Pakistan and Afghanistan, Gandharan Empire, ca. 200 BCE to 200 CE. This is a beautiful stone carving of a griffin in high relief, surrounded by a raised rectangular border. This piece is part of a decorated stair riser, which were used extensively in Gandhara to form the pedestals on small devotional stupas. The griffin, a symbol that originated in Ancient Egypt and Greece over 3000 years ago, probably arrived in Central Asia from the Achaemenid Persian Empire; it may also have come with Alexander the Great, who conquered the region in the mid-4th century BCE. This piece shows the artistic achievement of this people, when wealth from controlling the mountain passes along the Silk Road flooded the Gandharan Empire with money for artisans. Size: 5.9" W x 9.25" H (15 cm x 23.5 cm)
Provenance: ex-private NYC collection
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