• Indian and Southeast Asian Art auction at Christies

    Sale 2195

    Indian and Southeast Asian Art

    16 September 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 743

    A gray schist figure of a Pensive Bodhisattva


    Price Realised  


    A gray schist figure of a Pensive Bodhisattva
    Gandhara, 2nd/3rd century
    Very finely carved with the muscular torso draped in a voluminous sanghati and adorned with multiple necklaces, the face with fine moustache and raised urna, surmounted by an elaborate jeweled and beaded headdress and backed by a halo
    14¼ in. (36.3 cm.) high

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    This rare type of 'Pensive Bodhisattva' originates in the Gandharan region during the Kushan period and is of extraordinary significance for further stylistic and iconographic developments throughout Asia. In the Gandharan context, historical scenes of the 'Pensive Bodhisattva' generally represent Prince Siddhartha at his First Meditation on life's sorrows. Indian texts relate this episode from Buddha's life, stating that the young Prince Siddhartha was present at the annual ploughing ceremony officiated by his father. Reflecting on how difficult the work was for the bull pulling the plough and for the farmer driving the bull, and filled with pity for the hardship and misery of all living creatures, Siddhartha began to meditate.


    Acquired in New York before 1967


    On loan to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York from 1967-2009 (L67.21.28)