Gandharan Schist Palette with Banquet Scene

£ 700.00

A finely carved grey schist palette from the ancient region of Gandhara. This shallow, bowl-shaped dish features an ornamented rim and a finely carved scene filling most of the interior, leaving the remaining space subdivided in compartments. The scene depicts a male figure reclining on a kline, facing forward. The figure, possibly a Bodhisattva, is shown wearing a draped robe and sumptuous headpiece. A female figure stands to the left behind him, agitating what looks to be a fan. To his right side, a second female figure appears bent in an act of servitude. Under the scene, a deeply carved rosette. The piece displays a unique iconographic syncretism between Classical, Parthian and Buddhist elements.

Date: Circa 2nd - 4th century AD
Condition: Fine, repaired. The piece has been mounted on a custom made stand, ideal for display.


Product Code: CS-41
Category: Tags: , , ,

Stone palettes of this type are one of the earliest finds of Gandharan sculpture, having been produced since the 2nd century BC, under the Indo-Greek and Indo-Parthian kingdoms. Such small dishes were usually carved in schist, serpentine or steatite, and have been recovered especially in domestic contexts, suggesting their use in everyday life as toilet and cosmetic trays. The majority of such stone trays were decorated with images inspired by Hellenistic, Roman and Parthian art. Gandharan artists reinterpreted episodes from Classical myths, in a way that the scenes depicted might have been understood in terms of local Buddhist iconography. This created a unique syncretism between Classical and Buddhist elements. The Indo-Parthian character of the scene is enlightened by the frontal representations of the male figure, while the theme of banquets derives directly from Classical and Hellenistic art. The Urna, the dot placed on the forehead between the eyes of the Bodhisattva, derives also from Buddhist art. The iconography related to banquets and drinking contexts suggest that such vessel might have been intended for ritual offerings of wine.

To discover more about Gandharan Art, please visit our relevant blog post: Gandharan Art: A Fusion of Hellenistic and Buddhist Styles.

Dimensions W 14 cm



South Asia

Gandharan Ideology


Reference: For a similar item, The British Museum, item 1918,0706.2.