Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art / A SCHIST HEAD OF A BODHISATTVA ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, 3RD/4TH CENTURY
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Global Head, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art
Head of Sale, NY & HK - Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art
犍陀羅 三/四世紀 片岩菩薩首
This distinctive sculpture depicts the head of a bodhisattva, an enlightened individual who delayed Buddhahood in order to help sentient beings. The Greco-Roman influence in Gandharan art is clearly seen in his facial features, which are both naturalistic and idealized, creating a serene, pensive expression as the bodhisattva looks down. His face is framed by an array of neatly arranged short ringlets falling across his forehead, each terminating in an exquisite tail-like twist. His wavy locks are embellished with beaded ornaments before being tied into a loose, asymmetrical topknot that drapes towards his left ear. In Gandharan art, this type of square-knot chignon is often associated with Maitreya. Although most images of Maitreya feature a neat symmetrical topknot with shorter loops, more relaxed examples like the present lot also exist, as seen in a standing figure of Maitreya at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (13.96.16).
Compare to a closely related Gandharan head with similar loose chignon, hair ornaments, and short ringlets, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (1967.28). Also see Bonhams, New York, 14 September 2015, lot 81.
Private Dutch Collection by 1958
Thence by descent