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Indian Sculpture

Volume
circa

500 B.c.-A.D. 700

Indian Sculpture
by Pratapaditya Pal

Catalogue of the Los Angeles County

Museum

of Art Collection

Los Angeles County

Museum

of Art

in association with

University of California Press


Berkeley, Los Angeles, and

SAUSALITO PUBLIC LIBRARY

London

Copublished by the
Los Angeles County

This project

Museum

of Aft

supported in part by a grant

is

from the National Endowment

for the Arts.

5905 Wilshire Boulevard


Los Angeles, California 90036

Catalogue entries are keyed to a letter-number

and

system, with the letters

University of California Press


Berkeley, Los Angeles, and

respectively,

by

Museum

1986

Coins and Sculptures.

Museum

diacritical

names and terms,

marks have been omitted, except

in

the Bibliography and Index; they also have been

Associates,

Los Angeles County

representing,

London
In the transliteration of

Illustrations copyright

C and S

of Art.

retained in selected words used only once.

All rights reserved.

No part
may

of the contents of this book

Dimensions

are in inches (in)

and centimeters

(cm), height preceding width, unless otherwise

be reproduced

without permission of the publishers.

most sculptures, height

indicated. For

is

the

only dimension provided.

Edited by Kathleen Preciado

Designed by Renee Cossutta and Judith Lausten

Cover: Railing Pillar with Figures,

Photography by Jeffrey Conley

Mathura,

first

century, S55.

and Department of Photographic Services,


Los Angeles County

Typeset in

Museum

Garamond

of Art

typefaces

by Continental Typographies,

Library of Congress Cataloging

Data

in Publication

Inc.,

Chatsworth, California

Pal, Pratapaditya.

Printed in an edition of

Indian sculpture.

4, 000 softcover

and 750 hardcover

by Nissha Printing Co., Ltd., Japan

Bibliography:

v.

1, p.

Includes index.

Contents:
1.

3.

1.

Circa 500 B.C.-A.D. 700.

Los Angeles

Sculpture, Indie

California

I.

v.

Catalogs. 2. Sculpture

Los Angeles County


Los Angeles County

ISBN0-87587-129-1

ISBN 0-520-05991-3
ISBN 0-520-05992-1

Catalogs.

Museum of Art
Museum of Art.

(v.

(v.

(v.

Catalogs.

II.

Title.

pbk.)
Univ. of Calif. Press)
Univ. of Calif. Press

pbk.)

Contents

Foreword

Earl A. Powell in

Acknowledgments

1 1

Preface and

13

General Introduction
History

24

Religion

32

Image and Idea

39

Symbols and Myths

48

Color Plates

65

Numismatic Art

119

67

Introduction

81

Catalogue

Sculpture

Age of the Mauryas, Indo-Greeks, and Sungas


121

Introduction

125

Catalogue

Age of the Kushans and Satavahanas


151

Introduction

155

Catalogue

Age of the Guptas

273

Chronology

275

Bibliography

283

Index

211

Introduction

Catalogue

Foreword

This volume

is

the third in a projected eight-volume series of catalogue raisonnes

intended to present to the general public and scholarly community the museum's

preeminent Indian and Southeast Asian collections and introduce readers to the
geographical, historical, and cultural milieu in which that art flourished.

The

outstanding quality of the collection, breadth and comprehensiveness of the text


written by Pratapaditya Pal, senior curator of Indian and Southeast Asian art
clarity

and organization of the material

will

combine

make

to

the series not only an

important contribution to art-historical scholarship but also a major resource


general public.

Not

Indian collections in the

Harvard University Press


such

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy's seminal

since

Museum

and

for the

studies on the

of Fine Arts, Boston, jointly published with

in the 1920s, has a similar corpus of Indian

works received

critical attention.

Indian Sculpture

numismatic

art.

The chapter

is
is

unique

in that

it

includes a detailed discussion of

of significance for anyone with an interest in the

history of the Indian subcontinent as well as for coin enthusiasts. Moreover, in the

introductory essay and individual catalogue entries Dr. Pal examines the influence of
the West, particularly Greece and

West

Asia, on Indian history, religion, and

aesthetics. In his close observation of individual coins he traces the

certain iconographic elements found in later

monumental

contributing to our knowledge of early Indian

art.

development of

sculpture, thereby

His discussion of the history and

iconography of coins constitutes a departure from most general books on Indian

which have not focused on

The

this very

art,

important evidence.

sculpture collection

is

not only rich in representing various

schools, materials, and techniques as well as geographic areas but also in displaying
a wealth of iconographic detail.

The extent and

significance of this collection

which covers an enormous span of time, from 500 B.C.


documented. Many objects never before published
of

new

700

are here well

are presented as well as the results

research on specific works and their art-historical background. Indian

Sculpture concentrates with

useful

to a.d.

commentary on

welcome

detail

on the collection while providing

a very

various aspects of the early Indian sculptural tradition.

Earl A. Powell

ill

Director

Los Angeles County

Museum

of Art

The Indian Subcontinent and Afghanistan

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Indian Ocean

Preface and

Indian Sculpture

is

the

first

Acknowledgments

of two volumes devoted to the Los Angeles County

Museum's extensive holdings of Indian sculpture and


in a series

documenting the museum's

collections

is

the third catalogue raisonne

from South and Southeast Asia,

following two earlier volumes on the arts of Tibet and Nepal.

The term Indian

is

used here in

its

broadest application as the volume

includes sculpture from Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as India.

Thus

it

would

perhaps be more appropriate to consider this a catalogue of the museum's holdings


of sculpture from South Asia excluding Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The sculpture

have been arranged chronologically by country and modern Indian


across the subcontinent west to east,

from Afghanistan

state,

entries

moving

West Bengal, followed by

to

the states of the midregion and southern peninsula.

Although the book


devoted to numismatic
include coins,

feel

art.

is

largely about sculpture, a substantial section

While books about Indian sculpture

generally do not

strongly that coins, which involve the art of engraving, are

essential to a better understanding of the history of Indian sculpture.

the catalogue
as possible.

it

is

has been

my

Throughout

constant endeavor to relate the coins to sculpture as far

Numismatists, however, should keep in mind that

claim to have no

many colleagues who


knowledge with me. They include A.D.H. Bivar of the

expertise in the specialized study of coins and have relied on

have generously shared their

School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; Martha L. Carter of


the University of Wisconsin, Madison; coin dealer Joel

Maker

of Los Angeles; and

B. N. Mukherjee of Calcutta University. Without their help the chapter on coins

could not have been written, and

To better
supplied by the British
Art, and Mrs. J.

am

deeply grateful to them

illustrate the catalogue additional

Museum,

Cincinnati Art

LeRoy Davidson.

all.

photographs were kindly

Museum, Cleveland Museum

particularly appreciate the cooperation of Mr

Davidson, whose husband was one of several individuals responsible

Heeramaneck

collection to Los Angeles in 1969.

and colleagues Wladimir Zwalf and Eva Ray.

11

of

Thanks

are also

for

bringing

due to

my

frit

While the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, acquired

museum director Kenneth Donahue and Senior


Art George Kuwayama among others, forms the basis of the

through the enthusiasm of former


Curator of Far Eastern

museum's South Asian

collection, since

1969 the core collection has more than

doubled. This expansion has been possible due not only to the vigorous acquisition
policy supported by the trustees but also to the generosity of

many donors who

are

me to thank all of them.


A curator is always conscious of the fact that no great museum collection can be
formed without the munificence of donors and cooperation of dealers who often
identified in the catalogue entries. It

work

closely

with a curator to

They, too, deserve

my

fill

is

a great pleasure for

many

the

lacunae in a comprehensive collection.

thanks.

A catalogue of this size and scope cannot


I

am

indebted to

many museum

be prepared in isolation, and

among them the staff of the


Hartman and Anne Diederick. Many

colleagues, foremost

Art Research Library, particularly Eleanor


objects in the collection, including

the terra-cottas, were carefully examined and

all

treated by the Conservation Center headed by Pieter Meyers.

Much

preparatory

work was accomplished by Registrar Renee Montgomery and her able

staff as well as

by members of the Department of Indian and Southeast Asian Art and Department

Thomas Lentz, Nancy Thomas, and


be made of the department's diligent

of Ancient and Islamic Art: Robert Brown,

Janet Zieschang. Mention should also

volunteers, especially Ethel Heyer. For their support and encouragement of this
project, thanks are also

due

to Director Earl A. Powell in, Assistant Director for

Museum Programs Myrna Smoot, and Managing


Finally, a special

and

editor, all of

whom

Editor Mitch Tuchman.

word of appreciation

to the photographers, designer,

contributed directly to the successful production of the

book. Head Photographer Larry Reynolds and his colleague Jeffrey Conley have
risen to the occasion splendidly, while

Renee Cossutta, who designed Art of Nepal,

has achieved an elegant presentation of text and illustrations.

Kathleen Preciado,

who

also edited the

Nepal volume, once again proved

rewarding and pleasurable.

Pratapaditya Pal
Senior Curator of Indian

12

Working with

and Southeast Asian Art

to be

both

Art

is

an affirmation

not of reality, but of man's ability to

create something beyond reality.

Herbert Read, The Grass Roots of Art, 1955

To forms hewn from solid stone there has been given the
unearthly intangibility

and lightness

of sheer vision, the

and

matter of the rock being transmuted into shapes offoam

mist comporting perfectly with the subtle mind-substance of


supersensuous experience. Indeed, I wonder whether in the

whole artistic tradition of mankind there


sculptural style in which this

such fervor

and

effect

exists

another

has been aspired

to

realized with such consummate ease.

Heinrich Zimmer, The Art of Indian Asia, 1955

with

History

The

earliest sculpture in the collection

when

is

a terra-cotta bull

produced about the time

the Macedonian emperor Alexander the Great reached the river Indus in 327

B.C. Soon after Alexander's death in

323 B.C., according

to the historian Justin,

India "had shaken off the yoke of servitude and put his governors to death.

author of the liberation was Sandrocottus." Sandrocottus


1

the ruler Chandragupta,

who founded

is

the Hellenized

Maurya dynasty. Under

the

his

The

name

for

grandson

Asoka, the empire stretched from Afghanistan in the north to Karnataka in the
south and from Gujarat in the west to Bengal in the
Bull, Pakistan, c.

By

300 B.C., Si.

the year 187 B.C. the

center of the country was ruled by the

east.

Maurya Empire had

collapsed, and while the

Sunga dynasty (187 75 B.C.) the Indo-Greeks

controlled the northwest. During the rule of the Sungas the stone railings and

gateways around the great Buddhist stupa


constructed (S27 28).

Bharhut in Madhya Pradesh were

at

The Indo-Greeks were

the successors of the

Bactria in northwestern Afghanistan, where an independent

about 256255 B.C. by Diodotus

Antiochus

(11)

1,

local

Greek

rulers of

kingdom was founded

governor of the Seleucid emperor

Theos. 2 About 150 B.C. Heliocles,

last

Greek

was

ruler of Bactria,

pushed south by the Parthians and probably by the Scythians, nomadic

from

tribes

Central Asia. Since parts of their territories comprised northwestern India, these
later rulers of

Greek origin

are generally referred to as Indo-Greeks.

Indo-Greeks was of fundamental significance

C2 5).

The

rule of the

for the history of Indian coinage (see

Hellenistic concepts also played important roles in the evolution

of Indian art, particularly in Gandhara, and in the development of astronomy

and

religion.

The Bactrian Greeks were not

the only foreign presence in the

northwestern region of the subcontinent during this period. Following in their


in the

first

trail

century before Christ several Central Asian nomadic peoples successively

took control of the region. These included the Scythians, Parthians, and Kushans.
Fragment of a Pillar, Bharhut,

c.

100

Known as Sakas

in India, the Scythians

B.C., S28.

one of their

rulers,

Azes

I, is

must have come

said to have originated the

in fairly large

Vikrama

numbers, and

era in

which has remained one of the two most important reckonings used in
second era, begun in a.d. 78, is also associated with the Scythians and

15

58-57
India.
is

B.c

known

as

the Saka era, the official reckoning of the Indian

some of the Scythians

the Parthians,

government

Pushed south by

today.

Madhya

settled in present-day Gujarat,

known

Pradesh, and Rajasthan provinces, where they became

Western

as the

Kshatrapas. Ruling an extensive kingdom, they were a powerful political presence


until they were defeated

By
Kushans, who

far

first

around a.d. 400 by the Gupta emperor Chandragupta

among

the most powerful

first

century.

At

its

height under Kanishka

Empire stretched from Soviet Central Asia


as far east as Bihar.

political

Vasudeva

(see

Kushan

in the south

C9 10, C12 14,

have been the founder of the Saka era of A.D. 78.

power of the Kushans began

in 176,

the

1,

Deccan

in the north to the

The Kushans introduced gold coinage

C16 18), and Kanishka may


The

these Central Asian tribes were the

conquered Bactria and then moved south into India, probably

sometime during the

and

II.

to decline shortly after the reign of

but they appear to have retained control over their Indian

provinces until the midthird century. Even as late as the midfourth century, they

were a notable power in the northwest,

as

is

and the continued use of Kushan coin types

known from contemporary


in the region.

While the Kushans were the acknowledged

may

The Satavahanas probably belonged

known

Andhra

to the

power

political

of northern India, the Deccan was ruled by a native dynasty


Satavahanas.

inscriptions

much

in

as the

tribe,

some of whom

have originally lived in the trans-Vindhya region in central India between Uttar

and Madhya Pradesh, although only the eastern coastal area

Andhra Pradesh.

In any event,

the Satavahanas established a

expanded

is

today

known

sometime during the second half of the

kingdom

east to include parts of

commissioned parts of a gateway

at the

Great Stupa

officer of the

at

century,

which they

in present-day Maharashtra,

Andhra Pradesh. An

first

as

Satavahanas

S29 30)

Sanchi (see

sometime about the time of the birth of Christ. The coins of the Satavahanas

C21 24)

later

(see

by the midsecond century parts of Andhra Pradesh

certainly indicate that

were brought under the sway of the Satavahanas. By 225 however, Satavahana power
,

had declined, and when the stupa


(see

S82 85), probably

Gummadidurru

at

in

Andhra Pradesh was

in the second half of the third century, the

political dynasty in the region

were the Ikshvakus,

who were once

built

dominant

feudatories of the

Satavahanas. Although the Ikshvakus were not a major political force, the female

members
for the

of the royal family were munificent patrons of

building of

Not

many

magnificent

monuments

in

Buddhism and

Andhra Pradesh.

until the second half of the fourth century

India united once again politically, by a dynasty

known

was much of northern

as the

Guptas. The dynasty

By

the close of the fourth

originated in eastern India in the beginning of the century.

century two powerful Gupta rulers, Samudragupta and Chandragupta

succeeded in bringing

much of northern

responsible

II,

had

India from Panjab in the north to Bengal in

the east as well as the Deccan under their political hegemony. Between these lands,

and

to their north, territories they did not directly

of influence. Thus, although the

conquer

Gupta Empire was not

fell

as extensive as that

Mauryas, which had flourished almost half a millennium before,


second period in Indian history

when

within their sphere

it

marked the

the political and cultural influence of a single

dynasty encompassed almost the whole of northern India and was also
south.

Not

until the

again the case.

16

Mughals came

of the

to

power

in the sixteenth century

felt in

was

the

this

By 450

the

Gupta Empire had begun

imperial Guptas were a political presence in


the middle of the sixth century.

The

some

to shrink, although the

parts of northern India until

320 and 600

years between

regarded as the age of the Guptas, but, culturally, the period


to 700.

Most

historians characterize

Indian civilization.

Whether

it

as the classical

is

are generally

sometimes extended

period or "golden age" of

or not one agrees with such a designation,

it

must be

admitted that the period was one of remarkable intellectual and cultural
achievement.

Clay and wood remained the principal media


until the

for

Indian art and architecture almost

time of the Maurya emperor Asoka in the third century B.C. Archaeological

excavations of the

first

urban civilization on the subcontinent, known

as the

Indus

Valley civilization or Harappan civilization, which flourished in the third

millennium B.C., have discovered that brick was the major building material
architecture, while terra-cotta and pottery

commonly were used

for

manufacturing

for

both secular and religious objects. Although stone and bronze were also employed,

no monumental sculpture

in either

medium

has been found. 4 This remained true as

well of the second phase of urbanization that probably began just before the birth of

the Buddha, around 563 B.C.

Most archaeological

sites

along the Ganges Valley

confirm that brick remained the popular building material, and even the great
palace of the Mauryas, according to an eyewitness account

ambassador Megasthenes

(active third century B.C.),

left

us by the Greek

was largely constructed of brick

and timber. 5

With few

exceptions, most objects of the pre-Christian period in the

collection are terra-cottas.

Most

are also

from urban

sites,

such

as Taxila in the

northwest; Ahichchhatra, Kausambi, and Mathura in the Ganges -Yamuna valleys;

and Chandraketugarh, an ancient

river port in

West Bengal. Through the Gupta

period terra-cotta remained an important artistic


to the secular

both

and

cities

urban centers catering

at

and religious needs of city dwellers. While objects of terra-cotta and

clay are principally


festivals

medium

fairs,

and

made today

in rural areas

and brought

to the cities

during

during the period discussed the industry probably flourished in

villages. Certainly the sophistication of

some

figures, particularly

the realistic representation of the urban upper class and foreigners, was unlikely

achieved by villagers.

Monumental
until the

Maurya

than forty feet

stone sculptures were not created on the subcontinent

period. These consist of monolithic, freestanding

tall

with impressive animal sculptures serving

some were erected by the Maurya emperor Asoka,

others

may

columns more

as capitals.

While

well be older. 6 Indeed,

the aesthetic and technical sophistication of these Maurya-period sculptures seems

unaccountable, unless one assumes that they were produced by highly skilled stone
sculptors from Bactria or even Iran. In any event,

monarch known

to support an imperial

Asoka was the

first

workshop and patronize the

While the major media of Indian sculpture continued


wood, and

ivory,

Indian

arts.

to be clay,

by the second century B.C., no doubt inspired by Asoka's

Buddhists began to use stone for their religious

art. Less

efforts,

than a dozen religious

sculptures in the round have been discovered from various sites dated to the
second-first century B.C.

popular

and not until the birth of Christ did stone become a

medium with Hindus

indicates, however, that

17

for representations of their gods. Literary

Hindu images and temples were

evidence

erected at least from the


time of the Sanskrit grammarian Panini (active fourth century B.C.). 7 Although no

temple remains of the Maurya period have yet been discovered, the

on the late-second-century B.C. Buddhist

sites at

reliefs

Bharhut and Amaravati

preserved
clearly

demonstrate that houses of worship, consisting of either hypaethral shrines or


multistoried structures, were constructed of wood, brick, and other perishable
material.

Even when the Indians became comfortable

in designing, constructing,

and excavating temples in stone, they steadfastly continued to model their


architecture on earlier
at

wood

prototypes.

The

lithic

examples of relief sculpture,

earliest

as

Bharhut, also are clearly based on the traditions of the painter and woodcarver.

While the

became popular from about the

principal reason stone

second century B.C. was the realization of the material's durability, other factors

must

also have contributed to the

sudden surge

in its use for architecture

and

sculpture. Certainly by Panini's time, the earlier Vedic religious system of the

Aryans

(a

who came

branch of Indo-Europeans

during the second millennium B.C.), with

into India, probably in several waves,

its

emphasis on

considerably modified by the concept of devotion

known

sacrifice,

as bhakti,

was being

which included

worship of images. Not only did the subcontinent witness the evolution of theistic
religion, involving personal devotion to specific deities,

which

later

known by the blanket term Hinduism, but even such heterodox


Buddhism and Jainism adopted elaborate rituals requiring cult

came

to be

religions as

images. Another

contributory factor was the growth of a capitalistic economy, at least since the time
of the Buddha, and expansion of international trade,

with the

Roman

first

with West Asia and then

Empire. Trade with Southeast Asia had originated during the

fifth-fourth centuries B.C. at the latest and increased enormously during the
period.

Wealthy merchants and

traders were, in fact,

among

the

Gupta

most munificent

patrons of the arts and generously contributed to the religious establishments.


the expansion of capitalism, the practice of building temples in stone

matter of status for affluent members of

The
is

society.

influence of the Greeks on the

particularly significant. Stone temples

became

With

growth of temple building

in India

and cult images have been discovered

in

the cities founded by Alexander and the Greek settlers following his conquests.

Alexander himself is known to have built several monuments in the Panjab. Ancient
coins provide prima facie evidence of images of Hellenistic gods introduced in the

region (see

C2-3, C5 7, Ci2b), and

Greek temples
found

earlier

in Taxila

and other

archaeologists have unearthed remains of

places. Yet,

no

traces of Indian

than the surviving Greek examples. If temples were built earlier on the

subcontinent, they were very likely

made with

perishable materials such as brick and

wood. Thus, one must consider the possibility that


temples

temples can be

itself,

not the practice of erecting

if

certainly the building of houses of worship in the

more durable stone

material was due partly to Greek inspiration.

Pertinent to this discussion

is

a passage

from the

Vishnudharmottara-

purana, an encyclopedic religious text compiled during the Kushan and


periods.

The Indian

Treta, Dvapara,

Gupta

tradition divides the history of civilization into four ages: Krlta,

and Kali. The Kali

is

the age in which

we now

live

and

is

said to

have begun in 3102 B.C. The relevant passage informs us that in the Krlta age the

gods had visible forms but no images, in the Treta age images were worshiped

homes, and

in the

Dvapara age,

in forests. 8

build temples of the gods in towns.

Only

in the Kali age

The dominant

was

it

in

customary to

characteristic of the Kali age

the presence of mlechchhas (non- Aryans, believers in heterodox religions, and

foreigners) would indicate a

18

much

later date for the

beginning of the cycle, about

400

B.C.,

when

arrival of the

parts of the northwest were under Iranian domination and after the

Greeks

two hundred years

in

327 B.C. Moreover, the second urbanization began almost


and Panini mentions that temples were built

earlier,

The heterodox Jains may

in towns.

well have built their shrines in villages and forests

from orthodox Aryan settlements. Houses of worship belonging to


Aryans would also have been found in

forests

and

By

villages.

away

and non-

tribes

the fourth century

B.C. Buddhist stupas appear to have been built at crossroads and in rather remote
places, although their monasteries

must have sprung up

in

towns associated with

An

the Buddha, an incentive to other communities to build shrines.

may have been provided by

added impetus

the Greeks, whose temples were an important part of

urban planning. Although some features and iconographic attributes of early

their

Indian gods on coins are of indigenous origin, these images clearly incorporate
classical influences, as

convincingly argued by the great scholar of Indian

iconography J. N. Banerjea. 9 Thus, without entering into the controversial issue of

whether or not the

first

Buddha image was

created in the Indian or

Greek

tradition,

there seems no doubt that although images of village gods and tutelary divinities
Slupa in, Sanchi, early

first

Photograph courtesy Mrs.

century.
J.

LeRoy

were familiar in ancient India, the impetus to portray and worship the Vedic and

cosmic deities was partly due to the presence of the Greeks and other foreigners

in

Davidson.
10

northwestern India.

More

Banerjea has thoroughly discussed the

specifically,

influence exerted by the forms of such

Greek

Hermes,

deities as Apollo, Hercules,

Tyche, Zeus, and others on various Indian images of the Indo-Parthian and

Kushan

periods.

Buddhists were among the

monuments, known

first

to use stone extensively for their religious

as stupas, as is clear

from Bharhut, Sanchi, and other

sites built

during the two centuries preceding the birth of Christ. While only one object in the
collection bears an inscription (S53),

which

identifies the

King Suryamitra of the ancient Panchala kingdom


plethora of material exists from this period that

why

they commissioned works of

Buddhist monks and nuns


off as Patna in Bihar,

as a confidant of

in present-day Uttar Pradesh, a

tells

us

who

the donors were and

art.

The donors of the stupa


families, merchants, pilgrims

donor

at

Bharhut included members of royal

from various places on the subcontinent, and

as well as artists. Interestingly,

Kausambi near Allahabad, and the

sculptors working at Bharhut were from the northwest.

donors came from

as far

state of Maharashtra.

The stupa

undoubtedly was an important Buddhist pilgrimage shrine since

at

it

Some

Bharhut

attracted

devotees from such distances. Donors to the Buddhist site at Sanchi also came from
various parts of the country and included both individuals and guilds.
dignitary,

who

One

paid for the building of an architrave on the southern gateway, was

the overseer of the artisans of the Satavahana king Satakarni from the Deccan.

Equally interesting
that

not

is

another inscription on the same gateway, which informs us

some sculptures were made by


far

ivory carvers

from Vidisa (present-day Besnagar

from the monuments).


Until the beginning of the Gupta period in 320, Buddhists appear to

have been
piety.

far

more enterprising than Hindus and Jains

During the

earlier

Kushan period most donative

in recording their acts of

inscriptions in

Gandhara

were carved on Buddhist objects. Donor names include a number of foreigners,

19

monks and nuns. The

either administrators or merchants, and

among

strongly

Mathura were
Kanishka

Kushan

built by

Some Buddhist monasteries

as well.

Kushan monarchs, the most

By and

in Peshawar.

Gupta period

or

Kushan Mathura, although names of both Jains and

the donors at

Hindus have survived

well

in

Gandhara and

known being

that built by

few inscriptions of either the

large, however,

directly record royal commissions. This does not

members of the Kushan and Gupta


generous patrons of the

latter also feature

arts.

mean

royal families did not build temples or

that

were not

Surviving records, as in the dominions of the

Satavahanas and Ikshvakus, document that royal largesse was frequently responsible
for

much

of the art and architecture that remains today.

indirectly accrued merit

whenever

a piece of land

establishment as a tax-free endowment.

exempt

image

royal prerogative to

all, his

taxes.

names

inscriptions at Bharhut and Sanchi simply bear the

of donors, by the Kushan period


built or an

event, the ruler

was given to a religious

was, after

from paying

religious establishments

While the

It

u In any

it

became customary

why

to state

temple was

systems

installed. Generally, devotees of all three religious

believed that they were gaining merit by such donations. Buddhists appear to have

been more

was meant "for the welfare and

altruistic, usually their benefaction

An

happiness of all sentient beings."

elaborate dedicatory inscription

of an image commissioned in the year fifty-one

= A.D.

129?),

on the pedestal

when Huvishka was

king, includes the following: "By the donation of this sacrifice and pious gift

be for the acquisition of knowledge of teacher Sanghadasa

...

for the lessening of all griefs of

happiness of all sentient beings."

Many
and

Buddhavarman

mother and

father

(and) for the welfare and

12

surviving Satavahana inscriptions are interesting for religious

art-historical studies.

The Satavahanas continued

and detailed accounts of their largesse

to the

brahmins

to

perform Vedic

are available.

they were also generous patrons of Buddhist communities.


inscription of Vasishthiputra
a heavenly palace"

let it

13

sacrifices,

Nevertheless

The Nasik cave

Pulumavi informs us that the cave temple "resembling

was caused

to be excavated

by the queen Gautami

Furthermore, "for the embellishment of this Cave, her grandson,

Balasri.

who

is

desirous of serving his grandmother and pleasing her, adds to the religious

endowments
village

{of this cave], for the bridge of the religious merit of his father," a

was given by the king.

rulers in

14

Not

only do

we

learn about the personal lives of the

Pulumavi's attempt to please his grandmother, but we are also told that a

religious gift by the son could benefit the father. It

acquire merit by

making

a donation to a

interesting that a

is

Hindu could

Buddhist establishment, which in

fact

remained true throughout the period here discussed.


In 408, while Chandragupta
herself as a

mere householder's

wife,

went

village near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh

of an almshouse for the local brahmin


[her]

own

religious merit."

15

11

all

was emperor,
the

a lady,

way from Patna

and donated ten dinars

community

who
in

describes

Bihar to a

for the

maintenance

"[for the purpose] of

While acquiring merit

adding to

for oneself and others

remained

the primary purpose of a donation, Gupta-period inscriptions provide other and

more

specific reasons as well. Several inscriptions state that the

ascend to heaven by his pious deed.

20

A Buddha

donor hoped to

image from Mankuwar

in

Uttar

Pradesh was dedicated


ing

unhappiness."

all

Vishnu image
[his] father."

in

16

459 by the monk Buddhamitra "with

In an unspecified year the emperor Skandagupta dedicated a

Uttar Pradesh "in order to increase the religious merit of

at Bhitari in

17

During the same monarch's reign

Madra, who was "especially

full

46061

in the year

ascetics," dedicated "five excellent [images],

the

way

who

path of the Arhats,

made

of stone [of those]

through a succession of changes" and thereby "acquired


religious merit."
it is

The

led

inscription does not identify

for

Madra

[to be ever] passing

himself a large mass of

as a

Hindu

or Buddhist;

interesting that he asserted his affection for brahmins even while dedicating

images of the

five

Buddhas, presumably the pentad of Vajrayana Buddhism.

One
that found in

of the most fascinating inscriptions of the

Mandasor

Madhya

in

19

Pradesh.

The

Gupta period

is

on

inscription was engraved

the renovation of a sun temple in the city, then

47374 during

slab in
as

who

practice religious observances" as he had

become "alarmed when he observed the whole of this world


18

man named

of affection for Brahmans and religious preceptors

and

in the

the object of avert-

known

Dasapura. Apparently a community of silk weavers had immigrated to Mandasor

from Gujarat

in the west. After their arrival in

Mandasor some gave up

their

hereditary profession and prospered, but others constituted themselves into a guild.
In the year

437-38

this guild built a

sun temple, which

into disrepair in

fell

the short span of thirty-six years and was renovated by order of the same guild.

Thus,

it is

clear that trade guilds

continued to patronize the arts at

least

through the Gupta period.


Certainly by the
installation of a divine

Kushan period the building of a temple

image was considered the highest

would not only bring happiness

would

in this world but

act of piety,

or

an act that

also assure final release

from

the chain of rebirth. Thus, in the Vishnudharmottarapurana the royal interlocutor


asks the sage
next.

Markandeya what would bring him happiness

Markandeya unhesitatingly

method of achieving happiness

in

replies that the

both worlds.

in this

world and the

worship of the gods

He

is

the best

then elaborates on two kinds of

worship, one involving sacrifice and the other consisting of abstinence, fasting, and
charitable deeds. Better than either he says

is

to build temples

because the deity resides in an image. "To build a temple


sage,

and "so

is

making of an image of a

the

divine image and so

is its

deity.

is

and worship images

meritorious," says the

Meritorious

is

the worship of a

adoration." 20

This emphasis on devotional worship with images and temples


profoundly influenced Buddhists and Jains. Whatever their early practices and

by the

rituals,

first

century B.C. Buddhists had resorted to venerating the

images of the Buddha with

rituals similar to those

used by Hindus. In an early

Buddhist text the Buddha himself predicts that in course of time the custom of
honoring the

relics,

the principal cultic practice

among members

of the early

Buddhist community, will be replaced by the worship of the image. 21 In


another text the future Buddha, Maitreya, unambiguously states that his audience
privileged to hear his teachings as a direct result of their having worshiped

Sakyamuni "with

Hindu

text

parasols, banners, flags, perfumes, garlands

compiled

in

Kashmir during the seventh-eighth

specifically told that at celebrations of the

April "the image of the

with

all

and unguents."
centuries,

we

are

Buddha's birthday during the montr

Buddha should be bathed [with water rendered

hoiy]

medicinal herbs, jewels and perfumes, in accordance with the saying of

Sakyas." 23

21

is

The Jain community appears


Jinas at least from before the

to have venerated

Maurya period. An

images of the saintly

inscription of the first-century

how

B.C. king Kharavela of Kalinga (comprising parts of present-day Orissa) records

the

monarch raided Magadha (Bihar) and brought back images of Jinas, which

the

Nandas of Magadha,

a dynasty

overthrown by the Mauryas, had looted in the

fourth century B.C. 24 Evidence for the worship of Jinas during the

period

is

provided by a statue discovered

at

Lohanipur near Patna

Maurya

in Bihar.

Apparently, therefore, as early as the fourth century B.C. Jains in the eastern
region were building temples and installing statues of their idealized teachers; by
the

Kushan period they had moved west

The

at least as far as

Mathura.

early sculptures of the pre-Christian period discussed here are

mostly small terra-cotta

human and animal

During the next

religious purposes.

for secular

and
remained

six centuries terra-cotta certainly

became the

popular, but stone increasingly

meant

figures

favorite material for building

temples and sculpting religious figures. These sculptures served two primary
functions: as icons

meant

for

worship inside the temple and didactic elements

embellishing exterior temple walls. In the representation of myths and stories,

as in

the early Buddhist stupas, these didactic elements assumed the form of reliefs.

Hindus and Jains of this period did not employ

narrative themes as

much

as

did

Buddhists, and the surviving exterior walls of their stone temples from the

Gupta period

are generally embellished

with either single figures or compositions

encapsulating myths in abbreviated forms. Brick temples of the period are


richly

adorned with

reliefs

from the epics and mythological

Rarely are the compositions as elaborate as those in early Buddhist

Buddhists, too,
The Sages Nara and Narayana, Uttar
Pradesh,

fifth

and narrative

moved away from

reliefs

their early

S122 23).

texts (see

reliefs.

dependence on mythological themes

and became more oriented

in using single figures for

century, Si 22.

architectural adornment.

Most

religious sculptures in India were created for an architectural

context. Essentially, therefore,

carved

reliefs

most stone sculptures

are in the

form of deeply

and were not meant to be seen on a pedestal or from the back. In

fact,

the tradition of freestanding sculpture, conceived in isolation from an architectonic


context, seems never to have been popular in India.

whether stone or

terra-cotta,

The forms of the

sculptures,

were thus determined to a large measure not only by

their religious function but also

by their architectural position in a given temple.

may well have necessitated certain


when the object is viewed in isolation. The

For instance, the exact placement of a figure


distortions of

form that appear peculiar

height at which the sculpture was placed and angle of placement would certainly

have influenced

its

shape, form, and detail. Thus, the breasts from Sanchi (S30)

would have been part of a bracket

figure, placed

some ten

or fifteen feet above the

viewer at a forty-five-degree angle. The viewer would have had a totally different
perspective of the tree dryad as he or she admired the subject while craning
Bust of a Tree Dryad, Sanchi,

50 B.C. -AD. 25, S30.

up

to

look at the figure rather than viewing her at eye level.


Sculptures in other materials, such as metal, wood, and ivory, were

probably made as early as the Indus Valley civilization, but only examples in metal

have survived. Bronze

as well as

gold and silver continued to be used for sculpture

until the beginning of the Christian era, but the total available corpus

is

very small.

Certainly the classical writers were impressed by the sumptuous metalwork,

including gold,

silver,

gilded copper, and brass, of the Indians. 25

contains several metal sculptures from the

22

Kushan and Gupta

The

periods.

collection

Although

most

are of

modest

small bronze of a reclining female (S57)

is

probably the finest example of a surviving

Kushan-period metal sculpture. Interestingly,

as early as the

customary to associate certain materials with certain


astronomer Varahamihira (active sixth century)

MayaJai, Mathura,

c.

100, S57.

made ofjewels

Gupta period

it

was

results. For instance, the

tells us:

Images made of wood or clay bring (to their worshipers) long


victory; those

they are remarkably varied in style and subject matter.

size,

are for the good of the people,

life,

fortune, strength,

and the golden

and

ones bring prosperity.

Images made of silver bring fame, while those made of copper cause increase of population. 2 ^

Curiously, nothing

is

discussing art give

much

said of dedicating

images

in stone. In fact, the early

books

greater emphasis to clay and wood, clearly the two

most

popular materials. In the Vishnudharmottarapurana, however, an entire chapter


devoted to the suitability of stone

as a sculptural material just as a similar

is

chapter in

Varahamihira's work concentrates on wood. Apart from enumerating the elaborate


rites

and techniques

texts also describe

regard to stone,

to be observed

by

artists in the selection of stone or

whom. For instance, with


brahmins should make images with white stone,

what kind of material

we

are told that

wood, the

is

suitable for

kshatriyas (warriors) with red, vaisyas (traders) with yellow, and sudras (laborers)

with black. Such injunctions, however, were not

23

strictly followed.

Religion

Most sculptures

in the collection

known

were inspired by the religions

Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Both Buddhism andjainism


to historical personages, but

Buddhism
religion,

originated with

and Mahavira

Although the three


all

Hinduism has no such

religions differ

their

theistic cults,

distinct character not

components

Jainism

best-known

is

an older

teacher.

may have begun

to use

images of their saviors

while Buddhists certainly were enterprising in spreading

fairly early,

message through narrative

emphasis on

is its

B.C.).

from one another in philosophy and mythology,

use art to further their aims. Jains

and teachers

trace their origins

precise historical beginning.

Buddha Sakyamuni (563483

(active sixth century B.C.)

today as

art as early as the

Hinduism

much

as it

is

second century B.C.

known today began

before the birth of Christ, although

to

With

assume

many

of

its

its

its

major

are of far earlier origin.

Hinduism
and countless

sects

and

is

a blanket

cults. Its

mythological cycles provide the

term describing three major religious systems

multitude of gods and goddesses and endless

artist

with an inexhaustible repertoire of themes

and motifs. The three major Hindu religious systems are Vishnuism (Vaishnava),
Sivaism (Saiva), and Saktism (Sakta) after the principal deities: Vishnu, Siva, and
Sakti, or the Goddess.

Although each has

prominence during the Kushan period

earlier origins, all three

came

into

(first midthird centuries). Scriptural texts

pertaining to each system also began to be redacted and compiled at this time.
the beginning of the

Gupta period

in the fourth century

most such

texts

By

known

as

the puranas (ancient lore) and the Mahabharata and Ramayana, two well-known
epics, took their present shape. Alterations, modifications,

recastings of the puranas continued, however, for


texts of other sacred

Hindu books, known

as

and even major

many more

centuries.

agama, generally

tantra, mostly in the north, can be traced to the

these were not accessible to the general public.

Gupta

Much

The

in the south,

core

and

period. Unlike the puranas,

of this literature contains

descriptions of deities in the form of precepts for meditation and complex

mythologies, which served as verbal models for

artists.

Some

puranas, such as the

Vishnudharmottarapurana and Matsyapurana, include specific sections on art and

iconography and are of considerable help to the art historian. The exact dates of
these texts are often disputed, and a greater diversity

is

reflected in the surviving art

of the period than that described in the contemporary literature.

24

Each Hindu deity

numerous aspects and

is

complex, composite personality with

Their personalities and iconographic attributes were

facets.

fluid in the pre-Christian era,

and only during the Kushan period did they

begin to assume their distinctive forms. Siva

Kushan

coins, but

on

a clearly recognizable figure

is

Vishnu and the principal forms of the Goddess

are

conspicuously absent. Even in Mathura, which has remained the most important
center of Vishnuism on the subcontinent, artistic evidence does not allow us to

push back the history of the


various cults,

known

which

later

much

faith

century B.C., although

first

by the Gupta period coalesced into what came to be

Vishnuism, were flourishing

as

before the

Basically three originally distinct concepts

principal

century B.C.

as early as the fourth

components of Vishnuism. Vishnu

name

the

is

and cults form the


of an important sun and

sky god of the Vedic religion practiced by the Aryans. Whether or not the Aryans

worshiped images, they did believe in gods and goddesses, the former

predominating.

who may

second concept, also of later Vedic origin,

is

that of Narayana,

originally have been "the founder of a religion of devotion," as suggested

by the eminent historian of religion Jan Gonda, and who was apotheosized
exalted Being, the Universal Spirit, the ultimate source of the world and
inhabitants." 27

The

third

component

is

"as the

all its

Vasudeva-Krishna, a tribal god-hero,

probably of non- Aryan derivation. By the Kushan period, certainly in the Mathura
region, the cult of Vasudeva-Krishna and his half brother, Balarama, seems to have

predominated. As a matter of fact, the most impressive Vaishnava images discovered


in

Mathura represent Balarama (S59)

How complex
demonstrated by
The

God Balarama

or

Serpent-King,

briefly

rather than Vasudeva.

Hindu

the concept of each major

deity

is

can best be

recounting the principal components that contributed to

the total personality of Balarama.

The review

will also explain

how

the iconographic

Mathura, 100125, S59.

forms and attributes of each deity were devised.

Although Balarama
deified heroes of the Vrishni tribe,

major

deity,

he

may

principal attribute
agriculture.

is

presented in mythology as one of the

five

by the Kushan period, when he loomed large

as a

have assimilated other concepts into his personality. His

is

the plowshare, which clearly announces his connection with

Another important feature of his

early

images

is

the snake-hood canopy

Of great antiquity, serpent worship was important in Kushan


was in many other parts of the country. The association of Balarama

above his head.

Mathura

as it

with the serpent may, therefore, have been a conscious


broaden their base by assimilating the snake

was so important and pervasive


or another by

Buddha

is

all

cult. Indeed, the

in ancient India that

Parsvanatha (Si 34)


also a frequent

it

by Vaishnavas to
worship of the serpent

was incorporated

is

similarly

surmounted by

is

a snake-hood canopy.

adornment of Siva and other Hindu

Thus, so

far,

some

The serpent

in at least three guises, as a

and serpent-god.

He

has also

aspects of the ancient yaksha cult, especially in his weakness for

alcohol. Before the rise of theistic

cosmic deities Vishnu,

Siva,

were widely patronized

all

Hinduism and triumphant emergence of the

Durga, and others, yakshas (ones worthy of worship)

across the subcontinent

Not only do most monumental images

and are

still

venerated in v llage

surviving from the pre-Christian era depi^

yakshas and their female counterparts, yakshis, but they are addressed by the tern
bhagavata, which also

25

is

deities.

Balarama has appeared to us

deified hero of the Vrishni clan, agrarian deity,

assimilated

one form

Balarama, while the head of Jina

Muchalinda, Nagarjunakonda, third


century, S8 1

in

three major religions. Thus, in a third-century relief (S81), the

protected by a multihooded serpent as

The Buddha Sakyamunt Sheltered by

effort

means "one worthy of homage."

Significantly, in e


literature this expression consistently

such

Vishnu and

as

was applied

Goddess came

Siva, while the

Buddha and Hindu gods,


be known universally as

to the
to

bhagavati. Indeed, like the serpent-gods, the yakshas

and yakshis were revered by

all.

Incorporated directly and en masse into the Jain pantheon, they remained
subservient to the Jinas, and contributed significantly to both

pantheons.

Some were included

wealth venerated in

Hinduism

all

most prominent being Kubera, god of

directly, the

three religions; others were absorbed. by the cosmic gods of

more subtle

in a

Hindu and Buddhist

To return

fashion.

to the concept of Balarama, a fifth

this deity in his role as avatar, or incarnation, of

dimension was added

Vishnu. In Hindu mythology

to

all

cosmic gods are capable of assuming different forms to destroy the forces of evil and

From time

save the pious.

Durga, and Kumara (the divine general and

to time, Siva,

son of Siva) assume such savior roles to punish the wicked and reward the good. The

concept had particular relevance for Vaishnavas, for Vishnu

When

excellence and preserver of the cosmic order.

overpowered by

evil,

Vishnu

is

is

the world

generally represented in art collectively, although


as

avatar was a convenient

well. For instance, the first three avatars


Mathura

area,

midsixth century, Si 29.

especially

human

forms, are

some individual incarnations,

Balarama, Varaha, Narasimha, and Rama, have enjoyed individual cults.

