Burmese Buddhist Andagu Stone Stelae carvings vary in size and number of scenes. Some of them are just a few centimeters in height showing the enlightened Buddha in “Earth Touching Gesture” flanked by monks. Others show up to six or eight scenes with figures in miniature form around the central Buddha depicting the main events of the Buddha’s life. Some stelae show scenes of the seven main events after enlightenment and there are a few that show both.
The scenes can vary in their order, but as a rule the dying Buddha in parinirvana (entering into nirvana) seen on the top of the stelae is fairly traditional in these carvings. The central Buddha in the Indian Buddhist stelae is often seen standing, whereas the Burmese stelae show the Buddha seated cross legged in the lotus position (Padmasana or asana), although they are rarely seen in a standing position. The Buddha in these carvings is usually flanked by his two main disciples, either in the form of Bodhisattva’s or monks.
I have a tendency to think that the earlier Pagan andagu stone carvings were flanked by Bodhisattva’s in the Indian style of dress and the later Pagan carvings with monks, reflecting the adaptation of the changing style of the Buddha during the Pagan period which today we recognize as typically Burmese.
Each of the scenes surrounding the central seated Buddha links out to web sites that I have found interesting, in the hope that they may help to explain the meaning of the different scenes around the Buddha in more detail.
According to Gordon Luce’s book “Old Burma – Early pagan”, the scenes shown in these stelae are not always in the same order and that they can vary in their placement, the scenes as I have links to may not be exactly as stated. The links suggested for each scene are more for explanation of the scenes generally found on these beautiful intricate beige stone carvings found in Myanmar.