A nimbus (Lat. ‘cloud’) refers to a luminous cloud or halo that surrounds the head or the whole body of a depicted figure. In art, the nimbus distinguishes particularly powerful or spiritually advanced figures such as kings, gods, saints, or enlightened beings.
In Buddhist art,, , , and are embellished with a nimbus in the shape of a disc of light or a wreath of rays or flames. The motif probably reaches back to ancient Persian art where it symbolized a ruler’s unsurpassed ‘glory’.