Northwest Pakistan, Gandhara, ca. 4th to 5th century CE. A finely modeled Gandharan stuccoed grey schist buddha head presenting a somewhat elongated oval face with partly closed almond-shaped eyes, an elegantly arched browline that extends to his protruding naturalistic nose, pursed lips, a gracefully rounded chin, and elongated earlobes, stretched from once wearing luxurious earrings, hence symbolic of Gautama (also known asDiddhartha Gautama) Buddha's former indulgences as a prince. Completing this rendering is the Buddha's pulled-back coiffure with incised waves topped by a pronounced, rounded ushnisha representing a crown that symbolizes the Buddha's spiritual power and enlightenment. Custom stand. Size: 7.5" W x 11.75" H (19 cm x 29.8 cm); 15.25" H (38.7 cm) on included custom stand.
The Gandharan Empire grew wealthy in part by controlling lucrative trade along the mountain passes between China in the East and the Near East and the Mediterranean in the West; a great deal of this wealth was devoted to local patronage of artisans and art. In the first century CE, Buddhism became fashionable amongst Gandharan elites, and the art produced at this time depicting the Buddha includes some of the most striking Buddhist images from the past, as this artistic tradition reflects the conquest of Alexander the Great and the subsequent introduction of styles from all sides blended into a uniquely Gandharan tradition, which this Buddha exemplifies. For example, the curly hair of this sculpture, as well as others from the same tradition, was most likely influenced by the magnificent Apollo Belvedere (ca. 350-325 BCE).
Provenance: private Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA collection
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