The concept of the


The Man-Lion Avatar of Vishnu,

is

believed to assume forms that vary depending on the

task to be performed. Ten such avatars, including animal and

such

the savior par

means of absorbing various other


in the

cults as

forms offish, tortoise, and boar

may have been tribal totems or gods, while Rama and Balarama were tribal heroes,
who may have been deified even before their absorption into Vishnuism. The ninth
avatar, the

formed the

Buddha, certainly had nothing

Although the
is

of Vaishnava avatars.

list

avatar concept

specifically Vaishnava, that of the

is

fundamental to both Jainism and Buddhism. Jainism reveres a group of

twenty-four Jinas, also


Jain text, "by

whom

reaching [by] which

known

as Tirthankaras.

men overcome

impurities of karma; the path was

by the Jains to be

"ATirthankara

he," says a typical

is

was shown the broad-fording place of virtue, the best of all


sorrow." 28

The aim of the Jain

salvation (moksha) by liberating the soul (jiva)

shown by

from the nonsoul

religion

is

to seek

and

(ajiva)

the Jinas, successive teachers believed

historical personages.

Buddhism,

many Buddhas who


suffix

his teachings

one of the most important world religions, and by the Gupta

basis of

period he was included in the

savior

do with Vishnu, but

to

too,

is

a religion of salvation,

and Sakyamuni

is

one of

have from time to time appeared on earth to show the way.

yana in such expressions

as

The

Hinayana, Mahayana, Tantrayana, and others,

designating various forms or schools of Buddhism, means "path," "way," or


"vehicle." Buddhists continue to believe that
still

c.

400, S99.

not the

last

own

who

has

nirvana to enlighten and, therefore, save others. Avalokitesvara

and Tara are savior-deities revered universally by

Buddhism. Each not only


from mundane

Buddha and

Buddhism

developed the concept of a bodhisattva, a perfected being

postponed his
Bodhisaitva. Kashmir,

is

await the arrival of the future Buddha, Maitreya. Mahayana

specifically

Sakyamuni

fears

and

all

followers of later forms of

saves sentient beings spiritually but also protects

them

threats.

The evolution of Balarama

is

typical of the conceptual

development of

the divinities in India. Assimilation and inclusiveness have been the principal

modes of enriching the

personalities of the gods

religion absorbed the gods and spirits of the

26

and expanding the pantheons. Each

new

locales

and communities with

which

it

came

The component
lord)

is

also

name means

"lord,"

and Mahesvara (great

epithet of Siva. Avalokitesvara's function, however,

The Buddhist goddess Tara

Hindu pantheon and

has the

same function

serves the

as

same form and attribute of the much

Lakshmi. In addition to adopting the

Hindu

borrowed and adapted ideas from one another.

isvara in Avalokitesvara's

common

of Vishnu's.

They

into contact.

akin to that

is

Durga of the

earlier Sri-

absorbed entire groups of

earlier yakshas, Jains

deities into their pantheons.

Hindus

known

believe that the Ultimate Being

perceived by the senses and

is

as

Brahma cannot be

formless. This abstraction, however, can

assume many

known as Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the


preserver, and Siva, the destroyer, who periodically create, preserve, and destroy the
universe in endless cycles. Brahma has remained more or less a figurehead in Hindu
forms, the three principal being

mythology, while Vishnu and Siva are the two dominant personalities. Siva
worshiped principally in his aniconic symbol known

combines two ancient


cosmic

pillar linking

several of

cults of fertility

embodied

He

heaven and earth.

in

worship of the phallus and the

assumes anthropomorphic forms,

also

which were conceived and represented

in art

during the Kushan period.

dating to the third millennium B.C. Although the

art,

which

as the linga (sign),

Images of the Goddess constitute, perhaps, the


Indian

is

earliest

examples of

museum

does not

have any objects dating from the Indus Valley civilization, the collection does
A

represent the thematic multiplicity of figures whose primary function

related to

is

Goddess, Peshawar

fecundity and abundance, irrespective of whether they represent yakshis or

division, second century

B.C., S6.

goddesses.

The

cult of the

Goddess was pervasive

One

the focus of popular religion in the country.

be distinguished and elevated

as a

major deity

in ancient India

and

still

remains

of the earliest Mother Goddesses to

in the

Hindu pantheon

Lakshmi, venerated ubiquitously by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains

is

as the

Sri-

goddess of

wealth and good fortune. She continues to enjoy the most adored status virtually in

Hindu household. The cosmic goddess Durga, slayer of the buffalo demon and
embodiment of sakti, the power and energy basic to all creation, is rather a
every

latecomer to Hinduism. Her earliest images are from the Kushan period, and

remarkably small, indicating the somewhat modest nature of her cult

all

are

at the time.

She may well have been a composite of various concepts, both native and foreign,

which coalesced into

a cosmic

magna

mater.

As with other

diverse village and tribal cults and divinities and

devotees by the

Gupta

Tht Goddess Durga Destroying

Demon, Mathura,

c.

the Buffalo

200, S72.

divinities of

goddesses came to play an important

member

is

role.

of the pantheon. Vaishnavas thus

the two

common names

development of this concept

Hinduism, such

all

active

(spirit).

first

as

Vishnu,

male, by the Gupta period

Not only does each god have

is

is

came

a wife, but

to regard Sri-Lakshmi as both the

regarded as powerless without Parvati or

of his spouse. Significantly influencing the

Samkhya,

a philosophical

system advocating a kind of

dualism by asserting that the universe was created by Prakriti (nature)

Purusha

to her

considered to be the inherent power or energy residing in each male

wife and power of Vishnu. Siva similarly

Uma,

supreme goddess

sun god), Kumara (the divine general), and Ganesa (the universally

worshiped elephant-headed god of success), are

the goddess

absorbed

period.

Although the important


Siva, Surya (the

became

deities, she

Purusha

principle.

27

is

for the sake of

regarded as the passive spectator, while Prakriti

is

the

Buddhism was profoundly


Mahayana Buddhism

a bodhisattva

may

influenced by similar ideas. In

be of either sex, and innumerable gods and

goddesses were created to help the adept along the path toward enlightenment.

The

principal text of

Mahayana philosophy, the Prajnaparamita, was

Mother Goddess. As the word prajnd, meaning "wisdom"


of the feminine gender,

all

deified as a

or "knowledge,"

Buddhist goddesses came to be regarded

as

is

embodiments

of prajna. Jains, too, accepted yakshis and goddesses into their pantheons, and,

although generally they do not enjoy the importance accorded their counterparts in

Hindu and Buddhist pantheons, some, such as Sarasvati, goddess of


learning and wisdom, and Ambika, a benevolent Mother Goddess, are no
the

less

popular than some Jinas.


Early
rituals or images.

Buddhism was

The

a simple,

humanistic faith that had no use

focus of devotion was the stupa, a hemispherical

for

mound made

of brick and rubble that symbolized the faith, the Buddha, and the cosmic

mountain, which was piously circumambulated by the devotees, both lay and monk.

Although the Buddha had been represented by symbols much


until the

first

century B.C. that images of

him began

earlier, it

was not

to appear simultaneously in

Mathura and the northwest. Not only had the Buddha become

a transcendental

being, but the introduction of the bodhisattva was also a major concession to the

concept of personal devotion. Thus, from an austere, monastic belief emphasizing

Buddhism became an emotional

introspection, meditation, and charity,

with

rituals

and esoteric

practices.

Although the history of Jainism

is

traced a century or two before

the teacher Mahavira (active sixth century B.C.), he

Buddhism, Jainism

the faith. Like early

smaller one of
pacifism

monks

common

is

worship and lead a


visit a
visit is

(yati)

regarded as the true founder of

is

also consists of two principal groups, a

and a larger group of lay disciples

to both.

life

(srdvaka).

Whereas Jain monks dispense with

all acts

Extreme
of

of complete abstinence and continence, lay followers must

temple and worship images of their teachers. Indeed, while


obligatory for Jains,

insistence

religion

it is

temple

voluntary for both Hindus and Buddhists. This

on public worship may be one reason

for the greater antiquity of

temple building among Jains. The primary objects of worship in the Jain religion
are representations of the twenty-four Jinas.
Shrine with Fourjinas, Uttar Pradesh,
c.

host of gods and goddesses

subservient to the Jinas are also included in the pantheon. Images of these subsidiary

600, S134.

divinities are used profusely to

underwent a schism

who put on white

adorn Jain temples. Like Buddhists, Jains

in the first century

clothes,"

and were divided into Svetambaras, "those

and Digambaras, "sky-robed," or naked. The

principal difference between the two that

Digambaras portray

is

pertinent for us

is

the fact that

their Jinas as naked, while Svetambaras not only clothe,

but occasionally adorn their images with ornaments and crowns.


Just as there were

among
and

many

conceptual similarities and adaptations

the three major religions, so also in their ritual practices.

reliefs in

purposes.

Most stone images

the collection once embellished temple walls and served didactic

They were not the

recipients of offerings as

sanctum. Hindus express their devotion

at

is

home and

enacting their daily routine. Thus, each day the deity

a central

in a
is

image

temple by

installed in a

ritually

bathed, dressed, and fed in

the morning; allowed a siesta in the afternoon; entertained with music and dance in

28

more and put

the evening; fed once

are taken out in procession


as a part of

annual

rites

to sleep.

On

special occasions substitute images

from one temple to another or from one town to another

of visitation and renewal.

unguents, rubbing with

clarified butter

and offering of flowers and incense are

The sprinkling of water and

and colored powders, such

as

much

a part of

Hindu

as

vermilion,

ritual as they are of

the Buddhist and Jain. Jains, too, wash their images and apply sandlepaste, offer

them

them with

food, fan

The

flywhisks, and entertain

them with music.

association of animals and trees with the various deities

standard feature of Indian iconography

common

is

to all three religious systems.

associations point to the survivals of early forms of

animism and nature

Such

cults,

and some gods may have been represented theriomorphically before they were
depicted anthropomorphically. Thus, Siva came to be associated with the bull;

Vishnu, with Garuda, a mythical creature that

Goddess, with the

is

half-human, half-avian; and the

These animals also help identify the figures and are

lion.

especially important for recognizing the Jinas. Indeed, but for their trees

and

animals, the Jinas are often indistinguishable from one another. Trees continue
to be sacred,

and

in

almost every Indian village one or more trees are

religious shrines. In the

Buddhist pantheon the

emphasize his association with the bodhi

earliest

tree quite

set aside as

images of the Buddha

unambiguously. Later some

bodhisattvas and the transcendental Buddhas like divinities in the

Hindu and

Jain pantheons, were given animal mounts.

While
the bull

known

in

Kushan

art

and coins Siva was frequently represented with

Nandi, Vasudeva, or Vishnu, and the Goddess were

as

rarely

portrayed with their animals. By the Gupta period, however, the lion was included
in
Dinar of Vasudeva
142-76),

03b

I (r. c.

images of the Goddess with some regularity, but Garuda was not found

standard Vishnu icons. Indeed, the iconography of the various deities

is

in

described

reverse.

with considerable

fluidity

during the Kushan period. Notwithstanding the absence

of Vasudeva, or Vishnu, in the early coins, artistic evidence indicates that by the

second century A.D. both Vishnuism and Sivaism had become the most important

Hindu

Buddhism appears

religious systems, certainly around Mathura.

northwest to have been the major religious force, although Siva


coins as the principal Indian deity favored by the

represented on

Kushan dynasty and many

the Panjab. Vishnuism rapidly gained popularity during the

Vishnu became the patron deity of the emperors. In


flourished in

is

in the

Gupta

tribes in

when

period,

fact, all three religions

Mathura during the Kushan and Gupta

periods.

As

in the northwest,

Buddhist communities

also prospered

throughout the extensive Satavahana Empire

and Ikshvaku kingdom

in present-day

Andhra Pradesh. Although Hinduism may

have gained an edge over Buddhism and Jainism, both continued to thrive
the subcontinent during the

Gupta

all

over

period.

Notwithstanding the desire to earn religious merit to gain ultimate


release

from the chain of rebirth, the concern of the average person then,

today,

was to ensure a

and family. Thus, the


divinities of wealth

life

as

it is still

of material prosperity and good health for the individual

local cults of fertility deities, protective spirits,

and tutelary

and abundance remained popular. Visible manifestations of these

divine entities are the numerous terra-cotta figures of astonishing variety that are
distinct strength of the

museum's

collection.

domestic shrines, others were used


Head of a

Goddess, Mathura, third

century B.C., S9.

cities, still others

ground

were thrown into

for

as votive offerings in local shrines in villages

rivers

and tanks, while some were buried

to increase the fertility of the land.

29

Some may have been intended

Most such goddesses continue

and

in the

to be

implored and appeased

making barren women

for

fertile,

protection at childbirth,

home

prevention and cure of diseases, and ensuring the welfare of the family and
general.

Most such

among

Hariti

remain nameless, but some, such

deities

the goddesses, and Kubera, Panchika, and

became important

art, the cult

is

become

to

who

at

Kushan and Gupta

periods. She

one time devoured children but was converted by


She basically was no different from

a protective deity.

who populated

other such goddesses

the gods,

of Hariti enjoyed great popularity in the northwestern region

apparently was an ogress,

Buddha

Kumara among

a frequently depicted figure in early

of the subcontinent particularly during the

the

Sri-Lakshmi and

by the Kushan period.

cult figures

Although Sri-Lakshmi
Buddhist

as

in

many

the folk pantheon and were adopted by

Buddhists, although very likely she was feared and appeased by the population in
general.

Another such

ancient Bihar, as
A

Goddess with Children, Swat Valley,

c.

250-300, S50.

is

figure,

known

known from

was worshiped

as Jara,

the Mahabharata In
.

home

in every

in

Gandhara Hariti was associated

with the male consort Panchika, a general of Kubera. In point of fact, however, his
representation does not differ from that of his overlord.

The cult of Kubera,

like that of Sri-Lakshmi, is very ancient,

and he

adored by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains alike. Before being adopted universally
the

god of wealth, he was the king of yakshas. He

also

came

spear,

which he

carries frequently in

city.

As

a guardian he

Gandharan and Kushan

representations found in Mathura. In Gupta-period and later art the spear

indispensable as his bag of jewels or

and

not as

is

mongoose disgorging gems. His yaksha

led to his portrayal as a potbellied figure in the art of Mathura,


The

as

to be regarded as the

guardian of the North, the supposed location of his fabulous

was given a

is

origins

this

God Kubera and Spouse,

Mathura, second century, S64.

representation, rather than the well-proportioned

popular with

later artists.

Gandharan

figure,

remained

Like several other yakshas, Kubera came to be associated

with the family of Siva rather than Vishnu. In Kushan Mathura he

is

associated with Sri-Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, but later his spouse


called Riddhi, goddess of prosperity, while Sri-Lakshmi

frequently

came

to be

became the spouse of

Vishnu. The god of wealth curiously was not represented on any coin of the period.

Another Hindu deity who


but was of independent origin

is

Kushan

became

came

Kumara, known

Karttikeya. Like most other major


past and

also

to be included in the Saiva

variously as Skanda, or

Hindu gods, Kumara

a composite figure not

much

before the

has a varied and complex

Gupta

period.

coins two separate personalities are encountered; they were

the syncretistic deity

known as Kumara.

group

Even on

merged

later into

Various gods and spirits performing related

functions were assimilated into one major divinity. In antiquity

Kumara and

his

who had to be constantly appeased to protect children.


Kumara, also known as Subrahmanya, was the tutelary deity

host were malevolent spirits

By
Head of the Buddha

Mathura, second century,


S61.

the

Kushan period

of the Yaudheyas, a militant tribe from northwestern India famous for their fighting

Kumara was adopted as the divine general in the Mahabharata, and an


elaborate myth was developed that emphasized his connection with both Agni,
ability.

Vedic god of

fire,

however, as the
born.

From

and

Siva.

His

role as protector of children

myth provided him with

six

was not forgotten,

mothers to nurse him when he was

the Yaudheya territories in the Panjab the cult of Kumara spread rapidly

across northern India during the

Kushan and Gupta

periods.

Some Gupta monarchs

were ardent devotees of this god. In post-Gupta India his cult enjoyed greater
popularity in the south than in the north.

The Hindu god Ganesa

(lord of the tribe, or people), like Sri-

Lakshmi, has remained popular with followers of all three religions and
countries where Indian religions have spread.

head

(his

generally

most distinguishing
adored

is

gana denotes

Siva's

for

human

has a

body, elephant

feature), and, like the yakshas, a potbelly.

Ganesa

removing obstacles and bestowing prosperity. The word

dwarf attendants, and thus Ganesa

Kumara, he came

leader of the ganas. Like


Parvati.

He

in all

His origins are obscure, but

regarded specifically as the

is

to be regarded as a son of Siva

his elephant

head may

and

refer to a tribal or

unknown in the Kushan period but


seems to have gathered momentum during the Gupta age. In developed Hinduism
he is especially important: all Hindu worship as well as all secular enterprises,
totemic past. In any event, his cult was not

such
The

God Ganesa, Kashmir,

seventh

as a

journey or commercial transaction, must begin by invoking this benign

and auspicious

deity.

century. Si 06.

small shrine to Ganesa

is

included in every

Hindu

temple, whether dedicated to Siva, Vishnu, or the Goddess, and the devout are
obliged to

visit it before

Finally, a

cult

may have begun

entering the principal sanctum.

few words should be said about a little-known deity whose

in the

Gupta period. The name of the god

the collection contains what

He

is

may

god, Surya.

Revanta, and

be his earliest representation in Indian art (Si 32).

included in at least two Gupta-period texts and


29

is

associated with the sun

is

He

Revanta wears Surya's Scythian costume and rides a horse.

principally as a hunter-god, for

which there

is

shown

no precedent in India.

Interestingly, he appears to have been the patron deity of horse traders,

whom came

is

from eastern Iran and Afghanistan. There

is

most of

a tradition in India

that a form of sun worship was introduced into the northwest of the subcontinent

from Iran during the Kushan period, which


Revanta wears foreign
The

God Revanta and Companions

Samath

dress.

is

why

in north Indian

images

Perhaps because of their similarity in attire Revanta and

Surya were associated


,

More

area, early seventh century,

the hunter-king,

likely Revanta's

who

figures

image

as a

hunter

is

an adaptation by Indians of

prominently in Sasanian metalwork. Not simply

secular images illustrating the prowess of the Sasanian monarchs, these hunting

scenes also held religious significance. 30

hunter-king for their coins, which


to this

motif

may

Gupta monarchs

selected the

theme of the

have been inspired by the importance given

in Sasanian art. In India so significant a

motif could

easily acquire

otherwise difficult to explain the sudden emergence

further religious overtones.

It is

or adoption of the motif in

Gupta

coins and religious art.

The iconography of

god Mitra, wearing Central Asian costume and Phrygian cap, may also
have contributed to representations of Revanta. Certainly in the museum's relief
his attendants wear Phrygian caps as do some of Surya's companions in Guptathe Iranian

period

reliefs. 31

31

Image and Idea

Greco-Roman

influences notwithstanding, the basic principles underlying the

forms of Indian gods are notably different. While the Greek idealization involved
the perfecting of the

human body without

aesthetic preferred an ideal

sacrificing naturalism, the Indian

form combining a greater degree of abstraction with the

rhythms of nature. The Amazonian goddess of Kushan Mathura (S54)


essential features of a

human

being, but her body

is

retains the

not merely an aggregate of

sinews and muscles, however idealized, but a mass of curves and swelling volumes

imbued with the same

spirit that

by integrating the

with her body, the

tree

animates the tree climbing up her back. Indeed,


artist has literally as well as figuratively

depicted the goddess as symbolizing nature. She

plenitude

is

the fruit-bearing tree, whose

essential for the sustenance of living creatures. Appropriately, in

Sanskrit literature the beautiful

weight of her large breasts just

woman

as the

is

frequently said to bend slightly from the

branch of a tree

Her

breasts are also

life.

Pots filled with water are obligatory in

secular,

is

compared with

and sighting a beautiful

full jars

woman

is

overweighed by

containing water, which


all

its

is

ripe fruit.

essential for

Indian rituals, both sacred and

(divyandri)

and

a full jar

before undertaking a journey are considered equally auspicious.

frequently in Sanskrit literature to denote the female breast

is

(purnakumbha)

A synonym

used

payodhara meaning

"container for milk" (the word cannot be applied to male breasts). Milk nourishes
life

and

is

considered the food par excellence for both the ascetic and the god.

Thus, whether representing a mortal or divinity, the two elements of


the female form that always have been emphasized, at times even exaggerated, are
the hips and breasts, whether the representation
figure or a curvaceous goddess

features in an otherwise
stability
flux,

made

is

a highly abstracted terra-cotta

of stone or bronze.

changing world of varying

The

tastes

persistence of such

and

styles provides

and constancy to sacred imagery. The mundane world

but the realm of the divine

is

is

one of constant

subject to neither the tyranny of time nor

inevitability of death.

In Indian mythology and art the gods are conceived as

"immortal adolescents,"

to use an expression of Christopher Fry's.

ever portrayed as old or decrepit.

Few

Only Brahma and Agni and more

divinities are

rarely the

sage-god Narayana in the Hindu pantheon are depicted with beards to suit their role
as elder statesmen.

Even the

undetermined age. Almost

32

ascetic Siva invariably

all

is

a youthful figure of

other divinities, whether Hindu, Buddhist, or Jain,

male or female, are represented

as eternally

youthful and are described as being

sixteen years old. Jinas, whether or not they were historical personages, are ageless
as

the Buddha, who, even in depictions of his death,

is

man, although he

known

is

Buddha assumed

historical

is

shown

as a

young

to have reached the ripe old age of eighty.


a corporeal

body

Although the

for his last earthly existence,

by

achieving nirvana he transcended both old age and death. Moreover, the sacred

image symbolizes the idea or essence of Buddhahood rather than the Buddha
himself.

When
Buddha, unlike

confronted with the task of creating the image of the

his counterpart in

Gandhara, who turned to the Greco-Roman

model of the god Apollo, the unknown


as

artist

of Mathura conceived the

an ideal yogi with matted hair and seminaked body seated in the

of meditation on a lion throne under a tree (S58).

combined
modeled

in this

classical posture

different concepts were

image, that of a yogi and a monarch. All divine images in India are

king or a combination of the two.


The antiquity of yoga as a spiritual discipline is uncertain, but

after either a yogi or a

Triad with the Buddha, Mathura, ioo,

s5 8

Two

Buddha

figures seated in the classic posture of a meditating yogi appear


as early as the third

receiving homage,

millennium B.C. As some of these


it is

figures

on Indus Valley

seem

seals

to be

generally assumed that they represent gods. In subsequent

Indian art, however, the image of the yogi does not occur until almost the birth

Among

of Christ.

the countless terra-cotta figures of the pre-Christian period, few

images of a yogi are found. The colossal figures of yakshas, which are often
cited as prototypes for later
yogi.

By

gods

Siva,

the

first

Hindu and Buddhist images, were

not modeled after the

Hindu

century of the Christian era, however, certainly the

Brahma, and Agni

Buddhas and Jinas were conceived

as well as the

primarily as yogis or ascetics with matted hair and smooth, supple, relaxed
bodies.

While

in

Gandhara sculptors under Greco-Roman influence emphasized the

taut, tense, articulated muscles of the body,

Buddha or

representations on coins of the

meet with

a far

more

whether

god

abstracted, simplified

in sculptures of the

Siva, in other centers of Indian art

body with

characteristic of a serious practitioner of yoga.

flexible, plantlike

Through

we

limbs

physical and mental

mind and

discipline, the practitioner of yoga aims to attain control over the

body, and, hence, the ideal yogi was considered an appropriate model for the gods.

The

sculptor's task

formless.

The

scatheless,

Isa

was not

easy, for

through form he had to express the

Upanishad states: "He [the

Self} encircled all, bright, incorporeal,

without muscles, pure, untouched by

At the same time and somewhat

evil." 32

paradoxically, ascetic figures are

adorned with various jewels and ornaments. Often the gods,


sit

or stand

the

on

Buddha

lion thrones.

himself, and

These regal symbols were

Some gods, such

some Jinas
first

are

as

like the

Buddha,

Vishnu and Surya, the bodhisattvas,

crowned with diadems and

tiaras.

associated with divine images only from the

Kushan

period. In earlier Indian art as, for example, at Bharhut, the divine yakshas and

mortal kings wear turbans, and the turban embellished with gems remained the
basic headdress of royalty in India until recent times.

generally

the

shown wearing helmets

Kushan monarchs

headgears, which

may

on

some

their coins wearing tall,

tiaras.

While

peaked

sort of crown, the Satavahana

kings were never portrayed with diadems or

and Gupta

Rarely are later Indian

kings depicted with crowns, except the Pallavas in southern India,

been of foreign origin. In mythology the king of the gods, Indra,

33

are

or filleted diadems but not tiaras or crowns.

are depicted

represent

The Indo-Greek kings

who may

is

have

described

as

wearing a

crown. Thus,

tall

it

seems that,

introduced from West Asia, where


sit

it

like the lion throne, the

was customary

for

crown was

diademed monarchs

to

on such thrones. Tiaras are frequently given to female deities of all three religions.

Although the Kushan monarchs were


royal cult brazenly

on coins, the

first

to establish

some

sort of

emphasizing their divinity by adding halos to their portraits

close association of religious ritual

important feature of Vedic

and

sacrifices. Similarities

royal

symbolism

is

abound between the

an

royal

consecration ceremony and the lustration of images in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain
rituals.

For instance, forms of consecration (abhisheka) involve similar rites with

water, while the flywhisk

emblems

and parasol, the two most visible and indispensable

of royalty, are equally important for the worship of images. Texts on

aesthetics repeatedly emphasize that kings should be depicted as

gods with similar

proportions. Like the gods, royal images should display the same signs of the

superhuman being {mahdpurushalakshana) The


.

that "universal

monarchs

The auspicious

curl of hair

are to be portrayed with

between the brows

are also signs distinguishing a


Dinar

of

C27C

reverse.

Samudragupta

(r.

c.

33576),

Chitrasutra, for instance, tells us

Buddha. The

is

webbed

to be

fingers

shown

and

toes.

in its place." 33

These

text further informs us that like

kings, gods should have hair only on their heads, eyelashes, and brows; no hair

should be shown on any other part of the body. Followed

and painters, such instructions account


figures.

for the

by sculptors

literally

smooth limbs and chests of male

Moreover, the countenance of the gods should always be effulgent, and

they should be adorned with diadems, earrings, necklaces, armlets, and bracelets
exactly as a king

is

ornamented.

Precise instructions are also provided for the representations of

women, whether mortal


ideal types each

men, they are divided into

or celestial. In general, like

with different proportions. The height of the female

is

five

adjusted

according to that of the corresponding male category. In each category the female

should never be

taller

than the height of the male's shoulder. Her waist should be

narrower by two units, and her hips should be wider than the male's by the same

measurement. Yakshis and courtesans are given the same proportions and are to be
"attired in flamboyant dress that
early yakshis

from Mathura
In

(see

most appropriate

is

for the erotic

mood." 34 The

S70) brazenly exhibit their erotic charms.

Kushan Mathura

number of sculptures was commissioned by

courtesans, and throughout the period courtesans were very influential in society. 35
Literature also informs us that artists and courtesans lived in the
city,

which may have proved

same part of the

to be an advantage in providing sculptors

beautiful models. Moreover, in large cities

many

courtesans

came from

with
different

parts of the country and abroad, including girls from Iran and Bactria. Foreign

may

female courtesans and male traders

well have been the models for the exotic

figures that appear frequently in the terra-cottas of the period (see


as are the sculptured forms, they nevertheless reveal

body that could not have been the

must have been based upon

close observation.

have invented them

or jewelers. In

most such

details

Idealized

an understanding of the

human

result simply of imagination or cerebration but

The

sculptures exhibit such an

astonishing variety of hairstyles and ornaments that


for artists to

Sy8a f).

all

it

would have been impossible

unless they were also imaginative hairdressers

and even with regard

to "the

outward form" of

divine images, the texts clearly enjoin the artist to follow the prevalent custom of
Human

Heads,

Kausambi, third century,

the region or the country. 36

And where

else

own neighborhood among


have seen so many beautiful

but in his

courtesans and temple dancers could the sculptor

d.

women adorned

34

with exquisite ornaments and elaborate coiffures/

In India there has always been a close relationship between dance

and the visual

Not

arts.

nymphs

only are gods and celestial

when the figures stand at ease


The hand gestures represented in

often depicted dancing,

but even

they seem to strike a graceful dancer's

pose.

sculptures and paintings, although ritually

same

significant, are the

as those

used by dancers to communicate ideas and

emotions. Indeed, no other tradition has united the arts of sculpture and dance so
joyously and with such confidence as has the Indian. Again,

how could an

artist

confined to his atelier have depicted the various postures and gestures of the dance so

had he not been well informed in the

skillfully

opportunity to observe the

who,

finest dancers,

and

art

if

he had not had the

were the courtesans and the

in fact,

temple dancers? Nor could he create such exuberant and

forms simply by

lively

following textual guidance. As the greatest Sanskrit poet, Kalidasa (active

fifth

century), sarcastically asks:

Who was

the artificer at her creation?

That ancient saint

there, sitting in his trance,

Bemused by prayers and dull


Cares not for beauty:

Such

loveliness, the

theology

How could he create

old religious fool'P i7

That the Indian


dance

artists

were expected to

know

the

movements of the

evident from the Chitrasutra, included in the Vishnudharmottarapurana.

is

This text on the visual arts forms part of an entire section devoted to dance, drama,

and rhetoric,

all

of which are said to be interrelated. In the opening passages on the

visual arts, the sage

must

first

Markandeya

monarch

categorically tells the curious

that he

learn the art of dancing before he can be instructed in the arts of painting

and sculpture. 38 Both the dance and the visual

arts are representational, imitative of

the objects in the three worlds (trailokydnukriti), and hence, the various moods,
gestures, and postures depicted in dance also

form part of the

artist's repertoire.

Since dance appears to have played a greater role in sculpture than in painting

must assume

that the sculptor, even

fact did, familiarize

them

is

the

common

arts

each

poem

its

was expected

to,

aesthetic concept of rasa.

or song, has

its

own

rasa,

which

are derived

roughly bear the same names, such

The word
is

rasa

is

"flavor" or "taste." Just as every

as

in the aesthetic context

seems to imply

from the basic human emotions {bhava) and

"the erotic, the comic, the compassionate, the

peaceful." There are differences, however, between

understanding of which

is

and the

control, are

emotions which contaminate

it.

since they

seldom aesthetically harmonious. Our bursts of

mixed with anger and fear; our sexual excitement

35

an

Ingalls:

seldom pure or sustained

depend on circumstances beyond our


energy are

mood and emotion,

and the

fundamental to the aesthetic experience. As noted by the

eminent Sanskrit scholar Daniel

is

all

difficult to

cruel, the heroic, the terrifying, the horrid {or loathsome], the marvelous,

emotion

in

distinctive flavor or taste, so also each sculpture or painting,

mood. The moods generally

An

and

assume different expressions, underlying

translate into English, but the closest equivalent

edible object has

painter,

himself thoroughly with this artistic form.

Although the various


of

more than the

we

is

interrupted, frustrated,

forgotten,

purified

and then

and sustained and can

the emotion

emotion
the

is

be

one ofpersonal
all

loss.

on the other hand, since

mood

But when

A work of art expresses moods (bhava),


subordinate.

this

may

artist,

be

When Rama

loses

Sita in real

life his

happens in Vdlmiki's poem or Bhavabhilti 's play,

well. 39

stated:

which may be "transient" or "permanent" : the work as

A work of art is a statement

on the blissful experience of beauty

It is

an

created by

a permanent mood to which the transient moods are

be characterized by
.

universal.

is

men and nature as

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

a whole must

it is

combined with other moods in an artistic fashion. Again,

personal whereas the

is

mood embraces

Or, as

A mood,

resumed.

and not

the expression of the universal

"informed by rasa" :

ultimate value depends

may

on the knowledge which

mood

its

be

gained from

it.

40

rather than the transient emotion that was

the primary concern of the Indian artist. Just as there are rules in poetry and

conventions in dance and drama for depicting moods by combining various

emotions, so also in the visual arts precise instructions govern the expression of these

moods. In an image of Durga (S105) the goddess primarily expresses the heroic rasa
by destroying the buffalo demon. At the same time, however, her opulent form
conveys the erotic mood, whereas her calm demeanor expresses the peaceful rasa.

Buddhas and Jinas

are classic

examples of the combination of the rasas known

as the

compassionate and the peaceful. The heroic and the terrifying are combined in
representations of the wrathful aspects of divine nature

destroying the forces of evil. These


postures and exaggerated
The Goddess Durga Killing

the Buffalo

emphasize that subjects

moods

when

the gods are engaged in

are expressed chiefly

movements of eyebrows and

through militant

rolling eyes.

solely expressing the erotic, comic,

The

texts also

and peaceful can be

Demon, Kashmir, seventh century,


S105.

depicted in residential buildings; only in the temples of the gods and in public areas
of the palace, such as the audience hall, can

The two most popular


erotic

and the peaceful. Despite the

and abstracted formula based on


and no matter how
appeal of the

lofty

and

nine

moods be portrayed. 41

rasas depicted in Indian art in general are the

fact that

strict

Indian artists devised an idealized

mathematical proportions to represent form

spiritual the

human body was

all

purpose of the sculpture, the sensuous

never ignored. In

all

repeatedly stressed that the most fundamental rasa

works of Indian aesthetics


is

absorbing theme of Sanskrit poetry and drama, and

the erotic. Love

among

is

it is

the

the nine rasas the erotic

has received the greatest attention in the literature on aesthetics. Thus, the erotic

whether religious or

flavors all

Indian

an Indian

artist to ignore so basic a part

known

art,

instinctively that "the

solution

write the

of

human

and

it

would be inconceivable

nature. Artists

amount of erotic content

seem

The second-century poet Asvaghosha did not


following passage in his biography of the Buddha. The scene

is

very high."

Another {woman} repeatedly

let

women

for

to have

work of art can hold

42

temptation of the Buddha by beautiful

and with

secular,

in

hesitate to

describes the

in the pleasure grove:

her blue garments slip

down under

the pretext of intoxication

her girdle partly seen she seemed like the night with the lightning flashing. Some

walked up and down

so as to

make

their golden zones twinkle

and displayed to him

veiled by diaphanous robes. Others grasped mango-boughs in full flower

display bosoms like golden jars 43


.

36

their hips

and leaned so

as to

The female forms conceived by

sculptors at Sanchi and

Mathura

as well as the

contemporary poetry of the Kushan-Satavahana period abundantly exemplify the


primary importance of the erotic mood.
Tranquility, or the peaceful,

is

yet another

mood

of paramount

importance, especially in the creation of divine images. Most sculptures, except

when

expressing the heroic or the terrifying, exude a soothing serenity. Even in

scenes of heroism involving death, the horrid

downplayed,

is

showing Durga's victory over the buffalo demon (S72)

or

Vishnu rescuing the earth

goddess (S75), where each displays unruffled confidence. The


scowling face (Si 29) expressing fear and anger

is

made

as in the reliefs

Narasimha's

effect of

less severe

distortion and decorous elegance of the two attendant figures.

by the intentional

By and

large,

however, most figures seem to combine two moods: the erotic and the peaceful.

Another rasa that the sculptor often indulged


appropriate subjects or resorting to distortions

many

surprisingly
viewer.

secular terra-cottas were

The unusual elongation of the

that

meant

dog

toy

is

in

known

by selecting

to express beauty

(Si 9)

may

Not

comic.

as the

and amuse the

well have been one such

example. According to the Chitrasutra subjects meant to excite laughter should be

deformed,

like

hunchbacks or dwarfs, and the mood should

also be expressed

through comically awkward gestures and postures. Dwarfs were often introduced
in relief sculpture not only to

emphasize by contrast the radiant beauty of the

principal figures but also to add a comic element. Thus, in a terra-cotta plaque of a
dancer, her subservient

companion

is

intentionally

The dwarf drummer of the Gupta period

(Si 28)

is

made

known

among

as ganas, are often

make him amusing.

hunchbacks

may be

Siva's

the most whimsical figures in Indian

sculpture. Interestingly, artists were quite free to depict


texts clearly state that Siva's attendants

diminutive figure (S24).

obviously a merry fellow, and the

distortion of his form as well as his expression clearly

attendants,

them

as they chose, for the

as well as ghosts, goblins, dwarfs,

and

represented regardless of proportions.

Otherwise, correct proportions were a desideratum for figures of


A Duarf Drummer, Uttar
Madhya Pradesh,

c.

or

mortals and immortals. Five different sets of proportions were devised for the male

500, S128.

and female

figure. Like the

Greeks, the Indians believed that "beauty does not

harmonious proportion of the parts

consist in the elements but in the

parts to

others."

all

conform

44

Most

to prescribed lineaments

which captivates

their heart

of canonical proportion
likely

texts constantly assert that to be beautiful

is

is

But

not beautiful."

for those

45

By

the

who know,

that

of all

images must

and proportions. "There are some to

lovely.

whom

which

Kushan period Indian

falls

that

short

sculptors

had been influenced by Greek theories of proportion. Although most

important iconographic manuals

cite in great detail various theories of proportion,

these are yet to be tested thoroughly against existing sculptures. Such studies greatly

would contribute

in

determining how

far differences in

canons of proportion

influenced stylistic variation in space and time. As the art historian Erwin Panofsky
stated:

Not
to

only

adhere

is it

to

significance.

important

know whether particular artists or periods of art did or did not tend

system ofproportions

For

constantly one

to

it

but the

would be a mistake

and the

to

how of their mode

assume that

theories

of treatment

is

of real

ofproportions per se are

same. 46

Indeed, the sculptures here illustrated clearly reveal the degree to which
stylistic differences

37

between two schools, such

as

Mathura and Gandhara

in the

same

period, or two periods of the

same school must have been due

different theories of proportion.

The

stylistic variations

Buddha from Mathura and Sarnath

heads of the

largely to

between contemporaneous

(Si 19, S126)

may

be

attributed in large measure to the distinct canons of proportion current in the two
centers.

The

great diversity of styles encountered in Indian sculpture indicate

that notably different canons of proportion were in use in different regions.

Although sculptors probably were expected

to adhere to certain basic principles,

they otherwise enjoyed considerable freedom. After describing at length the


prescribed proportions for the harhsa (gander) type of male to be used only for kings

and gods, the Chitrasutra

measurements have
indicated and from

"For the rest of the princely figures, the

states,

to be provided

one's

by an intelligent understanding on the

experience" (italics added). 47

own

The

artist

to study the differences in features, complexions, ornaments,

lines

specifically told

is

and dress from one


genius. 48

region to another and where necessary to create proportions by his

own

Not only

too easily

is

the individuality of the artist acknowledged, a fact

forgotten in the Indian context because

little

or nothing

is

all

known about him, but

the differences in the forms of the gods and mortals are justified explicitly.

To emphasize the distinction Indian


concepts. Gods, as well as asuras (superhuman,

artists also

demonic

invented other

creatures),

were often

provided with multiple limbs and heads to indicate their various functions and

cosmic natures. They were most commonly given four arms or four heads, probably
to symbolize the four directions. Early stone

and terra-cotta images of yakshas, gods,

and goddesses of the pre-Christian period do not display such supramundane


appendages. Neither did Buddhists nor Jains adopt such means to emphasize the
divinity of their deified teachers, although they did accept the idea of expressing the

cosmic nature of their gods by representing them with multiple heads and limbs.

The

earliest instance

Kushan

of the use of multiple limbs cannot be dated earlier than the

period.

arms on Kushan coinage, while Vasudeva, or

Siva appears with four

Vishnu, Balarama, and Durga were frequently given four arms in contemporary

Mathura

sculptures. Late-Kushan-period

image of the Goddess display

six instead of

four arms (S72). In a few late-Kushan coins Siva seems to be tricephalic.

Indus Valley

seals are represented

be tricephalic, but this

is

On

some

apparently meditating figures, which are said to

by no means certain. 49 Curiously, three-headed figures and

the cross-legged posture appear also in Celtic art in the early centuries of the

Christian era in Europe, although there exists no evidence of a direct connection

with contemporary Indian

Indo-European past, and

art.

it is

Both the Celtic and Indian

civilizations share an

likely that the practice of displaying the

cosmic nature

of the gods with multiple heads and limbs was inspired by the Vedic conceptual
figure of Purusha,

who

is

generally described in hyperbolic terms as possessing one

thousand heads, eyes, arms, and

legs.

Thousand eyed

epithet for the Vedic gods Indra, Rudra, and Agni.

(sahasrdksha)

also a

common

deities

were not

is

Although these

represented in art at the time the Vedic culture flourished, the anthropomorphic
descriptions
artists

composed by the Vedic

during the Kushan period when

Thus, multiplicity of limbs


either

seers influenced later

Greek iconography or

is

it

became necessary

Hindu
to give

theologians and

form

one feature not borrowed by the Kushan

earlier

indigenous

to the gods.
artist

from

artistic tradition. Rather, the

concept established a link between the cosmic gods of later Hinduism with the
visions of the ancient Vedic seers.

38

ib

Symbols and Myths

In the art of India, every form


conscious thought
is

is

and of consciously

arbitrary or peculiar, nothing

is

Nothing

directed feeling.

vague or mysterious, for the

very raison d'etre of all the imagery

ideas in comprehensible

and

the symbol of a clear

is to

present concrete
50

and easily apprehended forms

In these two lucid sentences

Coomaraswamy

expressed with brevity and precision

the essentially symbolic nature of Indian art, especially sculpture. Representational

though

it is

sculpture

is

and

own brand

its

of naturalism notwithstanding, the content of Indian

highly symbolic. Symbolic meaning

encapsulated in each detail of an

is

image, including the various emblems and symbols, whether attributes or gestures.

Every symbol

multivalent, and every

is

myth

recounted in several texts in various

is

redactions. Moreover, a sculptural representation cannot be easily related to a


specific version of a

The

myth.

lotus

by

is

far

By

the most ubiquitous symbol in Indian art.

the

second century B.C. the lotus was not only the support of the goddess Sri-Lakshmi,

but

it

was

become
as the

By

also her principal attribute.

a seat for the

image of the Buddha. His hagiographers inform us that

Buddha was born he took seven


The seven

over the earth.

the second century a.d. the lotus had

steps to

announce

steps are represented in art

as

soon

his spiritual sovereignty

by seven

lotuses.

By

the

Gupta

period the lotus had become the principal support for most deities of all three
religious systems,

and

in

many

instances

their halos. Moreover, the lotus also

also the principal decorative

it is

came

motif on

by the sun god, Surya, and

to be held

Vishnu, the Buddhist Avalokitesvara and Tara, and several Jain

deities.

Considered the most beautiful flower in India, the lotus not


surprisingly plays a special role in divine worship.

It is

unquestionably the most

frequently used metaphor for beauty, and Sri-Lakshmi herself


as lotus eyed, lotus

gods, gurus, and


lotus feet.

thighed, lotus faced, or lotus complexioned.

all

The hands

Crossbar,

Mathura, first-second

in the

mud

water on which
of wisdom

who

the lotus heart.

is

lotus (see S56a)

and

is

it rests.

was chosen

yet untouched by

Thus, the lotus

lives in the

The Buddha himself used

39

feet of the

are characterized as lotus hands, while the heart of the devotee,

as the flower

ancient Indians for at least two reasons related to

grows

The

other persons worthy of veneration are constantly referred to as

wherein the god dwells,

The

described variously

is

is

it,

nor

its
is

par excellence by the

physical properties.

