Stupas were originally memorial monuments built over the mortal remains of the Sakyamuni, and other important figures. They represent the past and the present, and a symbol of Nirvana. The unique architectural form of the present example is strongly influenced by Tibetan characteristics. The square Mt. Sumeru base is Tibetan in style, while the rounded dome is Indian in origin. Above is the harmika, consisting of a conical spire of thirteen layers, symbolic of the thirteen stages of enlightenment.
A very similar ruby-red ground stupa was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 29 April 2002, lot 536.