• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2278

    Highlights from the Star Collection: From India to Indonesia

    20 March 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1201

    A gray schist figure of a winged Atlas

    GANDHARA, 2ND/3RD CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A gray schist figure of a winged Atlas
    Gandhara, 2nd/3rd century
    Powerfully carved crouching on one knee with a muscular torso and bearded face, a robe draped elegantly over his arm and casually across his lap, the wings with feathers in fine detail, with polished surface
    15 5/8 in. (40 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

    The correspondence in size, style of carving, unusual aspects such as the scattered vignettes of incised curved lines on the base, high polish and powerful expression, indicate that this is in fact the mate to a winged Atlas at the Norton Simon Museum, see illustration at right. Pal first noted the close proximity in style, but he was unaware of the whereabouts of this figure. Likely executed by the same hand, they rank among the important and expressive of their type in the Gandharan context.

    The two figures would have flanked the base of a large Buddhist figure. A. Foucher, L'art Gréco-Bouddhique du Gandhara, 1905, p. 208, was the first to suggest that winged supportive figures of this type are disguised yakshas, borrowing wings from the goddess of victory, combining an Indian concept with iconographic elements from classical sources. In the Gandharan context these winged figures are generally depicted in a more relaxed attitude, often with at least one arm down.

    Provenance

    Spink and Son, Ltd., London, 1970
    Dr. and Mrs. Cecil Y. Lang Collection
    Sotheby's New York, 21 March 1990, lot 216


    Literature

    I. Kurita, Gandharan Art, vol. II, 2003, p. 155, fig. 449