1. RED SANDSTONE ELEPHANT WITH MAHOUT
NORTHERN INDIA, UTTAR PRADESH, MATHURA AREA
EARLY KUSHAN PERIOD, 1ST CENTURY AD
Red (sikri) sandstone
L. 33 CMS, 13 INS; H. 22 CMS, 8 ¾ INS
A charming and rare double-sided mottled red (sikri) sandstone figure of a caparisoned elephant, adorned with an opulent saddle rug and ornate trappings and guided by a turbanned mahout wielding a long angkus
The fact that the elephant is sumptuously attired suggests that this sculpture depicts either the carriage of Buddhist relics in a religious procession or the conveyance of a royal personage. For two elephants of similar, early Kushan date see cat. nos. 45 and 46 in S. J. Czuma, Kushan Sculpture: Images from Early India. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1985. For a closely related, though slightly earlier (Mauryan) depiction in the New Delhi Museum, see cat. no. 59 in D. E. Klimburg-Salter, Buddha in Indien, Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, 1995.
Provenance: Private French collection.