The

lotus

the flower or leaf wetted by the

metaphor

for purity

world but remains untouched by

its

and hence of a

man

snares and sorrows.

the analogy to describe an enlightened being:

Just
is

as, Brethren,

lotus,

born in the water, full-grown in the water,

not wetted by the water, even

so,

unaffected by the world.

Moreover, the lotus blooms daily with the rising of the sun and closes
evening. Thus,

it

not only symbolizes the endless cycle of

it

petals each

its

and death but by

life

extension the cosmic cycle of the birth and dissolution of the universe.
therefore natural to select

It

was

iconographic attribute of the sun god. His two

as the

and nether (apara) waters, "representing

lotuses symbolize the upper (para)

respectively the possibilities of existence 'above' or 'below,' in yonder world

world, Heaven and Earth." 52 This also explains

Gupta period

and

surface

Brethren, the Tathagata, born in the world, full-grown in

and is

the world, surpasses the world,

rises to the

on, but especially the

why many

Buddhas and Jinas,

their heads as well as a lotus support

below their

feet.

and

this

of the gods from the

are given a lotus halo

As Coomaraswamy

behind

brilliantly

observed, one symbolizes heaven and the other earth, "the two flowers, one behind
the 'head' and the other beneath the

representing the 'grounds'


clearly

is

of existence in extenso

reflection of the other,


.

between them." 53 This

suggested by the following passage from an ancient Vedic text: "Fire

verily the lotus of this Earth, the

At another
it is

and each a

'feet,'

Sun the

lotus of yonder Sky."

level the lotus represents earth

is

54

and water, and thus,

an appropriate receptacle for and attribute of Sri-Lakshmi, the earth mother

personifying

and abundance. She

possibilites of existence

all

is

described as

padmavasini (dweller in the lotus) and pushtidd (provider of nourishment).


frequently used Sanskrit word for the lotus

is

pushkara, which has the same root

wovdpushti meaning "nourishment." The word pushti

as the

Lakshmi. Furthermore, Sri-Lakshmi

is

shown

is

synonym

also a

for Sri-

in early Indian art (see Si 7)

being bathed by elephants symbolizing the sky, which showers rain, thereby
fertilizing the earth represented

she stands. This act

of the Buddha,

womb

as a

by the goddess herself and the lotus on which

a kind of conception

is

who dreamed

and similar to that of Mayadevi, mother

that the future emancipator had entered her

white elephant. Immediately after his birth the infant and his mother

were bathed by two nagas (the word ndga in Sanskrit means "serpent" or
"elephant").

The
The Lustration of Sri-Lakshmi

Kausambi
S17.

(?), first

(antariksha),

lotus also symbolizes the firmament, or

which

middle space

one reason why the gods are frequently placed on lotuses. The

is

century B.C.

idea

is

expressed

in the Rigveda in connection

first

with the births of the

fire

god,

Agni, and sage Vasishtha, which the gods are said to have watched while seated on
lotuses.

This idea was

later

adapted when the creator-god, Brahma, was shown

seated on a lotus springing from the navel of Vishnu, or Narayana, while he reclined

on a couch of serpents

floating in the cosmic waters. Vishnu's navel

is

the center of

the universe, and the navel of the world form of Prajapati (an appellation of the

Supreme Being)
"All birth,

and
he

all

said to be the firmament.

is

coming

to be 'established'

who

stands or

sits

into existence,
is

to stand

without parallel

abode of the

lives.'

(prithlvi) or

platform of existence;

" 55

early times the lotus has

remained the metaphor

for the devotee's heart (hrid-pushkara; hrid-padma)

deity.

This lotus heart

is

Coomaraswamy,

again, to quote

in fact a 'being established in the Waters'

on any ground

upon the Lotus

Even from very

is

Once

the primary

further likened to space (akasa):

its

eight petals

representing the four directions and four intermediate points of the compass.
eight-petaled lotus

40

is

basic to the drawings called mandalas,

which

later

The

came

to

play an important role in

symbolic meaning

this

all

three religions.

One of the earliest

uses of the lotus with

represented in the ceilings of the Gupta-period Buddhist

is

cave temples at Ajanta. Significantly, tantric spiritual praxis requires the


practitioner to pass through several stages or processes of cosmogenesis, the final

plane located at the

summit of the

skull being

Hindus. Avery early representation of

where

(Si 29),

The
vary according to

a lotus

this idea occurs

who

is

holding

extension, Vishnu

The

or sixth century.

The

it.

reason the lotus

came

it

is

On

one

the major attribute of the

intimately associated with water and

Vishnu and the

lotus

from about the

is

fifth

evident from such

Pundarikaksha (lotus eyed), Padmapani

(lotus naveled),

level the

is

hand can

should be given also to Sri-Lakshmi

Buddhist savior-god

(lotus handed), the last being also an epithet of the

Avalokitesvara.

a midsixth-century

to hold the lotus, probably

close association of

Padmanabha

epithets as

on

to the

significance of the lotus as a divine attribute held in the

needs no further exegesis for the goddess

By

head (ushnisha kamala)

grows out of the god's head.

sun god has already been explained. That

fertility.

as lotus

and thousand-petaled lotus (sahasrara padma or chakra)

to the Buddhists

Narasimha

known

conch and lotus in Vishnu's hands signify

his

association with the waters as both a fertilizing agent and a cosmic symbol.

The

conch and lotus are among the most auspicious symbols, and by themselves are often
painted on either side of the entrance to a domestic building.

symbolizes the earth and


appropriate as an

is

emblem

The

lotus also

even said to contain the universe, hence

for the divine preserver

of the universe.

it is

especially

The

Vishnudharmottara specifically states that the lotus emerging from Vishnu's navel

symbolizes the earth, while the stalk represents the cosmic mountain, Meru, the
axis of the universe. 56 In Vishnu's

hand, wealth.

When

while in Indra's hand


divine play.

The

hand

it

symbolizes water and in Sri-Lakshmi's

Parvati holds the lotus the flower symbolizes detachment,


it

signifies prosperity.

universe and

The

flower also represents the idea of

manifestations are often characterized as nothing

all its

but reflections of the Supreme Being's playfulness.


Buddhists

an emblem held by a

may have

first

adopted the lotus

deity, a fact often overlooked

century the lotus was adopted as a seat for the

Mathura

by

as

both a divine seat and

art historians.

Buddha

By

the second

himself, certainly in

Buddhist monuments of

Gandhara and probably

in

Andhra. The flower was

also given to the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara long before

as well as in the

became an emblem of Vishnu. While the

it

selection of the lotus as an appropriate seat

Buddha was adapted from Vedic mythology and the early association of the
flame with the Buddha is an attempt to identify him with the Vedic fire god, Agni,
the reason the flower was given to Avalokitesvara as an emblem is not explained in
early Mahayana texts. Avalokitesvara's concept was greatly influenced by the more
for a

ancient ideas of a solar deity. Both the sun god, Surya, and Vishnu, originally a solar

god, also hold the lotus. Moreover, in early Buddhist literature the lotus

metaphor

for essence (pudgala; pundartka) ,

Mahayana

texts

early

is

is

used as a

and one of the most important and early

called the Lotus of the True Religion, or Lotus Sutra. Thus, in the

Buddhist context the lotus symbolizes the

faith itself

and would be an

appropriate attribute for Avalokitesvara. In later Buddhist iconography the lotus


certainly

is

often used as a support for other

emblems such

as the

thunderbolt or

book, while the most widely uttered incantation associated with Avalokitesvara

Om

mani padme hum, meaning

"Om

the jewel in the lotus

supporting the book symbolizing wisdom or knowledge,

Buddhist

deities of

41

wisdom such

as

hum." Thus, whether

as in representations of the

Manjusri or Prajnaparamita, or in

itself

signifying enlightenment, "the lotus symbol," in the words of Heinrich

"which originally gave birth


carries the

and existences

to beings

powerful wisdom of Nirvana: the

Word

Zimmer,

unending succession, now

in

that puts an end to

individualized existence, whether in heaven or on earth."

all

57

This discussion of the symbolism of the lotus in Indian art

means exhaustive, but

common

motifs are
tree,

it

is

by no

does highlight the multivalence of such a symbol.

Many

to the arts of all three religions. In addition to the lotus, the

symbolizing nature

itself

and the cosmic

chthonic power, and periodic renewal, are important to

fertility,

Another symbol of universal significance


been variously interpreted. In Jain art

used symbol of the religion

itself,

an auspicious symbol, associated with a

Buddhists

and the Buddha

it is

Mathura, first-second

Varanasi. This use of the

Samudragupta

as

who

sermon

first

at

Sarnath near

turns the wheel (chakra),

literally

Buddha's conquests, of course, were

mundane. Like many other emblems

wheel symbolizes the Buddha himself. Not only


wheel, but the wheel

wheel of the

he conquers the world. Alexander, Asoka, Kanishka, and

are such universal monarchs.

spiritual rather than

conspicuous and frequently

symbol was borrowed from the more ancient idea of

chakravartin, a universal monarch, one

presumably of a chariot,

said to have set the

is

law (dharmachakra) in motion when he preached his


century, s 5 6b.

three beliefs.

all

the wheel (see 856b), which has been

is

it is

Among

particular Jina as his cognizant.

Crossbar,

and the serpent, representing

pillar,

itself is the

word

is

the

in early

Buddha

Buddhist

the

the

mover of the

motion, and the Buddha

set in

art,

the very

is

embodiment of the word.


In

Hindu art

Vasudeva-Krishna,
as a

metaphor

who

for the

the wheel

uses

it

is

weapon. Because the wheel

chiefly as a

is

often used

sun in early Indian literature and because the Vedic Vishnu

considered to be a solar deity, his wheel

The wheel belonged

primarily associated with the god Vishnu or

to

is

also generally regarded as a solar

is

symbol.

Vasudeva-Krishna of the Mahabharata and was used

primarily as a discoid weapon. 58

rim and enormous destructive power was

Its fiery

considered analogous to the sun, and some mythographers claimed that

it

was made

of the eighth part of the sun's rays as were the chief weapons of the other gods, such
as the trident of Siva

weapon

and spear of Kumara. In any event, although primarily a

in Vishnu's arsenal, the

wheel also symbolizes various other abstract

concepts, such as the seasons and time, both of which depend on the

The Vishnudharmottara,

the sun.

after stating that "the

immovable and he moves the wheel," provides


the wheel.

which

are

It

informs us, "The sun and the

and the circular path of the planets"; and


59
.

weapon)

fly

Yet in another text the wheel

of

represent Purusha and Prakriti,

the

Wheel

of the Law, the

thirdly, the
is

wheel

is

Wheel

The

section

"the mind, whose thoughts (like the

more

and represent many different abstractions.

on images

information about the symbolism of

we

of Time

said to signify air

swifter than the winds." 60 Thus, symbols, especially the

significant ones, are multivalent

instance,

god Vishnu himself is

at least three different explanations

moon

of

symbolized by the wheel and the mace respectively"; elsewhere, the wheel

represents "the rotation of the world

(pavana)

movement

in the Vishnudharmottara provides useful

many

images.

With

are told that all his features, including his

regard to Vishnu, for

ornaments and

garments, have very precise symbolic meanings. His garment represents ignorance
{avidya), the

gem

{kaustabha) on his chest signifies pure knowledge, while his

thick garland of flowers (vanamala) binds the world.

The

world, the conch represents both the sky and the waters.

42

lotus symbolizes the entire

We

are told that the plowshare of Balarama, or

represents time, and his club signifies death.

form of Vishnu
is

as

considered the

at the

The

text also considers the

embodiment of knowledge, who

related to body, speech,


is

Narasimha

an aspect of Balarama, or Samkarshana. Furthermore, Narasimha

or impurity

and mind, and Narasimha destroys

generally applicable to

all

Durga and

is

tears

of three kinds

This

all three.

demons destroyed by

instance, in the struggle between the goddess

when he

destroys ignorance

bosom of the demon Hiranyakasipu. Ignorance

interpretation

Samkarshana,

the gods. Thus, for

the buffalo

demon

the

ignorance or illusion. In south Indian images of Siva the god dances

latter signifies

on the back of a dwarf symbolizing ignorance.

Many of Siva's

iconographic features and attributes suggest

abstract ideas and virtues. His five faces are said to represent the five elements:
or light, wind, and sky or ether. His

earth, water,

fire

moon, while

his third eye represents fire

universe.

The snake

two eyes

are the sun

and

with which he periodically destroys the

that forms his sacred cord signifies anger,

which subdues

the three worlds, and the tiger skin represents the variegated world of desire or

The

craving.

crescent on his forehead symbolizes his divine power, although

other explanations are also possible, while his matted locks represent Brahma, the

Ultimate Being. The rosary and waterpot are emblems of his ascetic nature; the
beads of his rosary also represent the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. The lemon
often carried by Siva

is

symbol

for creation because its seeds are the

constitute the universe, an explanation curiously anticipating

most important attribute of Siva

atoms that

modern

the trident, the three prongs of which

is

Samkhya system of

represent the three qualities or constituents of Prakriti of the

philosophy. These are purity or brightness (sattva), activity or motion

and the darker impulses that oppose the two other


together constitute the dynamic complex
to

Samkhya,

god

is

is

The

physics.

known

qualities (tamas).

is

These three

which, according

as Prakriti,

The power

the ultimate cause of all physical existence.

Prakriti, although to her devotees she

(rajas),

or sakti of a

beyond the dualism of Samkhya.

Indeed, the importance of Samkhya for an understanding of Indian

iconography cannot be overestimated.


offered

asks

by the Vishnudharmottara

how

Purusha,

who

in an image, the sage

is

typical justification of

as follows.

is

Markandeya

and meditated upon.

the

noumenal

As

which

is invisible,

when Purusha

is

and

Vikriti or

endowed with form can

Samkhya system of metaphysics. Samkhya

"simply present in the world and sees or witnesses the

modifications of the world." 62


free.

state,

61

Clearly such justifications follow the


is

Vajra, the royal interlocutor,

replies:

the phenomenal state, which can assume form. Only

holds that Purusha

as

said to be void of all qualities of sense, can be represented

Purusha has two natures: Prakriti or

he be worshipped

When

image worship

It is

not determined by the world and

is

completely

to Purusha's interaction with Prakriti, Gerald Larson, an authority

Samkhya, has observed that they

are "always in proximity to

on

one another, never

actual contact." Purusha "is in the world but not of the world."

This also

is

in

the

principal characteristic of an ideal yogi, and the interaction of Purusha and Prakriti

43

is

expressed visibly in art by the image type

which Siva and Parvati

known

are represented conjointly.

Ardhanarisvara (S73, Si 14) in

as

While the image can be

interpreted as expressing the nonduality or nonpolarity of the godhead or an ideal


state of

union between husband and wife, each representing one half of the whole,

it

can be interpreted also from the viewpoint of Samkhya. Although the two are shown
in close proximity, each

an independent entity and cannot interact physically.

signifies not his

is

is

images to have an erect penis,

in such

concupiscence but the highest state of yogic continence and

self-control even as Parvati

Parvati

shown

as the archetypal yogi Siva is

Moreover,

which

is

is

depicted as a luscious female. Representing Prakriti,

the active participant, whereas the yogi,

who

is

in this

world but not of it,

merely a passive spectator.

Samkhya profoundly influenced Indian iconography


The Androgynous Form of Siva

and Parian, Machura,

especially in

second-third century, S73.

Goddess,

its

who

in

many

ways,

emphasis on numerology. For instance, the principal forms of the

presides over the three sections of the Devimahatmya, the

most

important text extolling her glories, are Mahasarasvati, Mahalakshmi, and


Mahakali, representing, respectively, the three constituents of Prakriti: sattva,

and tamas. Hence, Mahasarasvati

is

white, Mahalakshmi

is

qualities.

Or

again, like Purusha, Vishnu remains inert on his serpent-couch;

he does awake periodically,


sakti) that acts.

his active

it is

Even more

specifically

four emanatory forms of Vishnu, a

power

It is

(tattvas).

Samkhya should have exerted

so profound an

numerology and symbology of Hindu iconography and

on Buddhist and Jain. The group of twenty-four Jinas

to Vishnu's twenty-four

and eighteen are important

ten,

{ichchhd-

number borrowed from Samkhya, which

not surprising that

influence on both the

power

{kriyd-sakti) or will

when

Vaishnava theologians conceived of twenty-

advocates a system of twenty-four principles

number

red or golden, and

black, the three colors associated with the three constituents or

Mahakali

indirectly

is

rajas,

is

comparable in

emanatory forms. Indeed, the numbers three,


in

Buddhist iconography

five,

as well. Significantly, the

emphasis on categories and numbers in the pantheons of all three religions seems to
occur during the Kushan-Gupta ages, precisely

first

when Samkhya reached

its

apogee. Most important exponents of Samkhya flourished during the third to sixth
centuries, and, indeed,

time

is

its

clearly indicated

importance

by the

in the religious

fact that the classic

and

intellectual history of the

work on the system, the

Sdmkhyakdrikd of Isvarakrishna, was translated between 557 and 569 into Chinese

by the Buddhist scholar Paramartha

(c.

500570?).

Each image of a deity can be divided vertically into three sections,


upper, middle, and lower, representing the heavens, midregion, and earth. Placed

generally in the middle with the lotus and throne and everything below symbolizing

the earth, the image of the

god

is,

in fact, the

cosmic

pillar that unifies all three

regions. In the case of Sri-Lakshmi (Si 7), the elephants showering her with rain

represent the celestial sphere and continue the Vedic

elephant to send

and

down

rains very likely

itself

with

its

The analogy between the elephant

was suggested by the animal's delight

in spraying

trunk. Apart from the lotus, the serpent, or naga,

below a throne or
nether world.

rain to fertilize the earth.

symbolism of Indra riding the

at the feet

When

it

represented

of a deity, as in the case of Varaha, signifies water or the

forms a couch

{ananta) or remainder (sesha).

44

when

water on

The

for

Vishnu, the serpent represents eternity

serpent frequently serves as a canopy for various

Buddhas, and Jinas. Moreover, while

deities,

a throne carries a regal connotation,

the seat also symbolizes the Vedic sacrificial altar on which oblations were offered
into the

The Vedic

fire.

was called

altar

vedi,

which was the "Earth

itself,

where the

kindling Fire, the messenger of the Gods united the Earth and the Heaven." 61 This

unshakable

known

altar,

Hindus and

called pFtba or pindika (pedestal) by

influence of Samkhya,

it

(adamantine

as vajrasana

came

Buddhists, came to be

seat) to

And

Jains.

once again, under the

image

to symbolize Prakriti, while the

symbol of Purusha, and only when they

are united

is

the linga

One can

Prakriti.

is

see

how easily

the phallus and the support

A god may

was

the deity established in the

is

ensemble. By this definition a Sivalinga represents Purusha and

support

itself

its

container or

this idea led to the later explanation that

the female organ.

is

be represented either absolutely erect while standing with

evenly placed feet {samapada) or seated in meditation like an ideal yogi. Early

Buddhas of Kushan Mathura

shown

are invariably

While Gupta-period Buddhas stand with

one of these two postures.

in

a slight suggestion of movement along the

from these two modes

vertical axis, Jains never deviated

The image of Siva

In classic Vishnu images the god stands in samapada.


usually consists of the linga.

The

verticality of the

in representing their Jinas.

image

image

reasons. It emphasizes the symbolic nature of the

is

important

as a

cosmic

in a

temple

for several

pillar

connecting the three spheres. Here again, one can discern the influence of the

Samkhya concept of Purusha, which


Thus the seemingly

is

pure consciousness and incapable of action.

and unshakable,

inert form, motionless

is

the closest that the

could come to representing an abstract concept that cannot be defined by the

artist

Even

senses.

images of the reclining Vishnu or Buddha, the legs are frequently

in

and unnaturally straight, especially

fully outstretched

worshiped. Images of dancing gods


depictions,

which

are,

if

the representation

to be

is

of course, exceptions to this rule. Those

are not consecrated as icons

and are intended generally

for didactic

purposes, can be executed in a variety of postures.


Deities often hold attributes and display various gestures (see
illustration). Seated Jinas invariably

in the lap

arms along either

side of the

gesture universally
Buddha Sakyamum Bodhgaya area
,

(?),

one on top of the

with both hands placed


their

is

demonstrate the meditation (dhyana) gesture

body

to

Standing figures place

other.

emphasize immobility. The meditation

Common

used for gods of all three religions.

gestures of reassurance (abhayamudra), with the right

arm

to all also are the

raised to the shoulder

and

400-600, Si 36.

the

palm displayed outward, and

charity {varadamudra)

with the right hand

hanging down and the palm facing the viewer. The gesture of charity did not

become popular

Kushan age

until the

Gupta

period, and most Indian deities through the

display the gesture of reassurance. Another

common

gesture symbolizes

teaching (vyakbyanamudra), with the right hand at shoulder height and the palm
facing outward with the index finger and

thumb

third century, if not earlier, Buddhists adapted this gesture to signify the

of the Buddha, and

it

remained the

By

joining to form a circle.

classic gesture of

wisdom

in

the

first

Buddhist

sermon

art.

Certain trees and animals are associated with the major divinities of
all

three religions.

While

literally transport the

second symbol
ancient

is

one

level,

animals

known

as

mounts

or vehicles {vahana)

gods, they also serve as determinants in the same way that a

added

West Asia

at

to a character in a pictographic script as in

to preclude ambiguity. "Similarly," says

Egypt and

Zimmer, "in

these

images of divinities the simple kingly or womanly form of the anthropomorphic


figure

is

somewhat ambiguous;

its

reference

65
or parallel symbol added underneath."

45

becomes

specified

by the determinant,

The animals may have had

earlier,

sacred

connotations separate from the gods themselves and are, in

fact, their

theriomorphic

representations. In another sense they also emphasize the powers and characters of
their respective divine masters.

Thus, the elephant of Indra, the king of the gods,

apart from being an appropriate royal vehicle, also reiterates Indra's

warrior and his role as provider of rains. Siva's bull

with
is

fertility

and animals (he

also regarded as a

The gander

is

is

known

as Pasupati, "lord

symbol of dharma, which

as a

symbol of his association

is

might

of animals").

The animal

characterized as four footed.

is

the vehicle of Brahma, and one text informs us that the seven ganders

that pull the god's chariot represent the seven worlds (also symbolized by the

seven lotuses of the infant Buddha). 66

The gander

(see

the lotus, a symbol of purity, as no water attaches to

through the water, and


soul.

Hence,

migratory habits make

its

Tile with Figures,

Harwan,

back

as

it

however,

like

is,

glides

an ideal metaphor for the

it

free

men of wisdom who have succeeded in severing the bonds of


known as paramahathsa (great gander). To use one other example,

mount

is

Garuda, originally

a bird associated

acquired the symbolic value of the mind, for nothing


third-fourth century, S98 detail.

detail),

all

attachment are
Vishnu's

its

S98

mind, an entirely appropriate mode of transportation

with the sun but which


is

said to be faster than the

for a preserver-deity,

who

constantly roams the universe.

Between the third century B.C. and third century A.D. Buddhists

made much

use of narrative sculpture.

provide some idea of such


incidents from the

life

of

reliefs,

A few fragments

in the collection (see S28)

and generally the subject matter consists of

Buddha Sakyamuni

as well as didactic stories of his

previous births. During the period here discussed

Hindu myths depicted on temple

walls generally encapsulated versions of rambling narrations incorporated in the

many puranas and

the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Because of the brevity of the

representation and limitation of the literary source,

it is

never easy to precisely

identify such narrative reliefs with specific versions given in the

To

cite only

buffalo

known

literature.

one instance, although the motif of the goddess Durga destroying the

demon was

frequently represented in

incorporated into literature only in the

Kushan

Gupta

period.

representations (see S72) differ significantly from

all

myth itself was


Moreover, Kushan

art, the

subsequent

literary versions of

the myth. Thus, the artistic evidence compellingly demonstrates the presence of
other, earlier recensions of the

monuments through

the

myths apart from those now known. Since the

Gupta period have crumbled, fewer Hindu

didactic sculptures have survived. Furthermore,

Hindus did not use

early

narrative or
their

enthusiastically as did Buddhists until after the seventh century. Medieval

myths

as

Hindu

temples containing a proliferation of sculptures provide a bewildering world of

myths and legends

as varied

and prolix

puranas. That story will be taken

46

up

as their literary versions in the epics

in the next

volume of this

and

series of catalogues.

Notes

i.

Majumdar 1968,

28. B. Bhattacharyya 1974, p. 11. This

p. 58.

book provides
2.

For the history of the Indo-Greeks,

this period,

also

Majumdar 1970, which

is

30. D.

278-81)

G. Shepherd 1980 and "Banquet

The

P.

57.

Zimmer[i946] 1963,

Honor

in Gatherings in

58. See Begley

2: p.

185.

p.

100.

1973

for a

thorough

discussion of the wheel of Vishnu.

McCrachen,

L.

M.

H. Randall,

Jr.

(Baltimore: Walters

Randall, and R.
59.

Art Gallery, 1974), pp. 79-92.

P.

Shah 1961,

2: p.

141

and Begley

1973, pp. 23-34.

(ibid., pp.

are the largest prehistoric

bronzes found thus

tar

31. Pal 1977, PP-

60. Begley 1973, p. 24.

38-39-

on the

subcontinent, but their dates are

An

32. J. B. Alphonso-Karkala, ed.,

Shah

96 1,

61.

P.

62.

G.J. Larson,

2: p.

139.

Anthology of Indian Literature

controversial.

(Harmondsworth: Penguin, 197


5.

Shah 1961,

56.

Medieval Islamic

in

Iconography"

period from 320 to 700.

Daimabad bronzes

1975.

0/ Dorothy G. Miner, ed. U. E.

covers the

4. See Allchin and Allchin 1982.

B.N. Sharma

and Hunt

entitled The Classical


it

p. 71.

55. Ibid., p. 19

discusses the history and culture of

Age. Chronologically

by Coomaraswamy 1935,

29. Banerjea 1956, pp. 437, 442. See

and Majumdar 1970.

For instance,

As quoted from Salapatha Brahmana

Jain iconography.

Majumdar 1968

history of India, see

54.

to

Narain 1980. For the general

see

3.

good introduction

For the classical accounts of India, see

1),

p. 66.

ed.

Majumdar i960.

(New

Classical

Sdmkhya, 2d

Delhi: Motilal

Banarasidass, 1979), p. 169.


33. Sivaramamurti 1979, p. 171.

Irwin 1973-76 and

6. See

S. P.

Gupta

1980.

63. Ibid., p. 273.


34. Ibid., p. 187.

64. T. Bhattacharya 1963, pp. 414-15.


7. V. S. Agrawala [1953] 1963a.

8. P.

9.

Shah

96 1,

2:

35. See

pp. 1-2.

37. Ingalls 1965, p. 586.

Narain 1985.

11. Mirashi

38.

1981 and Mitra 1971.

P.

Shah 1961,

3: p. 3.

39. Ingalls 1965, p. 14.

40.

Coomaraswamy 1923,

13. Mirashi 1981.

41.

P.

14. Ibid., pt. 2, p. 48.

42. K. Clark, The Nude:

12. R. C.

Sharma 1984,

p. 199.

Shah 1961,

2: p.

p. 39.

135.

Study in Ideal

Form (New York: Doubleday Anchor,


15. Fleet

1970, pp. 37-39-

1956), p. 29.

16. Ibid., p. 47.

43. E.

H. Johnston,

Buddhachartta
17. Ibid., pp.

ed.

(New

and

trans.,

The

Delhi: Oriental

Book Reprint Corporation, 1972),

52-56.

2:

P- 49-

18. Ibid., p. 68.

44
19. Ibid., pp.

As quoted from

79-87.

Platonis

by

P.

Shah

21. Pal et

al.

96 1,

Placita Hippocratis

E. Panofsky,

the Visual Arts

20.

(New

Meaning

1984, p. 147.

45.

P.

Shah 1961,

2: p.

p. 64.

137.

22. Ibid., p. 146.

46. Panofsky, p. 55.

23. V. Kumari, The Nilamata Parana

47. Sivaramamurti 1978, p. 170.

p.

et

in

York:

Doubleday Anchor, 1955),

2: p. 2.

(Srinagar: J & K Academy of Art,


Culture, and Languages, 1973), 2:

48. Ibid.

181.

49. D. Srinivasan, "The So-Called Proto24.

Majumdar 1968,

p.

Siva Seal from Mohejo-Daro:

214.

An

Iconological Assessment," Archives of

Asian Art 24 (1975-67): 47-58.

25. Ibid., p. 105.

26. Banerjea 1956, p. 565.

27.

Gonda 1970,

50.

p. 30.

Coomaraswamy 1923,

p. 38.

As quoted from Samyutta Nikaya by

Coomaraswamy 1935,
52. Ibid., p. 20.

53. Ibid., p. 71 n. 38.

47

65.

Zimmer[i946] 1963,

66.

P.

p. 71.

36. Banerjea 1956, p. 586.

Banerjea 1956.

10. See

M. Chandra 1973a.

p. 21.

Shah

96 1,

2: p.

140.

Color Plates

Dinars of Kanishka

Vasudwa

(Cioa)

(Ci^b)

Samudragupta (C2jb)

Huvishka (Ci2a)

(C25)

Chandragupta

Chandragupta

II

(C28C)

48

l/j

*****

anas
fig

S23

Boy Feeding a Parrot

]j

S2C,

52

Two Addorsed

Tree

Dreads

(side

a)

_aHB

*>'"

S$5

54

Railing Pillar with Figures

*&.-

^S?SK?

S91

56

Head of a

Bodhisattva

&rV

-'A

W.r&i*.'>c

S129

58

The Man-Lion Avatar of Vishnu

IC-*.T

Si 3 1

60

Buddha Sakyamuni

mm

Si 34

62

Shrine with Fourjinas

ym-

raft

Introduction

The importance of coins


recognized.

While some

study of Indian art history

for the

is

yet to be fully

scholars have used coins to enhance our

knowledge of

iconography and the history of early Indian sculpture, most art historians have
generally ignored this material.

Yet both for iconography and style, ancient coins

often provide vital evidence for the artistic

on coins

norms of a given

period. Royal portraits

are frequently the only surviving testimony of secular imagery, while

representations of gods and goddesses, important as they are for the study of
religious history, are

no

an analysis of the

less significant for

sculpture. This

is

which

more firmly datable than the

are often

especially true of the coins of the

stylistic

Gupta period

architectural

development of

(c.

320600),

monuments

of that age.

Moreover, since the coins were designed and manufactured in royal mints, they help
us determine the aesthetic inclinations of particular monarchs on the assumption
that they exercised

The

some

influence on the selection of imagery.

coins in the

museum's

collection are

made

of gold,

silver,

and

known by the Persian term dinar and


The silver coins are referred to by the

copper or bronze. The majority are gold coins


are the equivalent of the Hellenistic stater.

Greek term drachma


variants,

for

convenience rather than the Indian word karshapana or

purana and dharana. The coppers are known simply -aspana.

The
generally as a

earliest coin in the collection

made

of silver and

is

known

punch-marked coin because of the technique of its manufacture.

Individual punches were used to


sheets or bars.

is

its

The

hammer symbols on one

sheets were then cut

up

or both sides of silver

into oblong or roughly rectangular and,

occasionally, circular shapes. Neither the shapes of the coins nor their

symbols are uniform. Often small

bits

number of

were snipped from the edges to make the

coins conform to a standard weight, but even in this there are notable divergencies.

No inscriptions occur on punch-marked

coins,

and while the symbols on these coins

probably held religious and cosmic significance, their exact meaning has not been
ascertained. Generally, these coins circulated over a large area of the subcontinent

from about the sixth century B.C. until the second century a.d. and even

some

later in

areas of southern India.

Cast and die-struck coins bearing images, symbols, and legends were

introduced to India about the middle of the third century by the Indo-Greek rulers
of Bactria. Occupying present-day Afghanistan, Bactria

67

is

the ancient

name of th

region between the


the Oxus).

Hindu Kush mountain range and

While people of Greek

the sixth century B.C.


the Great in
It is

327-326

it

under Diodotus

Darya River (formerly

origin had been settling in the area since at least

was only

after the

conquests of these regions by Alexander

B.C. that the Greeks

generally believed that

Amu

became

a significant political presence.

sometime around 256255 B.C. the Greeks of Bactria

who had

seceded from the Seleucids,

conquests, and established an independent kingdom.

inherited Alexander's eastern

Known

Greco-Bactrians or

as

Indo-Greeks, these rulers of Greek origin held power in the region until about the

middle of the

first

century B.C.

It

must be remembered, however,

more than one Indo-Greek kingdom during

this period

and their

was

that there

rulers did not

control the entire northwest of India (including present-day Pakistan, Kashmir, and

Jammu

regions).

Coins meant

and copper

silver

issues

for circulation in the

and

differ slightly

Indian regions generally were the

from the Attic standard. The legends on

the reverse were written in the Prakrit language with Kharoshthi script, the obverse

being reserved

for legends written in

royal portrait, while usually a

Greek. The image on the obverse

Greek deity

dynasties, with the exception of

some

represented on the reverse. Subsequent

is

tribal

governments, continued the Greek

monetary tradition and generally displayed a

royal portrait

on the obverse and a

divine figure on the reverse, at least until A.D. 600, through the

Greek

invariably a

is

Gupta

period.

continued to be used by other foreign dynasties in India, such

letters

as the

Scythians, or Sakas, Parthians, and Kushans, but rulers of Indian origin, such as the

Satavahanas and Guptas, replaced Greek legends with Brahmi script.

The Indo-Greeks were succeeded by


Parthians,

who descended upon

the Scythians (Sakas) and

India from eastern Iran and, like their predecessors,

wielded power mostly in the northwest. The collection contains no coins of the
Parthian monarchs, but the
coins

(C5 7)

and are

museum

issued by Saka kings.

artistically different,

does have one copper (C8) and three silver

While

their coins introduce a few novel devices

by and large they follow the Indo-Greek tradition.

At about the time of the birth of Christ the Scythians and Parthians
were replaced by yet another Central Asian tribe,

known

Kushans. After

as the

conquering Bactria the Kushans advanced south and by the end of the

first

century of

the Christian era had consolidated a vast empire stretching from Soviet Central Asia
in the north to, perhaps, the

Deccan

in the south

and Bihar

in the east.

Although

the political power of the Kushans declined during the third century, their coins

continued to be imitated in the northwest long after the coinage of the Guptas had

become current

in northern India.

issue gold coins

on the subcontinent but were

new motifs
more

The Kushans were not only

first

dynasty to

also responsible for introducing

in their coinage. For the study of Indian art

Kushan

many

coins are of even

interest than those of the Indo-Greeks.

While the Kushans were the major

much

the

political

power

in northern India,

of southern India was dominated by a dynasty of Indian origin

Satavahanas.

As with the Kushans, the

known

principal wealth of the Satavahana

as the

Empire

was derived from foreign commerce. While the Kushans controlled the land-borne
trade between

Rome and China

across Central Asia, the Satavahanas took advantage

of the sea trade through the great emporia of both eastern and western coasts of

68

peninsular India.

The

collection contains silver portrait coins of four

well-known

Satavahana monarchs (C21-24). The Satavahanas did not issue gold coins.

The
dynasty.

largest

Gupta coinage

is

group of gold coins

in the collection

is

from the Gupta

not only rich in artistic imagery, but as the early coins are

firmly datable they are especially significant for establishing the chronology of

contemporary sculpture. Although the early Gupta monarchs adapted Kushan coin
types, they also were responsible for the Indianization of the coinage.

No

longer

does a preponderance of foreign deities appear on the reverse of the coins as on those
of the early Kushan monarchs. In the presentation of the obverse royal portrait
the

Gupta

artists

introduced

many

interesting images that inform us of the

monarchs' ambitions and personalities. These ruler portraits are often comple-

mented by poetic legends. The Gupta administration adopted Brahmi


with Sanskrit rather than Greek

letters

characters

and the Bactrian language, which

further testifies to the greater Indianization of the coinage system. Although the

Satavahanas led in this process of Indianization, Gupta rulers produced coinage

much

that not only displays a

greater variety in the use of images but

also

is

aesthetically superior.

Royal Portraits
Of the

four portrait coins of the Indo-Greek monarchs, one belongs to Eucratides

(C2) and three to Menander (C3a c). As characteristic of Greek

may be

taken to represent idealized likenesses. The features of both monarchs are

sensitively rendered, and, although at

first

glance the royal portraits look somewhat

alike, subtle differences are perceptible in their faces

a larger nose,

(C3C),

art, the portraits

and headdresses. Eucratides has

wider eyes, sunken cheek, and furrowed brow. Indeed, in one example

King Menander

is

very likely portrayed as an older man.

No

doubt the

engravers responsible for these Indo-Greek coins were familiar with their subjects.

Although the Saka

rulers of northwestern India

Indo-Greek coin type, they dispensed with the

continued the basic

realistic portrait

bust and instead

presented the king as an equestrian figure (C6 7). As evident by a comparison of


these coins, no attempt was

of each coin

is

predominantly
depicted in a

made

to distinguish the

Greek god, but the


classical style of

much more

elongated, linear forms.


perfunctory, the images

two monarchs.

figural representation

is

On

the reverse

quite different from the

Indo-Greek coins. Animal and human

figures are

attenuated, abstracted style with a strong emphasis on

While
still

the rendering of the figures on Maues's coin (C5)

retain vestiges of the classical tradition with

is

its

emphasis on modeled surfaces, naturalistic draperies, and elegant postures. The two
animals on the copper coin of Azes

(C8) are lively delineations of naturalistic

11

forms. Thus, while some engravers associated with the Saka mints continued to

work

in the classical tradition, there

were others

who

introduced a more linear style

with sketchy, almost caricaturelike forms. Indeed, the royal equestrian portraits
anticipate by

European
region.

art.

It is

many

centuries the

To date, no

humorous representations of Don Quixote

parallel for this style has

in

been traced in the art of the

possible that the engravers responsible for this distinctive figural

treatment were themselves Scythians familiar with the animal style generally
associated with their culture.

69

A wide

variety of royal portraits

found on Kushan coins, which are

is

interesting both for their diverse iconography and forceful style.

Kushan monarchs, such

Vima Kadphises

as

Although some

(C9) and Huvishka (Ci2a c), were

represented in portrait busts, by and large, full-length portraits were preferred.

Vima's solitary coin in the collection not only displays the bust of the king but
represents a unique type: the bust

window

to appear as a

surrounded by a thick frame intended, perhaps,

is

The

or imitate a bas-relief.

exact significance of this unusual

portrait remains unexplained.

The most prominent,


Kushan
altar.

coins

is

the representation of a king offering oblations at a sacrificial

This form was introduced by

Huvishka, was used by

governed the Kushan

Kushanshahr

frequently depicted portrait device of the

Vima Kadphises

and, with the exception of

Kushan monarchs and Kushano-Sasanian

all

which came

territories in the north,

after the fall of the

with Iranian dynasties, the

Kushans

to be

rulers

known

as

was an integral part of both the

and religious functions of Kushan monarchs, regardless of their personal


terms of

its

use on

Kushan

coins, the

who

an imperial power. As was the custom

as

cult probably

fire

fire

fire altar is

clearly

more

Parthian representation than to the Sasanian display of the

state

faith. In

closely related to the

fire altar as

a principal

motif on the reverse of the coin.


In general the portrait of the standing

impressive figure.

The head

hieratic frontality

is

is

Kushan monarch

cuts an

always shown in bold profile, and the figure with

its

imposing and even awesome. Without doubt, the Kushan

engravers were required to represent their monarchs as larger than

life,

just as

were

the portrait sculptors at Mathura, an important center of Indian art in Uttar

Pradesh.

Kushan

artists

achieved their unique representations by skillfully

manipulating symbols and images. With their

headgears, flowing, volumetric

tall

tunics (also evident in the stone portraits at Mathura), columnar legs, and splayed
feet placed firmly

on the ground, the

royal portraits

presence. In addition, the divine nature of kingship

symbols, such

as the

convey a monumental physical


is

represented by various

flaming shoulders (Cioa c), symbolizing royal glory, and the

nimbus (Ci2a b). In the

artist's

attempt to depict the divinity of the king

Huvishka's bust seems to

float or

emerge from

portrait

and stone sculptures

at

Mathura

a sea of clouds.

clearly

demonstrate the

iconographic correlation between the two types of portraiture.


that the engravers did not

work

in isolation.

On

The

full-length coin

stylistic

One

the contrary, there

and

can be certain

must have been

an established norm, controlled by the imperial chancery determining the type of

image that would be represented. Thus, there was probably


between the

art of the engraver

a close relationship

and sculptor, and the same person may even have

executed work in both media. Notwithstanding their dependence on earlier Indo-

Greek or Scytho-Parthian
age of Indian coinage.

70

coins, the die designers of the

Kushan mints began

a great

Of particular
Kadphises

is

interest are the

shown holding

generally

Kanishka

Kushans

among

With

his right

hand held above

seen charging the Indian ruler's

is

surprising that equestrian portraits were not used on

it is

Vima Kadphises

which there

however, shown riding an elephant, a representation for

is,

no Indo-Greek or Scytho-Parthian prototype. In addition, Huvishka

is

holds the spear prominently with his

hand. Not only an important tactical

left

and Parthians, the spear probably was

for the Scythians

royal glory. 4 In the Iranian

pantheon Pharro, god of royal glory,

the spear. In classical imagery the spear

is

while in the Indian pantheon the weapon

Skanda, or Kumara. The former

is

the prominent
is

emblematic of

also
is

portrayed with

weapon of the Dioscuri,


Kubera and

associated with the gods

the regent of the North, and the

general. Thus, the spear was a particularly appropriate

The

commemorate

Indeed, considering that the horse must have been the principal animal

used by the Kushans,

weapon

a fire altar,

certainly adopted by the

the primary instruments of warfare. In a coin issued to

elephant.

image,

conquests of Indian territories, where the elephant brigade was

Alexander's victories in India, the Macedonian

coins.

in the elephant-rider

emblem was

This

also grasps the elephant goad.

after their

and

staff,

Vima

the kings.

mace. Sometimes he holds a

a club or

flowering branch or twig, occasionally, a


appropriately, an elephant goad.

emblems held by

emblem

the divine

latter,

for a

Kushan king.

spear continued to be held by Huvishka (Ci2b) but was replaced by the trident

in the coins of

standard

Vasudeva

emblem

added behind the

(C13-15). Thereafter, the trident remained the

Kushan kings, and beginning with Vasudeva

held by

Vasudeva's coins, together with the predominance of Siva on the reverse,


reflect the

In the

full-length portraits the early

When shown

full

length, the king

is

close-fitting trousers, flaring tunic that stops short of the knees,

A wide variety of headgear,


(Cioc) or

a soft,

tall

round

felt

is

generally

monarchs

are

usually attired in

and leather boots.

both in the busts and full-length portraits,

is

displayed.

hat with ribbons (C9), while Kanishka wears a soft cap

rounded hat (Cioa b), similar to the headgear worn by Parthian

monarchs. The greatest variety of headgears

(Ci2a c), while


conical

also

monarch's strong devotion to Sivaism.

