Gandharan Relief Fragment

SKU: HQ.0092

Origin: Afghanistan/Pakistan
Circa: 2nd to 4th Century AD
Dimensions: 5.5" high x 4" wide (14 cm x 10.2 cm) 8" (20.3 cm) high on custom stand
Medium: Schist

A stunning schist fragment hand-carved in high relief from a frieze or larger sculptural group, depicting a man's head bowed to the right in front of a second standing figure above, clutching the mantle of his toga with his left hand, torso just visible.  The mustached foreground figure displays well modeled features including a prominent brow, round fleshy cheeks, and full lips.  He wears an elaborate head dress, with a broad petaled necklace, and round ear plugs. Both figures stand just inside a beautiful floral frame featuring a band of scrolling four-petalled rosettes. The schist of a rich, earthy green patina with areas of high polish to the figures face and adornments. 


Private Collection Los Angeles, acquired from Blackman Cruz, Los Angeles

Fine Condition with small chips and surface abrasions to the frame, rich patina, patches of high polish throughout.

It can be assumed that this relief fragment was originally part of a frieze dedicated to the life of Buddha. It was usual to find such scenes in the monasteries of Gandhāra. The latter were composed of two types of spaces: courtyards accessible to devotees and cluttered with all sorts of ex-voto monuments, such as burial mounds (stūpa) and chapels, and beyond that an enclosure reserved for monks only. In the public areas, the bases of the stūpa, the door and window surrounds, the plinths and sometimes even the risers of the stairs bore numerous reliefs, juxtaposing decorative motifs and apologetic narrative scenes, of which this relief can be assumed to be a part.

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