The stupa is the principal monument of Buddhism, initially as a burial mound of Buddha Shakyamuni and subsequently evolving into a model for reliquaries and a symbol of the cosmos.
No other bronze stupa of this type and large size appears to be recorded. It is constructed from thinly cast elements and sheet metal friezes worked in repouss and joined with rivets.
Compare a bronze model of a stupa in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, M. Lerner and S. Kossak, The Arts of South and Southeast Asia, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994, fig. 10, with four columns supporting miniature stupas; and a schist stupa in the James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, see P. Pal, A Collecting Odyssey, 1997, cat. no. 92, also with lion capitals. The addition of these columns integrates the more ancient pillar cult, as exemplified by the lion pillars (at Mathura) during the reign of Ashoka, with the stupa. The lions are also symbolic of Buddha himself, whose sermons are likened to a lion's roar.
The five uppermost parasols, symbol of royalty, may jointly refer to the five Tathagatas, the five precious gems and the five elements.
For a discussion of related gold and silver reliquaries, placed in schist stupa chambers, see S. Czuma, Kushan Sculpture, Images from Early India, 1985, cat. no. 82, p. 166-68.