Artist/maker unknown, Tibetan
In Tibetan Buddhism a stupa represents the mind of a buddha (an enlightened being) and of Buddhist practitioners. This is a Kadam-style stupa, named for a religious order of Tibetan Buddhism that flourished solely between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. The shape is classified as mahaparinirvana, indicating release from cyclic existence. Stupas are used for votive offerings, memorials, and reliquaries, and often contain consecratory items like paper prayers, incense, semi-precious and precious stones, or relics. This consecrated example is sealed with a metal plate stamped with a ritual implement called a visva-vajra, here unusually adorned with emerging flowers.