Photo source: Howard, Summit of Treasures, p. 20

Birth of Shakyamuni

Scene 12, Baodingshan, Dazu (map)

Maya, the Buddha's mother, appears as a crowned Bodhisattva with ruyi. Her son, Siddhartha Guatama (the Buddha's birth name), appears beside his mother as an oversize child, alluding to his miraculous birth from the side of his mother. Maya's shalabhanjika posture, and her attendant maid, are retained from the original Indian iconography. However, in deference to Chinese sensibilities, she grasps the tree with her arm decorously extended, rather than provocatively raised. As with the Parinirvana on the previous page, this is a devotional, not a narrative, tableau.