Gandhara Stucco Head of the Buddha - RP.169 - For Sale

Gandhara Stucco Head of the Buddha - RP.169
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The ancient civilization of Gandhara was located in the region between modern northeastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan and was situated at a confluence of trading paths along the Silk Road, an area which was abundant in cultural influences ranging from Greece to China. Gandara flourished under the Kushan Dynasty and their great King, Kanishka, who is traditionally given credit for spreading the philosophies of Buddhism through central Asia and into China. This period is hence viewed as the most important era in the history of Buddhism. After the conquests of Alexander the Great, the creation of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdoms and the general Hellenization of subcontinent, Western aesthetics became prominent. Consequently, Greek influence began permeating into Gandhara. Sculptors soon based the images of the Buddha on Greco-Roman models, depicting him as a stocky and youthful Apollo complete with stretched earlobes and loose monastic robes similar to those found on the Roman toga. The extraordinary artistic creations of Gandhara reveal links between the different worlds of the East and the West.According to tradition, Buddhism first spread into the Gandharan region under the patronage of Asoka, Emporer of the Mauryan dynasty, in the third century B.C. The earliest extant significant physical remains, including stupas and figurative sculpture, date from the first century BC between c.100 B.C.-400 A.D. Sculptors working in schist, terracotta, and stucco produced an astonishing number and variety of Buddhist images that reveal a wide variety of artistic influences including those of Persia, Greek, and India. Gandhara also became an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists from across Asia, as it was claimed that events from the Buddha�s former lives had taken place in the area.The artists of Gandhara were the first to represent the Buddha in his human form, as opposed to a symbol such as his footprint. This beautifully formed stucco sculpture of a Buddha shows how he was celebrated even as early as this period. This was most likely once attached to a body that would have been placed inside a niche on the exterior of a stupa or shrine. The modeling of this Buddha�s head is very fine. He wears a topknot in the center of his head, which is the Gandharan version of the ushnisha, which symbolizes the Buddha�s spiritual wisdom and Enlightenment. Strands of hair are signaled through wave-like indentations in the stucco. The elongated earlobes stand for a reference to the historical Buddha�s former wealth. They are beautifully and proportionately intact. The head would have most likely been painted in color as was customary for religious sculpture. The gorgeous head of a Buddha pays tribute to the extraordinary ability of the Gandharan artists. It would be a splendid addition to any collection of Asian art.- (RP.169)

Ancient Near East
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405 North Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills
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