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A LARGE GREY SCHIST FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA
A LARGE GREY SCHIST FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA
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This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more THE PROPERTY OF AN ENGLISH GENTLEMAN
A LARGE GREY SCHIST FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA

GANDHARA, 2ND/3RD CENTURY

Details
A LARGE GREY SCHIST FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA
GANDHARA, 2ND/3RD CENTURY
Seated on a plain tapering base, wearing a long dhoti and low-slung flowing sash over his muscular torso, adorned with beaded multi-stranded necklaces, armlets and earrings, his coiffure caught up with a beaded headdress, repaired breaks, old losses
37in. (94cm.) high
Provenance
Acquired in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1958 and exported to the UK later that year
Special notice

This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.

Condition report

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Lot Essay

Figures of bodhisattvas in the Gandhara region are many, represented either in stucco or grey schist or appearing in mural paintings. Our example stands out for three main reasons, its hair style, its adornments and the presence of a lower tenon mostly lacking on other large Gandhara schist statues.

His hair is formed of collected strands of matted hair tied together in a knot and falling slightly sideways and forward nearly forming two volutes. Bodhisattvas usually show elegant and sometimes lavish and orderly top knots, held together with chains and strings laden with pearls and jewels or pre-formed turban as Francine Tissot discusses and sketches (Françine Tissot, Gandhâra, Dessins d'Anne-Marie Loth et de l'auteur, Publié avec le concours du CNRS et du Centre d'Etudes des Monuments Indiens (UA 1076-CNRS) Paris, 2002, pp.79, 208-215).

The simple collapsing knot seen here finds a direct parallel with four knotted hair styles seen on figures kept in Peshawar, Lahore and London (ibid, fig. 111 and 112 ; W. Zwalf, A Catalogue of the Gandhara Sculpture in the British Museum, London, 1996, vol. II, pl. 61 and 70). Whilst plate 70 (British Museum OA1902.10-2.8), possibly identified as Maitreya and attributed to Swat or Buner, is a princely figure with a hair knot verging on the opulent double volute, plate 61 (British Museum OA1937.7-16.157), unattributed, depicts a younger bodhisattva wearing a single knot with the same collapsed and flattened shape as our figure’s.
The attire and adornments of the present figure are strikingly similar to the Peshawar and Lahore examples mentioned above and to another figure, also in Lahore, referenced to be from either Takht-i-bahi or Sahri-bahlol (ibid, fig.105). This may suggest that they were originally carved in the same region.

This figure is complete with its unbroken tapering base. Its tenon would have allowed the figure to fit tightly in a mortice so that it stood straight as part of the decoration of a chapel or stupa.

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