Ancient Central Asia, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan, Gandharan Empire, ca. 1st to 2nd century CE. A large and naturalistic carving from the period of Greco-Buddhist art, Buddha shown in a standing pose with delineated feet standing atop an integral rectangular plinth. Buddha wears an intricately-carved robe, perhaps in imitation of some thin, diaphanous material and drapes over the body, covering everything by the neck, head, hands, and feet. The left hand holds a small implement, and a mortise on the right wrist shows where the right hand was inserted. The face is veristically carved with downturned eyes, a slender nose, thin lips, tall ears with elongated lobes, an urna centered on the forehead, and a wavy coiffure capped with an ushnisha surmounting a coronal halo. Size: 10" W x 31.25" H (25.4 cm x 79.4 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. The curly hair and top-knot look of this sculpture and others from the same tradition were likely influenced by the Belvedere Apollo (ca. 330 BCE).
For a stylistically-similar example - though without hands, feet, or a head - please see "Beloved by Time: Four Millennia of Ancient Art." Fortuna Fine Art, Ltd., New York, 2000, p. 112, fig. 196.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-private Mazard Family collection, Paris, France and New York, USA, acquired in the 1980s
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Losses to coronal halo, one hand, and areas of base as shown. Minor abrasions to base, body, head, and verso, with light encrustations within some recessed areas, and minor softening to some finer details. Nice earthen deposits throughout.