Art of the Ancient World, C. 5000 B.c.e.–400 C.E.

Art of India and Southeast Asia

What is a stupa?

A stupa is a hemispherical Buddhist monument based on Southeast Asian burial mounds, but not used as a tomb. After his death, the Buddha’s cremated remains were placed in small containers known as reliquaries and buried in the earthen stupas. Buddhist pilgrims worship the Buddha’s remains by walking clockwise around the stupa, which mirrors the revolutions of the earth and sun. Stupas do not have to be large—some of them are small enough to fit in the palm of a hand. They represent the Buddhist concept of the “world mountain” and are sacred diagrams of the universe.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Art History Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App