Kushan busts and

quite easily distinguished.

Vima wears

was

This repeated use of the trident on the obverse of

fire altar.

taken by scholars to

it

for

Vasudeva

crown with minor

and

is

presented in the Huvishka portraits

his successors a single type, consisting of a tall,

variations,

was used

(03a b).

Standing figures

invariably display a sword tied at the waist.

Even

in the full-length portraits, the

distinctly depicted.

Most monarchs have

prominent warts on

their faces.

rather

unkempt

beard, while

The

beard, perhaps in old age.


familiar with their subject.

is

shown both

is

fairly

as clean

must have been

are his features particularized, but he

the

many

the most significant perhaps


his predecessors,

is

innovations introduced by Huvishka's mir

the addition of the

nimbus

beh;

beginning with Vima, wen

by adding flames to their shoulders, strangely,

71

and perceptive realism.

Among
Although

long and

shaven and with a short

portrayed both as a youthful and elderly figure. Thus, these portraits are
for their variety

two have

clean shaven. Vasudeva has a

diecutters of Huvishka's coins

Not only

at least

always portrayed with a

Vima Kadphises
is

and

large, assertive noses,

Kanishka

generous moustache, Huvishka

physiognomical features are

it

was Huvis

is

more powerful Kanishka, who emphasized the concept further by enhancing


his

image with

nimbus and showing

although other contemporary early

Romans, pronounced

rulers,

such

their divine nature, in

to legitimate the claim. Curiously,

emerging from clouds.

his bust

Interestingly,

as the Seleucids, Parthians,

and

none of their coins was the nimbus used

no halo of any kind was added behind the

heads of the deities on Indo-Greek coins, except on certain images of Zeus and

Apollo or Helios with a radiating nimbus. This seems to have been the
prototype for the standing Zeus in Azes's coin (C6), where the halo appears as an
aura of flames.

It also is

used selectively behind the divine heads on some of

Vima's coins. In Kushan coins the halo

is

a plain circle. After

Huvishka the king

never without a halo, although sometimes the gods are (Ci2b,

Kushan sculpture

the halo

is

03a).

common

frequently a divine attribute

is

In

to the three

major Indian religions, although the flame-bordered nimbus does not appear
until the

Gupta

period.

The halo was

retained for the ruler's image in

some

Kushano-Sasanian coins but was not used by the Satavahanas. The Guptas,
however, continued to use the halo on most of their royal portraits.

Following no doubt the mandate of the

state,

Kushan engravers

presented the monarch as a superhuman, divine figure, which


reason

why

monumentality cannot be doubted,


life

Even

the full-length presentation was preferred.


especially

Mathura.

royal portraits preserved at

may have been one

in diminutive scale, his

when compared with

The Kushan

overawe their subjects by projecting themselves

the larger-than-

rulers obviously

as veritable colossi,

and so the

sculptors and engravers adopted a style of representation that was both

and

hieratic.

carving

From

at least the

Kushan

figures

earlier Parthian imagery. In

art.

may

monumental

have been borrowed from contemporary or

Kushan coinage, however,

artists in their stone portraits,

the head of the royal figure

is

This peculiar representation of the feet pointing out

coins than in stone sculptures.

royal

greater formalization, frontality, and

always depicted in profile, and the unnaturalistic placement of the

employed by Kushan

to

second century B.C. Indian sculptors had been

monumental images of yakshas. The

hieraticism of the

wanted

feet, a

is

convention

not encountered in Parthian


is

much more

The same degree of splaying

is

ubiquitous in

found only in

Kanishka's statue at Mathura. In Huvishka's portrait the feet are placed quite
normally, while in the fragmentary statues recovered from Surkh Kotal (the Bactrian
royal gallery or shrine), the splaying

is less

pronounced. 6

Contemporaneous with the Kushans, the Satavahanas ruled


empire in the Deccan. Although their
variety of

Kushan coinage, they

artistically.

silver portrait coins

do not possess the wide

are nevertheless interesting

The Satavahanas were

the

first

a vast

both historically and

dynasty of Indian origin to issue coins

with royal portraits. The use of only the mature Brahmi script and Dravidian
language

is

also interesting

and

reflects the

strong nationalistic attitude of the

Satavahanas.

The
their clarity

portrait heads represented

on Satavahana coins

are

remarkable

for

and articulation. Facial features are distinct and well modeled, allowing

a clear differentiation

72

among

the royal visages. Satavahana monarchs appear not to

have worn any elaborate headgear, neither crown nor turban, which
surprising.

and

all

Some monarchs adorned

seem

to have

worn

their foreheads

with a round,

is

rather

floral (?) crest,

distinctive, heavy, anchor-shaped ear ornaments.

Although the Satavahanas may have derived

their coin portraits

Kshatrapas, certainly the Satavahana royal representations are

from the Western

much

sharper, bolder,

and more individualized than are those models.

The

history of Indian coins entered a glorious phase with the

emergence of the Gupta dynasty about 320. The very


solitary issue of

Chandragupta

introduces a

1,

first

coin of the Guptas, the

new type of royal imagery on

the

obverse (C25). Both the king and his queen are represented together and are

nimbated. While the queen


the

Kushan manner but with

earrings.
soft

is

The

tall,

significant.

The

worn by Kushan

rulers

Kushan

as well

hieratic

stiff,

are represented
still

with the linear

Kushan

splayed as in the

to offer oblations into a fire altar, although

that in actual practice they observed this

Kushan

royal cult.

Kushan coin type has been replaced by

(the mythical

particularly

iconographic similarities between Kushan and Gupta coins.

Gupta monarchs continue


altar in the

is

royal portraits. Interestingly, while in their standard

Kacha and Samudragupta (C26 27a)

There are

attired in

replaced by a close-fitting,

interested in the

fluency and elegance of Gupta sculpture, their feet are


coins.

is

royal couple's graceful stance

Gupta engravers obviously were not

postures assumed in
types both

fillet.

is

Both wear doughnut-shaped

a different tunic.

conical hat

cap tied with a

dressed in the Indian fashion, the king

The

it is

unlikely

trident behind the

column crowned with Garuda

bird-mount associated with the Hindu god Vishnu).

Two

other coins of Samudragupta reflect

innovations of the royal mint. In one the king

couch and plays

is

some of the

artistic

seated informally but elegantly on a

a lyre (C2yb). In another his portrait

on the obverse

is

replaced by a

representation of a sacrificial horse (C27C).

The Guptas were remarkably


flattering

astute in using their coins to project a

image of the monarch. The inclusion of his queen's portrait and

announcement of her distinguished lineage on Chandragupta


clearly

origin,
social

i's

coin (C25) were

motivated by political needs. Since the Guptas themselves were of obscure


it

and

was necessary

for

Chandragupta

political pedigree.

What

coinage, which would circulate


society. Similarly,

better

among

marry into a family of impeccable

media

to publicize this alliance than gold

the wealthy and influential

Samudragupta used coins

not only a great conqueror but also a

to

man

to

members

of

announce to the world that he was

of culture and devotion. In his

lyrist

coin

type Samudragupta eschewed Kushan dress for the simple Indian dhoti. In the coins
of his successors the monarchs are dressed in Scythian costume or wear the dhoti
instead of trousers. Boots also are dispensed with, except, perhaps,

when

portrayed riding. Other Gupta monarchs, particularly Chandragupta

Kumaragupta

I,

also issued coins

with images that

clearly distinguish

11

the king

is

and

them

for their

physical prowess and intellectual acumen. Still other examples announce their
military and political achievements and are as artistically imaginative as they are
historically important.

One

of the most popular representations on

depiction of the king as an archer.

The

coins was the

portrait type was created by Samudragupra's

engravers and popularized by his successor, Chandragupta

73

Gupta gold

11.

The

collection contains

(C28a c). Clearly

three examples of Chandragupta's archer coin type

modification of the portrait with


the

fire altar

issued by

Kacha and Samudragupta. Here

has been dispensed with altogether, and the king holds a

fire altar

hand and arrow

A distant prototype for

in his right hand.

some Indo-Greek

was a

this

the portrait

bow and

coins where Apollo stands similarly with

bow
may

in his left

be seen in

arrow.

No

numismatist has yet attempted to explain Samudragupta's adoption of the archer


portrait and

its

popularity

among

Gupta monarchs. Very

successive

likely, the

image

was selected because of its association with Rama, legendary hero of the Indian epic

By

the Ramayana.

the

Gupta period Rama had become

ideal king. Across northern India the expression


is still

Ramarajya (the kingdom of Rama)

popularly used to describe a lost golden age. Ardent Vaishnavas, the royal

Guptas would naturally have chosen


image of Rama. While

idealized

and

the Indian prototype of an

literary evidence,

it

it

to

it

their standard portrait type

on the

will not be possible to discuss the epigraphical

should be noted that the most graphic parallel

by a fifth-century terra-cotta figure of

Rama,

model

Rama

presented

is

(S107). Identified by inscription as

clearly illustrates the close iconographic

and

stylistic affinity

with

Chandragupta's archer portrait.

The

was introduced by Chandragupta

royal equestrian portrait

(C29a b) and was continued by Kumaragupta


prevalent in the Scytho-Parthian coinage
diecutters

knew

II

(C3oa). This portrait type was

(C6 7), but

of such early issues. Moreover, the

it is

unlikely that the

Gupta images

Gupta

are aesthetically

much more spirited and sculpturesque. Indeed, if any comparison is to


be cited, one may consider the equestrian royal figures of Sasanian art. 8 This seems
particularly relevant when discussing the greater importance of hunting and animal
superior and

combat on the coins of Chandragupta and Kumaragupta. Samudragupta was the


first

to issue the tiger-slayer portrait.

Kumaragupta

the great destroyer of lions; while

animals

His son Chandragupta presented himself as

as well as the rhinoceros. In the

a lion while riding

is

shown

in

combat with both these

museum's coin (C3ob) Kumaragupta

fights

an elephant.

These scenes of animal combat were meant to proclaim the king's


courage and symbolize his conquests of regions where the animals predominated.

may symbolize his conquest of Bengal,


the habitat of the tiger, and his son's lion-slayer portrait may represent his victory
over the Scythians of Gujarat and Kathiawar, the range of the lion. One cannot fail
Thus, Samudragupta's tiger-slayer portrait

to
a

draw

a parallel

with the representation of hunting scenes on Sasanian

contemporaneous practice of the

the most popular

hunting

theme on such

lions, boars, or stags

rulers of Iran.

plates,

The

royal

silver plates,

hunt was unquestionably

and usually the king

is

shown on

a horse

with a bow and arrow. In the Sasanian context these

hunting scenes not only symbolize the king's courage and prowess but also had
cosmic significance. As Prudence Harper has written:

Representations of the hunt on silver plates are more than reflections of court
allegories for

human

sent to rulers

and allies

where as

official

combats such as those carved on the rock


abroad, particularly

to

reliefs.

Many

life.

They are

of the plates were

areas bordering on the Sasanian Empire,

works of art, they were expected

to impress the recipient

with the valor

and

prowess of the donor. 9

74

Even without

direct evidence, one can

assume that the Guptas maintained

diplomatic relations with the Sasanians. Chandragupta

kingdoms of the Scythians and may

the western
as

had certainly conquered

II

well have extended the empire as far

Afghanistan, which would imply a conflict with the Sasanians. In any event,

Gupta court was probably

either as presents or as loot, the


silver plates of the Sasanians,

familiar with the royal

which may have inspired the adoption of motifs and

compositions proclaiming the intrepid heroism of the Gupta kings.

Divine Images
Images on the reverse of most coins in the collection consist of divine
Indo-Greek drachma (C4) has animals on both

One

figures.

on the reverse and an

sides: a bull

elephant on the obverse. Similarly, on both sides of a Saka copper coin (C8) are two
animals: a bull and a lion. Satavahana coins have only symbols on the reverse, while

on the reverse of a Gupta

Animal symbols

mount

it is;

drachma

signifies Siva; the lion

is

Garuda (C31).

a highly stylized

symbolizes the goddess Durga, whose

and the elephant, Indra. The elephant on Apollodotus's coin (C4),

may

however, occurs on the obverse and

Begram

issue

are generally regarded as theriomorphic representations of the

Thus, the bull

deities.

silver

in eastern Afghanistan).

signify the city deity of Kapisa (present-day

Animals may

also

symbolize the prowess and

nobility of the monarchs: the bull, lion, and elephant are often used as metaphors for
regal qualities in Sanskrit literature.

The

divinities represented

on Indo-Greek coins generally are

from the Greek pantheon. Deities depicted on coins in the collections include the
Dioscuri (C2), Pallas Athena (C3a-c), Zeus (C6), Nike (C5, C7), and Tyche

(Ci2b). Semidivine twins, whose paternity

is

attributed to Zeus, the Dioscuri are

the Greek counterparts of the celestial twins of Vedic mythology,

Asvins. In entry
well

known

they are

in classical art.

also familiar

from Greek

her thunderbolt.
aegis.

C2

An

shown riding two


She

is

in

a warrior herself

It is

is

is

is

about to hurl

her snake-frilled

and protected such heroes

Perseus, and Odysseus, her appeal for such conquerors as

understandable.

Menander's coins

represented in two poses as she

interesting detail in one coin (C3b)

As Athena was

as the

spirited chargers in a composition

The image of Pallas Athena

art.

known

as Hercules,

Menander

possible that her cult and concept exerted

some

is

influence

upon

her Indian counterpart, the goddess Durga.

Just as Greek continued to be the major administrative language in a

wide area from Bactria to the Panjab even


kingdoms,

so also

Greek

Parthians, and Kushans.

Indo-Greek

divinities continued to grace the coins of the Scythians,

The

fully

robed figure of Zeus carrying a scepter appears on

the obverse of the coin of the Saka king

Nike holds

after the eclipse of the

a diadem. In a

somewhat

Maues

different

(C5), while on the reverse the

form

in Azes's coin

winged

(C6) the god

holds the thunderbolt prominently with his right hand. Indeed, this parti
representation of Zeus

is

interesting for other reasons as well. His slim, attenu;

form, covered only with what appears to be a dhoti,


set,

is

quite unlike

majestic figure familiar in classical art and approximates

slightly effeminate

75

much mor

image of the male body preferred by Indian

sculptors.


noteworthy

the disproportionate enlargement of the thunderbolt in the right

is

hand. This implement in later Indian art became a well-known attribute of the

Hindu god

Indra, with

Vajrapani. Certainly in
is

whom

Zeus has much

Gandharan

art the

common, and

in

god

form of the thunderbolt and of Vajrapani

derived ultimately from the thunderbolt held by Zeus or Athena (see S84). So

conceptually similar are Indra and Zeus that to the Indians,


figure

may

well have represented Indra rather than the

The goddess on
basically of Greek origin
is

the Buddhist

identified as

who used

such coins, the

Olympian.

the reverse of one of Azilises's coins (C7)

and appears

to have

is

been modified by Iranian concepts. She

Nike, but a comparison with the more

on

classical version

Maues's coin (C5) reveals not only iconographic, but also strong

stylistic differences.

Instead of a diadem, she holds what appears to be a vessel with flames,

symbolizing, perhaps, the Iranian concept of royal glory. Thus, she could be a
syncretistic deity
Stylistically, the

combining Greek and Iranian

religious concepts.

robust and fully modeled figure on Maues's coin has been replaced

by an abstracted, attenuated form characteristic of Scythian numismatic


images. Unlike the more classical, fully draped Nike, the goddess here displays a
bare torso as

pronounced

is

volume and

typical in Indian art, but the swelling

in Indian

modeling

Although Greek

is

plasticity so

totally absent.

on Kushan coins in the

divinities are not represented

collection, at least four examples reflect the syncretistic tendencies already

encountered in Scythian coinage. Portrayed on the reverse of one of Kanishka's


dinars

same

the Iranian solar deity, Miiro,

is

figure

Iranian

was

also used

god personifying

Miiro or Ashaeixsho

known

in Sanskrit as

Mihira (Cioc). The

by Huvishka's engravers to represent Ashaeixsho, the

royal glory.

was

The image with

radiating

nimbus

based on that of the Greek sun god, Helios.

whether

of

The engraver

was probably unfamiliar with Iranian images of Miiro and Ashaeixsho and so

employed

a familiar

Greek model. In

and boots, are further attempts

name Miiro on Kanishka's


would have made the

to

make

the figure

coin was deliberate, for

more
its

Iranian.

for

the sun god, Surya. Classical models were used by

The choice of the

Sanskrit cognate

figure familiar to the Indians. Further, this

Miiro wearing Scythian dress became the model

is

clad in the Indian

manner

north Indian representations of

Kushan engravers

to represent

coins

is

deities.

Iranian pantheon, but their engravers


Hellenistic models. This

is

to

principally Siva, encountered

may

although

Roman

divinities

The Kushans were

seem

some extent
on Kushan

to have relied

distinctly partial to the

on the more familiar

true also of the few Indian gods,

coins. This

dependence on

classical

have been dictated by both monetary and cultural considerations.

established a continuity with earlier Indo-Greek coins, thereby, assuring a


stable currency in a rapidly

76

on

not large, indirectly they contributed liberally toward the

iconography and forms of Iranian

imagery

1),

in a dhoti.

Thus, although the repertoire of Hellenistic or

Kushan

Mihira

image type of

other Iranian deities, such as Ardoxsho (Ci2b) and the wind god (Ci
the latter

clothing

fact, certain features, particularly the

changing

political world.

more

It

It is

rather curious that Siva should have been the Kushans'

most

popular divinity to the complete exclusion of Vishnu. While neither deity was

predominant

northern regions of the empire, including Gandhara, certainly

in the

around Mathura, which appears

Vishnuism was
onward,

all

to

have been the southern capital of the Kushans,


l0

a stronger religious force than Sivaism.

Kushan monarchs, including those

Vima Kadphises
Vaishnava name

Yet from

that bore the

Vasudeva, represented Siva on their coins. Very likely the Kushans placed such

whom

emphasis on Siva because most major tribes with

came

into contact, such

Audumbaras, Kunindas, Malavas, and Yaudheyas, venerated

as the

included on their coins Siva himself, his


the trident with battle-ax). Thus,
trident with battle-ax

Audambaras

after his

on

his coin

prominent on Kushan coins.

god

is

Whether

symbols (such

or not

image without doubt

somewhat

It is

(the bull), or his

territories.

in Siva, his

never called Siva but

is

mount

Siva and either


as

Vima Kadphises's representation of the combined


(C9) may have been copied from coins of the

conquest of their

emperors personally believed

the

they

is

Kushan

all

the

most

Kushan

peculiar, however, that in

known by

coins

the strange epithet Oesho, the exact

derivation of which remains uncertain.

common depiction of Siva on Kushan coins he stands gracefully


(03a b). Although the figure is modeled on the earlier Indo-

In the
in front of his bull

Greek Hercules type, the composition with

bull appears to be an innovation

formulated by Kushan engravers. Generally in such images he has two arms and his
attributes are the trident

and

fillet

or noose. In

some

early issues he holds the

waterpot instead of the noose, imitating, no doubt, earlier tribal coins. While the
noose

may

is

not an inappropriate attribute of Siva,

it is

indicate an attempt to Indianize the filleted

certainly not very

diadem held

common

and

so frequently by

Hellenistic deities. This image of Siva standing against the bull remained the

prototype for subsequent sculptural representations of

him

(see Si 14).

A second Siva image appears to have been introduced by the engravers


of Kanishka (Cioa). In this type the bull

than classical and

is

endowed with

is

excluded, and the figure

four arms: probably

among

is

more Indian

the earliest

representations in India of a multilimbed god. Objects held in the four hands are the

waterpot (sometimes along with an elephant goad), thunderbolt, trident (held


diagonally across the

left

shoulder), and an animal identified as an antelope, but

which may be a goat. Whether an antelope or goat, either animal would be an


appropriate attribute of Siva as Pasupati (lord of the animals). Although in later Indian
art a goat

is

found on a rare Kashmiri bronze and appears on a coin, only in south

Indian images does Siva hold an antelope with his upper

left

hand. Several Greek

divinities hold animals or birds as attributes, but they are held

more gently than they

are here.

Although not common, the thunderbolt


Siva in

some

texts.

Of particular

interest

is

is

a prescribed

emblem

of

the shape of the implement. Curiously,

the engravers seem to have used the type of thunderbolt held by the bodhisattva

Vajrapani in Gandharan art rather than that held by Zeus or Athena in earlier coins.

Like the trident, the waterpot, symbolizing Siva's ascetic nature, has remained a

popular
the

emblem

Roman

in later iconography. Particularly

as if

is

or Iranian vase held by the four-armed Siva rather than the usual

waterpot. Moreover, the vase

down

noteworthy on Kanishka's coin

something

is

is

held in the extended

arm with

the

mouth

pointe<

being poured. Very likely this presentation was meant to

symbolize the investiture by the god of the king, whose effigy occurs on the obverse,

77

and

is

which

perhaps an attempt
a deity offers a

Indianizing the Hellenistic investiture ceremony in

at

diadem

to the king. Finally, in

some Kushan

been given three heads, but the representations are not very

The only other Hindu

deities depicted

coins Siva has

clear.

on the museum's Kushan coins

Kumara, and Visakha, both of whom stand facing each other on

are Skanda, or

coin of Huvishka (Ci2c). Although by the

Gupta period Skanda and Visakha had

coalesced into one personality, in Huvishka's coin they are

still

separate entities

notwithstanding their identical representations. The inclusion of Skanda in


Huvishka's pantheon must have been motivated by his appeasement of the militant

who were

Yaudheyas,

Skanda

who were

Kushans and who considered

settled in parts of present-day Haryana, centering

town of Rohtak, and adjacent

areas of Rajasthan

The iconographic
Both seem

are interesting.

for the

To hold Mathura the Kushans must have subdued the

as their tutelary deity.

Yaudheyas,

troublesome

politically

to

and Panjab provinces.

two

features of the

around the

on Huvishka's coins

deities

wear a long flaring dress or cloak. Short swords are

attached at the waist, a feature seen in Gandharan images of Skanda rather than
in those created in

knob

at the top,

imagery.

Mathura. Interestingly, each holds what looks

While the models

spear

is

not always represented clearly in numismatic

must have been the standing Dioscuri

for the figures

coins of the Indo-Greek

monarch Diomedes

considerably modified. Their hair


in early Indian art,

Greek
cult

earliest

two

known

museum

at

By and

deities face

cult

is

skill

1080

B.C.),

in the

these images are

topknot worn by young ascetics

in Indian fashion

wearing dhotis. The

Mathura.

Ardoxsho (C14),

representations certainly differ


in the year 11

on Kushan

= A.D.

89?),

differ

whether of the Greek,

coins,

modeled on Hellenistic

figures,

are elegantly

effigies imitate

12

large, the divinities

Some

The

image of Skanda dedicated

and degree of naturalism

of the diecutter.

one another. Whether these

not known.

Iranian, or Indian pantheons, are


relief

11

art.

not as naturalistic, and rather than standing frontally as in Indo-

images of the Yaudheyas

in the

c.

(r.

tied in the

is

and they are dressed

coins, here the

from the

now

is

with a

which may be an adaptation of Eros's thyrsus from Hellenistic

The top of the

modeling

like a staff

figures.

The

clarity of

from one figure to another depending on the

such

as the

wind god (Ci

1),

Siva

(Ci3a b), or

modeled, displaying the refined naturalism

characteristic of Hellenistic sculpture. Others

(Cioa c), even though the type

is

derived from the Hellenistic repertoire, are rendered in a more abstract and linear
style reminiscent of Scythian coins.

Most Kushan

coins were

minted either

Bactrian or Gandharan mints. In both regions the engravers were obviously


familiar with

Greco-Roman

By

much more

style.

Kushan

While the Gupta

on the reverse of Gupta coins

frontally, seated

coins, the representation

on a

are

coins do not display the iconographic

on most being limited

Goddess, her disposition displays interesting variations and

shown

more

than Indian.

contrast, the divinities portrayed

Indian in

diversity of the

styles

in

lion (C25) or throne (C27a),

to the

artistic ingenuity.

She

with relaxed elegance on

wicker seat (C2yb), or in the meditation posture on a lotus (C28a c). She usually
stands in a lively and graceful posture, either alone (C26) or in the

company of a

dancing peacock (C3oa b). In some coins she wears Hellenistic dress (C25), but
generally she

is

attired in the Indian

manner with her upper body

exceptions (C27O, the Goddess's right hand carries what


noose.

The

left

hand holds either the cornucopia or lotus

78

is

bare.

With few

usually identified as a

flower.

is

In general, the noose- and cornucopia-bearing goddess of the

Gupta

coins

coins.

Whereas

a continuation of a

is

Kushan

in

goddess identified

form

is

an Iranian epithet, the goddess

different

Gupta context

generally identified as the noose.

is

Ardoxsho

in later

Kushan

coins the attribute in the goddess's right hand

usually identified as the diadem, in the


varied

as

emblem in slightly
name Ardoxsho

the same

Although the

neither conceptually nor iconographically

is

Roman

from the Greek Tyche or

is

Fortuna. All three are essentially

goddesses of abundance and royal fortune and are closely related to the Indian

Lakshmi, who serves the same functions

in the

Sri-

Indian pantheon and

mythology. Obviously the early Gupta engravers, continuing the conservative

numismatic

saw nothing amiss

tradition,

represent Sri-Lakshmi or
fortune.

more

The cornucopia was

specifically

in using the

Ardoxsho

figure to

Rajyalakshmi, presiding goddess of royal

already accepted as an auspicious symbol of good

fortune (nidhi) in Indian literature and was appropriate for Sri-Lakshmi.

problem, of course,

with the noose, which

arises

Lakshmi. The emblem, however, can be regarded


glory.

She certainly holds

it

as if she

The

not prescribed for Sri-

is

as a

were offering

I3

it

diadem symbolizing

to the king,

which

is

royal

how

goddesses were represented on earlier coins. The early Gupta engravers probably did
not consider

it

inappropriate to retain the familiar Ardoxsho image and

have done so intentionally just

as

may

they modeled their royal portraits on those of the

Kushans. Obviously, the designer of the early Gupta coins could have replaced

Ardoxsho with the more

familiar,

and Indian, image of Sri-Lakshmi (Si 7), but he

did not do so, perhaps to ensure both continuity and stability in the

kingdom's monetary system. Once Samudragupta consolidated

mint issued coins with newer images on both

Some comments
first

issue of the

the Ardoxsho, or Sri-Lakshmi, figure


device. In

mount

represented as a
association

on a lion

mount

became

as she is

Kushan

art of

on Chandragupta

for the lion

is

on

a lion.

Chandragupta

II

also used this

never associated with the lion, the

Mathura, however, the lion

i's

Gupta image of Durga


coin.

shown

14

is

definitely

is

seated

seated on a lion, holding a lotus in one

by two elephants (S103).

this was, in fact, the classic

since at least the third century B.C. Very likely the

Gupta coins

the goddess

In the northwest, especially in

in the other while being bathed

and cornucopia,

representations and

image of the very

of Durga, and certainly by the early fourth century the

Kashmir, the goddess frequently

Except

is

firm. In at least one

hand and cornucopia

sides.

In the dinar attributed to Chandragupta

sits

Kushan coinage Ardoxsho

of Nana. In the

his position, his

are necessary regarding the reverse

Gupta dynasty (C25).

new

image

in

form of Sri-Lakshmi

Kashmiri

either depicts a syncretistic portrait of the

Goddess

combining both Sri-Lakshmi and Durga or simply follows an iconographic


tradition in

which the

deity of the

first

is

called

lion

was associated with Sri-Lakshmi. After

section of the Devimahatmya, the sacred

all,

the presiding

book of the Goddess,

Mahalakshmi.
Equally difficult to identify precisely are two other figures: a

flywhisk-bearing lady on the reverse of Samudragupta's asvamedha

com

female feeding or sporting with a peacock on Kumaragupta's coins (C30a-

The former
figure

may

generally has been identified as the chief queen of Samudragupta


instead represent Vijaya, goddess of victory, corresponding

79

Greek Nike.
a victory

Significantly, she stands before a festooned spear,

column, although the spear

Kumara. Certainly
whose mount

who

goddess

is

in

emblem

also the

is

Kumaragupta's coin the goddess

the peacock.

personifies

The

which may represent

of the war god,


associated with

is

Kaumari, the

figure could, thus, represent

Kumara's power or energy

certain of the exact identity of either figure,

it

(sakti).

Kumara,

While one cannot be

would not be inappropriate

to

suggest that both broadly depict different aspects of the tutelary goddess of the
imperial Guptas,

who was probably

There seems

little

on Kushan prototypes, the

Sri-Lakshmi.

doubt that even

in the early representations based

commensurate

figures already reflect stylistic differences

with the aesthetic norms of the Gupta period. The engraver of Chandragupta

i's

coin

(C25) has taken particular care to reveal the physical charms of the figure beneath

Kushan

her well-defined robes. Unlike the hieratic posture of Ardoxsho on


she

sits

With

much more

gracefully in lalitasana as

do goddesses

in

Gupta

coins,

sculpture.

her narrow waist, wide sweep of the hips, and exuberant posture, the figure on

Kacha's coin (C26) definitely represents the Indian ideal of feminine beauty rather

than the Hellenistic model followed by the Kushan engravers. This

Whether standing

evident in the coins of Samudragupta.

figures are closely related in style to the female figures of

or seated

is

even more

(C27a c), the

contemporary Gupta

sculpture. Typical of Gupta sculpture, the swelling masses and elegant curves of the

body

are

emphasized, while

at the

same time the rhythmic interplay of lines and

shapes restrains the exuberance and vegetative abundance of the form. Indeed, the
general quality of the figures on both sides of Gupta coins

must assume

that the finest engravers in the

who

mints. They were also creative artists,

images that are appealing both

Notes

I.

and

Banerjea 1956 for the most

Ibid., pis.

also not seen in the royal portraits

and Mukherjee 1983 and 1985

found

the study of art in coinage.

at

19-20. Splayed

feet are

Hatra in Syria, although

we

for the imperial

new and

did not hesitate to invent

comprehensive survey of iconography


for

so consistent that

kingdom worked

for their content

is

varied

style.

11. Mitchiner 1978, p. 292, nos.

1968-72;

2251-54

also p. 324, nos.

cf.

tetradrachmas of Azes

for

with the standing Dioscuri.

divine sacrificer (ibid., pi. 145)


stands almost like Kanishka.

For a brief, but useful survey of

Incidentally, figures with splayed feet

Indian coins see Sircar 1968.

occur frequently in earlier Indian

(tf.

relief sculpture, especially at


3

Beiber, Alexander the Great in

Bharhut

4.

5.

pi. Xll, no. 22.

7.

13.

M. Chandra 1966.

14.

Williams 1982,

Barua 1979).

Greek and Roman Art (Chicago:

Argonaut, 1964),

12. Rosenfield 1967, pi. 49.

Interestingly,

i759-6i-

sculpture around

not compare

Rosenfield 1967, pp. 54-55.

fig.

80.

Williams dates

Mitchiner 1978, p. 267, nos.

it

this

43060 but does

with the

representation on the coin.

8.

Harper 1978.

9.

Ibid., p. 26. See also

Ibid., pis. 1-2.

Shepherd 1980.

15.

Gupta and

Srivastava 1981, p. 13.

See also Sivaramamurti 1979, pp.


10.

Although the evidence

for the

prevalence of Vaishnava cults in preChristian times in Gandhara and

Afghanistan

is

slim, recent

discoveries in Pakistan, not yet

published,

may

indicate a greater

popularity of the religion during the

Kushan

80

period.

60-61.

Catalogue

Ci

Punch-marked Coin

Ci
C.

Punch-marked Coin

5OO-3OO

B.C.

Silver; /i x V2 in (1.9

x 1.2 cm)

Gift of Anita Spertus and Jeff

Holmgren;

M. 75. 89.

Ci obverse

Ci

Obverse: Five symbols (bottom, clockwise):

a standard weight.

rayed sun; two ovals connected by horizontal line

obverse, and the reverse was either

or bar; four-squared square with bull and

impressed with a single sign or symbol.

dumbbell

in diagonal squares;

tree

known

as

with

marked coins

are familiar, others

six-armed symbol;

unexplained.

Two symbols on

circle

with railings. Reverse: Crescent roughly

shaped in form of

human

face (?)

on

right.

are the oldest

form of

left

blank or

remain

this

example, the

rayed sun and tree with railings, are well-known


religious symbols.

on the

Punch-marked coins

Symbols were punched on the

While some symbols on punch-

arrows and ovals

with alternating dot placed around


conspicuous dot,

reverse

seals

Some symbols resemble

those

and small copper plates of the Indus

Valley civilization (third millennium B.C.),

Indian currency and were circulated for a long

while others survived into later Indian coinage.

time, from about the sixth century B.C. to the

The reverse mark here corresponds to that seen


some others discovered in Taxila in Pakistan,

fifth

century A.D. in some parts of southern

India. Consisting primarily of irregularly shaped


silver bars, they

were often clipped to conform to

81

in

which may have been the source of this example.

C2

Coin of Eucratides

C2

171-155 B.C.)
cm)
Purchased wirh funds provided by Anna Bing
Coin ofEucratides

Bronze;

(r.

c.

Vi6 x Ys in (2.4 x 2.2

Arnold and Justin Dart; M.84.

C2

10.4

C2

obverse

reverse

The high

Obverse: Bust of king to right wearing helmet.

Legend, Greek: Basileus metaaoy Eukratidoy (of


the great king Eucratides). Reverse:

Mounted

Dioscuri charging right, holding palms and


spears.

and excellence

than likely produced in a Bactrian mint; that

was meant

from

Legend, Prakrit with Kharoshthi:

relief

of the portrait indicate that the coin was more

its

for the

Indian possessions

is

it

evident

square shape, Kharoshthi legend on the

Maharajasa Evukratidasa (of the great king

reverse,

Eukratides).

standard.

and correspondence to the Indian

The device of the charging


Eucratides

began

by usurping the

his career

Dioscuri was adopted from earlier Seleucid

throne in Bactria about 171 B.C. By the time he

coinage. In classical mythology the Dioscuri are

was

Castor and Pollux, the two sons of Zeus and

probably by one of his sons about 155

killed,

B.C., he had extended his


as

kingdom

as far

south

Gandhara, although probably not beyond the

Indus River. His conquests clearly indicate that

Leda.

They

are the patrons of athletes, soldiers,

and mariners and may have had special appeal

for

Eucratides, an ambitious conqueror.

he was a military genius as well as an excellent


leader.

His assumption of the epithet Megas

(great)

was well

justified; the

him

Justin considered

to be

Roman

historian

one of the great

Indo-Greek monarchs.

Csa-c

Three Drachmas of Menander

C^a-c
(r.

Three Drachmas of Menander I

155-130

B.C.)

Silver; diameter,
c,

a-b, 4 in (1.9 cm),

Vs in (1.5 cm)

a, Indian

a, obverse:

Bust of king to right wearing Medusa

helmet. Legend, Greek: Basileus

Reverse: Pallas Athena standing

Art Special Purposes Fund;

M.81. 154.5
bc, Purchase with funds provided by Anna Bing
Arnold and Justin Dart; M.84. 1 10.5-6

soteros

Menandroy (of the king Menander,

savior).

left

hurling

thunderbolt. Legend, Prakrit with Kharoshthi:

Maharajasa tratarasa Menandrasa (of the great


king Menander,

b,

savior).

obverse: Bust of king, diademed, to

wearing aegis over


javelin

left

left

shoulder, thrusting

with right hand. Legend: Same

as a.

Reverse: Pallas Athena standing right, hurling

thunderbolt, wearing aegis draped across

arm. Legend: Same

c,

obverse: Bust of king, diademed, to tight.

Legend: Same

82

left

as a.

as a. Reverse:

Same

as a.

C3b

reverse

C}a obverse

C3C obverse

C^a

revei

C3C

Menander was one of the


rulers of

greatest Indo-Greek

Although the heads

northwestern India and has remained a

legendary figure in Indian literature.

probably penetrated as

far into

He

conqueror and just

ruler,

the most

who was

remember him

memory

they are

much

thinner, and, in keeping with the

greater animation of the javelin-thruster image,


as

one strand

down

and the Indian

tradition has preserved his

philosopher-king,

in almost

fall

parallel straight lines over the shoulders. In b

extensive Indo-Greek

subcontinent. Classical sources

diademed, the

treatment of the ends of the diadem are different.


In c they are quite thick and

India as the

Yamuna River and may have ruled over


kingdom on the

in bc are

rev

from the

as a

deeply interested in

flies

in the

The

the neck.

wind while the other

king's

name

is

falls

separated

legend and placed more

rest of the

symmetrically on the surfaces of a-b\ in

c it is

was more customary

Buddhism. King Milinda, one of the principal

running inscription

characters in the well-known Buddhist

philosophical work rhe Milindapanho (Questions

Menander may also have


introduced the effigy of Pallas Athena hurling

of king Milinda),

thunderbolt instead of a spear, the goddess's

is

usually identified with

Menander.

usual weapon.

Although the three coins may


seem

portrait busts in

similar, except that in

a and

whose weapon

diademed

[see C2}),

a the king wears a Medusa

as in b.

whereas in

he

The Medusa helmet was

83

is

not

is

the daughter of Zeus,

The

the thunderbolt.

very similar to the thunderbolt-hurling Zeus

of the commemorative coins of Agathocles

180-165 B.C.)
10- 1 1). While

is

apparently introduced into India by Menander

is

is

thunderbolt-hurling Athena of Menander's coins

c are

helmet (rather than the smooth helmet worn by


Eucratides

substitution

inappropriate since she

similar, there are interesting differences

among them. The

The

as

I.

(see Lahiri

1965. P

'

nos

the representations cf At

(r.

similar in a and
b.

c,

In both a and

giant Pallas. Writhing snakes are clearly visible

her from the back, and she

both her helmet

figure. In

the crest

somewhat

is

the helmet

is

from the skin of the

she

she stands on her toes, faces

and hurls the thunderbolt. The viewer

left,

said to have fashioned

interesting differences occur in

hanging from the aegis

crested, although

is

in c

In b

smooth, and she stands frontally

in b.

Although

clearly a militant

is

prominent

less

sees

is

all

three coins were

issued for Menander's Indian possessions,

it is

ab were produced earlier in a


Bactrian mint. The modeling of Athena in both

very likely that

facing to the right. In fact, her graceful and

appears to be of a distinctly higher quality than

relaxed stance as well as her costume, a short

in

tunic and pleated skirt, are reminiscent of the

dered in

famous statue of Athena Parthenos by Phidias

portrait,

(Larousse Encyclopedia, p.

18). In the other

two

thrown over her arms. In


chlamys
and

in

arm. This

is

is

all

three coins. Each

with the

The

is
is

sensitively rena well-observed

facial features articulately

king's face

dominated by

is

contrast to ab, in

an older king

is

brow, and mature expression. Thus, not only

both a

the goddess holds a shield with her left

hand, in b a fringed aegis

royal bust, however,

portrayed with slightly sunken cheeks, furrowed

nude Zeus

and not on Athena. While

defined.

By

is

classical art the

usually depicted on the

is

or Apollo

The

strong, sharp nose and rather penetrating eyes.

representations, she wears an aegis over her

shoulder, and, curiously, a chlamys or scarf

c.

draped over her

does

seem

to be a later issue, but the poorer

quality of the reverse device suggests that the

left

engraving was done in an Indian mint, perhaps

by a

very likely the snake-frilled aegis

less

competent engraver than those

responsible for a-b.

C4

Drachma

of Apollodotus

C4

Drachma

Silver;

%e

of Apollodotus

in (1.4

(r.

c.

115-95

B.C.)

cm) square

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

M. 81. 154.6

nviM
*
C4

:tr
C4

obverse

'<

reverse

among

the few Indo-Greek

Obverse: Elephant standing right. Greek

Apollodotus was

monogram

monarchs who issued square coins that do not

below. Legend, Greek: Basileus

Apollodotoy soteros (of the king Apollodotus,


savior). Reverse:

Humped

bull standing right.

Greek monogram below. Legend, Prakrit with

include a royal bust.

king Apollodotus,

savior).

Indian

number of kings who


were known as Apollodotus. Some believe that
two Indo-Greek kings bore this name (see Lahiri
1965, pp. 9092), while others consider there
to be only

one King Apollodotus, a son of

Menander

(see

Narain 1980). In any event,

84

is

modeling

characteristic of

art.

The

bull

is

with the Hindu god Siva and

on early Indian
Scholars disagree about the

naturalistic

of the animals on this coin

Kharoshthi: Maharajasa Apaladatasa tratarasa


(of the great

The

closely associated
is

a frequent device

coins. Its presence

on coins

is

generally regarded as the theriomorphic

representation of the

god

himself.

The elephant

may be the symbol of the god Indra, whose


mount he is considered to be. Like the bull,

the Audambaras, which resemble the ruler's


the

elephant was a popular device on coins of the

kingdoms
The elephant

hemidrachmas, near Pathankot


center of

Audambara

Panjab, the

Seleucids and other Indian tribes and

219-20, 235). This coin type may have been

(Marshall {195

struck by Apollodotus after he conquered these

1975,

1]

2: p. 158).

appears to have been a sacred animal in Taxila

and Kapisa,

cities located

tribal territories.

According to Sivaramamurti

very likely within the

may have been

realm of Apollodotus. Both animals are also

(1979, pp. 4445), the animals

represented on the contemporary coins of the

used as allegorical or metaphorical symbols for

Audambaras and Yaudheyas.

the political power of the sovereigns. In Sanskrit

Significantly, coins

of Apollodotus were found together with coins of

the bull and elephant are constantly cited as

metaphors

C5

in

activity (Sharan 1972, pp.

for the best in

any given

class.

Drachma of Maues

C5

C5 obverse

C5

Drachma

Silver;

Maues

of

Vs in (2.9

(r.

c.

75-57

reverse

kings), but he continued the Indo-Greek

B.C.)

tradition of using effigies of

cm)

Greek gods.

Purchased with funds provided by Anna Bing

Curiously, however, on this coin he did not use

Arnold and Justin Dart; M.84.

his

10.7

own

portrait

on the obverse but that of Zeus.

Usually the Indo-Greek monarchs preferred the

Obverse: Bearded Zeus standing

left,

wearing

himation, extending right arm. Long scepter in


left

Palm bound with


diadem

in right.

fillet in left

standing right.

hand, beribboned

Monogram below
Moasa

to have

employed

this type

(of Maues, the great

bulkier.

Nike

The

figure

generally considered to be the

first

king of northwestern India, although he

Saka

may

have had a predecessor (Srivastava 1972, p.

4).

Maues not only overran the Indo-Greek kingdom


in eastern

Panjab but also extended his rule

south as Mathura. Although


uncertain,

it is

until 57 B.C.

likely that he ruled

On

his coins

around 75

Maues adopted

Iranian royal appellation, calling himself


"Rajatirajasa mahatasa" (the great king of

85

as far

his lifedates are

the

Zeus

scepter also

was very

coins of Antialcidas
is

of standing image of

The proportions of this


are, however, different;

king of kings).

