A gray schist figure of an Atlas
A gray schist figure of an Atlas

GANDHARA, 2ND/3RD CENTURY

Details
A gray schist figure of an Atlas
Gandhara, 2nd/3rd century
Powerfully and naturalistically carved seated with one knee raised, wearing a simple dhoti tied low at the waist, his face with thick hair, beard and moustache
16 ½ in. (42 cm.) high
Provenance
Nasli M. Heeramaneck Collection, New York
Private collection, Illinois, acquired in New York, 2 April 1996
Sale room notice
Please note that the size for this lot is 16 ½ in. (42 cm.) high

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Anita Mehta
Anita Mehta

Lot Essay

While such figures are generally identified as “Atlas,” the Greco-Roman prototype is never equipped with wings. Alfred Foucher suggests the interpretation as a yaksha, likewise supporting the base of a structure, with wings borrowed from Victory. It would thus represent an amalgamation of iconographic elements from Indian and classical sources; for a further discussion, see P. Pal, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, vol 1, fig.35, p.68; for similar examples of winged "Atlas" figures, see W. Zwalf, A Catalogue of the Gandhara Sculpture at the British Museum, 1996, pp.206-11, fig.355-68.

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