Central Asia, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan, Gandharan Empire, ca. 1st to 3rd century CE. A delightful panel carved from dark gray schist showing five figures, nude save a cloak over their shoulders, climbing either a tree or structure with bags in their hands to get eggs or birds or perhaps both. The lowest figure seems to have fallen, as a bird beside him looks on. The other figures each support the one above as they near the prey at the very top. Perhaps there is a Gandharan legend about these amusing little fellows and their dangerous adventure. Size: 4.25" W x 34.5" H (10.8 cm x 87.6 cm); 36.5" H (92.7 cm) on included custom stand.
The Gandharan Empire made itself wealthy in part by controlling lucrative trade routes along the mountain passes between China in the East and the Near East and Mediterranean in the West; a great deal of this wealth went into 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.Their artistic tradition also reflects the conquest of Alexander the Great and the introduction of styles from all sides, blended into a uniquely Gandharan tradition.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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