Maues

portrayed standing and

Zeus.

outstretched

arm. Legend, Prakrit with Kharoshthi:


Rajatirajasa mahatasa

is

outstretched right hand. Maues's engraver seems

magaloy Mayoy (of Maues, the great king of

Winged Nike

Agathocles the god

holding the torch-bearing Hecare in his

hand. Legend, Greek: Bas ileus basileon

kings). Reverse:

enthroned figure of Zeus, but in a coin of

shown

is

likely

(r.

is

figure

stocky and

held differently.

The

borrowed from the

15-100

B.C.) in which

seated but holding the figure of

Zeus

is

Nike

proffering a wreath in her outstretched

right hand.

Nike

is

the Greek goddess of victory,

an appropriate model for a king

won many

who must

have

victories in the establishment of the

Saka kingdom.

C6

Drachma o/Azes

C6

Drachma of Axes

Silver;

diameter

57-35
(2.6 cm)

B.C.)

I (r. c.

in

'/i6

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

M.81 154.3
.

C6

reverse

16 obvers

Obverse: King riding right on horse and holding

coin while he was in Arachosia. Although

couched

representations of a

spear.

Legend, Greek: Bas ileus

basileon

mounted horseman and the

megaloy Azoy (of Azes, the great king of kings).

god Zeus were prevalent

Reverse: Zeus standing. Thunderbolt in right

the style in which they are depicted in Azes's

hand, scepter in
leg;

left.

Snake symbol beside right

two monograms below

left

coins

is

in

notably different.

Indo-Greek coins,

The

slim, abstracted

forms of the mounted king and his horse appear

arm. Legend,

comic caricatures of a latter-day Don Quixote

Prakrit with Kharoshthi: Maharajasa rajarajasa

as

mahatasa Ayasa (of Aya, the great king of kings).

and

his steed.

The

figure of Zeus, with

its

simplified torso and serpentine arms and

Azes was the successor of Maues and


been related to him by marriage.

may

He was

more

have

lacks the elegance of the

also

representations on Indo-Greek coins.

related to Spalarises, Parthian king of ancient

thunderbolt

Arachosia in southern Afghanistan, west of the

Not much is known about Azes except


his kingdom probably included Arachosia,

figure, as if

is

legs,

classical

The

disproportionately larger than the

the engraver wanted to draw the

Indus.

viewer's attention to the attribute rather than to

that

the effigy.

Gandhara, and western Panjab including,


perhaps, Mathura. His lifedates are not

but he

is

considered by

the era of

Vikrama

5857

B.C.

known,

many as the initiator of


known commonly as the

era in India.

This particular coin type seems


to continue the type issued by Vonones, a

Parthian ruler of Arachosia and predecessor of


Spalarises,

with

whom

86

Azes had jointly issued

Ci

Drachma ofAzilisa

Cj

Drachma of Aziltses

C. 50 B.C.
Silver;

diameter

V\6 in (2.6

cm)

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

>

M.81 154.4
.

C7

verse

Obverse: King riding right on horse and holding

couched

spear.

Snake symbol below spear; Greek

monogram above

horse's head.

Legend, Greek:

Basileus basikon megaloy Azilisoy (of Azilises, the

great king of kings). Reverse:

flanked by two

Nike standing

monograms. Ribboned palm

reverse

was the mark of an independent king,

burn

unceasingly through his reign." This figure

obviously represents a synthesis of the Hellenic

Nike and Iranian concept of royal

who

left

was

in

replaced the diadem with the

hand, flame in right. Legend, Prakrit with

to

first

adopted by Azes

I,

The type

glory.

appears to have

fire vessel.

In

shown holding

Parthian coins the goddess

is

Kharoshthi: Maharajasa rajarajasa mahatasa

diadem. The royal

may have been given

Ayilisasa (of Ayilisa, the great king of kings).

special significance

left

fire

thus

by Azes

and was continued

both by his Saka and Kushan successors.


Azilises

may

was

a coruler

and successor of Azes

have been his son.

joii tly

type.

with Azes

Once

He

issued

and

some coins

and continued Azes's coin

again, as with his predecessor's coin,

the complete effigy of the king conforms to a

type and

is

not an individual portrait.

of the king can be recognized easily.


tight-fitting trousers, long coat,

The

It

The

attire

consists of

and peaked

hat.

king's face appears to have been beardless.

More

interesting

is

the

representation of the goddess on the reverse of


the coin. She

same

is

identified as

Nike and

is

the

figure as in Maues's coin (C5), except that

here she

is

containing

without wings and holds a vessel


fire

may symbolize

rather than a diadem.

As suggested by Rosenfield (1967,


vessel of flames

The

flames

the Iranian concept of royal glory.

is

p. 199), "the

probably the royal

87

fire

which

This particular issue of Azilises


is

stylistically

and aesthetically similar

of his predecessor.

It

displays the

and linear treatment of form and

to that

same cursory
reflects the

preferences of an individual artist. Other coins

of Azilises reveal

much

greater refinement and

assurance in the execution of the figure.

C8

Coin of Azes

C8

II

C8

obverse

C8

Coin of Azes

Copper

alloy;

II

(r.

c.

diameter

201

reverse

The animals depicted on

B.C.)

cm)

V\e in (2.7

this

copper coin are religiously significant and also

Purchased with funds provided by Anna Bing

symbolize regal qualities. The bull

Arnold and Justin Dart; M.84.

of the god Siva, while the lion bears his spouse,

10.8

is

the

mount

the goddess Durga. Both animals also are meta-

Monogram

above.

Legend, Greek with Kharoshthi: Basileus

basileon

Obverse: Bull standing right.

megaloy Azoy (of the great king of kings, Azes).


Reverse: Lion standing right.

Monogram

phors for the majesty and prowess of the king.

Two

animals, one of which

earlier in a

is

the bull, were used

drachma of Apollodotus

(C4).

above.

Legend, Prakrit with Kharoshthi: Maharajasa


rajatirajasa mahatasa

Ayasa (of the great king of

kings, Azes).

Azes

11

was very

likely a

He

son of Azilises.

grandson of Azes

C9

first

and

appears to have ruled the

Panjab region sometime during the


decades of the

last

two

century B.C.

Quarter Dinar of Vima Kadphises

Co
(r.

Quarter Dinar of Vima Kadphises

Obverse: Bust of king to right within square


frame. Legend: None. Reverse: Trident with

A.D. 1-50?)

Gold; diameter V2 in (1.3 cm)

battle-ax and ribbon in stand flanked by

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Montanari;

monograms. Legend, Kharoshthi

M. 77-56-5

(reconstructed; Mitchiner 1978, p. 404):

Maharaja

rajatiraja

Vima Kapisasa

(of

two

Vima

Kapisa, the great king of kings).

The

curious feature of the portrait

placement of the bust

in a frame.

is

This framed

bust also occurs on a dinar issued by

Kadphises (Rosenfield 1967,


that coin the

88

image looks

pi.

like a

the

11,

Vima
no. 27). In

framed painting

among

with the king holding a flowering twig in his

coins "are

tight hand. In the quarter dinars, such as this

statements of Kushan art in any

example, the king's fingers appear to


lower

arm of the frame

or square,

on the

rest

which has

represents a

window

Although such
imperial

Roman

unknown

not

Minor

a device

(P.

in

is

monarch.

earlier

is

Greek coins of Asia

Gardner, Archaeology and the Types of

3334,

39). In any event, this

is

emblem

pi.

II,

nos. 1927),

to Siva.

most

had neither any precedence nor following.


this particular bust

is

somewhat

faded, the strong features of the monarch,

more

easily perceptible in better-preserved coins,


still

be discerned.

can

Vima Kadphises was

obviously a powerful king, and the images on his

C9

C9

obverse

89

itself the trident

on

may be

it

Vima

(Rosenfield 1967,

seems reasonable to

conclude that the trident in this example relates

unusual method of depicting a bust portrait and

Although

By

common emblem

of either the Greek god Poseidon or

occurs on other coins of

pi. iv,

reverse device of the

also not a very

Indian god Siva. Since the trident-bearing Siva

encountered neither in

Greek Coins [Chicago: Argonaut, 1965],


nos. 4,

an

nor Parthian coins, the idea

much

is

early Indian coins.

(Rosenfield 1967, pp.

portrait (perhaps a bas-relief) of the

The
trident

2425). The image may represent a framed

medium"

(Rosenfield 1967, p. 19)

led

to the suggestion that the square in fact

the most impressive

reverse

Ciou-i

Three Dinars of Kamshka

Color plate, p.

oa obverse

90

49

b ob

Ciob

reverse

loc reverse

Cioac Three Dinars


(r. c. 78-102)

of Kanishka

nose,

wide mouth, and thick beard combine to

characterize a powerful personality.

Gold; average diameter

in (1 .9

cm)

probably

The

portrait

advanced age of the

reflects the

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Montanari; a,

monarch. While the form of the headgear

M. 77. 56.4,

not

M. 77. 56.7-8

b-c,

a-b

clear, that in

worn by Kanishka's
a, obverse:
altar,

Bearded king standing

left

before

wearing boots, trousers, tunic, cape,

helmet rounded
Three vertical

at

tall

top and surmounted by crest.

lines,

which may represent

is

pi.

11).

The

presence of the elephant goad and spear


reinforces the martial nature of the portrait,

while the firm, hieratic stance and flames near


the right shoulder indicate the king's

Belt with curved handle attached at waist.

superhuman

Legend, Bactrian or Saka with Greek

is

Vima

predecessor,

Kadphises (Rosenfield 1967,

flames, rising from shoulder above right arm.

Elephant goad in right hand, spear in

in c

similar to the crowns

stature.

Kanishka

left.

letters:

Kushan king and

is

was the greatest

remembered

in the Indian

and

Shaonanshao kaneshki, kosha{no) (of the king of

tradition both as a bloodthirsty conqueror

kings Kanishka, the Kushan). Reverse: Four-

patron of Buddhism. Certainly during his reign

armed

the

Siva,

nimbate, standing

wearing

left,

Kushan Empire was most

extensive,

dhoti. Thunderbolt in upper right hand,

stretching from Soviet Central Asia in the north

waterpot in lower right hand, trident in upper

to the

left

hand, animal in lower

left

hand.

Monogram

Deccan

in the south.

Kanishka

is

said to

have presided over an important Buddhist

may have

below extended arm. Beaded border around

council held in Kashmir, which

edge. Legend, Bactrian with Greek letters,

witnessed the emergence of Mahayana

written vertically: Oesho.

Buddhism. Kanishka discarded the Greek and


Indian languages and Kharoshthi script on his

b:

Same

coins, except for

as a.

what

are

known

as the

inaugural issues, and began the use of the


c,

obverse: Similar to

a b,

except that headgear

appears to be soft cap. Reverse: Male deity,

nimbate, standing to

left,

transparent tunic, cape

arm

fully extended; left

Monogram below

(?)

Kanishka

over shoulders. Right

arm

resting on sword.

Although the representation

is

9i

The

for Iranian rather

Indian or Hellenistic gods.

The

is

He

is

than

certainly the

variety of Hellenistic, Indian,

deities represented

coins.

more generalized

than an Indo-Greek bust, nonetheless the


features are distinctive.

seems to have

Buddha on

his coins. Even though Buddhists claim him as


their own, it is doubtful that he was a Buddhist.

monarch

most of Kanishka's

had a distinct preference

also

only monarch to have introduced the

right arm. Pearl border

full-length portrait of the

characteristic of

however, were retained.

wearing long,

around edge. Legend, Greek: Miiro.

The

Bactrian language on both sides. Greek letters,

facial

large eyes, strong

on

and Iranian

his coins indicates his

particular care in demonstrating his religious


eclecticism.

ab the deity

In

the legend

referted to in

Oesho, probably the Bactrian

is

synonyms of

version of Mahesa, or Bhavesa, both

who

Siva,

appeared on the coins of Vima

first

Kadphises (Rosenfield 1967,

pi.

II,

this particular iconographic type,

nos. 18-27).

his

head

is

not

is

VIII, nos.

is
is

some)

actually

engaged

surrounded by a nimbus.

act

given four instead of two arms

predecessors; generally, the

shown with

his bull.

a novel feature

is

is

in lustrating the

king or performing an investiture ceremony. The

topknot being prominent here,

Of his attributes,

was important

and may have been

Kushans and

for the

a deity presenting a

to a king. In the Indian context, however, an

ceremony would

initiation

The

by a brahmin, precisely what Siva

vase or waterpot

and trident are familiar

is

left

generally identified as an antelope, but

Kanishka lived during the

may

it

these images are

among

and

interesting

the vase.

the

is

It is

manner

in

More

with the lower

left

which the god holds

is

it is

name

the sun god, whose Iranian

is

is

of

used in the

legend, further illustrating the king's predilec-

The

icon, however,

is

image

was adopted from that of Helios, the Greek sun

Greek

ruler Philoxenus

(r.

125-1 15

As

B.C.).

with Siva, the outstretched right arm of the god

normally held

hand. Rather,

doing here.

god, as seen, for instance, on a coin of the Indo-

not the conventional ascetic's

waterpot (kamandalu), which

is

neither Indian nor Iranian. Rather, the

the earliest four-armed

representations of Siva in Indian art.

consist of lustration

reverse device on coin c

tion for Iranian deities.

if

century, then

first

The

hand

be a goat. These attributes are appropriate for


Siva according to ancient literature,

Iranians

wreath ot diadem

included to emphasize a syncretism with Zeus.

symbols. The animal held in his lower

their

Romans and

represented the act of divine investiture by

showing

the thunderbolt (or kettledrum according to

a tall vase,

implies that he
investing

is

either blessing the king or

him with

regal splendor.

Ci

Coin of Kanishka

Copper

obverse

water pours

out of the vase (Rosenfield 1967, pi.

that Siva

and

1 1

he were pouring a

as if

some of Huvishka's coins representing

another iconographic form. Siva's hairstyle

Moreover, he

upturned

it

liquid. In

clearly

is

158, 16061). This peculiar display may imply

and

Coin of Kanishka

an Iranian wine vessel, and Siva

Kanishka's engraver seems to have pteferred

different, the

Cn

like

holding

alloy;

diameter

'/i6

Purchased with funds provided by Anna Bing

78-102)

I (r. c.

in (2.8

Arnold and Justin Dart; M.84.

cm)

10.9

reverse

1 1

Obverse: King standing

left

figure

before altar (see

remaining
as in

letters appears to

Cioa c.

running

left

Reverse:

Man

based not on an Iranian prototype but

is

have been the same

The
Indian wind god, known

wearing dhoti,

iconographic section of the

Cioa c). Legend: Damaged, but from

on

classical imagery.

as

Vayu

in the

Vishnudharmottarapurana, says that he

while holding shawl billowing

behind and around him. Faintly visible

armed,

monogram in front. Legend, only two letters


visible, known from other examples: Oado.

the scarf
inflated

his

The expression Oado on the reverse is Bactrian


Vata, the Indo-Iranian wind god. This deity
I

for

and

is

"two-

two hands holding the two ends of

woven by him,

his

garment being

by wind (vdyyapuritavastra),

emphasizing

occurs only on the copper coins of Kanishka

description of the

open and

his swift

motion, his mouth being

his hair dishevelled" (Banerjea

1956,

p. 527). Clearly this iconographic description

based on representations on such Kushan coins.

Huvishka (Rosenfield 1967, p. 91), and his


inclusion in the Kushan pantheon was obviously

This dynamic form of the wind god, however,

inspired by Iranian religious ideas. Iranians

although occasionally he

offered sacrifices not only to control the

the

wind but

also to ask

it

for wealth.

naturalistic delineation of the bearded

92

power of

The
running

is

did not become popular in later Indian art,


is

shown holding

billowing scarf over his head while standing


frontally (Asher 1980, pi. 222).

(.

12U-C

Three Dinars of Huvishka

Color plate, p.

Ci2a-c
(r.

4')

Three Dinars of Huvishka

106-38)

c.

Gold; average diameter V>

in

(1.9

cm)

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Montanari;

M. 77.56. 1- 12,

a-b,

c,

M. 77. 56.

Ci2a obverse

2a reverse

C12C obverse

Ci2b

reverse

a, obverse:

2 c reverse

Bust of king, nimbate, to

left,

c,

obverse: Bust of king to

left,

emerging from

emerging from rock or cloud formations, wear-

rock or cloud formations, wearing loose tunic

ing tunic, peaked metal helmet adorned with

quite different from rhat in

bird head

with crest ornament. Flames rising from

shoulders. Short

goad

Flames rising from

(?), earflaps.

mace

in right hand, elephant

Legend, Bactrian with Greek

in left.

let-

Shaonsanoshao Oeshko Koshano (of the king of

ters:

kings, Huvishka, the Kushan). Reverse: Male


deity,

nimbate, standing

left

with legs widely

apart and laterally placed, wearing diadem,

hand outstretched with two

Mon-

fingers raised.

shoulders. Face of king unlike that in

ab,

distinguished by heavy sideburns and what


appears to be a wart. Scepter in right hand. Left

hand brought

across body, holding

weapon not

clearly distinguishable. In other coins

47-48) instrument
be an elephant goad. Legend: Same as

(Rosenfield 1967, p.

chiton, chlamys. Left hand against waist, right

a b, rounded helmet

appears to

Ill,

nos.

a-b. Reverse: Separated by same

monogram as

in

a b,

two gods wearing dhotis facing one another

edge. Legend, Bactrian with Greek letters:

on

narrow base adorned with rinceau pattern.

Ashaeixsho.

Hair seems to be arranged

ogram below

right arm. Beaded border around

hand held
b,

obverse: Similar to a

except headgear

is

ferent

and sides of face are not covered by

flaps.

King's long curly hair clearly visible.

Weapon

in left

hand seems

dif-

ear-

name

is

spelled Oeshki rather than Oeshko.

Reverse: Goddess standing right, holding cor-

nucopia with both hands.


in a.

Monogram

in front as

Beaded border around edge. Legend,

Bactrian with Greek letters: Ardoxsho.

hand holding long

with knob. Legend, Bactrian with Greek

staff

letters:

Skando-Komaro Bizago (Skanda-Kumara and


Visakha).

Although rhe

collection contains only three

examples of Huvishka's coins, they provide us


with some idea of the variety of images
the emperor's coins are justly well

Huvishka appears

but their exact relationship

is

for

which

known

to have succeeded

certain, however, that he

93

One

to be a spear rather

than elephant goad. Legend: Same as a, except


that

at hip, other

in a topknot.

Kanishka

unknown.

It is

was a grandson of \

1,

With

Kadphises. Huvishka seems to have preferred

The

representation found on Kanishka's coins.

regard to the reverse

image on a

devices, the

the bust portrait rather than the full-figure

identified in the

who

legend as Ashaeixsho,

busts are presented in such wide variations that

is

is

none other than

Asa Vahista of the Iranian pantheon

(see

Known

they cannot easily be organized in any

Rosenfield 1967, pp. 75-76).

chronological sequence. For instance, in b the

Amesha Spentas, he

king appears to be young and clean shaven.

and "the smiter of death, of fiends and

Although the

side flaps of his

face in a,

probable that

it is

helmet cover

Regarded

his

the

is

Bright Asa, he

as the

also as

embodiment of truths
illness."

closely

is

associated with Atar, personification of

this, too, is a

comparison with Kanishka's coin (Cioc)

Notwithstanding their

illustrates that this

notable differences
features are

much

similarity, there are

among

the coins.

as gracefully aquiline

and the

face in general

is

on the cheek. The headgears and


all

three coins. Full regalia

slightly

more elaborate than

seems somewhat
halo

absent in

is

less

a sizable

in b.

in

extended right

wart

The

a and

attire in c

formal. Interestingly, the

It

The goddess depicted in b is


is Iranian but whose

image

is

based on the classical Tyche. Although

scholars disagree (Rosenfield 1967) as to the

origin of her name, the fact that she holds the

chronological sequence based

on the royal portraits alone would suggest that


is

investiture.

Ardoxsho, whose name

is

c.

A
the ruler

and movement of

The upraised fingers of the


arm may indicate blessing or

attire differ in

worn

is

classical elegance

hieratic image.

encountered, with a harsher face

dominated by bushy sideburns and

and the

Kanishka's figure have been eschewed for a more

is

jowly. In c an altogether different

personality

much younger

in

a b than

he

is

in c

seems unlikely, however, that a mature king

cornucopia and

is

modeled

fortune.

An

important figure

Tyche clearly

taxonomic studies of these coins belie

Iranian counterpart of the

simple

chronology (Gobi 1984). Besides, are we to

little

doubt that she

Greek Tyche, Roman

The confronting paired gods in


Kumara, and Visakha,
Indian, as their names and

sideburns were an affectation of age rather than

c,

youth? That such a blemish should be so

are clearly

meticulously retained in a portrait intended to

representations indicate. Skanda and

is

may

idealized representations (bc)

individualized likeness

(c).

a less formal,

is

emphasized. In the portrait

reticent about

This

is

announcing

his

it

seems that they were separate

during the Kushan period. Skanda,


also

known

as Karttikeya, the

tutelary deity of a republican tribe

An ancient

tribe,

It is

as the

Kushan

rule.

presumed that they were subjugated by

Kanishka

divine status.

known

the Yaudheyas were

militant and powerful during the

clearly not

own

divinities

Yaudheyas.

is

portrayed as he was seen by his contemporaries.

Huvishka was

Skanda, but

and Kumara, are

In the former the

blemishes are eliminated and the regal character

with the wart and sideburns the king

Kumara are

divine general. Visakha was later identified with

be considered

and

identified as Skanda, or

two of several names of the Hindu god of war or

interesting.

Rather than establish any chronological


sequence, these royal effigies

the

is

Fortuna, and Indian Sri-Lakshmi.

assume that the wart was not congenital and the

emphasize the king's divinity

Kushan

in the

pantheon, she was closely associated with


Pharro. There seems

after

makes her a goddess of abundance and good

would dispense with the nimbus, and, moreover,

of the monarch

is

Miiro or Mihira. The sword has been removed,

substantial but not

is

image of Ashaeixsho

clearly

modified version of that of the Iranian sun god,

sharper in a with a strongly

curved nose. In b the nose

more

The

fire.

portrait of a youthful, clean-shaven emperor.

I,

may have

but they

for his successor,

created trouble

Huvishka, who may have

reconquered them or established an alliance with

indicated by the bust emerging from

may

cloud formations (which seems to be the more

them by recognizing

likely interpretation than rocks) as well as the

explain the sudden appearance of the images of

flaming shoulders and nimbus.

Of these,

the patron deity of the Yaudheyas on Huvishka's

only

the flaming shoulders were employed by both

Vima and Kanishka

The

flames were

meant

their legitimacy. This

coins.

Whatever the

political significance of this

to

particular device, the gods are represented as

symbolize the Iranian concept of royal glory. The

purely Indian deities, depicted in the Indian

king may also be identifying himself with the

fashion wearing dhotis and topknots.

I.

Iranian deity Pharro, the personification of royal


glory,

who

occurs on the coins of Kanishka and

Huvishka. Such symbolism would also be


compatible with the Indian

nimbus, however, appears

fire

predecessors

employed

Interestingly, the halo

it
is

on

representations of deities on

94

shown

also have

in the

the reverse (see bc).

Mathura

in

been a

coins of the Indo-Greek king


early

during the

century B.C. (Gardner [1886] 1971,

their coins.

not always

The device may

Diomedes, who ruled

introduced by Huvishka, since none of his

appears to have been

variation of the lance-bearing, erect Dioscuri

some of the

been

Kumara

emphasized in Gandhara rather than


(see S67).

god, Agni. The

to have

youthfulness of

The

nos.

1,

14).

first

pi.

vm,

on

(.

;a-b

Tuv Dinars of Vasudeva

Color plate, p.

Ci^a-b
(r.

c.

Two Dinars of Vasudeva

49

142-76)

Gold; diameter, a, V\ in (1.9 cm),


Vh in (2.2 cm)

b,

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Montanari;


a,

M. 77. 56.

14, b,

M. 77. 56.

16

obverse

03b

3a reverse

a, obverse:

reverse

King, nimbate, standing

Vasudeva

left,

wearing long tunic, trousers, peaked crown.

With

right

hand offering oblations

at fire altar

placed before beribboned trident. Long sword


attached at waist on

left.

Monogram

arm. Legend: Bactrian with Greek

near

left

letters:

succeeded Huvishka, but their exact

relationship
1

is

not known.

dates from the year

of the Kanishka era.

The

reign of Vasudeva

64 or 67 to 98, presumably
The most common device

on the reverse of Vasudeva's coins


representation of the

god

is

Siva. This, together

placed behind the

Shaonanoshao Bazodeo Koshano (of the Kushan

with the

Vasudeva, king of kings). Reverse: Siva with

altar

small topknot and curly hair, wearing dhoti,

frequently holds a trident instead of a spear,

standing in front of bull. Fillet or noose in right

taken to indicate his devotion to Siva. Yet the

hand, trident in
shoulder.

left.

Monogram above

right

Beaded border around edge. Legend,

is

on the obverse and the king himself

name Vasudeva
event, Vasudeva

assume

Bactrian with Greek letters: Oesho.

fact that a trident

is
is

a Sanskrit

is

synonym of Vishnu. In any


the first Kushan monarch to

name.

It

may

well reflect a

conscious attempt at Indianization, although


b:

Similar to a, except without

obverse. According to
this coin

monogram on

Gobi (1984,

belongs to Vasudeva

II.

no. 642),

this

could have been achieved more easily by

representing Siva and adopting an Indian script


rather than the Bactrian
letters as

95

on

this coin.

word Oesho

in

Greek

When

enlarged and compared

with other Kushan coin portraits,

it

becomes

monarch's face on these dinars

clear that the

represents an individual likeness.

dominated by

is

face. In

a strong aquiline

bull

on the

reverse.

full

his

Vasudeva obviously preferred

the full-length royal portrait rather than the bust

favored by his predecessor, Huvishka. In the


reverse device Vasudeva adopted the

is

garment

two-armed

much-

not as
is

turned to

and Huvishka. Rarely


(see

much" more transparent and

god appears nude. The

The other emblem

hands.

waterpot
noose

is

in

trident

is

held in different

is

Vima's coins

(?); in Vasudeva's coins a

is

diadem or

shown. Perhaps the most noteworthy

difference

perceptible in the hairstyles. In

is

Huvishka)

on Vasudeva's coins

is

to both images but

Vima's coins

rather than the four-armed Siva

deities appear

and the head

common

image of Siva standing against the bull used by

do other

is

often the

Vima Kadphises

of the coins of Kanishka

is

stands gracefully en

clearly represented, while in earlier

issues the

on the obverse and Siva and

who

Vima's coins the figure

articulately rendered

dhoti

Both examples typify


Vasudeva's standard coin type with the

figure,

the right. Moreover, in Vasudeva's coins the

and substantial chin.

figure of the king

modeled

better

It differs

prominent moustache,

nose, rather thin lips,

Vasudeva's

in

coins (Gobi 1984, pis. 1-3). Siva here

considerably from those of Huvishka or

Kanishka and

The image of Siva

coins has changed notably from that in Vima's

(as also in

Siva's hair

those of Kanishka

is

and

gathered into a chignon

resembling the kapardin hairstyle of early

Buddha heads

(see S61).

C16). Vasudeva's coin type remained a model for


the later

Kushan monarchs and Sasanian

governors of Kushanshahr (see

C14

Dinar of Vasudeva

09a b).

(?)

C14

Dinar

of

Gold; diameter

Vasudeva

/s in (2.2

(?)

(r.

142-76)

c.

cm)

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Montanari;

M. 77. 56. 20

C14

C14

obverse

Obverse: King, nimbate, standing

reverse

left,

wearing

long tunic, tight trousers, peaked crown.


right

hand offering oblations

before beribboned trident.


a trident in left hand.

With

at fire altar placed

What must

have been

Long sword attached

at

obverse and

1984,

pi. 3, nos.

have been issued by Kanishka


the

is

figure of

Greek

filled

letters:

Gobi

first

to be discovered

Ardoxsho

this coin

11.

If it

may
this coin

is,

with the standing

as the reverse device.

both hands.

The Ardoxsho device may have

Legend, Bactrian with

been copied from the coins of Huvishka (Ci2b).

with

in front.

(cf.

541-42) suggest that the coin


1. Martha Carter (personal

communication) suggests that

Goddess standing right with right leg bent.

Monogram

the reverse

belongs to Vasudeva

waist on right. Legend: Illegible. Reverse:

Cornucopia

monogram on

fruit in

In

Ardoxsho.

some

rare issues of Vasudeva's

(Gobi 1984,

pi.

30, no. 514), the representation of the goddess

Without the legend on the obverse, it is difficult


to ascertain the ruler's identity. The most likely
candidate, however,

is

Vasudeva

representation of the king and

I.

is

very similar to that of Ardoxsho except

for the attribute.

unique coin

The

fire altar

Nana

on the

artistry

is

figure of

Ardoxsho on

and much more elegantly than

Huvishka's coin.

96

The

depicted with consummate


in

this

Ci5

Com

of Vasudeva

C15

Coin

Copper

oj'Vasudeva I

alloy;

(r.

diameter Vi6 in
l

Gift of Anita Spertus and Jeff

C16

The

142-76)
(2.

cm)

devices on both sides of this coin are similar

Vasudeva

to

M.75.89.

monogram

C1 5

obverse

Quarter Dinar of Vasudeva

C16

i's

Oesho coin type discussed

Ci3a-b. The legends

Holmgren;

is

in

are illegible, but the

prominent on the

reverse.

reverse

I or II

Quarter Dinar of Vasudeva

I or II

Second-third century

Gold; diameter V2 in (1.2 cm)


Gift of Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Montanari;

M. 77.56.19

C16

obverse

Obverse: Device and legend similar to Vasudeva


is

Oesho coin type (Ci3a-b), except

long hair

down

is

Wearing what seems

to be filleted

cap rather than more characteristic conical

crown. Reverse: Siva standing in front of bull


in

03a b.

Left leg bent at knee

gram: Same

as in

as

and placed

diagonally behind right leg. Legend and

6 reverse

While most

scholars consider these quarter

dinars to be Vasudeva is (Rosenfield 1967, pi.

Gobi (1984, pis. 32, 526-27,


529-30) attributes them to Vasudeva II, who
may have ruled between about 230 and 260
xi, no. 219),

delineated in loose strands falling

shoulders rather than in curls as in rwo

larger coins.
soft

that king's

mono-

(Mukherjee 1967, pp. 59-64). Although he


enjoyed a long reign, he was overpowered by the

230 Vasudeva

Sasanians. In the year

an envoy to the Wei court

03a b.

The

coin

in
is

likely sent

China.

most interesting

for

the posture of Siva on the reverse. In no example

Kushan art does Siva stand in this manner. In


early Kushan sculpture, however, yakshis often
of

assume

97

this

pose (Bachofter 1929,

2: pis.

91,

93)-

male guardian figure

in the first-century

south Indian early-eleventh-century bronze Siva

B.C. Buddhist cave at Bhaja in the Poona district

stands with his legs crossed at the ankles

of Maharashtra also strikes this cross-legged

Chandra 1985, no. 95 and

standing posture (ibid.,


art

pi.

653). In later Indian

Krishna generally assumes

he plays the

flute,

this posture

when

although in a well-known

cover). It

is

(P.

unlikely

that the engraver responsible for this coin was

familiar with the Bhaja example, and he

must

have used figures like the Mathura yakshis

as his

model.

C17

Dinar of Kanishka

III or

Vashishka

C17

Dinar of Kanishka
Second third century
Gold; diameter

111 or

Vashishka

Obverse: King, nimbate, standing

left,

wearing

long tunic with pointed ends, tight-fitting

15

/i6 in (2.4

cm)

peaked crown, prominently tied

trousers,

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Montanari;


M. 77. 56. 18

With

behind head.

right

at fire altar placed before trident.

beside trident in
as

The

basic type

is

Brahmi

letter

hand. Legend: Illegible.

left

Same

Reverse:

fillet

hand offering oblations

03a b.
that of Vasudeva is

Oesho

dinars (Ci3a-b), but numismatists disagree as

who

to the identity of the ruler,


difficult to identify

is

particularly

because of the partially

preserved legend on this example. Gobi (1984,


pi.

48) assigns the type to Vashishka, but B. N.

Mukherjee (1967, pi.


Kanishka Ill's. There
the dates of Kanishka

vi) considers
is

it

to be

one of

uncertainty regarding

ill's

reign, but very likely

he ruled around 200 (Mukherjee 1967, pp.

79-84)-

No
there

later imperial

these coins

C17

C17

obverse

reverse
bull

on the

much

is

prominent
Vasudeva

Kushan monarch.

On

modeled

fillet

i's

who

the ruler

Dinar of Vasudeva

'-

II

<

C18

'

Dinar of Vasudeva

Gold; diameter

15

II (?)

/i6 in (2.4

(r.

c.

230-60)

cm)

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Montanari;

M. 77. 56.

erse

17

C18

98

reverse

Characteristic of

the whole, the animal

in

Vasudeva

i's

coins.

is

The

also does not generally occur in

coins,

and there are other minor

differences in the design of the garments.

C18

is,

the rather clumsy delineation of the

reverse.

better

matter

doubt that the coin belongs to

is little

The

devices and legends on both sides of this

dinar are similar to Vasudeva


discussed in

Ci3a-b. Only the

head features a crescent, an appropriate

Oesho coin type

iconographic element

differences will

appear in the coins of Vasudeva

i's

The

flan

is

and the images and legends

The

figures are

thinner and larger,


are executed

modeled

finesse of those

appearing on Vasudeva

coins.

i's

more

in shallow relief

and lack the elegance and

is

The

king's head

disproportionately enlarged, and his features

are coarsely rendered. Instead of a topknot,

Siva's

these coins to Vasudeva


xi), others consider

them

(Rosenfield 1967, pi.


to have

correct.

The

thin, broad flans

execution relate these coins

much more closely

Kushano-Sasanian coins

(09a b)

i's.

Cigab Two Kushano-Sasanian Dinars


300-400
Gold; diameter, a, Vs in (1.5 cm),
Yi in (3.8

cm)

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Montanari;


a,

M.77.56.22,

b,

M. 77. 56.

09b obverse

9a reverse

99

been struck

and crude

Two Kushano-Sasanian Dinars

I.

differences noted above, this conclusion seems

those of Vasudeva

b,

that does not

by a second Vasudeva (Mukherjee 1967, pp.


84-85; Gobi 1984, pi. 32). Considering the

later

C 1 <)a-b

god

Although some scholars ascribe

be noted here.

crudely.

for the

to

than to

The

Obverse of each: King, crowned and bearded,


standing
right

hand offering oblations

in left

With

wearing Sasanian dress.

left,

at fire altar.

coin

Trident

hand. Legends, Bactrian with Greek

letters (reconstructed; Bivar

1956), a: Bogo Perozo

b:

Bo oroh{?}rono

oolzooko kosa{? ?}o

trident in

Diadem

left.

a certainly represents Peroz

had

a short reign,

who

II,

from around 325 to 330

(see

other examples of this rare'coin type are known,

with legs placed

or noose in right hand,

Hair seems to be flying around

head. In a wearing dhoti and

The

identified by the design of the crown.

Carter 1985). According to Carter only two

Vahram, great Kushanshah). Reverse of each:

well apart.

characteristic crown. Indeed, despite the fact

portrait in

{bogo oorshrano oolzorko kosano saho} (Lord

Siva, standing in front of bull

on the

ruler represented

dressed in Sasanian attire and wears a

that the legends are illegible, the figure can be

oozlorko kosana saho (Lord Peroz, great

Kushanshah);

is

one

his

Kabul Museum, the


Museum. The figure in

in the

British

depicts Varahram in (born

may have more

The

Siva

from that seen

c.

350).

image on the

than one head; in b wearing Sasanian dress.

also varies

Legend of each:

The arrangement of the god's

Illegible.

other in the
b probably

reverse

in Vasudeva's coins.

coiffure

may

represent flames or simply depict wildly flying

Sometime around 225, with the decline of the


imperial Kushans, the regions

known

hair,

as Bactria,

not inappropriate for Siva. His stance and

proportions, however, are quite different from

Gandhara, and Sogdiana (present-day Uzbek,

other representations. Lacking the contrapposto

SSR) passed under the rule of the Sasanian

of the prototypes, the figure here

dynasty of Iran.

It

has been generally held that

and

hieratic,

is

more

static

perhaps to conform to Iranian

taste.

Sasanian emperors routinely appointed one of

Indeed, dressing Siva in tunic and trousers also

their sons as governor to rule these

indicates attempts at Iranization.

newly

acquired territories, which came to be

Kushanshahr

(see Bivar 1956).

known

as

recent theory

(Carter 1985), however, proposes to identify

them

as

independent

rulers.

The

coins issued by

these rulers largely continued Vasudeva

coin type

(03a b)

In general, the coins are thinner

much wider

flans

i's

Oesho

with important differences.

and larger with

and the workmanship

is

not as

refined.

C20a-b

Tuv Dinars of Unidentified Kings

C20a-b Tiw Dinars of Unidentified Kings


300-500
Gold; diameter, a, u/i6 in (1.7 cm),
b,

Va in (1.9 cm)

King, nimbate, standing

Arnold and Justin Dart;

M.84.110. 10

a,

Anna Bing

M. 77. 55. 27,

left,

wearing prominently beaded tunic, trousers,


hat.

With

right

hand offering oblations

altar placed before

Purchased with funds provided by

b,

a, obverse:

Brahmi

at fire

beribboned trident. Legend,

letters: Illegible.

Reverse: Enthroned

goddess with head missing. Cornucopia in

left

hand.

b,

obverse: Similar to a

except different attire

and headgear. Legend, Brahmi


arm: Bhri

{?};

legend, right

letter,

field:

near

left

Shaka.

Reverse: Much-effaced figure of enthroned

goddess similar to

large

a.

number of coins of this type bearing

apparently meaningless letters are generally

regarded as issues of local rulers or governors,


possibly of Scythian origin, from the

northwestern part of the subcontinent or


Afghanistan. In general, they are imitations of
the Ardoxsho type of later imperial

100

Kushan

dinars, with

some notable

While the word Shaka

differences. In

addition to the legend, Shaka, most have a single


or conjoint

Brahmi

the royal image.

letter

None

below the

left

arm

of

of the coins has marginal

legends, and the script used

Brahmi

is

rather

or

Shka

seems to have been used consistently on many of


these coins, a wide variety of single or conjoint
letters also has
pis.

been recognized

40-43). The legend

(see

Gobi 1984,

in the right field in b

than the Greek letters employed in Kushan

clearly Shaka, but in

coinage. Indeed, a comparison with the early

three letters as seen in several other examples

Gupta

(Gobi 1984,

coins (C25) clearly indicates that the

location of the

follows the

name

Brahmi

letters

under the arm

Gupta practice of placing the king's


same position. Moreover, the
first

kings in northern India to

use on their coins Sanskrit written with


letters. It is

minted by

regions on the periphery of the

but

still

may belong

to

in

Gupta Empire

under Kushan influence.

C2oa

C2oa obverse

C2ob

101

reverse

least

in the facial features of

the attire and headgear also vary. Thus, the coins

Brahmi

Guptas

composed of at

the two royal portraits, the material and shape of

thus possible that these coins were

rulers after the rise of the

it is

43, no. 595). Moreover, apart

from minor differences

in the

Guptas were the

pi.

is

reverse

two different kings.

C21

Coin of Gautamiputra Satakarni (?)

C2 1
(r.

c.

Coin of Gautamiputra Satakarni

<

?)

108-32)

Silver;

diameter Va in

( 1

cm)

Purchased with funds provided by Anna Bing

Arnold and Justin Dart; M.84.1 10.3

C2 1

C21

obverse

reverse

A comparison with portraits

Obverse: Bust of king to right, wearing

prominent jewel

crest

on forehead, heavy anchor-

shaped ornament from distended earlobe.

Legend, Prakrit with Brahmi

Gotamiiypui??}

that this representation

individualized.

letters:

monarch has

s{i}r{i} {?}ta. Reverse: In

center Ujjaini symbol (four circles connected by


cross,

surmounted by

other Satavahana rulers

crescent), radiate solar

As

(C22 24)
is

clearly

As was

shows

distinctly

in the other depictions, the

rather thick lips, but his face

dominated by an exceptionally large


nose.

of

also usual

is

flaring

with Satavahana

disk, and crescented hill of six arches; at bottom,

portraits, the large eyes have an intensely

serpentine configuration. Legend, Dravidian

penetrating gaze. In general the facial features

with Tamil-Brahmi

are naturalistically

letters:

Arahanasha {or ku)

Gotam(i}puku{or sha} {????}sha {or ku).

Following

reading of the incomplete legends

by B. N. Mukherjee (personal communication)

and by comparing the portrait with others


(Mirashi 1981, pi. xxn,

fig.

36), the

monarch

can be identified as Gautamiputra Satakarni,

who is regarded as the greatest Satavahana ruler.


He revived the glory of the Satavahanas, and at
its

height his empire extended from sea to

102

sea.

modeled.

C22

Coin of Vasishthiputra Pulumavi

C22
(r.

Coin of Vasishthiputra Pulumavi

c.

132-59)

Silver;

diameter Vh

in (1.6

cm)

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund; M.81. 154.

C22

obverse

The symbols on

Obverse: Bust of king to right, originally

the reverse are

wearing prominent jewel crest on forehead,

familiar from earlier indigenous coins.

heavy anchor-shaped ornament from distended

the Ujjaini symbol, so called because

earlobe. Legend, Prakrit with

Brahmi

letters

(several letters

above the head are missing):

{VajsithTputasa

siri

Pulum{a}visa

son of Vasishthi). Reverse:

Same

C2 1 Legend,
.

Dravidian with Brahmi

letters:

{Vd}hittimakanasha

Pulam{d}visha (of

tiru

appeared on the cast coins found in Ujjain

(in

Madhya Pradesh), is the


most difficult to explain. It may signify the four
directions, or it may represent a double
thunderbolt. The motif may have been adopted
present-day western

Pulumavi,

([of]

as

Of these,

it first

Arahana{sha}

by the Satavahanas

Pulumavi, son of Vasishthi).

after they

conquered the

Ujjaini region (Sarma 1980, p. 69). Indeed,


this

Vasishthiputra Pulumavi was one of the sons and

symbol does signify the four

together with the six-arched

if

directions, then

hill (first

appearing

successor of the illustrious Gautamiputra

on the coins of Gautamiputra Satakarni),

Satakarni (see C21), the greatest Satavahana

symbol, and water, they

monarch, whose empire probably stretched

symbolize the extent in

across the Deccan. After his death his

Satavahana Empire. Sivaramamurti (1979, pp.

empire

may
all

solar

collectively

directions of the

appears to have been divided, and Vasishthiputra

5556) suggests that the crescent symbolizes

Pulumavi ruled over the region where

Satavahana fame, which had spread over the four

Dravidian language was spoken and which

known

is

attempt

The head of the king is a fine


The facial features,

at portraiture.

dominated by

a strong nose

is

the long, distended earlobe

adorned with what appears to be an anchorshaped ornament. The hair


curls.

The

The head

is

earlobe and nose,

idealization; otherwise
is

a mass of knoblike

not crowned with a diadem.

more aquiline

portrait of Satakarni (C23),

portrait

is

may

103

in the

reflect a certain

we can assume

a reasonable likeness.

snake).

that the

They may

also have

had a cosmic

significance since the Satavahanas were brahmins

who

and thick,

protruding underlip, are articulately delineated.

