A finely modelled dark grey schist statuette from Gandhara, dated between the 2nd and 4th century AD. The statuette portrays Buddha Shakyamuni, the Buddha who has reached enlightenment and upon whose teachings the religion was founded. The figure is shown seated on a throne, cross-legged in padmasana, and with his hands in the position of meditation, or dhyanamudra. The Buddha is portrayed wearing a simple, monastic robe over both shoulders, covering his entire body, with the only exception of his hands. Much attention is given towards the rendering of the robe’s deep folds and pleats. The Buddha presents some of the Laksana, the traditional physical signs, which express spiritual perfection in Gandharan art, such as the Usnia, the top-knot hairstyle, and the Urna, the dot placed on the forehead between the eyes. A large unadorned nimbus frames the Buddha’s head. The Buddha is characterized by a calm expression, reinforcing his majesty and quiet authority. The statuette was likely once part of a large-scale narrative panel modelled in high relief: the flat surface on the reverse indicates that the statuette was attached to a surface behind it, rather than free standing.
Date: 2nd - 4th century AD Condition: Fine, some cracks. The statuette has been mounted on a custom made stand, ideal for display.
Gandharan art refers to the artistic production of a specific geographical area, which can be identified with modern Pakistan and Afghanistan, and is usually dated between the 2nd century AD and the 4th century AD. In 327 BC Alexander the Great conquered the region of Gandhara. After his death the region came under the control of his generals, becoming part of the Indo-Greek kingdom. The Geek presence in the area allowed the creation of a unique style, also known as Greco-Buddhist style, in which elements from various cultures, including Hellenistic, Indian, Parthian and later Roman, were fused together, in a unique syncretism. Gandharan artistic production of this period is nearly exclusively related to Buddhism, with particular attention given towards stone carvings. The Classical and Hellenistic influence especially contributed to soften the features of the statues and enhance realism in the style.