Fragment of a Coping Stone: Three Drummers (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

ca. 100 BC
Indian
red sandstone
Bharhut, Madhya Pradesh, India
Overall: 12 1/2 × 10 3/4 × 2 1/4 in. (31.75 × 27.31 × 5.72 cm)
87.393
This fragment is the coping stone that topped the railing around the Bharhut stupa. It shows two musicians wearing turbans and heavy earrings playing double-headed drums that hang from cords draped over their right shoulders. Portions of a third drummer survive to their left. These musicians are probably participants in a scene, most of which is now missing, from the stories of the Buddha's former lives. Undulating through the long frieze and separating such pictorial scenes was a lotus stalk bearing treasures, a small segment of which is visible on the left side of the fragment. Along the top is a small portion of a decorative band featuring lotus flowers and stepped pyramids that originally ran the length of the coping stone.
Shunga period
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund
Dye, Joseph M. The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. London: Philipp Wilson, 2001. (cat. no. 4, pp. 86-87)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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