Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The Phanigiri Buddhist artefacts, discovered in 1942 and dating from 200 BCE to 400 CE, are currently showcased at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art in an exhibition called “The Tree and Serpent.”
- Phanigiri, often referred to as the “hillock of snake hood,” is a small village approximately 150 km from Hyderabad, with significant historical and spiritual significance in Buddhism.
Findings at Phanigiri:
- Remarkable findings at Phanigiri are a set of thoranas, which are stone gateways, and one of these thoranas displays both Mahayana and Hinayana schools of Buddhist thought, suggesting coexistence despite philosophical differences.
- Phanigiri provides evidence of the deification of Buddha and a transition towards canonization and ritual in Buddhist practices.
- The artefacts from this site, including a limestone carving of Buddha wearing what appears to be a Roman toga, are considered highly important and are now part of the exhibition in New York.