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Gandharan Stucco Head of Prince

$2,995.00
Central Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Gandharan Empire, ca. 200 BCE to 400 CE, probably later in this period based on the use of stucco. A stucco head of a prince, modeled in the traditional Graeco-Buddhist tradition with a full face, fine almond eyes, a naturalistic nose and sensitive mouth, and the remains of an ornate headdress, similar to a turban, atop the head. Two large hoop earrings dangle from the ears. There are remains of black pigment on the eyebrows and the eyes, giving us an idea of how this piece originally looked when made. Size: 4.25" L x 4.5" W x 6.2" H (10.8 cm x 11.4 cm x 15.7 cm); 9.7" H (24.6 cm) on included custom stand.

Alexander the Great conquered Gandhara in 330 BCE and with the help of the Indo-Greek kings introduced classical traditions that would influence Gandharan art for the following seven centuries. The stylized curly Mediterranean hair and top knot derive from classical sculptures such as the Apollo Belvedere (330 BCE), and the sensitive modeling of the expressive face - especially around the eyes - demonstrates a classical influence as well.

Gandharans are famous for schist and stucco carvings, with stucco replacing schist as the dominant material around the 3rd century CE. Vast monastic institutions like those at Takht-i-Bahi, Sahri-Bahlol, Jamal Garhi, Ranigat, and Thareli were decorated by skilled artisans with stucco representations of important figures, religious scenes, and artistic dedications. Stucco allowed artists more freedom in portraying lifelike features, as shown in the gentle curve of the brow here. During this time, Gandhara was exceptionally wealthy, profiting from trade along the Silk Road; patrons had resources to spend on the arts, creating a flowering of stucco artwork. Some monumental statues had stucco hands, feet, and heads alongside clay torsos - the size of these figures was such that clay was needed to maintain their form.

Condition: Head is a fragment, with losses around the neck and the back of the head. One of the hoop earrings has been reattached. Some small areas of remaining pigment and very nicely preserved details of the face, hair, and turban.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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