Gandhara, lay people

4th-5th century, Gandhara, Kushan period, adoring attendant, stucco and traces of pigments, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

4th-5th century, Gandhara, Kushan period, adoring attendant, stucco and traces of pigments, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

This life-like devotee wears the same type of  jewellery as the one we have seen on bodhisattvas from the same period and area, with a floral motif also used on his headdress.

4th-5th century, Gandhara culture, Pakistan, painted limestone, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

4th-5th century, Gandhara culture, Pakistan, painted limestone, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

Again, the man wears elaborate jewellery and headdress, a thin lower garment and an upper one worn over the left shoulder, leaving the chest bare. The facial features are alike, a plump oval face with a pointed nose, thin eyebrows, a small chin. The woman’s garment is held in place with a belt, she wears bulky earrings, a headband and plain armbands.

 

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Buddhas with unusual features

3rd-4th century, Gandhara, Shakyamuni, polychrome stucco, private collection, photo by Christie's.

3rd-4th century, Gandhara, Shakyamuni, polychrome stucco, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This is a rare image of the historical buddha with his right arm under his robe, the hand coming out from above to hold the cloth.

4th century circa, Afghanistan, infant buddha, private collection.

4th century circa, Afghanistan, baby buddha, private collection.

If sculptures of Shakyamuni as an infant are few, those of him as a baby are even fewer. The above is adorned with jewellery, a scarf and a flower in his soft curly hair.

5th-6th century, Pakistan, Kahujo Daro, Shakyamuni, terracotta, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

5th-6th century, Pakistan, from the Kahu-jo Daro stupa, Shakyamuni, terracotta, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

This famous buddha’s halo is decorated with a singular floral and foliate relief.

Gandhara, Avalokiteshvara – stone

2nd-3rd century, Gandhara, Avalokiteshvara, grey schist, private collection, photo by Christie's.

2nd-3rd century, Gandhara, Avalokiteshvara, grey schist, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The second most popular bodhisattva in that area, Avalokiteshvara is portrayed very much like Maitreya (an athletic young man, with a thin nose and a moustache, elegantly draped and adorned with jewellery and an elaborate head dress). He is identified through the lotus he holds – in this case between his hands.

2nd-3rd-c-gandhara-avalokiteshvara-grey-schist-holds-lotus-927-cm-close-up-christies

He is adorned with necklaces, armbands, earrings, and an elaborate headdress.

3rd century, Gandhara, bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, schist, private collection

3rd century, Gandhara, Avalokiteshvara, schist, private collection.

This work depicts him with the same facial features and earrings, a similar headdress and overall style, a broken halo but a preserved lotus pedestal. It is a perfect illustration of the fine workmanship and harmonious proportions which the area is famous for.

3rd century, Gandhara, Avalokiteshvara, grey schist, at the Matsuoka Museum in Tokyo (Japan), published on wikemedia.

3rd century, Gandhara, Avalokiteshvara, grey schist, at the Matsuoka Museum in Tokyo (Japan), published on wikemedia.

Both in the Gandharan culture and posterior Swat Valley art, Avalokiteshvara is often depicted in a pensive mood, i.e. a leg pendant, his head leaning to the right, the arm resting on his knee. This unusual image shows one of his sandals on the stool on which his left foot his resting. He holds a lotus downwards in his left hand.

5th century circa, Gandhara, North West Pakistan, Avalokiteshvara, schist, published on asianartresources.com

5th century circa, Gandhara, North West Pakistan, Avalokiteshvara, schist, published by asianartresource.com

Avalokiteshvara in his padmapani form, with a hairstyle typical of the area, holds the long stem of a lotus in his left hand and a garland in the other.

Gandhara, Maitreya – seated (stone)

2nd-3rd century, Gandhara, North West Pakistan, Maitreya, stone, private collection, published on asianartresource.com

2nd-3rd century, Gandhara, North West Pakistan, Maitreya, stone, private collection, published on asianartresource.com

Not all Gandharan art displays the same facial features. This Maitreya has a plump face and no moustache. He is adorned with the standard jewellery and sits on a throne with a fire altar scene at the front, holding a pot of water, both hands in the meditation gesture.

3rd century, Gandhara, Maitreya, grey schist, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

3rd century, Gandhara, Maitreya, grey schist, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The pot of water is usually held by the neck. It may be elongated, as on the previous picture, oval as above or round as below.

3rd century, Gandhara, Pakistan, Maitreya, schist, at the Royal Ontario Museum (Canada).

3rd century, Gandhara, Pakistan, Maitreya, schist, at the Royal Ontario Museum (Canada).

The lion throne may be covered with a loose cloth, as above.

Gandhara, Shakyamuni – stone

2nd-3rd century, Gandhara, Shakyamuni, schist, at the Lahore Museum (Pakistan).

