On Monday I visited the Asian Civilizations Museum here in Singapore to see the exhibition of Moghul jewellery from the al-Sabha Collection. I happened to see the collection in London a few years back but was only too happy to see it again. Words fail! No description can do justice to these superb works of art, every one a masterpiece. However, some of the things in the London exhibition were not on display in Singapore and vice versa. Two objects that I had not seen before and found of particular interest were the small crystal goblets. Flawless, beautifully worked and still unscratched after 1000 years. Of course, I was immediately reminded of the story in the Vinaya in which each of the four Great Kings give the Buddha a rock crystal bowl (selamaye patte, Vin.I,4). This story is intriguing in itself, but it is also evidence of how highly developed the lapidary’s art already was during the Buddha’s time. I know of only one other fine crystal artifact (other than beads) from ancient India, interestingly, connected with the Buddha - the relic casket with the fish-shaped handle from the Piprahwa Stupa (5th-4th century BCE). The two goblets in the al-Sabha Collection are dated approx 12th century although judging by the etchings on the smaller one (7) I would have thought it much earlier. Its shape also speaks of a much earlier period. Whatever the case, it may have been objects something like this, only much bigger, that were given to the Buddha.