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About The Phanigiri Artefacts


The Phanigiri artefacts, dating from 200 BCE-400 CE and discovered in 1942, are on display at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.


GS I: History, Facts  for Prelims

Phanigiri Artefacts:

Phanigiri Buddhist Site:

  • The Phanigiri Buddhist site is considered one of the most significant discoveries in Buddhist iconography in the current millennium.
  • Phanigiri, meaning “hillock of snake hood,” is a small village located in the state of Telangana.

Key Findings:

  • The archaeological findings at Phanigiri include thoranas, which are elaborately decorated gateways or arches.
  • These thoranas discovered at Phanigiri are of great importance because they are among the first of their kind found south of Sanchi, a renowned Buddhist site in central India.

Mahayana and Hinayana Depictions:

  • A notable feature of the thorana at Phanigiri is that it contains a panel depicting both Mahayana and Hinayana schools of Buddhist thought. This reflects the diverse Buddhist influences present at the site.

Deification of Buddha:

  • Phanigiri provides evidence of the transition from the deification of Buddha to his canonization and ritualization.
  • This shift in perception of Buddha’s identity from a historical and spiritual figure to a more formal and ritualized one is an important aspect of Buddhist evolution.

Buddha’s Image:

  • One of the significant findings at Phanigiri is an image of the Buddha wearing what appears to be a Roman toga, with intricately carved folds. This image is made of limestone.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024