Rather interesting

oceans (indicated by the Ujjaini symbol),

mountains, and netherworld (indicated by the

today as Andhra.

often performed Vedic sacrifices.

C2 3

Coin of Vasishthiputra Satakarni

C23
(r.

c.

Coin of Vasishthiputra Satakarni

159-66)

Silver;

diameter Vs in (1.6 cm)

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

M. 81. 154.2

C23

Obverse: Bust of king to right. Legend, partial,

reverse

ruled over

Andhra Pradesh

after the

death of his

siri

brother Pulumavi in about 159. In any event,

Satakinisd] (of king Satakarni, son of Vasishthi).

the diecutter of this coin seems to have copied

Brahmi

Prakrit with

Reverse:

letters:

D{i}th{i}putasa

SameasC22. Legend, Dravidian, only

few Brahmi

letters

remain: Arahanasha

Pulumavi's coin (C22). Except for the more


aquiline nose, the portrait on this coin

is

Hatakanisha (of king Satakarni, son of

undoubtedly of Pulumavi. B. N. Mukherjee

Vasishthi).

(personal communication) has suggested that


either the diecutter did not have a portrait of the

Vasishthiputra Satakarni was the younger

new king

brother of Vasishthiputra Pulumavi (see Mirashi

during the

981).

He was

also the son-in-law of the

or Satakarni
last years

may have

ruled as regent

of Pulumavi's reign. In any

event, this coin definitely demonstrates that

powerful Western Kshatrapa monarch

Satakarni was the immediate successor of

Rudradaman

Pulumavi.

(r.

c.

13050). Rudradaman

him because they


known about

defeated Pulumavi but spared

were related.

Not much

is

Satakarni, but Mirashi (1981, pp.


believes that he

may

4041)

have inherited parts of the

Satavahana kingdom on the western coast from


his father,

Gautamiputra Satakarni, and then

104

C24

Coin of Yajna Satakami

C24

Coin of Yajna Satakami

Silver;

diameter V%

in

( 1
.

(r.

c.

174-203)

cm)

Purchased with funds provided by Dr. and Mrs.


A. J. Montanari; M.84.

10.2

Obverse: Bust of king to right, wearing crest on


forehead, anchor-shaped

ornament from

Deccan.

distended earlobe, tight-fitting cap with

knotted string or

tassel

kingdom seems to have included


both Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh in the
blurred. His

He

ruled for at least twenty-nine years.

Although

hanging along top of


clear as other

Legend: Illegible. Reverse: Same

pi. XXIII, fig. 42),

as

C21.

Not only

it is

According to B. N. Mukherjee (personal

remarkable realism

communication), an older coin was apparently

C21 23). The

restruck with the portrait of Gautamiputra Yajna

hairstyle readily identifies his portrait.

Dinar of Chandragupta

are the features cleanly

C25

delineated with
the distended lobes in

monarch's distinctive headgear or

Color plate, p.

Dinar of Chandragupta

I (r. c.

32030)

C. 320

Gold; diameter
Gift of

}/4

in (1.9

cm)

Anna Bing Arnold and Justin

M. 77. 55.

C25

is

(cf.

is

15

obverse

105

Dart;

not as

nonetheless an individual

likeness.

Satakarni, and for this reason the legend

is

(Mirashi 1981

Legend: Illegible.

rendered, but the ear

C2 5

this portrait

known examples

head. Traces of another portrait occur below.

49

Obverse: King and queen, nimbate, standing


facing one another.

King wearing

tunic,

trousers, pearl-bordered headdress with fillets.

Also adorned with necklace, earrings, armlets.


Staff

surmounted by crescent, decorated with

fluttering ribbons, in left hand.


raised to shoulders

forming

circle.

Right hand

with index finger and thumb

Queen wearing

otherwise

sari,

adorned like the king. Right hand resting on

hand hanging along

hip, left

Sanskrit with

Brahmi

letters:

Legends:

side.

Chandragupta,

The crescent-topped staff is also an


innovation; the crescent may refer to the king's
name, Chandra, which means "moon." In
Satavahana coins (C21-24) the crescent occurs
is

unique.

on the reverse and may symbolize fame, which


could also be

coins of

the

first

in

Noose

hand, cornucopia in

in right

left.

which the full-length figures


shown together. The composition

instance in

of the two are

was very

tiara.

likely

borrowed from Huvishka's coins

which Siva and Nana

vm). The

with Brahmi

greater plasticity, as

letters:

Lichchhavayah (of the

are

sometimes portrayed

together (Rosenfield 1967, pp. 165-66, pi.

Feet resting on circular carpet. Legend, Sanskrit

Lichchhavis).

C29a-b). Although

some Indo-Greek kings represent both


monarch and his queen, this is

en face on couchant lion, wearing

scarf, pearl

meaning here and on

n's coin (see

the busts of the

KumdradevT Reverse: Goddess, nimbate, sitting


.

its

Chandragupta

modeled with much

figures here are

the goddess on the

is

reverse.

The device on

The legends
as

clearly identify the

Chandragupta

king and queen

and Kumaradevi, who was a

Lichchhavi princess. The fact that the very


issue of

Chandragupta

I,

first

founder of the Gupta

uncommon

Ardoxsho coin type and the much

which the goddess Nana


1984,

p.

is

rarer type in

seated on a lion (Gobi

359, pi. 26, and p. 660,

54; also

pi.

Mukherjee 1969). By the Gupta period the

Empire, should include the queen on the


obverse, an

the reverse was

borrowed from the well-known Kushan

practice, although not

lion

had become the mount of the Indian goddess

on a Gupta coin

without ptecedence, indicates that the monarch

Durga. Thus,

was proud of his connection to the Lichchhavi

generally identified with Durga, even though

heritage. His successors also continued to

the cornucopia

display this pride and emphasized their

Obviously, we are once again confronting a

Lichchhavi relationship in their inscriptions.

composite figure,

While the coin borrows


elements from Kushan coin types,
introduces

king

many

dressed in

is

it

several

nevertheless

is

is

not associated with her.

who

has assimilated elements

of Ardoxsho, or Nana, of the

Kushan pantheon

and the Indian goddesses Durga and Sri-Lakshmi

novel features. Although the

(see Si 03).

Kushan costume,

she

his headdress

this figure

may

Some

scholars have suggested that

have been the titulary goddess of the

Lichchhavis.

C26

Dinar of Kacha

C26

The

Dinar of Kacha

Gold; diameter Va in

(1 .9

cm)

identification of

Kacha remains one of the

major mysteries of the

Gift of Anna Bing Arnold and Justin Dart;

Gupta

M. 77. 55. 18

ruler, his

dynasty.

While he was certainly a Gupta


Gupta succession is

position in the

uncertain. His coin

Obverse: King, nimbate, standing

left,

wearing

political history of the

is

similar to the standard

type of Samudragupta (C27a), and

name

trousers, tunic, large earrings, cap. Staff

think Kacha was another

surmounted by wheel

His obverse device, however,

placed above

altar.

in left hand.

Legend, under

Right hand

left

arm:

for that

differs

Samudragupta's standard coins

None

many

in

two significant

of Kacha's coins displays the Garuda

ways.

Altekar 1957, p. 87): Kdcho gamavajitya

standard behind the altar and Kacha's

karmabhir-uttamair-divam-jayati (having

holds a standard with a wheel, while

conquered the earth, Kacha wins the heaven by

Samudragupta grasps

excellent deeds). Reverse: Goddess, nimbate,

an emblem. Thus,

left

Cornucopia

Brahmi

with right arm outstretched.

in left hand. Sanskrit legend

letters: Sarvarajochhetta (the

exterminator of all kings).

with

emperor.

from

Kacha; surrounding legend (reconstructed;

standing

scholars

if

left

a staff or standard

hand

without

they were the same person,

these deviations are difficult to explain.

Moreover, the fact that the Garuda standard

missing in Kacha's coin

may

indicate that

it

is

was

issued before Samudragupta's standard type.

may

He

well have been a predecessor, perhaps an

elder brother of Samudragupta, and succeeded to

106

crse

the throne after Chandragupta

but was soon

tunic are different, and the trident behind the

overthrown by his brother. Curiously, Kacha was

Gupta genealogy. It is
however, that Kacha was the given

altar has

been eliminated. Although the king's

never included in later

feet are unnaturalistically placed, the figure itself

possible,

is

name

of Samudragupta, which he changed after

when

his conquests,

was

the

new standard

coin type

on the reverse

Kushan

hieratic

The goddess

coins.

also a continuation of the

is

Kushan Ardoxsho type (C14), and, even

also devised.

The

impression on this example

king's portrait clearly

continues the standard Kushan type, although


is

more elegantly modeled than the

representations on

it

doubtful that the altar had the same

significance with the

Guptas

as it

form

is

not very

is

if

the

clear,

the

quite different and less Hellenized than

the prototype.

did with the

Kushans. The king's headdress and cut of his

C2ja-

Three Dinars of Samudragupta

C2jac
fc c.

Color plate, p.

Three Dinars of Samudragupta

b,

obverse: King, nimbate, with head turned to

right, sitting

335-76)

49

on couch with backrest, playing

wearing short dhoti or loincloth

Gold; diameter, a, Va in (1.9 cm),

lyre (vina),

b-c, 7/8 in (2.2

adorned with string of pearls, large earrings,

cm)

ab, Gift of Anna Bing Arnold and Justin Dart;

M.77.55.17, M. 77. 55. 16


c,

footrest placed near left foot.

Purchased with funds provided by Dr. and

Mrs. A.

J.

with pearl fringe

tight-fitting cap

Montanari; M.84.

Small

Legend, partially

visible (reconstructed; Altekar 1957, p. 76):

Maharajadhiraja

10.

in front.

sri

Samudraguptah

(Samudragupta, the king of kings). Reverse:


a, obverse:

King, nimbate, standing

left,

Goddess, nimbate, sitting

left

on wicker

which

seat or

hugs

wearing dress, headdress, ornaments similar to

stool,

Chandragupta

torso leaving stomach exposed. Adorned with

oblations at

I's

(C25). Right hand offering

fire altar

placed before standard

bearing effigy of Garuda. Beribboned staff or

standard in

left

hand. Legend, below

arm

(reconstructed; Altekar 1957, pp. 47-48):

wearing

sari,

blouse,

closely

plain necklace, headdress like king's.


right hand, cornucopia in

left.

Noose

in

Standard or

simple line separating her from legend. Beaded


border around edge. Legend: Samudraguptah.

Samudra; around rim: Samara-sata-vitata-vijayo


jita-ripurajito

divam jayati (the invincible [king],

who had won

victories

on

hundred

battlefields

c,

obverse: Horse standing

platform before

sacrificial

left

on shallow

post (yiipa) emerging

and conquered the enemies, wins the heaven).

from pedestal. Ribbon tied to post

Reverse: Goddess, nimbate, sitting on throne,

of horse's mouth.

feet resting

on circular carpet. Noose

hand, cornucopia in

left.

Beaded border around

edge. Legend: Parakramah (valiant).

107

in right

Upper

at

about level

half of post curved

twice to form a sort of cusped arch above horse's

head.

Pennon

fluttering

from top of post above

has been replaced by a staff held in the king's

animal's back. Legend, partially preserved

hand and by the Garuda-bearing standard

(reconstructed; Altekar 1957, p. 67):

behind the

Rajddhirdjah prithivimavitvd [or

vijitya]

divam

jayatydhrita-vdjimedhah (the king of kings,

who

wins heaven

Vaishnava inclination of the family. The reverse


also

is

borrowed from Kushan coins, but

the cornucopia-bearing goddess with noose

after protecting [or

is

conquering] the earth). Reverse:

Woman

not identified here as Ardoxsho as she

is

standing on lotus, looking

festooned spear

Kushan

identified

left at

planted in ground, wearing

held at waist

sari

with chain girdle, plain necklace, large earrings,


anklets.

coins.

The goddess

left

arm hanging along

side.

As'vamedhaparakramah (the valiant one

performed the horse

Legend:

who

has

usually

is

in

Indian Sri-Lakshmi, but neither in

as the

art nor in literature

Right hand holding flywhisk across

shoulder,

is

Gupta

she portrayed with a noose.

Samudragupta's
asvamedha coin types are

among

lyrist

and

the finest and

most innovative of ancient Indian coinage.


Despite the nimbus, Samudragupta's portrait on

sacrifice).

the lyrist coin

is

radically different

from the

These three coin types of Samudragupta are

formal, hieratic effigy on the standard coin.

known

king

as standard {a), lyrist (b),

and asvamedha

The
standard type is clearly derived from Kushan
coins. Not only is the king shown offering an
(c)

and were probably issued

oblation into a
like a

fire altar,

in that order.

but he

Kushan monarch, except

is

also dressed

for the headdress

and earrings. The trident of the Kushan coins

The image of Garuda remained

the crest of the dynasty and reflects the strong

device

had performed the vajimedha [asvamedha]


sacrifice,

altar.

left

obverse

108

C27a

reverse

C27b

reverse

sits in

couch

as

a relaxed, informal

manner on

he plays his instrument.

A human

The
low

and

approachable figure, the great conqueror appears


eager to project the image of peace lover to his
subjects.

The

effigy of the

goddess on the reverse

is

informed with the same relaxed natural-

also

ism.

The goddess

throne.

on a wicker stool instead of a

The modeling, whether of the

form or of the drapery,

greater sense of volume than

reveals a

is

full

and

much

apparent in the en

and

svelte plasticity

goddess

(b),

whose body

performance of a horse

sacrifice.

slim

full breasts are

The

make

her a

much more

is

decorously draped

mode

as in

Kushan

coins.

Most name her Dattadevi,

chief queen of Samudragupta, but others (Gupta

and Srivastava 1981, pp. 12-13) regard her

sacrifice, the survival

not

Scholars disagree as to the


identity of this figure.

world that the king indeed had

to the

ture

of the latest issues of the

monarch, the asvamedha coin was devised to


performed the great horse

is

covered. Indeed, her graceful, naturalistic pos-

following the classical

One

manner she

elegant and provocative figure than the seated

face representations.

announce

In the traditional Indian

waisted and wide hipped. Her

with her body turned

sits

slightly to the left

fleshy

reverse

of a

as

Vijaya, personification of victory, or Rajya-

Vedic ritual, was clearly intended to proclaim

lakshmi, goddess of sovereignty (Sivaramamurti

the monarch's imperial authority. Although

1979, p. 61), waiting on the mighty emperor


with a flywhisk. She clearly stands on a lotus,

earlier kings of the

Satavahana and Pandya

hand

dynasties had performed the sacrifice and issued

holds nothing in her

commemorative

rendered with long, graceful bean-podlike

silver coins

with representations

of a horse, Samudragupta's gold coin


distinctive both for

its artistic

is

more

quality and

explicit legend. This coin type thus represents

another instance of the use of currency for

propaganda.

The unknown engravers of the


imperial mint were obviously highly skilled

craftsmen.

Not

only have they given us a cred-

ible representation of a horse (Indian artists

generally have never been very comfortable with


this animal),

reverse

is

but the graceful figure on the

a superb rendering of the female form.

109

fingers),

of her

and wears

may

left

(articulately

diadem. The spear

in fact represent a victory

in front

column.

Sa-c

Tbne Dinars

of Chandragupta 11

C2 8ac
(r.

c.

Color plate, p.

Three Dinars of Chandragupta

c,

Anna Bing Arnold and Justin Dart;


a-b, M. 77. 55. 19-20, c, M. 77. 55. 23
Gift of

II

376-414)

Gold; diameter, a-b, Va in


15/16

in (2.4

C28

a, obverse:

(1 .9

cm),

cm)

C28b

obverse

C28b

revers

C28C

King, nimbate, standing

arrow in right. Garuda standard


left

arm:

is

remembered

also

munificent patron of the arts and culture.

as a

Bow

tight-fitting cap, plain necklace, earrings.

behind right arm. Legend, below

reverse

he a valiant conqueror, but he

left,

wearing trousers, flaring coat with buttons,

in left hand,

49

Many new

coin types were invented during his

was

reign, and he
to issue

both

also the first

silver

Chandra; around rim (reconstructed; Altekar

Gupta monarch

and copper coins.

This particular coin

is

an

1957, p. 93): Deva sri mahdrajadhiraja

imitation of the archer coin of Samudragupta

Chandraguptah (the divine great king of kings,

(Altekar 1957, pi.

Chandragupta). Reverse: Goddess, nimbate,

Indianization

sitting en face

position.

on

Diadem

lotus with legs folded in lotus

or noose in right hand, lotus

flower turned toward her in


right shoulder.

left.

Symbol near

Beaded border around edge.

coins.
is

now

only

on

Legend: Srt-vikramah (the courageous one).

is

is

without buttons and, but

bare.

Adorned with

ends

at

upper torso appears to be

father's coins

closer to the Indian Sri-Lakshmi.

Not

she clad in the Indian manner, but she

Similar x.oa, except without

beaded border.

in

a the king

clearly wears a long jacket

suggested and

it

appears as

if

is

the

only vaguely

monarch

is

bare

chested in keeping with the Indian tradition.

Although the three coins

are of

the same type, they differ in minor ways. For

example, in a the king holds the arrow quite


differently than in b-c. Also, the left

hand of the

king in a does not go under the bow but over


c,

obverse: Similar to b, except that king seems

On

by a short stem with her hand raised to the

Same

shoulder level, whereas in bc the hand

with beaded border.

it.

the reverse in a the goddess holds the lotus

to wear short dhoti rather than trousers. Reverse:


as b, except

sits

and the West

with buttons, in bc the jacket

pearl necklace, armlets.

Does not wear cap; curly locks indicated by


circles. Reverse:

The goddess Ardoxsho of the

a lotus instead of a throne

While
obverse: Similar to*/, except that king's jacket
for flaring

nos. 12-14). Increasing

Asiatic cornucopia has been replaced by a lotus.

b,

either side of thigh,

II,

apparent in Chandragupta's

is

is

placed

upon her knee alongside of which a stalk

great king, Chandragupta n, son of

sinuously

Samudragupta, has remained one of the most


legendary figures in Indian history.

Not

only was

rises.

The diadem

differently in a than in b-c.

or noose

is

variations are not in themselves significant, but

they do indicate artistic individuality.

no

held

Such minor

j^a-b

Dinars of Chandragupta

Two Dinars of Chandragupta

C2()a-b
(r.

II

Anna Bing Arnold and Justin


M. 77. 55. 21-22
Gift of

II

376-414)

c.

Gold; average diameter V\

in (1.9

cm)

(,29a obverse

C2cjb obverse

C29a

C29b

reverse

a, obverse:
horse.

King riding

right on caparisoned

Right hand resting near waist. Reins

in

left

hand. Attire cannot be clearly determined,

but

in

most other examples of same coin type

(Gupta and Srivastava 1981 pi. IX) he wears a


dhoti and jacket. Headgear not recognizable;
,

crescent attached to head.

Dart;

Legend

reverse

animal.
not a

The

crescent above the royal head in a

common

device and

is

crescent standard of Chandragupta

Here, too, the crescent

(C25).

may symbolize

the rising

fame of the monarch.

The

reverse device

imitated from Samudragupta's

is

lyrist

clearly

type

(reconstructed; Altekar 1957, p. 123):

(C27b), in which the goddess appears in this

Paramabhdgavata maharajadhiraja

elegant and naturalistic posture for the

s'ri

Chandraguptah (the devout Bhagavata, the great


king of kings Chandragupta). Reverse: Goddess,
nimbate, sitting

left,

similar to

or noose in right hand, lotus in

C27b. Diadem
left.

Legend:

Ajita-vikramah (one of invincible courage).

time.

The most noteworthy

obverse: Variant of a, with king's head and

much

of legend missing. Reverse: Variant of a,

with wicker stool more clearly discernible.

difference

and she

royal equestrian portrait introduces a

coin type issued by Chandragupta


the horse-rider type was

(C6 7). On
is static,

common

II,

new

although

to Saka kings

the earlier coins, however, the motif

whereas in both coins of Chandragupta

much more animated and


much better rendered. In a the

the representation
the animals are

is

horse seems to be cantering, while in b the king

appears to have pulled the reins to stop the

in

is

clothed in a transparent sari, which allows us


clearly to see

how

her feet are placed, while in

covers her feet. In the

garment completely

Kushan context the


Gupta

goddess represents Ardoxsho, in the


she has

coins

become Sri-Lakshmi. Although the

object held in her right hand generally

The

first
is

iconographic: Chandragupta's goddess holds the


lotus instead of the cornucopia,

the earlier coin her lower


b,

is

reminiscent of the

identified as a noose, very likely

diadem, which the goddess


on the obverse.

it

is

represents a

offers to the

monarch

C}Oa-b

Tuv Dinars of Kumaragupta

C$oa-b
(r.

c.

Two Dinars of Kumaragupta

414-55)

Gold; diameter *A

in (1.9

cm) each

Anna Bing Arnold and Justin Dart;


M. 77. 55. 25, b, M. 77. 55. 24

Gift of
a,

C30D

a, obverse:

obverse

King, nimbate, riding right on

Of the two

reasons.

coins discussed here a shows

horse. King's attire cannot be clearly

minor

determined, but in most other examples of same

Chandragupta (C29a), while

coin type (Altekar 1954, pi. xxv) he wears a

new

variations

nimbate, sitting
sari

in

left

on wicker

Goddess,

stool,

bun

at

With

nape of neck.
left

right

hand holding

wearing

hand feeding
Legend:

lotus.

Ajitamahendrah (the invincible Mahendra).

It

obverse:

King riding

(cf.

Altekar 1957,

elephant. Elephant driver behind king. Legend:

Goddess, nimbate, feeding

peacock with right hand, wearing


In other examples of

1954,

pi.

XXX,

sari

and

scarf.

same coin type (Altekar

nos. 1-4) left

waist holds lotus, which

is

hand placed

at

not distinct here.

The

fleshier forepart

and narrow head.

The

and

but the

unknown engraver

them with great

skill

Although the king

wide variety of coins, but

important both

for historical

12

and

artistic

one of

among all the


Not only are the

has

within the circular frame.

shown

is

accommodated

arm

as a

combative

raised (probably

is

clearly

conveyed by the two

animals.

The elephant

front left

foot to crush the powerfully modeled

is

majestic as

it

whose snarling, open mourh and

arched body

issue a

is

holding a goad or small dagger), the drama of

lion,

Not only did he

in b

portrayals of the two animals highly naturalistic,

grandfather he also performed rhe horse

several represent interesting innovations

image

the most animated compositions

enjoyed a long and eventful reign. Like his


sacrifice.

royal

obverse devices of Gupta coins.

the occasion

II

quite

horse here seems larger with a

king Mahendra, destroyer of lion).

succeeded Chandragupta

is

from the caparisoned horses on other

figure with his right

so

Gupta and

pi. X, no. 13;

Legend (reconstructed; Altekar 1957, p. 196):


Simhanihanta mahendragajah (the elephant of

Kumaragupta

is

Moreover, the modeling of the animal

fighting lion placed beneath raised left leg of

Illegible. Reverse:

appears that the horse in a

Srivastava 1981, pi. IX, nos. 158-59).

different

on elephant while

right

a completely

prefunctorily delineated as to be scarcely visible

coins (C29a).
b,

is

does not wear a saddle, or the saddle

and plain necklace; torso bare. Hair gathered

peacock, with

type.

dhoti and coat. Adorned with ornaments; head


bare. Legend: Illegible. Reverse:

from the equestrian portrait of

raises its

tense,

effectively express the animal's

strength and ferocity.


illustrating the

The engraver succeeded

in

message of the legend: "The

and generally

is

considered to indicate the king's

devotion to the god Kumara, whose

elephant of king Mahendra, destroyer of lion."

peacock. In

some other

Usually the legend on the obverse of such coins

xin, nos.

1-14), the king himself

"Kumaragupta, who has destroyed

reads:

enemies and protects [feudatory] kings,

Sarasvati (goddess of learning

The

sometimes has the peacock

lion obviously symbolizes the royal foes.

the reverse of both coins a

The iconographic device was

distinctive innovation of

a very

mount), and

Kumara. In contemporary

however, none of these goddesses

art,

Kumaragupta's mint

and wisdom, who

as her

even Kaumari, one of the Mother Goddesses and


personified energy of

goddess, either standing or seated, feeds a


peacock.

feeding a peacock, and

it

Drachma

0/

Kumaragupta

(r.

c.

for coins.

Obverse: Bust of king to right. Legend, Sanskrit

with Brahmi

4M-55)

Silver;

shown

Drachma of Kumaragupta

C3 1

is

would appear that the

composition was invented expressly

C31

the

variously been identified as Sri-Lakshmi,

is

victorious over his foes" (Altekar 1957, p. 194).

On

is

is shown
The goddess has

riding or feeding the peacock.

his

mount

issues (Altekar 1957, pi.

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund; M.84.

letters:

Varsha (year). Reverse:

Highly abstracted Garuda symbol

diameter Vie in (1.4 cm)


1

10.

Legend, Sanskrit with Brahmi


bhagavata maharajadhiraja

in center.

letters:

Parama-

m Kumaragupta

mahendradityah (the devout Bhagavata, the great

king of kings, Kumaragupta Mahendraditya).

This

is

a standard silver coin type issued

Kumaragupta

by

for circulation primarily in the

western regions of the country, which had been

conquered by Chandragupta

11

from the Western

Kshatrapas. Although the royal head conforms


generally to the type seen in Saka coins (Mirashi

1981,

pi.

xxvi), the features are sufficiently

individualized for us to glean

C3

obverse

"3

some

idea of

what

monarch looked

the

hairstyle, however,

rather than in

representation

like.

is

Gupta
is

The long flowing

The highly

Garuda

symbol on the reverse

dinars. In any event, the

Gupta moneyers and does not occur on Saka


coins. Representations of Garuda were

quite striking with articulate

The

features delineated with bold strokes.

legend meaning "year"

is

is

an innovation of the

incorporated as the insignia of the

rather strange because

Gupta

dynasty, although in gold coins the mythical

no numeral appears to have been added in most

bird

such coins.

also replaced the

is

represented

with Brahmi

C32

abstracted

normally seen in Saka coins

less

symbolically.

Greek

The Guptas

letters of the

Saka coins

letters.

Dinar of Prakasaditya

C32

Dinar of Prakasaditya

Early sixth century (?)

Gold; diameter Va in (1.9 cm)

Anna Bing Arnold and Justin


M.77.55.26

Dart;

Gift of

C32

C32

reverse

obverse

Obverse: King riding right on horse while

whereas the motif on the obverse of

striking rearing lion with sword. Legend:

Prakasaditya's coin

Illegible. Reverse:

on

lotus. Filleted

lotus in

left.

Goddess Sri-Lakshmi

diadem or noose

sitting

in right hand,

mounted

more innovative

king fights a lion.

prakasaditya

is

The

monarch has been

with various Gupta rulers

(see

in that the

epithet

generally regarded as a

conceit, and the

Legend: Prakdsadityah

is

Gupta

identified

B.N. Mukherjee,

Gold Coin," Monthly

Although several other examples of this coin

"An

have been found, the complete legend on the

Asiatic Society 14, no. 7 (July 1985]: 3-4)-

obverse

is

legible in none. (See

The

Gupta and

The
known, but on the

reconstruction.)

not

Prakasaditya.

It is

name

is,

therefore,

reverse his title

is

given

as

generally assumed that he

preceeded Narasimhagupta Baladitya

II

(died

c.

535-37). Certainly the representation of the


goddess on the reverse

is

lion-slayer

introduced by Chandragupta

Srivastava 1981, p. 83, for a partial

king's

Interesting

very similar to that on

l's

coins the king

is

shown

11.

Bulletin:

motif was
In

Kumaragupta

slaying the lion from

an elephant and killing the rhinoceros from a


horse. Prakasaditya, thus, is the only Gupta king

who

issued the equestrian lion-slayer type.

Apart from the novelty of the motif, the animals


are not as naturalistically rendered as in the

and the composition

is less

Narasimhagupta's coin (C33). Narasimhagupta,

earlier imperial issues

however, issued only the conventional archer

dramatic. The forms are defined with greater

coin type (Altekar 1957, pi. xv, nos. 12),

linear abstraction,

a dragon.

114

and the lion looks almost

like

Dinar of Narasimhagupta Baladitya

C33
(r.

Dinar 0/ Narasimhagupta Baladitya

c.

M. 77. 56. 24

Gold; diameter

/t in

(1.9 cm)

obverse

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Montanari;

510-32)

reverse

remembered

Obverse: King, nimbate, standing with head

turned

left,

presumably before

fire altar,

which

is

missing. Garuda standard behind outstretched


right arm.
feet,
left

Bow

in left

Sanskrit with

arm. Legend between

Brahmi

letters: Gre;

for defeating the

intermittently proved to be a menace from about


the midfifth century.

with legs folded on

lotus. Filleted

or noose in right hand, lotus in

Bihar.

monarchs of the sixth century, Narasimhagupta


issued only the archer coin type.

innovation in his coins

Bdladityah.

Brahmi
Narasimhagupta Baladitya was probably the
of the

Gupta dynasty

extensive empire.

He

last

letter

royal image.

is

The

gu or gre between the

Why

this

sole

the introduction of the


feet

of the

was done, however,

remains unexplained. The workmanship on

to have ruled over an


is

also a generous

Like most other Gupta

diadem

Legend:

left.

He was

patron of the Buddhist university at Nalanda in

below

arm: Nara. Reverse: Goddess, nimbate,

sitting

Huns, who

Narasimhagupta's coins shows definite signs of

traditionally

decline.

C34

Dinar of an Unknown King

C34

Gift of Anna Bing Arnold and Justin Dart;

Dinar of an Unknown King

M. 77-55-1

Sixth century

Gold; diameter Vs in (2.2 cm)

C34

C34

obverse

reverse

Obverse: King standing with right hand resting

on arrow.

Bow

in left

xxiv, nos. 17-18). In some examples the capital


of the standard consists of a horse and the letter

hand. Standard with

can be recognized beside the king's face

unrecognizable capital behind right arm.

s'rf

Crudely delineated horse below

(Altekar 1954,

Reverse:

left

arm.

Multiarmed goddess standing

in center.

pi.

xxxi, no.

significance of the horse

14).

below the

known. The goddess on the

The
left arm

is

not

reverse seems to be

This coin, issued by an

multiarmed; apparently she has eight arms, but

considered to

no attributes are recognizable. The


workmanship is very crude on both

unknown king, is
ancient imitations
many
be one of

of Gupta coinage (Altekar 1954, pi. xxxil, nos.

14-15).

It

may

have been issued by the later

Gupta kings of Bengal (Allan [1914] 1967a,

"5

pi.

sides.

Ci^a-b

Two Dinars of Yasavarmana

C35a-b

Two Dinars of Yasavarmana

Fifth century or later

Debased gold; average diameter

l3

/i6 in (2.

cm)

Anna Bing Arnold and Justin Dart;


M. 77.55.2-3
Gift of

035a obverse

035b

obverse

C35a

C35b

reverse

reverse

Obverse of each: King, standing, represented

abbreviation of Yasavarmana, although no

in abstracted design.

Kashmiri ruler of this name

Legend: Kidara. Reverse

of each: Goddess, enthroned, represented in abstracted design. Legend,

Brahmi

some

scholars date these coins to the fifth

century, others consider

script:

Sri Yasa.

known. While

is

issued

much

them

to have

been

later.

The

coins clearly were copied

Similarly debased gold coins with severely

from late-Kushan coinage, and the process of

truncated images have been found in Panjab,

barbarization had continued so long that the

Kashmir, and other parts of northern India. The

images are hardly recognizable. Indeed the forms

obverse legend usually reads Kidara. Considered

on both

to be related to the Kushans, the Kidaras ruled

content of these coins

parts of Panjab and

Kashmir sometime

after the

downfall of the Kushan Empire during the third


century.

The

reverse legend usually identifies

most of whom

known from
the ancient Kashmiri histories. The name given
in these two coins is Yasa, which may be an

various kings,

IK

are not

sides are abstract designs.


is

The metal

highly debased, and

they must have been circulated

locally.

\6

Dinar

of

Khingila

C36

Dinar of Khingila

Sixth century

(?)

Gold; diameter

in (2.5

cm)

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Montanari;

M. 77-56-3

obverse

6 reverse

Obverse: King standing

wearing Sasanian

left,

crown, long coat, boots. Right

down

near trident. Flower

hand hanging

(?) in left

hand.

The

diecutter of this coin seems

to have borrowed features both from late-Kushan

and Kushano-Sasanian

coins.

The

thin flan and

Legend: Deva Shahi Khingila (the divine king

headgear of the king are derived from Kushano-

Khingila). Reverse: Illegible.

Sasanian coins; the royal attire and

awkward

delineation of the feet continue the

Kushan

Several coins of a king

been found

in

Afghanistan.

named Khingila have

northwestern India and

The name suggests

have been a Hun. Khingila

with Khinkhila, also known

is

that he

may

usually identified

as

Narendraditya, a

Kashmiri king mentioned in the Rajatarangini


(Chronicle of the kings of Kashmir).

117

image. The figure

is

rather stocky, and the

proportions differ from both earlier types.

in

royal

Age

of the Mauryas,

Indo-Greeks, and Sungas


(fourth-first centuries B.C.)

Introduction
As surviving evidence

Maurya period

(c.

324187

the

B.C.) was terra-cotta. Palaces and mansions, as well as

temples, were probably built with timber and brick, and

more extensively

medium during

indicates, the principal sculptural

as architectural

wood

sculptures were used

adornments than present evidence demonstrates.

Stone seems to have been employed for monumental sculpture


of the great Maurya emperor Asoka

(r.

c.

273236

during the reign

These consist mostly of

B.C.).

polished sandstone capitals, which were placed on top of

first

tall

stone pillars at various

sites

throughout the empire. The most well known among these

now

preserved in the Sarnath

is

the lion capital

Museum.

In contrast to these imperial commissions, the small stone objects in


the collection from this period (S2-4) are not as sophisticated or naturalistic.

Rather, they reveal a greater degree of abstraction in rendering plastic mass, whether

of

human

capital

figures or animals. This

with the bull

may

be easily perceived by comparing the lion

(Si), elephant (S5),

and lion head (S8)

Although these forms lack the monumentality and

in the collection.

rich plasticity of the stone

sculptures, they are nonetheless equally attractive both for their simplicity and

spontaneity. Abstraction notwithstanding, these animal studies are delightfully

animated and occasionally,


Asokan

lion capital, third

sandstone. Sarnath

century B.C.

as in the case of the lion head,

informed with engaging

whimsy. Both the naturalistic and abstract traditions of representing animals can be

Museum.

traced to the

Photograph courtesy American


Institute of Indian Studies,

much

earlier

and bronzes and the

latter

Indus Valley civilization, the former in small stone

seals

mostly in terra-cotta.

Ramanagar.

Indeed one of the remarkable features of the terra-cotta art of the


northwestern region of the subcontinent during the

last half

millennium B.C.

is

the

astonishing persistence of the abstract style in delineating female figures (S6-7).

These highly simplified, flattened forms, conceived


with peglike

legs,

stumps

for

in

broad geometrical shapes

arms, and cowrie-shell eyes, are clearly descendants of

similar figures of the earlier period. Such figurines symbolizing fertility continued
to be

Seal with unicorn

and

inscription,

produced

in the region well into the early centuries of the Christian period.

Indus

Valley civilization,

1500 B.C.,

2500
steatite. The Cleveland

Museum of Art, purchase from the


J. H. Wade Fund; CMA73. 161.

121

A far

more

Maurya

flourished during the

molded

varied and distinctive style of terra-cotta sculptures

period. Partly

modeled (usually the body) and partly


by their gray-black

(the head), these terra-cottas are distinguished

which appears

to have been a characteristic of

The museum's group of such

slip,

Mathura during the Maurya period.

terra-cottas consists of female figures, both

standing and seated (S9 12), and a partially restored elephant with riders (S13).

The

and arms are usually stumpy with hands and

legs

but the torso


as

is

more

is

fully

modeled with prominent

feet rarely represented,

breasts

and wide hips. Indeed,

from a remarkably well-preserved and well-executed example (Si

clear

the lower portion of the body

is

1),

conceived architectonically as an arch supported by

columns. The ladies invariably wear short skirts and are richly adorned with
heavy appliqued jewelry. The most intriguing feature about these figures, identified
generally as

Mother Goddesses,

the prominence given to the head

is

adornments consisting of dotted disks and the substantial

overwhelm the

generally

face. In

most instances the back

ear ornaments,
is left

which

plain thereby

indicating the frontal viewing of such figures. Their exact function remains

unknown. While most

are broken, the pristine condition of

some would

indicate that they were not objects of regular worship but were probably buried in

the ground soon after manufacture to enhance the fertility of the


practice

recounted in the Atharvaveda a Vedic text composed probably around

is

1000 B.C. that contains much


practices. Because they have

useful information about such rites

no

may

figure

is

known
for

have been used

important

as it

is

may

have been buried. The seated figure

as a votive offering or icon for

one of the

It

became

more common posture

both gods and kings from the Kushan period. Despite their stumpy and

awkward arms and

legs, the figures are quite elegant; their elaborate headdresses

add a touch of urbane sophistication, which


elephant with riders (Si 3).
figures

are

domestic worship. This

earliest representations of this posture,

pralambapadasana or bhadrasana.

later as

and

standing figures cannot stand without

feet, the

support, another indication that they


(Sio)

This

fields.

is

The same conceptualization

that characterizes the

human

evident in the modeling of the animal's body, but the head and trunk

is

more

naturalistically

modeled. The exact function of such sculptures

known, but the subject became popular


embellishment

in

as a

Sometime around 100


with

not

Buddhist monuments of the succeeding centuries.

Asokan columns

richly carved

is

prominent architectural

The most important monument


after the

also evident in the impressive

is

the Buddhist stupa of Bharhut in

Madhya

Pradesh.

B.C. the stupa was surrounded by stone gateways and railings

figures, animals,

collection

(S27 28) once belonged

style, the

carving

is

for the history of stone sculpture

and symbols. Two fragmentary sculptures


to this

monument.

in the

Characteristic of the Bharhut

shallow and almost two-dimensional. Very likely the Bharhut

sculptors used earlier scroll paintings or murals as their models for the rich array of
narrative themes they were required to execute along copestones

and on the crossbars

of railings.

The two addorsed females (S27)

figures that

adorn the uprights and columns and perhaps because of their smaller

size are

are miniature versions of the larger

modeled with greater technical sophistication. The

crossbar (S28)

on the Asokan

is

rendered in a

capital.

122

far

lion

on the fragmentary

more sketchy and rudimentary fashion than those

Inscriptions on the Bharhut railings inform us that sculptors from

all

over northern India, including the northwestern part of the country, were employed

Nevertheless the overall style at Bharhut

at the site.

somewhat

remarkably coherent, even

is

if

tentative.

At the same time highly accomplished sculptors and engravers were


working

in ancient Bactria

evident from the coins.

and Gandhara

The engravers

highly skilled craftsmen. There

for the

Indo-Greek monarchs,

as

clearly

is

responsible for such specialized carving were

no way to determine whether they were from the

is

Hellenistic world or the local regions in

which the

mints were established.

royal

Considering the overwhelming preponderance of Hellenistic styles and technical


proficiency, an obvious conclusion

who

origin
that

recruited and supervised local craftsmen.

the engravers,

all

aesthetic

who

Greek period

what seems
in

imagine

difficult to

significant

is

that works of art, as well

Gandhara and Bactria during the Indo-

in a strongly Hellenistic style,

but sculptors

Mathura were not much influenced by the

two pottery fragments

coins,

would be

It

were of Greek

and religious needs of the people of these regions, were imported from the

mansions and temples, were created

matter,

artists

not only worked in the mints but also supplied other

Hellenistic world. In any event,


as

would be that the master

at

or, for

that

modes. Apart from some

classical

in the collection (S4, S8)

Bharhut

were clearly influenced by

Hellenistic forms.

While Buddhists were engaged

in raising impressive stone

gateways and railings around their stupas and excavating monasteries and shrines

from rock mostly


undiminished

in western India, terra-cotta production continued

urban centers across the riverine plains of northern

zeal in various

India. Sunga-period

(187-75 B.C.)

terra-cottas were

molds, and thematically they reveal a

Many

during the Maurya period.


executed in

relief. If

with

much

made

primarily from

greater variety than those produced

of these terra-cottas are plaques with figures

they are objects in the round, such as toys (S18 19, S26), they

were generally made from two separate molds and joined together.
Significantly, while terra-cotta figures of the earlier periods bear little relationship to

contemporary stone sculptures, during the Sunga period

a closer affinity

developed. For example, the enigmatic narrative scene on a small terra-cotta plaque
(Si 4)

is

very closely related in style and composition to similar narrative panels

on the Bharhut
are far

more

railings.

The

females, whether goddesses (Si 6- 17) or mortals (S24),

naturalistically delineated

graceful postures.

with well-proportioned bodies and

During the Sunga period

a distinct

change

in aesthetics occurred

in

most centers of terra-cotta production, stretching from Mathura

to

Chandraketugarh

This new interest in a more naturalistic

in the east.

may have

representation

in the west

spread from the Patna region in Bihar where, unlike at

Mathura during the Maurya preriod, a remarkably

lively

and

realistic school

of terra-

cotta art developed.

Most

terra-cotta objects of the period in the collection are

from either

Uttar Pradesh or West Bengal. They include conventional, but well-preserved


representations of goddesses and a

Among them is an exceptionally


Uttar Pradesh (Si 8), which

is

fine toy

more

Although not

from the

as majestic, the

earlier

is

(S26),

123

also evident in the forepart of a

which

Mathura

elephant

naturalistically represented in the later sculpture. This

close observation

West Bengal

3).

for secular purposes.

elephant with riders generally attributed to

clearly stylistically different

depiction of the same subject (Si


certainly

number of objects meant

emphasis or

ram from Chandraketugarh

also served as a child's toy.

Indeed, the group of terra-cotas from West Bengal, most of which are

from a

site

which

is

known

as

Chandraketugarh, reveal an astonishing thematic

characteristic of this school.

variety,

Chandraketugarh was a bustling port on

small river some twenty-nine miles northwest of Calcutta. Extensive archaeological


excavations have uncovered the remains of a fortified city that

may have

flourished

from the pre-Maurya through Gupta periods. The ruins have also proved to be a
remarkably rich source of terra-cotta

medium

at the

time in

this region

art,

and

which was certainly the principal

in other ancient cities in

In terms of stone sculpture one of the

Bharhut was Sanchi near Bhopal


at the site predate

in

Madhya

artistic

northern India.

most important

early sites after

Pradesh. Although the Buddhist stupas

Bharhut and the gateway of one of the smaller stupas (Stupa n)

is

considered to be stylistically coeval with or earlier than Bharhut, the gateways of the

Great Stupa were erected between 50 B.C. and 25 a.d. The museum's examples of
sculptures (S29 30) that once adorned one of the four gateways demonstrate an

assured handling of form.


figures are
linear,
\ leu

of North Gi.

