| exhibitions

Previous Image | London: the fall season | Next Image

Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Asian Art

Northwest Pakistan, probably from the Sahri Bahlol area
2nd c. - 3rd c.
Polished black schist
H. 147 cms, 58 ins.

An exquisitely sculpted black schist figure of Buddha Sakyamuni standing with feet apart upon a pedestal containing two pairs of worshippers between columns engaged in the ‘Worship of the Begging Bowl’; his (missing) right hand raised in abhayamudra and the left holding a fold of his robe, the hair emanating in symmetrical waves from a point above the urna, the face tranquil with a beatific smile and the nimbus circular and complete.

Large, frontal Buddha images like this are modelled upon Greco-Roman ideals and were placed in shrines, niches and courtyards of monasteries (viharas).

After the Buddha’s Enlightenment at Bodhgaya there followed seven weeks of fasting and meditation. A caravan containing a pair of merchants called Trapusa and Bhallika passed the Bodhi tree beneath which the Buddha sat. The two merchants offered food while the four maharajas or lokapalas (‘guardians or lords of the cardinal points’) each presented him with a stone begging bowl. The Buddha took the four bowls and merged them into one; three lines below the rim left as reminder that four had become one. After Trapusa and Bhallika had professed their faith the Buddha presented them with cuttings from his hair and nails as relics. The bowl (visible here with the three lines below the rim) itself became an object of veneration and is a popular subject on Gandhara reliefs. For an example of this motif on a similar standing Buddha in the Lahore Museum, please see no. 214 in in Isao Kurita, Gandharan Art II: The Buddha’s Life Story, Tokyo: Nigensha publishing, 2003. For a further example see plate 77 in P. Pal et al. Light of Asia: Buddha Sakyamuni in Asian Art. Los Angeles: L.A. County Museum of Art, 1984.

Acquired from a large multi-national company.

all text & images © Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Asian Art

Previous Image | London: the fall season | Next Image | exhibitions