Gandhara culture, seated buddhas – stucco

1st-3rd century, Gandhara, Afghanistan, Kushian period, Shakyamuni, stucco, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

late 3rd-early 4th century, Afghanistan, late Kushan period, Shakyamuni, stucco, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

The historical buddha is seated with both hands in the meditation gesture, his robe covers both shoulders and forms long transversal pleats over his left arm, shorter concentric pleats on the other side. His thick curls are piled in a soft round bun on his head (ushnisha).

4th-5th century, Afghanistan or Gandhara, Shakyamuni, stucco, private collection, photo by Christie's.

4th-5th century, Afghanistan or Gandhara, Shakyamuni, stucco, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This later buddha’s robe has the same pleating and draping arrangement. His rounder nose and facial features depart from the Greco-Buddhist standard.

4th-5th century, Gandhara, Northeast Pakistan or Afghanistan, Shakyamuni, stucco, private collection.

4th-5th century, Gandhara, Northeast Pakistan or Afghanistan, Shakyamuni, stucco, private collection.

In the later phase of the Gandhara culture, buddhas often have wavy hair rather than curls, but the draping of the robe remains the same. The above has soft, plump, and even life-like, facial features and seems to be looking and smiling at us.

4th-5th century, Gandhara, probably Shakyamuni, stucco, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

4th-5th century, Gandhara, probably Shakyamuni, stucco, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

This is quite a different style, with the eyebrows merging into the thin lines that define the nose, a small raised urna on his forehead, semi-closed eyes.

4th-5th century, Gandhara, Shakyamuni, stucco, private collection, photo by Christie's.

4th-5th century, Gandhara, Shakyamuni, stucco, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The above has thick curls and a soft round chignon and a perfect oval face, with a broad nose and fleshy lips. His hands do the dharmacakra mudra.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s