2nd-3rd century, Gandhara, Shakyamuni, schist, at the Lahore Museum (Pakistan).

Shakyamuni stands on a plinth decorated with figures standing near a fire altar, his robe covering both shoulders, his feet bare, the left hand holding a piece of his garment, the other (probably) doing the fear-allaying gesture. He has life-like facial features, a raised urna on his forehead, thick wavy hair piled into a soft bun.

Same as before, private collection, photo by Christie's.

Same as before, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Shakyamuni,  accompanied by a royal donor,  with a plump face and a solar disc behind his head.

3rd century, Gandhara, Pakistan, grey schist, at the New Delhi National Museum.

3rd century, Gandhara, Pakistan, grey schist, at the New Delhi National Museum.

More often than not the halo is just a plain disc. The above stands on a lotus base, with a row of stamens and two rows of petals going downwards.

3rd century, Gandhara, Pakistan, Kushan period, Shakyamuni, schist, at the Peshawar Museum (Pakistan).

This one, on a plinth decorated with a floral motif.

3rd-4th century, Gandhara, Shakyamuni, schist, at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum

3rd-4th century, Gandhara, Shakyamuni, schist, at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum

As we have seen with bronze sculptures from the area, he sometimes has abnormally reduced legs and feet.

Gandhara, Maitreya – standing (stone)

1st to 3rd century, Gandhara, Pakistan, Kushan period, Maitreya, schist, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

1st to 3rd century, Gandhara, Pakistan, Kushan period, Maitreya, schist, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

In the Gandharan culture Maitreya is normally depicted in his bodhisattva appearance, in the form of a muscular man, sporting a moustache, part of his long hair fastened into two loops on top of the head, wearing a long lower garment, his robe worn loosely to leave the torso bare or half bare, adorned with several necklaces, floral armbands and earrings.

3rd century, same as before, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (USA).

3rd century, same as before, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (USA).

He usually wears sandals. His jewellery consists in a choker, a short necklace with bulky beads, often rectangular, a longer one worn across the chest, also with large beads, tubular or rectangular and one or two with a single bead, worn across the right shoulder.

3rd century, Gandhara, Maitreya, phyllite and paint, at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art (USA).

3rd century, Gandhara, Maitreya, phyllite and paint, at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art (USA).

2nd to 4th century, Gandhara, Maitreya, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

2nd to 4th century, Gandhara, Maitreya, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

3rd century, Gandhara, Pakistan, Maitreya, grey schist, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

3rd century, Gandhara, Pakistan, Maitreya, grey schist, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

On the rare occasions when the left hand is not broken, we can see that he holds a pot of water by the neck. The above stands on a very ornate plinth with a floral design that matches his armbands.

3rd century, Gandhara, Maitreya, grey schist, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

3rd century, Gandhara, Maitreya, grey schist, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

This one has a sash (or celestial scarf) stretched over both arms.

3rd-4th century, Gandhara, Maitreya, schist, at the Lahore Museum (Pakistan).

3rd-4th century, Gandhara, Maitreya, schist, at the Lahore Museum (Pakistan).

This scene, with four figures standing around a fire altar, is a recurrent theme on Gandharan plinth.

Same as before, at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum (USA).

Same as before, at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum (USA).

His halo goes from shoulder to shoulder and above head level.

Gandhara, seated buddhas – stone (2)

3rd century circa, Gandhara, Kushan period, Shakyamuni, schist, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (USA).

3rd century circa, Gandhara, Kushan period, Shakyamuni, schist, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (USA).

A singular portrait of Shakyamuni, with large hands, a thin moustache, wide-open eyes, his wavy hair arranged in a chignon made of regular loops, a small halo behind his head. The pleating on his sanghati also follows a geometrical pattern, like a long tape unfolding in superimposed layers. When seated, the robe normally covers the left shoulder only but this one covers both as if he were standing.

3rd century, Gandhara, Pakistan, Shakyamuni, schist, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

3rd century, Gandhara, Pakistan, Shakyamuni, schist, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

This classic work depicts him with thick curls, a large halo behind him, a small urna on his forehead, semi-closed eyes. His transparent robe covers only one shoulder and has transversal pleats throughout, the lower part is loosely arranged around the ankles and the middle part tucked under them.

2nd-3rd century, Gandhara, Shakyamuni, schist, private collection, photo by Christie's.

2nd-3rd century, Gandhara, Shakyamuni, schist, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Another classic but with wavy hair, both hands in the dharmacakra mudra, seated on a cushion over on a throne with claw feet decorated with a scene depicting two figures kneeling by a fire altar.

3rd century, Gandhara, Shakyamuni, schist, same as before.

3rd century, Gandhara, Shakyamuni, schist, same as before.

This buddha is seated on a throne supported by elephants on a cut-out plinth.