An ornate wrought iron arch set above a gateway. At the base, a lotus flower is opening and unfolding, revealing above two deer lying either side of a vase, above which is an eight-spoked wheel, inset with coloured stones. Above the wheel is a golden trident set within a decorative circle, fringed with flames. Depicts the Nalanda Crest, containing a variety of Buddhist symbols.
Was installed when the London Buddhist Centre was opened in 1978.
The scene depicted in the arched gateway is the Nalanda Crest, arising from early Indian Buddhist tradition. Nalanda was one of the greatest monastic universities of India, from the time of the Buddha (6th - 5th centuries BC), until its destruction during the Muslim invasions (c.1100). The crest was later adopted by many other monastic institutions, e.g. Tibetan temples, and is thus an appropriate emblem to appear on a Buddhist teaching institution. The original design is thought to be the work of Deva Raja, a member of the original order, and incorporates a number of Buddhist symbols. The wheel represents the eight-spoked wheel of Buddhist Dharma, dating back to early Buddhism and can also be seen as a solar symbol, showing the Buddhist sun or eight-fold path to enlightenment. The wheel is set on top of a vase containing the elixir of immortality. The trident is an ancient Indian part of royal insignia and can also be thought of as representing the three 'times' - past, present and future. The deer are frequently found in Buddhist iconography and refer to the fact that the Buddha's first teaching sermon took place in Deer Park, Isipatana, near Benares. They represent a state of spiritual receptivity. The whole work is surrounded by and decorated with flames, representing the purifying power of enlightenment and the transformation of the physical world into the spiritual. The Nalanda Crest is a well-known Buddhist emblem and dates from the first millennium.
PMSA recording information