Gandhara culture, pensive bodhisattvas

2nd-3rd century, Gandhara, pensive bodhisattva, grey schist, private collection.

2nd-3rd century, Gandhara, pensive bodhisattva, grey schist, private collection.

3rd-4th century, Pakistan, Gandhara culture, grey schist, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

3rd-4th century, Pakistan, Gandhara culture, grey schist, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

These two sculptures represent a bodhisattva, probably Avalokiteshvara, holding a lotus flower in one hand while resting his head on the other. The first is depicted in a realistic manner, with elegant body proportions and facial features, the second has an oversized head and one hand bigger than the other but the folds of his robe and the lotus he holds reveal a remarkable level of craftsmanship. They both sit on a throne with an aureole behind them, the first one goes over the head of the buddha in the manner of a naga or snake hood, the other is decorated with a geometric pattern imitating the sun.

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