Gandharan Stone Buddha Head - OF.270 - For Sale

Gandharan Stone Buddha Head - OF.270
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The ancient civilization of Gandhara was located in the region encompassing modern northeastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. It is the name given to an ancient region or province invaded in 326 BC by Alexander the Great. Situated at a confluence of trading paths along the Silk Route, the area was flooded in diverse cultural influences ranging from Greece to China. Gandhara flourished under the Kushan Dynasty and their great king, Kanishka, who is traditionally given credit for spreading the philosophies of Buddhism throughout central Asia and into China. This period is viewed as the most important era in the history of Buddhism. After the conquests of Alexander the Great, the creation of Greco- Bactrian kingdoms, and the general Hellenization of the subcontinent, Western aesthetics became prominent. Greek influence began filter through Gandhara, which was seen on the art of this period.Some of the earliest anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha were believed to have been developed under the Kushans. The innovative anthropomorphic Buddha image immediately reached a very high level of sculptural sophistication, naturally inspired by the sculptural styles of Hellenistic Greece. Adhering to the primacy of ideal beauty with a focus on the physical beauty of the human form and interest in realism, the Gandharan sculptors created some of the world's most breathtakingly serene and beautiful sculptures.This dignified Buddha head was created from stucco, which was the most popular media used. This material is easily manipulated and can produce wonderfully smooth surfaces, as is apparent on the face. The curled hair has been arranged in a top-knot, the Gandharan version of the ushnisha, or mound which symbolises the Buddha’s wisdom. The overall piece is well preserved. The Buddha’s influence is evident in the half-closed eyes suggesting meditation. He has a straight nose, and beautifully cut lips with a subtle smile. According to tradition Buddhism was first introduced into the Gandharan region under the patronage of Asoka, emperor of the Mauryan dynasty, in the third century B.C. The first significant physical remains to survive, including stupas and figurative sculpture, date from the first century B.C. In subsequent centuries Gandharan monks were to play an important role in the spread of Buddhism into other parts of Asia, especially China.The Kushans were able to establish a strong empire for a period of about three hundred years, and produced works of art reflecting both indigenous traditions and external influences. The Gandharan School reached its peak mainly towards the end of the second century with the production of the most significant large Buddha statues. Their style continued to flourish until the seventh century. - (OF.270)

Ancient Near East
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