Head of a Male, Probably a Bodhisattva (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

1st-early 2nd century
mottled red sandstone
Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India
Overall: 13 3/4 × 7 1/4 × 6 3/4 in. (34.93 × 18.42 × 17.15 cm)
The prolific sculptors of Kushan-period Mathura were commissioned to create images for a variety of cultic contexts: Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain. This head probably came from a sculpture of a Buddhist Bodhisattva, a fully enlightened being who has chosen to remain in the world in order to assist others along the Buddhist path. His elaborate turban is a sign of his worldly ties. In contrast to the often cool, idealized faces of sculptures from Kushan-period Gandhara, the countenance of this Mathura piece is warm, open, and radiant.
Kushan period
Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Gift of Paul Mellon
Dye, Joseph M. The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. London: Philipp Wilson, 2001. (cat. no. 13, p. 104)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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