well as its subsequent revival as a result of archaeological excavations in the nineteenth century. Using the British Museum’s collections as a base, the authors discuss the rich material culture excavated from the site that highlights Bodhgayā’s importance in the field of Buddhist studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction Michael Willis, Sam van Schaik, John Clarke 1. The Mahābodhi Temple Before its Restoration (J. P. Losty) 2. The Āsana: Where the Buddha Sat (Daniela De Simone, Dániel Balogh, Sven Bretfield) 3. Pīṭhīpati Puzzles: Custodians of the Diamond Throne (Dániel Balogh) 4. Early Burmese Inscriptions from Bodhgaya (Tilman Frasch) 5. The Internalisation of the Vajrāsana (Sam van Schaik) 6. Tibetan Inscriptions in the British Museum Archive (Tsering Gonkatsang, Michael Willis) 7. Buddhist Sealings and the ye dharmā Stanza (Peter Skilling) 8. Dhāraṇī Seals in the Cunningham Collection (Gergely Hidas) 9. A Terracotta Plaque with an Old Mon Inscription (Marc Miyake, Tilman Frasch, Michael Willis) 10. Five Terracotta Plaques with Figurative Imagery (Serena Biondo) 11. The Mahābodhi Plaque of the Goddess Mārīcī (Jinah Kim, Kashinath Tamot, Sushma Jansari) 12. From Bodhgayā to Berlin (Claudine Bautze-Picron) 13. Numismatic Finds at Bodhgayā (Robert Bracey) 14. Deposits at Bodhgayā: Objects, Materials, Analysis (Michael Willis, Joanna Whalley, Beatriz Cifuentes, Robert Bracey) 15. Chinese Inscriptions from Bodhgayā (Michael Willis, Serena Biondo) 16. Materials of Plaques 1887,0717.146-147 (Marei Hacke)

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