Stupa

i,

Sanchi, 50

eschewed

The shallow carving and awkward

for a greater

sharper contours and

flat

postures of the Bharhut

depth and more graceful, naturalistic posture. The

treatment of mass are replaced by fluid outlines that

define the surging volumes to create a

much more

plastic

and sensuously elegant

B.C.-A.D. 25. Photograph courtesy


Mrs. J. LeRoy Davidson.

form. In the lavishly carved gateways of the Great Stupa at Sanchi the early Indian
sculptural style reaches

its

apogee. Although the sculptors of

Kushan Mathura did

not evince the same interest in the luxuriant and lively narrative

reliefs

of their

forebears at Sanchi, they did continue to delight in the Sanchi artists' impulse to

imbue the

simplified, but expressive shapes of the

sensual rhythm.

124

human body with an unabashed

Catalogue

Si

Pakistan

Bull

Si

Red

Museum

Bull

Pakistan;

300

c.

terra-cotta; length

From

4 Va in (12.

the Nasli and Alice

cm)

Trubner 1968,

Heeramaneck

fig. 4.

Collection

This impressive sculpture

modeled,

is

The schematized

preserved.

its

remarkably well
bull

plastic qualities

tail are

strip.

is

strongly

emphasized by the

prominent rump and powerful


and

legs.

The dewlap

minimally indicated by a narrow

The hump

is

high on the neck.

unnaturalistically placed

halter encircles the neck,

and the eyes are indicated by deeply pierced


circles of clay.

The

significance of the

parallel indentations across the

known.

In the rear

along the right

is

two

broad nose

a hole; the tail hangs

rump and
125

Associates Purchase;

Literature: Rosenfield et

B.C.

thigh.

is

not

down

al.

M.73.4.4

1966,

p. 4, fig. 2; Pal

p.

26;

1985a,

p. 68,

Because the lower legs are


broken,

half of the

cannot be determined whether or not

it

holes for axles were bored into them, as with the

from Bihar

terra-cotta

(Si 9). If they were, then

could have been a

this bull, too,

may have been

toy.

Stone chips

inserted into the hole so that the

toy would rattle

when

pulled. If the animal was a

may have been

votive object, then offerings

published, the bull

first

(third

millennium

much

too early date. Despite

B.C.), but this

seems to be a

some

similarities

closely to bulls dating to the later

Fish

52

Fish

Pakistan; third century B.C.

Gray

schist; length

Vs in (4.2 cm)

Gift of the Honorable David Salmon;

M.84. 105.

The

mouth,

eyes,

clearly delineated.

fins,

and

The

scales are crosshatched.

tail

of the fish are

thin string was probably passed through the tiny

hole at the center of the figure.

The

object was

very likely used as an ornament or charm.


Several small metal fish were excavated from

Taxila (Marshall [195 1] 1975, 3: pi. 172, nos.

28, 109; pi. 179, no. 79; pi. 181, no. 197),

where the
jewelers.

was

fish

From

a popular

motif among

very ancient times the fish has

remained a symbol of fertility and good fortune

and

is

not restricted to any particular religious

group.

126

in Taxila

135) and other

ancient Gandhara, a region in the north

of the subcontinent comprising the northern


parts of present-day Pakistan and contiguous
areas of southern Afghanistan. Others,

which

is

one of

quite similar to this example, although

of Peshawar, and are dated as late as the sec-

ond century A.D. (Dani 1965-66,

with Indus Valley bulls, the object conforms

S2

sites in

3: pi.

Shaikhan Dheri, about twenty-two miles north

was attributed to the Indus Valley civilization

much more

millennium B.C. found

not as well preserved, have been excavated from

inserted into the hole.

When

first

(Marshall [1951} 1975,

pi.

xxxvi,

1).

p. 73,

S3

Ringstoru uith Goddesses

S3

Rings tone with Goddesses

Pakistan or northern India; third century B.C.


Steatite;

diameter

!/>

in (8.9

cm)

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Pratapaditya Pal;

M. 83. 255.

S3 detail

Although much has been

Such objects with or without central holes are

known

generally as ringstones. Altogether

written about these ringstones, their exact

between sixty and seventy Indian ringstones have

significance

been discovered from Taxila, in ancient

particular example

Gandhara, to Patna,

in

Bihar (see Gupta 1980,

and function remain

in Taxila, although very similar

pp. 53-77). Their general distribution appears

been discovered in various

to have

Patna (Gupta 1980,

been

at

urban centers along the ancient

trade route linking

Gandhara with

are considered to have been

Bihar.

made during

Most
the

third and second centuries B.C.

Around
circle of this

fragment are two identical nude

female figures alternating with two plants of the

honeysuckle

The

variety.

flower has also been

identified as the ndgapushpa.

The female

figure

pis.

i7a-b, 23a, 28a, 30b,

such a

by traders
fertility

as

some

sort of

vegetation should only be found in urban sites

along trade routes with a rather limited temporal


circulation remains inexplicable.

her cult

form

is

ornaments

large solid

she appears to be nude.

Her

distinguished by large breasts, very

An

identical

figure adorns a gold plaque found in a funerary

context (Gupta 1980, pi. 35b).

for her

charm. That

goddess associated with

pointing out and her arms hanging straight

disks and bangles

may have

traveled along the northern trade route and been

stands in a hieratic posture with her feet

down. Except

examples have

sites as far east as

3od, 36b). These disks or ringstones

carried

the slightly tapering

a mystery. This

may have been manufactured

The goddess and

may have been imported from West

Asia, although no such ringstones have been

found there. The ancient Chinese made


ringstones in jade,

some of which

are said to

narrow waist, and wide, flaring hips that

symbolize heaven. These jade ringstones,

accentuate her sexual organs. Beyond this inner

however, are usually plain, although some

circle are three ropelike coils

containing two

narrow bands decorated with what appears to be


alternating bars and stars.

arc-

carved with shallow vegetal or geometric


designs. In the Indian context the goddess

may

represent a divinity of abundance like Sri-

Lakshmi. The disk may also be a descendant of


the ringstones discovered at Mohenjo-Daro and
other Indus Valley sites or a precursor for later

mandalas or yantras (mystical diagrams used


tantric rituals).

127

in

s4

Fragment of a Pot Handle

S4

Fragment of a Pot Handle

Pakistan; third-first century B.C.


Steatite;

Gift of the

cm)
A
Honorable David Salmon;

in (3.2

M.84. 105.2

This fragmentary figure probably once formed


the handle of a small pot or vase.

The

practice of

decorating handles of vases and pots with


figures, especially female,

during the

first

was quite

human

common

century B.C. (R. C. Agrawala

1970) and very likely derived from Hellenistic


tradition.

The head and

feet

of this

particular fragment of a female figure are lost,

but the trunk

is

well preserved.

Although she

wears a lower garment, indicated by parallel


incisions

on the thighs, her genitalia are

fully

exposed. In the typically Indian fashion, she

wears multiple girdles, which turn sharply

around her waist, and the navel

shown.

An

the torso

is

prominently

arrow rising from the navel divides

(cf.

S7).

Based on comparisons with

other terra-cottas from the northwestern part of


the subcontinent, the bteasts

must have been

unusually small.

S3

Elephant

Elephant

S$

Pakistan, Taxila

Red
4

(?); c.

200 B.C.

terra-cotta with calcium accretion;

Vi in

( 1

1.4

cm)

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

128

M.83.24

Except for some stamped decorations and two

proboscis are modeled with great subtlety.

applied circles on the trunk, the elephant

ears are not disproportionate,

is

plain

The

and the eyes

are

and has no trappings. Although generally

stylized

conforming

applied disks on either side of the base of the

Taxila,

to several elephants discovered at

from the Sirkap and Bhir mounds

(Marshall [195 1] 1975,


134), this

example

is

2:

pp. 454-55,

3: pi.

less naturalistically

trunk

is

diamonds. The function of the two


not known. Characteristic of several

such elephants excavated from the Bhir mound,


the head and trunk are adorned with five

modeled. Similar elephants also have been

stamped

discovered from ancient sites near Peshawar, but

found on other subjects

they are too fragmentary to afford a proper

[1951] 1975,

Of the

comparison.

circles enclosing a star-shaped

design

Marshall

as well (cf.

131, no. 245).

3: pi.

three well-preserved

examples illustrated by Marshall, the most


similar figure was recovered from the Bhir

mound from

a stratum dated to the

period ([195

1]

1975,

The

3: pi.

legs

Maurya

134, no. 72).

and body of the

elephant are perfunctorily modeled, although


the animal's bulk

short

S6

tail is

is

adequately described. Only a

seen at the back.

The head and

Goddess

S6

Such highly abstracted terra-cotta female

Goddess

figures

Pakistan, Peshawar division; second century B.C.

(see also S7)

Red-brown

quantities from various sites in the Peshawar

From

4 V4 in (10.8 cm)

the Nasli and Alice

Museum

Heeramaneck Collection

Associates Purchase;

Literature:
p. 13;

terra-cotta;

M.73.4.3

Art of India and Southeast Asia 1964,

Larson et

al.

1980^.41.

have been excavated in large

division of Pakistan.

Known

as Pushkalavati in

ancient times, Peshawar was the most important

entrepot in the northwestern part of the


subcontinent. Discussing a large
figures in Charsada, the
Sir

number of such

eminent archaeologist

Mortimer Wheeler characterized them

"baroque ladies" and generally dated them

as

to the

third-second century B.C. (1962, pp. 104-8,


pis.

xx-xxvi). Wheeler's dates have been

generally confirmed by subsequent excavations

(Dani 1965-66, pp. 46-48), although the type

was found

to have continued into the second

century A.D.

Both

this

piece (S7) were probably

and

made

companion

in three parts:

triangular lower half, torso, and head.

The

ornaments, mouth, eyes, and breasts are


appliqued, and some elements, such as the cross-

and waistbands,

belts (channaviras)

The
figure

is

are incised.

triangular lower half of the

divided by a vertical incision into two

peglike legs.

horizontal line appearing only in

the front divides the torso from the legs.


belt or sash stretches

from the

left

A cross-

shoulder

across the body, and the breasts are pierced.

The

are simple stumps, and two decorated


neckbands adorn the neck. The conical head is
rather small, and the face is dominated by two

two arms

cowrie-shell eyes.

The applied headgear

missing. Except for


buttocks, the back

129

is

the prominently thrusting

is

not modeled.

*7

Goddess

Sj

Goddess

Pakistan, Peshawar division; second century B.C.


terra-cotta; 2 7/s in (7.8

Red-brown

cm)

F. Ullman; M.76. 148


Otsuka and Lanius 1975, no.

Gift of Jane
Literature:

1.

This figure, although more elaborately adorned,


is

in

some ways even more

abstract than the

other example in the collection (S6).


are not represented,

The

breasts

and the buttocks are not

emphasized. Despite the more


the outline, the figure

is

fluid definition of

remarkably

flat.

The

vertical line dividing the legs ends in an

arrowhead. Immediately above, a chain girdle


encircles the hips. Cross-belts or sashes flanked

by dots are indicated on both sides of the

torso.

Four pellets or disks enclosing dots are attached


to the front

and three

to the back.

The neck

is

curved only in the front with four plain bands;

grooved ornaments adorn the


headdress

is

from the back


ring of

some

ears.

The

not clearly distinguishable, but


it

appears to have consisted of a

sort.

Four incised

lines

down

the

head and neck are meant to indicate locks of hair.

When
was considered
civilization,

first

published the piece

to belong to the Indus Valley-

but

it

undoubtedly

is

of the same

vintage as the other example in the collection.


Similar examples have been excavated from

Shaikhan Dheri (Dani 1965-66,


56).

Not

pi.

xxvi, nos.

only do these have similar pellets or

beads as adornments, but at least in one example


identical incisions indicate flowing hair at the

back. These comparable pieces were excavated

from rhe lowest

level,

dated from the

third-second century B.C.

130

S8

Head of a Lion
S8

Head of a Lion

Pakistan, Taxila area;


first

century B.C. -first century A.D.

Red

terra-cotta;

From

diameter 2 in

the Nasli and Alice

(5.

cm)

Heeramaneck

Collection

Museum

Associates Purchase;

M. 7 2.

1.3

Montgomery and Lippe 1962, p.


Art of India and Southeast Asia 1964, p. 13;
Literature:

Rosenfield et

1985,

1966, p. 37, no. 25;

al.

35;

Czuma

p. 124.

This thin pottery fragment


stylized, finely

modeled

is

decorated with a

The

lion head.

open and expressive mouth exposes


teeth; the whiskers are applied.

especially prominent, the eyeballs

from deep

cavities.

row of

The

partially

lion

xxxc may also

masks in

vessels.

emerging

be included a

number of small

relief used for decorating the sides

sites,

and are

of Parthian date

That

they mere

made with

the help of the moulds

furrowed brow

discovery of one of the actual moulds from

incised with horizontal lines.

modeling

is

is

were struck. These masks are of a

not naturalistic, the

remarkably

skillful

and animated.

This fragment has been


consistently attributed to

Mathura and dated

to

Very similar lion-head

embellishments were excavated from Taxila from

Empire

century B.c.-c. A.D. 40), and there

no doubt that

this lion, too,

(first

now seems

belongs to that

group (Marshall [1951] 1975, 3: pL 131. nos.


252-53). In the words of the excavator (Marshall
[1951] 1975,

2: p.

436):

131

while

it

matrix,

comparable material from that region was cited

a stratum dated to the Parthian

vessels

Evidently

the second century a.d., although no

(see Literature).

of the

was

is

from the masks themselves but from

clear, not only

Although the head

and

almost certainly imitated from Hellenistic prototypes.

their

curled ends are particularly decorative, and the


is

of

They come only from the Sirkap and

Dharmarajika

eyes are

The eyebrows with

In Class

piece

which they

with the walls

and cannot

be detached from them.

blob of clay

was worked

still wet,

moulded

into the

into shape

and then finished off by hand.

the

wall

with the

Uttar Pradesh

s9

Head of a Goddess
S9

Head of a Goddess

The

oval face

is

distinguished by rather high

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; third century B.C.

cheekbones, broad nose, and large fish-shaped

Gray-black terra-cotta; 3 V in (9.2 cm)

eyes.

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

M. 73. 46.

The

hair,

parted in the middle, covers most

of the forehead.

The

earrings and headdress are

exceptionally large and enhance the

monumentality of the
differentiated,

figure.

The neck

is

not

and the rather unusual absence of

any torque or pectoral indicates that the bosoms

hung

The

rather low on the chest.

elaborate

headdress, nearly forming a trefoil,

is

decorated

with a dot-enclosed-by-a-circle pattern, a


variation of

coin (Ci).

which appears on

punch-marked

The headdress probably was formed

with pieces of cloth folded inward along the

The back

edges.

S10

is

completely

flat.

Goddess

Sio

between the thighs. The breasts are almost

Goddess

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; third century B.C.

Gray-black terra-cotta; 6 Va in (17.


Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

covered by a wide torque.

cm)

head

M. 82. 18.2

is

is

seated with her

stumpy

legs

effaced.

The

feet

and toes

are not delineated,

undamaged left hand are


rudimentarily defined. The seat of her stool

earrings, bracelets,

and

buttocks.

An

flat

clay attached to the

apron or short skirt

is

spread

and anklets.

Typical of Mathura terra-cottas

of the period and characteristic also of other

examples (S9, Si 2), only the face was produced

the fingers of the

simply a piece of

now

Other adornments include large

placed widely apart and her hands resting on her


knees.

elegantly tilted

framed by an elaborate headgear

decorated with various ornamental designs,

much
The goddess

The

fully

is

of the figure being

from a mold, the

rest

modeled by hand

in several parts. Distinctive

also of

Maurya-period terra-cotta figures, the

eyes are simple ellipses without eyebrows and no


vertical folds

132

mark

the corners of the mouth.

Sn

Goddess

Si i

Mother Goddess with

Goddess

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura;

c.

200

(Gupta 1980,

B.C.

pi.

child, also from

78a-b). Indeed,

Mathura

stylistically,

Gray-black terra-cotta; jVz in (14.0 cm)

the two examples are remarkably similar. So alike

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund; M.73.46.

are their faces that the heads

Although the

same doughnutlike

made from
legs are broken, this

is

a standing

The arms may have been folded back and


held at the breasts, as in a more complete seated
figure.

may

have been

They each have the

the same mold.

ear ornaments,

and the

design of the disklike crests on the head


similar.

The better-preserved example

is

flaunts

three such crests, whereas only one remains on

the

museum's example. The

middle and

is

Three

slightly above the hairline.


are appliqued

hair

is

parted in the

adorned with a string of pearls


strips of clay

on the back of the head

braids, as in the excavated

to indicate

example mentioned

above. In both examples, a heavy, oblong

pendant
breasts.

rests

The

seem almost
the body.

on the ample,

slightly pointed

arcs of the wide, expansive hips

to

The

form

flar

a circle in the

stomach

is

large navel placed off center,

midregion of

dominated by
below which

is

girdle attached only in the front.

Although she
related to

two others

a slightly later date

is

stylistically

in the collection (Sio, Si 2),

is

suggested for this example

because of the indication of eyebrows and

comparison with excavated pieces from Mathura


and Kausambi (in Uttar Pradesh, northwest of
Allahabad), which also have yielded a large

number of similar
black.

133

terra-cotta figures in gray-

Sl2

Goddess

S12

Goddess

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura;

Gray-black terra-cotta;

c.

200

B.C.

9I/2 in (24.

cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Subhash Kapoor;

M. 85. 72.

Remarkably well preserved,


finest

figures

high,

this

is

one of the

and most luxurious gray-black terra-cotta


from the Maurya period. Except

and

full breasts

for the

naturalistically delineated

most curious feature


Very likely

is

shapes.

simplified into abstract, architectonic

The hands and

feet are

mere amputated

stumps, but the hips are wide and

fully

rounded.

All accoutrements are appliqued; ribbonlike


strips of clay suggest the skirt,

and other

strips

with pellets are generously used to form the


ornaments. Indeed, the figure

is

sumptuously

it

The
figures

is

exact identification of such

ornamentation and hieratic posture of the figure


clearly indicate that she

Her bearing

is

elaborate headgear. Five braids are articulately

rendered on the

flatly

134

modeled back. Perhaps the

an important goddess.

and she exudes well being and


expansiveness.

a sense of

late-third early-second-

century date seems consistent with comparable

1980,

forming the

is

majestic and highly dignified,

heavy ear ornaments, strings of pearls arranged


five crests

the

not known, but the lavish

material excavated from

and

is

represents a waterpot symbolizing

bejeweled with necklaces and torques, large,

in the parted hair,

example

the goddess's fertility and abundance.

features of the rather small, smiling face, the

form

in this

tumorlike projection partly covering the navel.

pi.

Mathura

(S. P.

78a-b; R. C. Sharma 1976,

Gupta
fig.

10).

Si3

Elephant with Riders

S13

Elephant with Riders

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura;

third-second century B.C.

Gray-black terra-cotta;

1 1

in

(28.6 cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Subhash Kapoor;

M. 85. 72.

Of the many
without

terra-cotta elephants, with or

riders, that

Mathura,

this

example

is

one of the

largest.

Characteristic of such Maurya-period terra-cotta

elephants, the highly simplified animal


realistically

is

across his body. Floral pellets

and garlands are

separately attached to the neck, tusks, and

have been found from

forehead. Three larger floral roundels or crests

adorn the top of the head.

Although

not

modeled. Nevertheless, the sculptor

has convincingly conveyed the majestic dignity

stylized, this

representation of an elephant with riders


faithfully depicts an essential

The

component of

of the noble animal. All three riders are male.

Maurya

The head of the

another, later elephant with riders (Si 8),

third figure at the back

part of the original sculpture and

somewhat

is

is

not

of a

The two other figures wear


turbans typical of the Maurya period. Each
figure extends his stumpy arms. While the
later date.

figure in front balances himself

onto the elephant's

ears, those

to the rider in front.

by holding

behind him cling

The elephant

is

gaily

caparisoned with a blanket or carpet thrown

135

processionals.

was certainly used


this impressive

but one must


figures

as a toy.

collection includes

The

which

exact function of

Maurya sculpture

is

not known,

consider the possibility that such

were used

for

domestic decoration.

S14

Plaque with Three Figures

S14

Plaque with Three Figures

Uttar Pradesh;

Red

terra-cotta; 2 V% in (6.0

Gift of E. Sham;

Whatever the

100 B.C.

c.

exact

identification, the plaque stylistically

cm)

M. 80. 156.3

figural

form,

mode

In this narrative plaque three figures are depicted

columns with

a pot

support a plain

slender
capital

Above the curtain

Two more

rosettes are

background near the column

individual seated on the

left

He

supporting his thigh.

is

added

Of

depicting monkeys extracting a

the honeysuckle

human

wears a long pearl

apparently

is

watching one of the other figures

third figure carrying


his shoulder.

another

One

what appears

to be a basket

dancer appears to be bald,

may have an animal


The plaque

tray

He may

use of

is

unusual. At Sanchi columns usually support pot


capitals,

although

at

Amaravati in

Andhra Pradesh pots are surmounted by yakshas


(Coomaraswamy 1935, pi. I, no. 2).
certain of

the provenance of this interesting terra-cotta,

another plaque, also decorated with rosettes and


the simplified honeysuckle motif,

Museum

now

in the

of Fine Arts, Boston, has been

attributed to

Kausambi

which

in Uttar Pradesh,

amount of plaques with

narrative themes (Paulson 1977, p. 39, no. 58;

may

Kala 1950). For similar plaques depicting


por-

his palace

narrative subjects discovered


see

Kala 1980,

figs.

from Kausambi,

146-47.

well be witnessing the an-

of his yaksha attendants, one of whom seems

to be carrying a bag of jewels

S15

The

has yielded a substantial

potbellied, turbaned figure

North.

of

represents either a

Kubera, god of wealth, seated in

in the
tics

The

common symbol

head.

secular or mythological depiction of a court


scene.

While one cannot be

He

perform a dance, while between them stands a

on

is

in early Indian art (see S3).

necklace with rectangular pendant, ear


crests.

and

heads as capitals for the columns

and animal

the

with his right hand

ornaments, and a turban with three

the well-

Bharhut to indicate the divine presence, while

abundance

capitals.

the three figures the most prominent

is

rosettes are frequently used at Sanchi

and on either side are two

honeysuckle motifs.

known roundel

giant's teeth (Barua 1979, pi. xcvn). Similar

over which a

lintel or crossbar,

are three rosettes,

to the

Two

and human-head

curtain hangs in the center.

closely

of delineation, and

composition. Particularly relevant

within an architectural setting.

is

related to the narrative reliefs at Bharhut, in

on

his shoulder.

Divine Figure

Si 5

Divine Figure

Uttar Pradesh;

Red

c.

terra-cotta

cm)

3 in (7.1

Gift of E. Sham;

100 B.C.

with calcium accretion;

M. 80. 156.21

male figure wearing

a dhoti

and turban

is

seated on a plain seat with his legs forming the

position

known as pralambapadasana His


.

jewelry

include bangles, pendant ear ornaments, and a

torque across his chest. The turban

is

held in

place with a band of pearls across the forehead,


parts of which overhang the face like an earmuff.

The

right

arm

is

folded back at the elbow in the

gesture of reassurance, and the

what appears

136

to be a spear.

left

hand holds

The gesture of

the right hand

almost certainly suggests that the figure

meant

may

whom

in early representations carry this

Generally, however, in

Gandharan

art

one of his companion yakshas holds a

weapon.

Kubera or

spear,

and

this figure

identification with

is

The spear or lance


Kubera or Kumara, both of

to portray a divinity.

refer to either

(see S64),

while

figure

is

among

is

Kumara

not.
is

Thus,

if

an

accepted, then the

the earliest representations of the

may simply
number

deity. Or, the figure

earthly general.

large

portray an

of similar

figures representing yakshas have been recovered

from Kausambi

Kala 1980,

(see

14245).

figs.

in the riverine plains of northern India the

emblem

is

more commonly

Kumara. Moreover, Kubera

5/6

associated with
is

generally obese

Goddess with Fish

S16

Uttar Pradesh;

Red

The molded plaque

Goddess with Fish

terra-cotta;

female standing with her legs slightly bent.

100 B.C.

c.

'/s

in (15.5

depicts a well-proportioned

cm)

Gift of Marilyn Walter Grounds;

M. 83. 22 1.2

striped garment drapes her

legs

and

is

secured

low on her hips by a chain girdle. Her torso

is

adorned with a torque and long necklace that


falls to

her stomach. She wears an elaborate

Her

headdress and large ear ornaments.


rests

left

on her hip, and her right hand holds

hand
a pair

offish. Stars or floral motifs enliven the

background near the

deity's torso

This figure

is

and arms.

a fairly

common

iconographic type popular in Mathura and

Kausambi

in

Uttar Pradesh and also

Chandraketugarh
pi. XLV).

One

in

known

in

West Bengal (Ghosh 1973,


S. Agrawala 1939)

scholar (V.

attempted to identify her

as

an ancient goddess

of abundance, called Vasudhara, while another

(M. Chandra 1973b) argued that she

is

an Indian

adaptation of the Iranian Anahita, a fertility

goddess, whose symbol


however,

is

is

the

fish.

A pair offish,

an auspicious symbol of great

antiquity in India and was adopted with equal


zeal

by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. The

also a

symbol of the Indian god of

Kamadeva, and generally

fish is

love,

signifies fertility

and

plenitude. Furthermore, a pair (mithuna) offish

symbolizes completeness. Thus,

it

seems

unnecessary to search beyond India to explain the

currency of this motif as an attribute for a

goddess of abundance. Curiously, in


iconography the

emblem

fish

Indian

does not appear as an

of Vasudhara, Buddhist goddess of

wealth, but

is

associated with the boar-headed

Mother Goddess known

137

later

as Varahi.

Sn

The Lustration of Sri-Lakshmi

Si 7

The Lustration ofSri-Lakshmt

Uttar Pradesh, Kausambi

Red

(?); first

terra-cotta; 5 Va in (14.6

century B.C.

cm)

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

M.85.62

Literature: Pal 1985b.

Except

for the

damage

to the goddess's face

slightly effaced lotuses at her left, this

is

and

a fine

example of a molded terra-cotta votive plaque of


the

first

century B.C.

depiction of a shrine.

and central
that the

The surrounding

flight of stairs clearly

railing

demonstrate

image must have been placed on

a fairly

right

plain,

flat

left

hand
hand

band encircling her ample

rests

hips.

creator of this

well-formed plaque was a talented craftsman.

Not only

is

the composition lively, but the

details are articulately rendered.

The

artist

was

equally adept in delineating flora and fauna with

perceptive naturalism. At least two plaques rep-

shown, the image probably depicts an

resenting Gajalakshmi were found in Kausambi,

The well-proportioned goddess


stands in a hieratic posture on a large lotus,

evidently rising from a pool. She

is

framed by

other lotus plants with flowers and leaves.

Two

elephants are perched on two more lotuses at the

height of her shoulders.

The animals

are bathing

or lustrating the goddess with water poured from

waterpots held by their raised trunks.


popularly

The goddess's

The unknown

outdoor shrine.

is

on a

It is also a rare, early

high platform. Since no walls or superstructure


are

water, the rains.

probably holds a lotus flower; the

known

in Sanskrit as

The theme

Gajalakshmi,

the elephants symbolizing rain clouds and the

138

although neither are

as well

preserved or as

detailed (Kala 1980, figs 69-70). Nevertheless,


stylistically the

the

museum's plaque

is

so similar to

Kausambi examples that it is possible


all from the same site. Indeed, it

they are

that
is

not

improbable that these plaques are miniature


representations of the city goddess of Kausambi.

Si8

Elephant with Riders

S18

Uttar Pradesh

(?); first

Buff terra-cotta;

From

This charming elephant with riders was cast

Elephant with Riders

two pieces joined together

century B.C.

5 Vs in (14.3

the Nasli and Alice

cm)

the round.

rocking

Associates Purchase;

M.80.6.3

Montgomery and Lippe 1962, p.


Art 0/ India and Southeast Asia 1964, p. 18;
Rosenfield et al. 1966, p. 27; Heeramaneck
Literature:

1979, no. 4;

Czuma

1985, pp.

form

a sculpture in

base with a lug

and hole indicate that the object was used

Heeramaneck

Collection

Museum

to

The smooth, curved

in

31;

toy.

Such clay rocking toys are

northern India. The object

in

as a

made
may have come
still

from Uttar Pradesh, from either the Mathura or

Kausambi

area,

although the subject was also

enormously popular

Deccan.

in the

The elephant

16-17.
with a

frilled

is

caparisoned

headcioth and decorated rug. The

four riders include a turbaned male flanked by

two females, one of whom

more
the

and

mahout bringing up
The turbaned male and female in front

coarsely delineated

rear.

seem

carries a pot,

to hold the

end of the halter

are fitted to the animal's nose

straps,

which

and mouth. The

ropelike object in the mahout's right hand

cannot be identified, but

it

should be an

elephant goad.

The
with riders was a

representation of elephants

common

motif

in the art

and

architecture of the period (see Si 3), especially on

Buddhist monuments. There they represent


affluent or princely worshipers

who

have come to

adore the Buddha, but such terra-cotta versions

probably served a more secular function.

Although the piece has been dated generally


the

first

century a.d., stylistically

belong to the

first

century B.C.

it

The

could well
riders are

more reminiscent of Sunga-period sculptures


than they are of Kushan-period figures.

139

to

Bihar

S19

Toy

Dog
Dog

Si 9

Toy

Bihar

(?); c.

200 B.C.

Brown terra-cotta; length 6 in (15.2 cm)


From the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck
Collection

Museum

Associates Purchase;

Literature: Rosenfield et

Wheel

axles

M.73.4.5

1966,

p.

26,

toy.

The

snarling expression

of the animal seems hardly appropriate, however,


for the

amusement of a

body with

stiff ears, raised tail,

and firm posture

that the artist intended to represent an angry

rather than affectionate dog.

be a dog howling

at

the

He might

also well

moon. In any event,

despite the highly abstracted form, the animal


lively

representation
or, in fact,

a depiction of a type of

140

at stylization

dachshund.

is

exact provenance of this

not known, and dogs were not

a very popular subject for terra-cotta sculpture.

possible source

may be

Bihar,

of toy horses with straight,

where

stiff legs

number

and holes

similar to those on this

dog have been discovered


(Shere 1961, Bulandibagh 12 and Patna 18
19).

These examples are generally dated to the

third-second century B.C.


is

and expressive. The

may be an attempt

spirited canine

child. Indeed the tense

together with the growling expression indicate

remarkably

The

were inserted into the holes of the

mobile

legs of this

al.

West Bengal

S20

An

Earth Goddess

S20

An

Earth Goddess

West Bengal, Chandraketugarh;

c.

100 B.C.

Buff terra-cotta; 2 Va in (5.7 cm)


Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;
Literature: Larson et

al.

wide apart
is

M. 77. 36.

1980, p. 41,

no. 2.

nude goddess

seated with her legs spread

is

in the posture of giving birth,

which

generally identified as utthanapad (with legs

raised).

She wears

a bouffant hairdo,

and her

ornaments include plain anklets, necklace, and


earrings.

With

her right hand, the goddess

extracts an ear of corn

right shoulder

is

from her vagina. Near her

a sprig

bloom. The oval plaque

with a star-shaped
is

bordered with beads.

That the figure represents

primitive earth goddess seems certain.

The

earliest depiction of this subject occurs

on

from Harappa

(c.

2500

B.C.),

a seal

which depicts

female figure with legs placed widely apart issuing a plant from her sexual organ (Vats 1940,
pi.

2:

xcin, no. 304). Clearly these figures were

meant

to represent an earth

springs

all

goddess from

whom

corn and vegetables. The concept

has survived in later literature and art. In the

Devimahatmya a fifth-century text glorifying the


,

Goddess, she declares: "Next

O Ye Gods,

shall

support the whole world with the life-sustaining


vegetables,

which

shall

grow out of my own

body, during a period of heavy rain.

fame on earth then


1969, p. 518).

as

shall gain

Sakambhari" (Pargiter

The term Sakambhari literally

means "herb nourishing" or "herb

nourisher."

These terra-cottas are related to stone sculptures


of headless, nude goddesses,

who

sit

similarly

exposing their genitalia. Such icons have been


discovered in various parts of the subcontinent

and

are still venerated as cult objects.

stylistically

is

Chandraketugarh (D. Desai 1975,

141

The plaque

very similar to another found in


fig. 9).

S2I

Plaque with Bust of a Goddess

S2 1

The

Plaque with Bust of a Goddess

West Bengal, Chandraketugarh;


Buff terra-cotta;

c.

100 B.C.

cm)

Va in (4.5

identification of this

goddess remains highly controversial. Classified


generally as the pamhachudd (five-crested) type,

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund; M.77.36.5

she has been variously identified as a yakshi or


apsaras (specifically the celestial

The

terra-cotta media, beaded border,

above the

figure's

and hole

Lakshmi, and

head clearly associate this

molded plaque with others from


Chandraketugarh

(see S22).

Distinguished by

called

goddess

last identification

has been suggested because a similar plaque was

discovered near a

fire altar

during excavations at

popular iconographic type, with the exception of

Kausambi (G. R. Sharma i960, pp. 93,

Gajalakshmi, from Mathura to Bengal in the two

Doubts, however, have been expressed regarding

centuries before Christ.

between

The

chief distinction

goddess and other such cult figures

this

of the period

is

that her headgear consists of what

appears to be five projecting


right and five

emblems on

palm fronds on

the

left.

the

The emblems

cannot be distinguished in this specimen, but


certainly they include an elephant goad,

can be clearly identified in

S22

Sinivali (a Vedic fertility

[D. Desai 1975, p. 13}). This

her headgear, she represents, perhaps, the most

nymph

Panchachuda), the goddess Mayadevi or Sri-

all

which

other examples.

Among

other objects are a cornucopia or horn,

trident,

and arrowhead.

the interpretation of the

Kausambi

122).

fire altar.

Thus, while her exact identification remains


uncertain, her importance in the religious
the

Ganges Valley

is

life

of

evident both from the wide

dispersion of her image and her weapons and


elaborate headgear with vegetative symbols. In

seems to anticipate the

this regard she

later

concept of Durga.

A Winged Deity
A Winged Deity
West Bengal, Chandraketugarh; c. 100
Buff terra-cotta; 3 A in (8.2 cm)

This molded plaque represents within a beaded

S22

B.C.

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund; M.77.36.

border the upper half of a winged male figure.

The complete plaque was probably


high.

six inches

hole above the turban of the figure

may

indicates that the plaque

have been worn as

an amulet or hung on a wall.

When
probably wore a dhoti.

complete, the figure

A gathered shawl is slung

across both upper arms,

and an animal skin,

perhaps that of an antelope, drapes the


shoulder.

The

left

figure wears an elaborate turban

and circular earrings. The features of the


youthful face are articulately delineated.

arms were very

likely placed

The

akimbo. The most

distinguishing iconographic feature are the

wings projecting from the upper arms.

That the
Chandraketugarh,

figure

is

from

a rich archaeological site in

West Bengal, can be firmly established by

comparison with several other similar plaques.


All are rectangular with beaded borders and one
or

two holes

function

as

at the top, indicating their

probable

amulets. Perhaps most similar are

three fragmentary plaques, each

showing

man,

elephant (Ghosh i960, pi. lxvc), and lotusbearing goddess (Ghosh 1973, pi. XLVa).
Indeed, the three plaques stylistically are so
similar that they

same workshop.

142

may have been made

in the

Similar winged deities of both

the lotus and stands on the lotus flower. In the

and West Bengal and are generally dated to the

more complete examples the deity

second century B.C. (Auboyer 1981). Indeed,

richly attired

and ornamented. The animal skin

Chandraketugarh has yielded another fragment

of this figure

is

showing

nature.

1973,

a richly

pi.

bedecked goddess (Ghosh

The

XLvd).

moon,

exact identification of

these divinities remains elusive.

males

may

which case

Color plate, p. 31

Boy Feeding a Parrot

curly hair. In his

5 V in

(13.0 cm)
1

is

boy with genitalia exposed

seated on his haunches.

While

his lower

garment

not discernible, his arms seem to be draped in


also wears anklets, bracelets,

and

necklace consisting of a pendant flanked by tiger


claws. Tiger-claw necklaces were popular

worn by children

With

a bird,

his right

hand he

in ancient India.

large ears appear to have holes in

The

The

flat

them but no
his

discoloration on the face, from

magenta on the chin


half,
fire.

to almost black

denotes that the piece

on the right

may have been

in a

Otherwise, except for minor damage on the

head and right arm, the object

is

remarkably

well preserved.

The

charms

boy's

ornaments. Knobs along the hairline define

hole at the bottom of the

base probably indicates that the object was a


child's rattle.

slightly rotund

He

hand he holds

feeds the bird a sweet or piece of fruit.

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund; M.85.35.

a shawl.

left

probably a pet parrot.

century B.C.

Reddish brown terra-cotta;

is

could be Soma,

this figure

represent a lunar deity. In several

West Bengal, Chandraketugarh;


first

well represent a crescent

the

Boy Feeding a Parrot

S23

more

unusual and indicates his ascetic

The wings may


in

is

moon god, who is an ascetic brahmin and


hence may wear the animal skin.

The females

have been identified as Sri-Lakshmi, while the

S23

others the deity, whether male or female, holds

sexes have been found in various sites from Bihar

Chandraketugarh

is

attribution of the object to

not certain.

distinguished by very large eyes,

The round
is

face,

characteristic

of figures discovered from Chandraketugarh

(Biswas

98 1,

pis.

xv, XXXII). The posture also

seems to have been favored by

and

at least

artists of that area,

another figure, perhaps of a young

prince, holds a parrot in a similar fashion (Biswas

1981,

143

pi.

xxxvb).

$2-4

Lady with an Attendant

S24

Lady with an Attendant

West Bengal, Haroa

Red

(?); first

terra-cotta; 5 in (12.7

century B.C.

cm)

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

A slim,

M. 85. 35.

elegant lady strikes a graceful posture as

seductive figure in the same pose, which he

she stands with her arms clasped above her head.

identifies as

She wears a diaphanous garment below the hips,

century B.C. -A.D. (Biswas 1981, pi. xxxvia).

an apsaras and dates to the

first

chain girdles, necklace, and elaborate hairdo

Indeed, the museum's figure stylistically can be

Her anklets and bracelets


were probably made of fresh flowers. Beside her

compared with similar

with central

crest.

stands another female,

gesture and

much

who

Her

holds a mirror.

smaller size identify her as an

attendant. Although the posture of her mistress

figures

from Kausambi

Uttar Pradesh, which are generally dated to the


first

century B.C. (Kala 1950, pis. IV, xxi; Kala

1980,

fig.

115).

The

finding of two other

representations of the danseuse, although in two

Haroa demonstrate the

is

taken from the repertoire of a dancer, the lady

distinct styles, at

is

obviously admiring her reflection in the

popularity of the theme in that region.

mirror. Perhaps she

is

a dancer

examining herself

before a performance.

An

Noteworthy
mirror,

almost identical plaque,

is

the design and shape of the

which must have been made of metal,

polished on one side and adorned on the other.

although broken from the waist of the attendant,

The

was found in Haroa, a village not

between these plaques found

far

from

close stylistic

and iconographic similarity

Kausambi and Haroa may

Chandraketugarh (Biswas 1981, pi. xxxd).


Indeed, the two are so similar that they may have

were made at one of the two

been cast from the same mold. Biswas identifies

to the other.

the subject as the birth of the

Buddha and

dates

the piece to the second century A.D. Neither

suggestion

is

correct.

He

has also published

another fragment, showing an even more

144

in

as far apart as

indicate that they


sites

and transported

S2$

Corpulent

Male Figure

J25

Corpulent

Male Figure

West Bengal, Chandraketugarh;


first

to

increase the icon's potency, as was

by

done

later

Buddhists with bronze images and stupas.

century B.C.

Buff terra-cotta; 4 Vi in

From

charms may have been inserted into the hole

(1

the Nasli and Alice

cm)

1.4

Seated on

Heeramaneck

haunches and

its

elaborately adorned, the corpulent figure

is

Collection

undoubtedly a yaksha. Whether or not he

Museum

clothed cannot be determined.

Associates Purchase; M.72.1.1

Literature:

Art of India and Southeast Asia 1964,

p. 18; Rosenfield et al.

1966, pp. 27-28,

Heeramaneck 1979,

no. 10;

the waist

is

discernible, and his genitalia are

prominently displayed underneath.

wrapped around

no. 6.

is

girdle around

his

shawl

arms, which are bedecked

with thick bangles. Three necklace strands


This

is

probably one of the best preserved terra-

cotta figures from

West Bengal. The specimen

closely akin to

one found

(Biswas 1981,

pi.

dates

all

in

is

Chandraketugarh

xv; see also

pi. xvi).

Biswas

three pieces to the second century A.D.

down

to his

ments

ample

is

is

even

second century B.C. (Ghosh 1964, p. 106,

recognizable, but the

An example from

pi.

Harinarayanpur,

from the 24 Parganas district, may be


compared with those from Chandraketugarh
pi.

hollow with
It is

a plain

rattle,

it

at the

is

bottom.

was used

as a

although the subject generally has been

identified as a yaksha, specifically as

god of wealth (Biswas i98i,p.

tall

most of these squat-

forefinger of the right

ritualistic gesture,

left

back and hole

assumed, therefore, that

The

taller in the

Harinara-

left

hand

not

is

hand certainly forms

which would weigh

than secular function. In

Lxxxivb).

Like the others, this object

his disk ear orna-

tassels.

in favor of

the figure being intended for a religious rather

also

(Ghosh 1958,

fall

yanpur example. The object held between the

thumb and

3).

with

distinctive of

ting yakshas and

although other examples have been dated to the

CLV, no.

and

belly,

are embellished

headdress

is

Kubera,

81). If indeed the

figure represents a divine being, then relics or

hand simply

figure the right

rests

all

other examples the

on the knee, while

hand holds

in

suggested that the object in the right hand

lemon, an attribute of Kubera


raphy.

Whether

tified as

in later

one

been

a flower. It has

is

iconog-

or not these figures can be iden-

Kubera, one may

at least regard

them

as

prototypes of the potbellied image of the god


that

became standard from the Kushan period.


This figure

is

better preserved

than the other examples, and the workmanship


of this particular sculpture
only

is

is

superior.

Not

the figure well modeled, but details are

crisply rendered. Despite the hieratic posture,

the genial facial expression and expressive hand


gestures

145

make

this a lively representation.

526

Toy

Ram
S26

Toy

Ram

West Bengal, Chandraketugarh;


first

century B.C.

Reddish brown terra-cotta; 6

'/s

in (15.9

Gift of Marilyn Walter Grounds;

Shaped

in the

M. 84. 220.

form of the forepart of a ram,

toy originally was used as a cart.


rolled,

the center of the

which a

smooth back

stick

is

Through the

necklaces.

is

above

would have been inserted,

to

The neck of

decorated with several rows of

Ornaments

wheels are modern.

also

commonly used
(in

Gandharan

shown riding

in

many

reliefs

the young

Buddha

drawn by rams),

a cart

were

carts

parts of northern India

adorn the head. The

is

often

this

particular example can be assigned to

another hole

be used as a handle to push the cart.


the animal

little

Although ram

this

hollow chest of the ram, an axle would

have been attached to two wheels.

into

cm)

West

Bengal with some certainty. Not only have


similar toy rams been found in significant

numbers there (Biswas 1981, pp. 186-87,


Li),

p'-

but the design of the necklaces of this

particular example

is

remarkably similar to that

seen in another representation of the animal

Chandraketugarh (Biswas 198 1,

found

at

xivb).

