Photograph of a richly sculptured disc from Amaravati, representing the adoration of the Buddha's begging bowl, photographed on site after the Government excavations of 1880 by Sergeant Coney. In the Buddhist Stupas of Amravati and Jaggayapeta of 1887, James Burgess, who was in charge of the excavations at Amaravati in the 1880s, wrote, "The disc...is a fine example of the middle rails. It was found a little to the west of the south entrance...There is little doubt that it represents the transference or translation of the patra or begging-dish of Buddha to the Tushita heavens...".
The Amaravati Stupa was founded in the 3rd-2nd centuries BC and enlarged in the 1st-4th centuries AD under the Satavahana and Ikshvaku patronage and represents one of the greatest architectural achievement of ancient India. Colin Mackenzie (1754-1821) encountered the stupa at Amaravati in 1798, making him the first European to discover this Second Century Buddhist monument. In the 19th century a series of excavations took place at the site. In 1880 the Governor of Madras, the Duke of Buckingham, gave the order to J.G. Horsfall to 'clear' the site. In this way the site turned into a large pit with the excavated sculpture arranged around it. The monument now only survives in the collections of the Amaravati sculptures kept in various museums.
Text and image credit: © The British Library Board