APART FROM THIS POST ON GANDHARA, A NEW PAGE CALLED ‘ATTRIBUTES WORN ON THE HEAD’ HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE PAGE SECTION OF THIS BLOG
This athletic (though rather short-legged) male figure with a moustache and long wavy hair gathered in a topknot is identified as Maitreya by the ritual water pot he holds by the neck. He wears princely jewellery, a string of amulet boxes, a pleated lower garment, a scarf or shawl, and sandals. His missing hand would having been in the fear-allaying gesture as below.
It is the first time we come across such a hair arrangement partly covering the beaded headband. The bodhisattva‘s nimbus includes two kneeling figures and he stands on a pedestal decorated with a scene involving a seated figure with a water pot in his hands (possibly himself?) and two devotees.
The future buddha often makes the ‘turning the wheel of dharma’ gesture with his hands.
We have seen various figures seated on this type of lotus seat, with their legs locked, their garment draped in a similar way, and the sole of their feet showing. Apart from a beaded band that keeps his mass of curls together, the above wears circular hair ornaments. He has a youthful face with no moustache, and holds a water pot by the neck in his hands clasped in the gesture of meditation.
2nd-3rd century, Gandhara, Maitreya, schist, private collection, photo on Christie’s .
The absence of an elaborate headdress suggests that this young man with long curly hair partly gathered in a hair bun is Maitreya, his right hand making the fear-allaying gesture, the other resting on his knee in a singular way. He is flanked by devotees. Compare with prince Siddhartha (labelled ‘buddha’) here .
An interesting image that depicts Maitreya, identified by the ritual water pot he holds by the neck, with most of his chest covered with his upper garment and two necklaces only, not string of amulet boxes. As usual, part of his hair is tied in a topknot.