Central Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Gandharan Empire, ca. 200 BCE to 100 CE. A deep bowl with a wide, flat rim decorated with low relief repeated abstract symbols. The interior of the bowl has a complicated motif in high relief of two figures, perhaps representing Pancika and Hariti, two very popular figures from the Greco-Buddhist style of art created in Gandhara. The convex back is undecorated. The two figures stand atop a landscape of carefully carved rock, the man with one arm around the woman's shoulders, his other hand holding a cloth around her lower body; their heads are turned towards each other. Carvings of the two figures were designed to illustrate marital love, following a story where the Buddha intervened in their love story. Size: 5.05" W x 0.5" H (12.8 cm x 1.3 cm)
Round trays of this style are found in Bactria and Gandhara, often depicting Greek or Buddhist mythological scenes. Studies of the trace substances left in these trays have led researchers to conclude that they were used for mixing cosmetics, similar to ancient Egyptian cosmetic palettes.
Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection, acquired before 2000
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