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Gandharan Schist Figure - Standing Buddha

Central Asia, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan, Gandharan Empire, ca. 2nd to 3rd century CE. A large carving of a standing Buddha, hand-carved from a grey schist. The draping of his clothing is particularly finely carved with folds flowing over his neck, wrists, and down to his ankles. His meditative face is defined by almond-shaped eyes, a slender nose, and a slightly smiling mouth, all beneath a curly coiffure with a bun-shaped topknot. The Buddha stands in front of a discoid halo with a kneeling attendant on either side of his head. Another pair of figures are shown within the integral platform kneeling before a large offering bowl. Buddha's lower body and areas of the carved platform figures boast subtle areas of red-orange pigmentation. A beautiful example from ancient Central Asia! Size: 2.625" W x 6.5" H (6.7 cm x 16.5 cm).

The Gandharan Empire made itself wealthy in part by controlling lucrative trade 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 are 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, which this Buddha exemplifies.

Condition: Repairs to discoid halo and midsection of body with small chips and light adhesive residue and earthen stabilization material along break lines. Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, loss to one hand and small area of verso, fading to some carved designs, and chips along base, body, arms, head, and halo. Nice earthen deposits throughout, and remnants of original red-orange pigment on lower body and platform.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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