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Kizil Caves Fresco

Maya Cave

Eight Kings of the Relics Story


A larger image of the Eight Kings of the Relics Story, Tarim Basin


Picture source: Grnwedel, Albert Alt-Kutscha. Doppeltafel Tafel XLVI, XLVII.
Qyzyl, My cave, 3rd enclosure, side wall right, inside
Height 1.50 m. Width 1.88 m.
The plot of the painting is associated with the events that took place after the death and cremation of the body of Buddha Shakyamuni near Kushinagara. When news of these events reached the cities in which Shakyamuni preached the Doctrine, the princes who ruled in them gathered troops and laid siege to Kushinagara, demanding that they give them a sharira - relics left after the cremation of the Buddha's body. The leaders of the besiegers belonged to the Shakya clan, from which Buddha Shakyamuni himself came. One of his disciples, a brahmana named Drona, recalled his vow not to harm living beings, thereby stopping the battle that was about to begin. He divided the Buddha's ashes into eight parts, and the Buddhist communities thus received their share. Memorial stupas were erected over each of these relics.

Similar scenes of the Siege of Kushinagara:
Distribution of Buddha's ashes. Von Land und Leuten in Ostturkistan : vol.1 by A. von Le Coq
Cave group "with the fireplace". Bilderatlas zur Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Mittel-Asiens : vol.1 by A. von Le Coq
Horsemen at the Siege of Kushinagara. 'City cave' Šōrčuq. Karashahr, 8th Century AD (?)

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