Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art
A Gandharan Schist Bust of Buddha - 2nd-4th Century

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A Gandharan Schist Bust of Buddha - 2nd-4th Century
A superb schist sculpture from the 2nd-3rd Century A.D. Typical of Gandharan sculptures of this period are the finely arched eyebrows, almond-shaped half-closed eyes, straight nose, and undulating moustache and the "enlightenment-elevation" - "Usnisha" on the top of the head. This is a bump atop the head signifying his expanded wisdom enlightened saint. In the center of the forehead is an "Urna" is a concave circular dot- an auspicious mark manifested by a whorl of white hair on the forehead between the eyebrows. It is often found on the 2nd to 4th Century sculptures of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. It symbolizes and radiates wisdom. It is also a symbol for a third eye, which represents the power to emit a beam of light and illuminate the world. The piece measures 7" high by 3 3/4" wide by 3 1/2" deep and is mounted on a rod affixed to a Lucite stand. It is in fine condition with remnants of dirt from burial for centuries.

Siddhartha was born more than 200 years before the reign of the Maurya king Aœoka (lived 304–232 BCE). The Gandharan Empire was in existence during the 3rd and 4th centuries, AD, and was located in what is now largely occupied by North West India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The art and sculpture of the region that has come to be known as Gandhara combines Hellenistic or Greco-Roman artistic techniques and modelling with Indian Buddhist iconography to create a recognizably Indian hybrid. By the end of the 1st century these aesthetic traditions had developed into a recognizable Gandharan style.

Sculpture in stone, usually Schist, are considered to predate those made from Stucco although both materials were used from an early date. Gandharan artists were concerned with the naturalistic modeling and the rendering of garments and embellishment in realistic detail.

Gautama was born a prince, destined to a luxurious life, with three palaces. His father, King Œuddhodana, wishing for Gautama to be a great king, shielded his son from religious teachings or knowledge of human suffering. While venturing outside of his palace, Gautama saw an old crippled man (old age), a diseased man (illness), a decaying corpse (death), and an ascetic. Abandoning his inheritance, he dedicated his life to learning how to overcome suffering. He meditated with two hermits, and, although he achieved high levels of meditative consciousness, he was still not satisfied with his path. After discarding asceticism and concentrating on meditation, Gautama discovered what Buddhists call the Middle Way—a path of moderation.

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