The

realistic representations of the

in terra-cotta, including the


clearly indicate that artists

with

this

head with
(the one

museum's

animal

toy,

were quite familiar

domesticated animal. Indeed, this


its

wonderfully delineated right horn

on the

left is

broken)

is

modeled and demonstrates the


observations.

Most such

first second

century B.C.

carefully

artist's

pieces,

Chandraketugarh and Tamluk,

146

pi.

found

perceptive
at

are dated to the

Madhya Pradesh

S27

Two Addorsed Females


S2 7

From

Two Addorsed Females

Madhya

Pradesh, Bharhut;

Rust sandstone;

1 1

c.

in (28.0

100 B.C.

cm)

the Nasli and Alice

Heeramaneck

Collection

Museum

Associates Purchase;

Literature: Rosenfield et

al.

M. 76. 2. 29

1966, pp. 23-24.

This

relief

with two female figures on both sides

once supported the arches of one of the gateways

whisk

(torana) of the great Buddhist stupa at

comes down on either

in

Madhya

Pradesh.

Bharhut

The gateways were conmembers

structed by the king Dhanabhuti and

of his family during the reign of the Sungas.

of the earliest Buddhist

Bharhut remains

monuments

landmark

Indian sculpture. Most of


tures are

now housed

One

in India,

in the history of

wears two armlets.

(a)

in the Indian

The

the right eye.

The fragment

also

must have been

figures are generally identified as

treated in a similar fashion.

nymphs.

The

rather shallow relief, heavy

and squat proportions, broad

awkward

depicts two

One

(a)

with

faces

flaring

and somewhat

stance are characteristic of Bharhut

sculptures.

The lady with her hands

joined

holds an unidentified object in the right hand,

seems to have been rendered slightly more

perhaps a fruit or gem, and a

naturalistically.

raised left hand.

The other

(b)

fly whisk

in the

makes the

typi-

less

is

When

lower part of the body of each

gesture, a

diaphanous garment tied

draped with a

at the waist

chain girdle.

A shawl

loops across the thighs and

flows over the arms. Each figure

many

is

is

other figures are


flat,

adorned with

her posture a

little

shown making

when

a sculptor deviated
pi.

1979,

this

side view of the hands usually

afforded. There are one or

with a

knotted single bow. Around the lower hips

is

rather unusual for Bharhut sculpture.

with the hands joined below her breasts. The


is

Not only

(b)

awkward, but the foreshortening of the

hands

cally Indian gesture of salutation or greeting

is

hair of the other figure (b)

noses, large staring eyes,

females engaged in adoring the Buddha.

hair

which

side of her face,

The

celestial

Museum,

Her long

fly-

adorned with two chain strands crossing above

remaining sculp-

its

Calcutta.

S28

and earrings. In addition, the lady with the

XV, no. 12a;

P.

is

two other instances

from the norm (Barua

Chandra 1970,

pi. XXXII).

bangles, two or three necklace strands,

Fragment of a Pillar

S28

Fragment of a Pillar

Madhya

Pradesh, Bharhut;

Rust sandstone; 13 Vs

c.

100 B.C.

cm)

in (34.5

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

M.85.39

This fragment once formed part of a pillar of the


great stupa at Bharhut, which was built some-

When

time about 100 B.C. (see S27).


it

would have formed

part of a railing

been

a favorite

complete,

as the

Animals seem

pillar.

theme

half-moon

upper

to have

for the decoration of these

half-moon medallions, and in

this

example only

the forepart of a seated lion remains. In front of


the lion

back

is

is

part of a stylized tree, and above his

segment of a pendant lotus of a type

seen quite

commonly

(Barua 1979,
the lion

is

pi.

Bharhut medallions

xxix, nos. 21-24). Although

not rendered naturalistically, the

representation

from

in

is

quite

lively. If

a pedestal, the scene

may

the tree rises

depict the lord of

the animals adoring the bodhi tree (pipal) under

which Sakyamuni was enlightened


1979,
lions

148

pi.

lxxx,

(see

Barua

no. 108, for a scene in

and deer surround the sacred

tree).

which

S29

Two Addorsed

Tree

Dryads

S29

Color plate, p. 53

Two Addorsed

Tree

The sculpture once served

Dryads

as

an end bracket

Madhya Pradesh, Sanchi; 50 B.C.-A.D. 25


Cream sandstone; 24 V2 in (62.2 cm) each
From the Nasli and Alice Heetamaneck

gateways of Stupa

Collection

subcontinent.

Museum

of fundamental importance for an understanding

between two arches or

Meistet 1968, p. 108


2, fig. 1; Los

(b only);

23-24;

Angeles County

Trubnet 1968,

Museum

1975, pp. 18-19, 146; Craven 1976,

Heeramaneck 1979,

no. 3;

48; Pal 1985a, p. 68,

fig.

Newman

(b only).

p.

of Art

p. 71;

1984,

on one of the

one of the most important Buddhist

Associates Purchase; M.85.2.

Literature: Rosenfield et al. 1966, pp.

lintels

or Great Stupa, at Sanchi,

1,

p.

The carved gateways

on the

sites

at

Sanchi are

of the early history of Indian sculpture. Both


sculptural and epigraphical evidence indicates
that

all

four gateways at Sanchi were constructed

sometime between 50 B.C. and A.D. 25, the


earliest

being the southern gateway.

possible to be

more

bracket sculpture

It is

not

precise about the date of this

as,

except for the northern

gate, the bracket figures are missing from each of

the other three gates.

Unlike the few

which show only one

still

in situ,

figure per bracket, in this

example two females are represented back


back.

On

side a the figure stands gracefully

with her right leg bent behind the

Sideb

Side a

149

to

left.

Her

left

arm

broken from the elbow, her right arm

is

raised

is

and holds the branch of a fruit-bearing or

flowering tree. If

pineapple, but

a fruit,

it is

if it is

meant

represent the kadamba.

The

it

looks like a

to be a flower

it

may

is

draped,

the garments forming elegant loops along the


side, the figures, in fact,

under which

tree

Although the lower part of their body

seem quite naked.

Their ear ornaments and hairstyles appear to be


similar.

Both

the other lady stands in b has stylized flowers

figures introduce a

theme

with garlands emerging from the blooms. She

that has remained popular with Indian artists.

holds one of the garlands in her right hand, her

Known

left

arm

is

broken. She stands with both legs

bent at the knee, as

if

she were swinging.

Indeed, the sense of motion

is

conveyed by

also

the representation of the pearl necklace swaying


to the left, looping

around her breast. In the

other figure the necklace


breasts.

Both wear many

falls

between the

bracelets

and anklets,

as sdlabhanjika,

relationship between
transferring

its

it

emphasizes the close

woman and

nature, each

fecundity to the other. Both

figures are carved in high relief

and modeled

with remarkable naturalism. Their many

ornaments and accoutrements do not obstruct


the sensuous curves and swelling volumes of the
figures.

and two strands of chains hug their lower hips.

S30

Bust of a Tree Dryad

S30

Between the ample

Bust of a Tree Dryad

breasts

Madhya Pradesh, Sanchi; 50 B.C. -A. D. 25


Cream sandstone; 9 V2 in (24. 1 cm)
From the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck

pearl necklace adorned with

two miniature

female figures, one of which

is

Collection

arm

Museum

miniature version of the larger figure.

Associates Purchase; M.79.9.

Literature: Lee 1942, pp. 21, 39;

1950b,

p. 12, fig. 7;

1962, pp. 40-41; Rosenfield et


23, 25;

Heeramaneck 1979,

This almost

life-size

dryad that served

Trubner

Montgomery and Lippe


al.

no. 2.

bust once belonged to a tree

post and lintel of one of the gateways of the

had two such

(see S29).

Each gateway

fully carved figures.

When

complete, the figure would have stood with one


leg crossed

Both appear

behind the other and one hand

grasping the branches of a fruit-laden

tree.

to be standing

remains of the curved back

is

with the

left

is

What

covered with two

broad plaits of hair adorned with garlands.


In their proportion and
naturalistic

modeling, these bracket figures are

much more

impressive than the smaller

sculptures placed between two lintels (S29).

While

these voluptuous breasts

seem weighty

in

their present state, the in situ figures, in fact, are

remarkably buoyant. Indeed, these bracket


figures at Sanchi are

among

the most elegant and

animated representations of the female form


the entire history of Indian sculpture.

unknown master

in

The

sculptors responsible for

them

were completely self-assured in their aesthetic


vision and technical mastery of the material.

150

at the

raised above the head. Basically, each

1966, pp.

as a bracket figure joining the

Great Stupa at Sanchi

waist.

broken

is

Age

of the Kushans and Satavahanas

(first-third centuries a.d.)

Introduction
During the

first

three centuries of the Christian era several important schools of

sculpture flourished in different parts of India. Stone became the principal


sculptural

medium, although

terra-cotta continued to be popular in the urban

centers of the riverine plains. Images in gold, silver, copper, and bronze were also

produced

in quantities,

Two
which

prolific schools of sculpture evolved in the

at its height,

as

Kushan Empire,

between around a.d. 50 and 200, encompassed parts of Bactria

in northern Afghanistan

known

but few examples have survived.

and the Mathura region

in northern India.

is

Gandhara, which covered a region comprising parts of today's southern

Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The other school flourished

which grew into an important commercial and

Kushan

One

period.

in

Mathura,

religious entrepot during the early

At about the same time much of the Deccan comprised

empire of the powerful Satavahana dynasty, which

also, like the

the

Kushans, thrived on

foreign trade. Rich traders seem to have been the principal patrons in both

empires, and Buddhism, with


routes,

its

organized monastic establishments along the trade

seems to have especially profited from mercantile

activities.

Not

only

did their strategically located monasteries in Gandhara and further north in Central

Asia and in Mathura and on both the eastern (along today's Andhra Pradesh)

and western (Maharashtra) coasts serve

may also have

but they
in

as hospices or caravansaries for

served as banks. In any event,

much of the art produced

Gandhara, Andhra Pradesh, and the coastal region of Maharashtra

and only

Hindus

in

Kushan-period Mathura was

art

merchants,

produced

for the Jains

is

Buddhist,

and

as well.

Continuing

its

Hellenistic legacy, a remarkably eclectic school of

sculpture developed in Gandhara during this period.


traditions, such as Scythian

and Parthian

While other

as well as Indian,

aesthetic

contributed to

its

development, the dominant characteristics of the school were Hellenistic, strongly


related to the contemporary centers of art in the Asian provinces of the

Empire. Although Parthians acted

Kushan Empire,

they, too,

Gandhara can be regarded


by

classical aesthetics,

West

as buffers

between

Roman West

Roman

Asia and the

were strongly influenced by philhellenism, so that

as the

although

easternmost region in the ancient world influence

much

modified along the way. Thus, just

as the

Asiatic sites of Hatra or Palmyra reveal their eclectic style within the broade

philhellenic cultural milieu, so also the artists of Gandhara


artistic

norms and techniques with Indian iconography and


151

combined Hellenis
artistic ideas to create

hybrid, but recognizably Indian school of sculpture to meet the local religious
needs.

Whatever the

inspiration and whether or not artists were imported into the

region from West Asia, by the end of the

century various aesthetic traditions

first

had coalesced into a coherent, recognizable Gandharan

style.

There

of course,

are,

among Kushan-period Gandharan

striking variations in style and quality

In the Swat Valley, for instance, there developed a

more

sculptures.

provincial, archaizing style

than that which flourished in the Taxila and Peshawar regions

example, the

(see, for

Swat Hariti [S50]).


Despite

northern
the

Gandhara and other

school. Generally the gray schist sculptures are considered to precede

made from

period and

archaeological excavation in

of the Kushan period, scholars disagree regarding the chronology of

sites

Gandharan

those

much

stucco, although both materials were used during the

The problem

later.

is

compounded

Kushan

further by the survival of only a few

inscribed and dated sculptures. These dates, however, do not mention a specific era,

which has further

led to

this period, therefore,

Some

much

must be regarded

five

The

dates suggested for the sculptures of

as tentative.

hundred miles south of Gandhara

Mathura

artists at

Gandhara, those

in the environs of

completely different style of art developed at the same time. Unlike the

red sandstone, and

somewhat

controversy.

at

Mathura employed the

locally available, softer,

was never replaced by stucco. The material

it

to the striking differences

between the two

itself

mottled

contributed

Unlike the sandstone

styles.

of Mathura, the harder schist of Gandhara allowed the sculptors to carve the folds
of garments and details of features and jewelry

The

greater volume.

distinct aesthetic

much more

norms preferred

crisply

in the

and with

two centers

also

contributed to such differences. Influenced by Hellenistic ideas, Gandharan artists

were more concerned with naturalistic modeling and the rendering of garments

and embellishments

in realistic detail.

They

faithfully reproduced

what the eye

perceived, as witnessed, for instance, in the sculpture of a bodhisattva in the


collection (S45).

human body

Mathura

sculptors, conversely, were not reluctant to represent the

The body was conceived

in all its sensuous elegance.

as

an aggregate

of swelling forms and sinuous curves. Realistic modeling was eschewed for abstraction, without, however, sacrificing the sensuality of the form. In this
artists

Mathura

were clearly expressing the same ideals and formalistic approach to the

body evident

in

second first-century B.C. sculptures. Indeed, a comparison between

the bracket figures from Sanchi (S29) and the

Mathura (S54)

human

Amazonian nature goddess from


two

clearly demonstrates the close affinity of the

styles,

whereas a

comparison between the Mathura Balarama (S59) and Gandharan bodhisattva (S45)
reveals the striking variation

between the two

styles.

The Gandharan bodhisattva is

palpable figure and, except for his broken halo and idealized features,

been modeled

after

healthy body.

By

idealized form,

an aristocratic nobleman

contrast, the

is less

figure seems to be

naturalistically

at depicting spatial

and

joie

tactile

greater abstraction and

than the Gandharan statue.

dimensions, fluid postures, and

by

classical sources,

realistic

were adept

drapery patterns, their

that express a stronger sense of rhythmic vitality

de vivre.

Noteworthy
on the

its

modeled. Yet, paradoxically, the Mathura

sculptors, strongly influenced

Mathura colleagues achieved forms

well have

has taken great care to maintain a

Mathura Balarama, with

more earthbound and

Although Gandharan

who

may

is

railings of the various

the preponderance of sensuously rendered female forms

monuments,

largely Buddhist,

which appears

to

have been a hallmark of Kushan Mathura (see S55). Similar figures had also been
used in earlier Buddhist
152

monuments but

in a

more

restrained fashion. In

Kushan


Mathura

as a devotee

endowed

ladies striking coquettish poses

approached a stupa he would pass by a bevy of voluptuously

and indulging

would seem that the use of such motifs was

in frivolous conduct. It

deliberate, as if the visitor were

expected to pass through the world of mundane passion before entering the calming
spirituality

symbolized by the abstract stupa. The contemporary Sanskrit poet

Asvaghosha

(active first century) describes such an experience in chapter 4, entitled

"Putting Away Desire," of his Buddhachanta

The prince on

and to

women came around

entering the garden, the

him thoughts frivolous; with ogling ways and deep

arouse in

Each one

setting herself off to best advantage.

But all the women beheld the prince, clouded in


exhibiting

its

Buddha):

(Life of the

were ineffectual

the

moon Deva

move Bodhisattva's heart {Cowell

to

to

pay him

court;

design.

brow,

and his godlike

wonted signs of beauty ; fair in bodily appearance, surpassing

upwards as they gazed, as when we call upon

to

lovely.

body not

All looked

come; but all their subtle devices

1894) 1968,

p. 38}.

Similarly the devotee circumambulating the stupa was very likely not expected to be

charms of the beguiling

affected by the

with such abandon on the

as well as

more than

Gandhara or Mathura
images were

first

Mathura

is

art

In fact, if any single artistic center can be regarded as the

Kushan Mathura has the

years scholars have debated about

fifty

created in the ateliers of Mathura.

remarkably varied

for

Mathura continued
sculpture during the

Kushan

as prolific as

have existed

at

The museum's

until the

Mathura

are

cities, terra-cotta

period.

collection of early
It is also

which Kushan Mathura flourished.

for stone sculpture as well.


cities

seem

local school

to have

became so

may

imported

active during the

dormant during the Kushan period. In most other


remained the primary

Most Kushan-period

medium

of sculpture

terra-cotta sculptures in the collection

from Uttar Pradesh, and although some have been attributed

sites,

Jain

to be a productive center for terra-cotta

Ahichchhatra, but most other

Gupta

Hindu and

period. Curiously, no other site in Uttar Pradesh or

age, seems to have been

north Indian

which school

both Hindu and Buddhist iconography.

sculptures from Mathura. Even Sarnath, which

Gupta

best claim.

originated the image of the Buddha, most

stylistically rich, representing the three centuries in

Bihar was

carved

were called upon to produce art for Jains and

artists

birthplace of Indian iconography, then


for

celestial or mortal,

Buddhists, their repertoire was more diversified than that of their

Gandharan counterparts.
Although

whether

pillars.

Because Mathura

Hindus,

ladies,

to specific

such as Mathura or Kausambi, their exact provenance cannot be determined.

These terra-cottas vary widely in

style

and

quality. Generally, the larger

sculptures seem to have been freely modeled with


details rather roughly rendered (see S60).

Kausambi, however,

Mathura

are

many

The smaller

more sophisticated and

of the features and salient

figures, especially

from

elegant. In general Kushan-period

terra-cotta sculptures are not as refined as the stone sculptures, while

those from Kausambi, Ahichchhatra, and other sites reflect a greater sensitivity in

the modeling of figures and rendering of embellishments.

Much

sculpture

must

also have

period in various forms of metal, such as gold,

been produced during the Kushan


silver,

copper, and bronze.

Gold was

popular metal with the Kushans themselves, particularly because of their Scythian

background. Certainly, gold and

Whether

in the

silver

ornaments were popular among the Indi

form of ornaments or statues intended

for

worship, not

much

early

metalwork has survived because of the general practice of melting the metal and
reusing

it

to cast

i53

new adornments

or images. In addition, the constant application

of ritual unguents causes the metal images to become effaced, thereby requiring
their replacement

from time

to time.

This

is

particulary true of

Hindu and Jain

images, and hence very few early figures have survived. Excavations in Taxila and
other important

Kushan

sites in

Afghanistan have brought to light substantial

amounts of gold ornaments, and both gold and bronze objects of diverse types
demonstrate the popular use of metal during the Kushan period. Recent political
events in Afghanistan have caused a good deal of small metal objects to enter the

Western market. Although small, they

are interesting for their diversity, reflecting

the eclectic cultural environment of ancient Afghanistan. Perhaps the most


fascinating of these

an intriguing female figure,

is

who may

represent the Iranian

goddess Anahita (S52). Tentatively attributed to the third fourth century,


a

mixture of Iranian and Indian

it

reflects

styles.

Unquestionably the most important metal sculpture of the Kushan


period in the collection

mother of the Buddha


which

less

1045,

l x

is

fragmentary bronze of a reclining lady, probably the

(S57). It

is

than a dozen Kushan-period bronzes are

5)-

Mathura school from

certainly a product of the

Apart from representing a

known

(see

Czuma

rare iconographic type,

attractive sculpture, bearing a remarkable formal affinity

1985, pp.

it is

also an

with the much-admired

stone females of the period.

A
flourished in the

third important school of stone sculpture during this period

Guntur

district of

Andhra Pradesh

first

during the rule of the

Satavahanas and then during the short-lived Ikshvaku dynasty. Distinguished by

white or greenish white limestone, the school, which had several


fertile

Krishna Valley,

important ancient

is

cities

referred to as the

Nagarjuna
in

town

in

itself, it

after

one of the most

does have one relief from Nagarjunakonda (S81),

Andhra Pradesh

associated with the famous Buddhist scholar

and four pieces most

(active second century),

likely

from Gummadidurru

Andhra Pradesh (S82-85).


Most Amaravati

for

along the

sites

of the region. Although the collection possesses no

sculpture from Amaravati


a celebrated

Amaravati school,

its

sculptures, like those of Gandhara, were produced

Buddhist monuments. Also,

period appear to have been aware of


visited the eastern coast.

Gandharan

like

Amaravati

Roman

artists,

artists,

art, for

Amaravati sculptors of the

Roman

traders

technical artifice of

clearly reveal that local sculptors

Roman

to have

however, did not succumb to the charms

While the

of Hellenism as readily as did their northwestern colleagues.

second third century

seem

reliefs

of the

had absorbed some of the

sculptural forms, by and large their sculpture

is

distinctly Indian.

In contrast to Gandhara, and even Mathura, Amaravati sculptors


preferred shallower carving with greater emphasis on linearity.

Although

characterized by broad, heavy shoulders for male figures and large breasts and wide

hips for females, Amaravati sculptural figures are extraordinarily supple and

willowy. This formal exuberance


panels,

where

at

is

also reflected in the compositions of the narrative

times the activity seems almost frenzied, as

obsessed with demonstrating their skill in depicting the

if

the sculptors were

human body

in every

conceivable posture and in constant motion. Indeed, of all schools of early Indian
sculpture that of Amaravati

is

the most intensely dramatic, and as one eminent

scholar has observed:

A passionate sense for everything terrestrial manifests

itself {in the

art of Amaravati) as if
,

Indian art had taken leave of this world with a tumultuous feast before deliberately entering
,

the cold fields of spirituality (Bachofer

154

1929 i.p. 55}.


,

Catalogue

S3 la-c

Afghanistan and Pakistan

Three Cosmetic Trays

S3 iac

Three Cosmetic Trays

Large numbers of such objects were found in

Pakistan, Taxila area

Sirkap, excavated from various levels ranging

a, first century or earlier

A.D. Describing them as toilet or cosmetic trays,

from the second century B.C.

Steatite;

diameter 4 Vs in (10.5 cm)

Purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs.

Willard G. Clark; M. 85. 224.

Marshall ({195

1]

1975,

2:

to the first century

pp.

493-98) noted

their similarity with Hellenistic trays discovered


in

Egypt and West

Asia. Curiously, no such trays

were found in the Shaikhan Dheri excavations


(Dani 1965-66) either from pre-Kushan or

S3ia

155

Kushan

The

strata.

precise provenance of the

three in the collection, unfortunately,

known. From Marshall's work

in Taxila

appears that such trays were in great

during the Saka-Parthian period

Larger than the other stone example

not

is

is

background

it

demand
century

(first

design.

The back

(see

Czuma

1985, pp. 14453).

no example has

been found to contain any traces of cosmetic

While some

substances.

are divided into

a toothed

adorned with wide,

is

ment

is

filled

floral

of the upper compart-

with a well-modeled kneeling

elephant carrying an unrecognizable object on


his

head with a rider behind.

If the object

represents a reliquary, then the tray

two or

may have

three compartments, one of which

edged with

Much

Although generally characterized as toilet or cosmetic trays,

is

petals.

continued to be manufactured during the

Kushan period

The

carved with bold lotus petals, and

is

the narrow border

B.C. c. A.D. 40), although they may have

(a), this tray

divided into three compartments.

related to a

Buddhist

ritual.

of the stone nor the carving

may be

Neither the quality


is

as fine as in tray a.

served as a palette, and are adorned with reliefs

many

of a wide variety of subjects,


pletely covered

with

are

com-

(Of the nine

figures.

c, first

illus-

by Czuma 1985, only one has a separate

trated

compartment.) Some may have served

as lids

of

century

Copper with green

patina;

diameter 3 Vs in (9.9 cm)


Gift of Mrs. J.

LeRoy Davidson; M. 85. 281

cosmetic trays with another half containing the


cosmetic substances, like a modern compact.

Although smaller than the two stone examples

The small sunken section could then have been


used to mix the unguents. It is also possible that

(ab), this cosmetic tray

compartments were simply

those without

closer to b.

The sunken
center of this tray

is

is left

The

compartment
tions

The space

floral petals,

on such

unadorned, which

is

is

subject of the relief in the upper


is

also

are

divided in exactly the

tray b.

uncommon. The composi-

trays generally depict Hellenistic

The upper fragment


filled

have rubbed

Each

obeisance from two kneeling personages. His


is

bent against his chest, the

also

off.

and

The couple appear

hand

left

appears to be holding in his

are

and the kneeling elephant

is

an unlikely subject

tray.

Even though the

their

form and

attire

seen in art of the

diameter

three stone trays discovered by Marshall from the

for a

period.

cosmetic

much

first

The

effaced,

to those

tray

may

century B.C.

in (13.3

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

156

at least

Saka-Parthian stratum ([195

do not conform

Kushan

identical couples

holding bowls or wine cups occur on

religiously

century

schist;

Almost

in tray b.

three individuals

figures are

well have been carved in the

Gray

all

and that the scene

significant,

found behind the figures in this bronze tray

and turbans. Although

there seems little doubt that

to be male.

a shallow dish. Similar vertical ribs

billowing scarf forms a sort of halo around his

the central figure cannot be identified precisely,

garments

details of the

head. All three figures otherwise seem to be


similarly clad in dhotis

mostly

seems to hold an object with one hand;

the figure on the


right

is

with two figures wearing garments. The

standing central figure seems to be receiving

hand

adorned with bold lotus petals, which lack

animals. In this particular example, however, a

b, first

as it is

it is

the additional parallel lines of the petals found in

rather

faces of the figures

are Indian

example

toothed design. The two lower compartments

myths, drinking scenes, amorous couples, or

right

a rarer

border decorated with the same beaded or

section in the

decorated with

although they look like clamshells. The wide

unusual.

is

copper object. Stylistically

same manner into three compartments with

decorative.

border

a solidly cast

cm)

M. 85. 224.

1 ]

1975,

nos. 67-69). In fact, one (no. 67)

is

3: pi-

144,

so close to

the metal tray that very likely the artists used the

same model.

S32

Bowl with Cover


S32

Bowl with Cover

Pakistan, Taxila area;

Gray

schist; 5 Vs in

This well-preserved covered bowl


first

century

(13.0 cm)

Purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs.

Willard G. Clark; M. 85. 224. ia-b

is

decorated

with broad lotus petals alternating with chevron


bands.

Its

excellent condition indicates that

it

probably was used as a reliquary and inserted


into a stupa, where

it

escaped injury from

man

and nature. The contents of the reliquary have


been removed.
Stylistically, the

closely related to that

design

is

on a vase excavated from

the Saka-Parthian level at Sirkap in Taxila

(Marshall [1951} 1975, 2: p. 492,

3: pi.

I43n).

There, too, similarly shaped lotus petals


alternate with chevron bands.

S33

The Goddess Tyche

or Fortuna

S33

The Goddess Tyche

or Fortuna

Pakistan or Afghanistan; first-second century

Copper

alloy; 2 Va in (5.7

cm)

Gift of Neil Kreitman; M.85.73.

157

The somewhat crudely rendered

This small bronze represents Tyche or Fortuna,


the

Greco-Roman goddess of fortune and

abundance,

who was

sculpture

very popular in

is

similar to several other such small,

solid-cast statuettes

found from the Parthian

Afghanistan and Gandhara during the two

level (c. first century) at Taxila (Marshall

centuries before and after the birth of Christ. She

1975,

also appears frequently in coins

became

closely identified

(Ci2b) and

"The

and mural crown, she holds a

cornucopia with both hands. The back

pp. 604-5; 3

pl-

1]

i86a-e). As

Marshall has remarked ([195

with her Indian

counterpart, the goddess Sri-Lakshmi. Wearing


a chiton

2:

{195

vast majority

Roman

1] 1975, 2: p. 575),
were copies of Graeco-

originals, and, like the

contemporary

gold jewellery and silverware, afford striking


is

not

testimony of the extent to which the Parthians

at

modeled; the two quiverlike attachments to her

Taxila were indebted to the material culture of

shoulders probably represent lotuses.

the Western world."

Most

likely

such small

bronzes were used as charms or emblems.

S34a-b

Pendant and Earrings

S34a

S3 4 b

S3 4a

period between 100 B.C. and a.d. 100 was

Pendant

among

the ruins of Emeshi-tepe in

Pakistan or Afghanistan; first-second century

discovered

Repousse gold; diameter Vs in

northern Afghanistan a few years ago by the

(.3

cm)

Purchased with Harry and Yvonne Lenart Funds;

Joint Soviet-Afghan Archaeological Expedition

M. 85. 224.

(see Sariandi 1985).

The

pendant

The
exact provenance of this gold object

known. Very
once used

as

likely

it is

not

may have been


Czuma 1985, p.

an ear pendant; or

deposited in a reliquary (see

16667).

is

from Pakistan and was


it

both the Sirkap and Bhir mounds

(Marshall [195 1] 1975,

3: pis.

at Taxila

190-91).

An

even larger horde of gold objects dating to the

158

in

central section of this

with what appears to be a

long, spiraling flower or leaf, surrounded by a

border of large globules or beads. If it

may be

is

a leaf,

a stylized acanthus.

For more information

large number of gold ornaments,

including similar ear pendants, was discovered


at

is filled

regarding such jewelry and their molds see

Chandra and

P. L.

Gupta 1962-64.

M.

it

S3 4^

The ornaments

Earrings

Pakistan; first-second century

disks

Repousse and cast gold; length 2

Va in (5.7

cm)

is

is

also

unknown. Their

nique, however, relate

them

style

Most were found

at

pi.

190).

III,

dated by Marshall to the

and tech-

195

Sirkap in
first

3:

stratum

century. Thus,

Pakistani rather than Afghani provenance

for

these earrings seems likely.

realistically delineated,

tortoise

and the edges are

adorn the buds that

The beauty

of the design, excellence of

workmanship, and

fine state

of perservation are

ornamental

in the best tradition of Scythian

art.

The use of the tortoise as a decorative motif is


somewhat unusual, but the animal is an ancient
cosmogonic and religious symbol

S35

buds by

The back of each

terminate in clusters of globules and granules.

1975,

clasps.

clusters of granulation also

closely to jewelry

recovered from Taxila (Marshall

shape of a turtle or

decorated with fine granulation. Rings and

precise provenance of these beautiful ear-

rings

in the

tortoise, attached to long, cast tubular

means of hinged

Given anonymously; M. 85. 282a

The

hammered

two

consist of

in India.

Triad with the Buddha

the fringe of which

Triad with the Buddha

S35

Pakistan, Gandhara; first-second A.D.

Gray

schist;

Gift of

is

represented by uneven,

parallel horizontal lines above a

6 V2 in (16.4 cm)

row of vertical

incisions.

The Buddha had

Edward M. Nagel; M. 84. 225.1

attained

enlightenment while meditating on a platform

The

relief

probably was attached to the wall of a

stupa or shrine, as evident by the presence of


three lugs, two at the

bottom and one

The

carved in a recessed section

principal scene

is

at the top.

flanked on one side by a Corinthian column, a

popular architectural device in the region. In the


center of the niche,

Buddha Sakyamuni

in the yogic posture

on a

159

seat covered

is

with

seated
a

mat,

covered with grass given to


just after the

him by a

Buddha's bath

stylized tree above his

feet are

a shawl, a part of

which

with his right hand

in a river.

nimbus

His shoulders and

grass cutter

is

The

the bodhi tree.

completely covered by

is

held in his

left

hand;

raised to shoulder level he

forms the gesture of reassurance. The Buddha's


hair

is

pulled away from the temple and tied in a

fairly substantial

bun

at the top.

either side by an ascetic

who both

and

He

is

a turbaned figure,

him. Above each

are adoring

flanked on

is

a flying

angel also adoring the master.

The scene

been modeled

Mathura

after early

S58 (van Lohuizen-de

Leeuw 1981, pp. 377-400).

If

van Lohuizen-de

Leeuw's date of about 50 B.C. A.D. 50

when Indra and Brahma came down to entreat


him to go into the world and preach. The subject

early

was quite popular with Gandharan

this

figs.

artists

(Lyons

7073), who were

Gandharan

reliefs

such as

reliefs,

sents the occasion after Buddha's enlightenment

and Ingholt 1957,

S3 6a-b

may have

over the Buddha's seat. Such triads

that illustrated in entry

doubtlessly repre-

mat covering

particular in delineating the grass

of this theme

is

for

some

accept-

able, then a first-second century A.D. date for

example may not be

unlikely.

very

Two Lions

S^6a

Two Lions

Pakistan;

first

This heraldic bronze lion and the eagle (S43) are


said to have

century

been found in Pakistan. The form of

the lion with


a,

copper alloy; 2 in

(5.

cm)

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

its

prominently curved chest, hairy

mane, and curling

M. 81. 153.2

very similar to several

tail is

other representations of the animal in stone and


terra-cotta found in Taxila (Marshall [195 1]
I 975> 3
pl- I3 1 no 2 42, pl- 145. nos 75.
7879). According to Marshall, most of these
:

objects

came from the Saka-Parthian

century. This lion

may

also be

strata

and

than the

are, therefore, unlikely to date later

first

compared with

similar Kushan-period representations from

Mathura.

The

lion

may have

served as a

support for a throne or capital atop a column.

The former

alternative seems unlikely since

neither the head nor back bears any tenon or

groove for attachment to a throne. The shallow


base on which the animal
figure

may have

sits

indicates that the

served as a capital for a

column

rising from the platform of a bronze stupa, as in


a silver stupa

from Gandhara (Pal

et al.

1984,

p. 136).

b,

gray schist; 8 in (20.2 cm)

Gift of James

H. Coburn

in;

M. 85. 279.

I *K

The lion was a popular architectural motif in


Gandharan art and was frequently used as a
S36a

throne support, protoma, or divider in panels


decorating stupas. This lion, which was once fed

by a cherub or yaksha,
to another in the

is

stylistically very similar

Peshawar

museum

(Lyon and

Ingholt 1957, no. 453). In that representation a

boy

is

seen feeding the animal. Only the feet and

bowl remain
is

in this example.

The

stylization of the lion's form, hair,


characteristic of

is

Only

behind the garland on the

how

it

was

and mane

are
is

the forepart of the

fully carved, as the

to a larger composition.

[60

tongue

Gandhara. Unusual, however,

the garlanded head.

animal

S36b

lion's

lapping up the contents of the bowl. The

back was attached

square aperture
lion's right indicates

affixed to a relief.

S37

Mulcl for a Terra-cotta Figure

Moid for a

S3 7

Terra-cotta Figure

Pakistan; first-third century

Buff terra-cotta; 2

/s in

Gift of Joel L. Malter;

The mold and

(7.3

cm)

M. 83. 252

positive impression

show

the

lower half of a male figure wearing a dhoti and


possibly boots (the feet are rather crudely
delineated).

The

terra-cotta

said to have

is

come

from Pakistan. Molds with similar garments


have been found in Taxila (Marshall [195

1]

975. 3 pl- 133. os. 26, 30, 35a, 44). Those


are dated by Marshall to the second-first century
I

B.C., but this example

may be

the dhoti are bolder. This

how

figures were

made

The

later.

folds of

mold demonstrates

in sections

and joined

together.

mold

For a stone jeweler's

showing

from Kausambi

a similarly clad figure

M. Chan-

dated to the second century A.D., see


dra and

S38

P.

L.

Gupta 1962-64,

12a, 13a.

figs.

Female Figure

S38

Female Figure

Pakistan, Bajaur

Brown

(?); first third

terra-cotta; 5 in (12.7

century

(?)

cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Julian Sherrier;

M.76.117

The lower portion of the body of this female


figure

is

shaped like a hollow cylinder, with

slightly flaring bottom.

footlike projection

is

attached slightly off center along the lower edge.

The breasts are indicated by two small knobs.


The long arms are bent at the elbow and are
brought across the body. The forearms are
adorned with bracelets, and the hands clasp one
another.

The broad

enormously
nostrils

face

is

distinguished by an

large, thick nose

above

naturalistically

with two tiny


shaped

lips;

appliqued cowrie-shell eyes; and raised, high

eyebrows that extend


is

down

to the ears.

placed between the eyebrows.

The urna

The back

This strange figure

is

is flat.

said to

have come from Bajaur in Pakistan and has the

same

cylindrical

body

as the seated figure said to

have been found in neighboring Dir (S48). Terracotta figures of this type are in

museums

in

Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Europe, but none

has been found in an excavation nor have any


similar figures been published. In general, the

upper part of this figure with

161

its

small breasts,

S48 (Piggott 1950, pp. 107-9, n g-

curiously shaped nose, and cowrie-shell eyes

in entry

continues the forms seen in earlier terra-cotta

Unlike the Kulli

goddess figures discovered from Taxila,

without ornaments. Similar cylindrical

Shaikhan Dheri, and other

also belonging to the fourth

sites in

ancient

Gandhara. The hollow cylindrical body,


however,

is

unusual and

is

figures, this lady

is

9)-

completely
figures,

millennium B.C.,

have been found in Iran (Fairservis i97i,p. 225,

reminiscent of clay

fig.

56).

figures of the Kulli culture in southern

Baluchistan (Pakistan) dating to the third

millennium B.C. about which more will be


,

S39

said

Votive Stupa

S39

Such small stupas were used by Buddhists either

Votive Stupa

Pakistan; second century

Gray

schist; 5 Vs in

as reliquaries or votive offerings.

(15.0 cm)

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

finial

M. 85. 224.6

shaft,

of this stupa

is

unlikely that

it is

principally because of

Whatever
example

its

Although the

inserted into a deep narrow


it

its

was used

as a reliquary

diminutive

exact function,

it is

for the simplicity of the

size.

an attractive
design and

fine

craftsmanship.

sections: a

The stupa consists of three


molded circular base, hemispherical

drum embellished with plain moldings, and


finial. The hemispherical drum is the anda (egg).
The

finial

comprises a chhatra (parasol;

umbrella), staff rising from an inverted

pyramidal section, harmika (small mansion;


chamber), and three circular disks. Several

meanings

for this

Buddhist symbol par

excellence are possible, but generally and in

essence

it

symbolizes the cosmic mountain with

the shaft serving as the cosmic pillar.

It is also

used as a symbol of the Buddha's death and

most distinctive symbol of the

162

religion.

is

the

S40

Divine Garland Bearer

S40

Divine Garland Bearer

Pakistan; second century

Gray

schist;

24

in

(61.0 cm)

William Randolph Hearst Collection; 47.8. 13


Literature: Pal 1974b, pp. 28, 50.

youthful figure holding a garland and wearing

a dhoti, shawl,

lotus calyx.

and shallow turban stands on a

The nimbus behind

indicates that he

is

his

head

a divine garland bearer rather

than a mortal. This deeply carved figure very

an image of the Buddha. Except

likely flanked
for his stance

and the heavy

folds of his

garment,

reflecting Hellenizing influences, the figure

is

quite Indian. Noteworthy are his oblique eyes

and prominently rendered sausage


garland

is

typical of

Gandharan

curls.

art,

The

appearing

frequently as an attribute or adornment (see


S45).

The

original disposition of the sculpture

may be surmised by comparing


reliefs

Ingholt 1957,

163

several

complete

depicting theophanic scenes (Lyons and


figs.

254-57).

S4

The God Kumara

S4 1

The

God Kumara

gods

Pakistan, Peshawar division; second century

Gray

schist; 9'/s in (23.

Gift of James

H. Coburn

Although small,

this

is

cm)
Hi;

who may

West

The cock

Asia.

or rooster

M. 85. 279.

god from Gandhara,

By the Kushan period it had become a familiar


emblem of the deity both in Gandhara and
Mathura. In the Iranian pantheon the cock

Kumara, the divine general of the Hindu

supreme Ahura Mazdah, while

young boys

mail, and

is

The

emphasized by

bow slung

martial character

his sword, coat of

across his chest.

He

dhoti and turban, and his feet are bare.

wears a

The

remained a popular offering


vast region of Asia

consisting of a knee-length coat or tunic and

associated with the cock,

plain halo behind Kumara's head

indicates his divinity,

emphasized by

human

which

is

further

his colossal size in contrast to the

devotee. Both figures stand

naturalistically

tive attribute

on

dawn. Indeed, the

by Kubera, or Panchika,

as well as other warrior

has

is

is

among many

the guardian of the sun

not surprising that he was

it is

who announces

spear, too,

the

would be

appropriate for a guardian deity, and hence such


figures, at least in the

Gandharan region, may

represent a syncretism between the Iranian

Kumara.

Sraosa and the Indian

a rectangular pedestal.

The spear is the most distincof Kumara, although it is also held

art

from ancient times and

cultures. Since Sraosa

boots.

Roman

for sacrifice across a

considered a symbol of fertility

god's paradise,

be wearing

in

The cock

the bird in a similar fashion.

of flowers wears, in contrast, a Scythian costume

He may also

an

are often encountered holding

diminutive donor or devotee offering a bouquet

leggings or pajamas.

is

attribute of Sraosa, one of the sons of the

pantheon. His two principal attributes are a


festooned spear and a cock.

included in

is

Vishnudharmottarapurana Gupta-period texts.

be identified as a syncretic deity or as

of the figure

yet

is

the iconographic section of the Matsyapurana and

one of the best-preserved

representations of a warrior

in

another of Kumara's attributes and

It

has also been suggested by

Taddei (Agrawala and Taddei 1966, pp. 8485)


that this

form of Kumara

in

Gandhara bears

images of the ancient

close resemblance to

Palmyran deity Shadrafa,

a healer

god who

is

generally dressed in a cuirass and holds a spear.

He also
left

that

holds what looks like a scorpion with his

hand

as

does Kumara.

It is

possible therefore

Gandharan images of the martial Kumara

were modeled

after

Palmyran images of Shadrafa.

Scholars have long recognized astonishing

resemblances between the arts of Gandhara and


that of Palymra in the early centuries of the

Christian era. Both regions were strongly influ-

Roman aesthetics. In later Indian art


bow are generally associated with

enced by

the sword and

Kumara

in his

cosmic form (Pal 1974,

fig.

249).

In present-day Bengal the two-

bow and arrow instead


of a spear. In the literary tradition Kumara
further came to be identified with Kama, god of
desire, whose attributes are the floral bow and
armed Kumara

carries a

arrow of love.

A
Kumara's

noteworthy feature of

spear in this sculpture is that the

design of the spearhead

bottom of the shaft.

is

also repeated at the

similar

weapon

is

held by

the Jamalgarhi Kubera (Rosenfield 1967, pi.


75), while the shape of the spearhead
to that in the

the Karachi

The

is

hand of a Kubera/Panchika now

museum

(Rosenfield 1967,

crisply articulate carving of the

them

reliefs.

in

62).

figures

closely to the Karachi sculpture

other second -century

164

fig.

museum's

image and graceful postures of the two


relate

identical

and

S42

Bachanalian Scene

S42

Bachanalian Scene

Pakistan; second century

Gray

schist; 12 Va in (3 1.

cm)

Gift of Carl Holmes; M.70.76. ia


Literature: Pal

1974b, pp. 29, 50.

A couple standing
engaged
in

under a gable appears to be

in conversation.

one hand. The

particularly

young and

man

is

Each holds

old, bearded,

the figures below

and not

human. Bachanalian

handsome, while the woman

attractive.

chiton and skirt.


in a heavy roll

He

below

is

She wears a Roman-style


wears a garment gathered
his

ample

belly.

His attitude

wine cup

The

identification of the scene with drinking

is

in

Gandhara

(Lyons and Ingholt 1957,


no. 6),

to a Dionysian theme.
is

The figure, and his attire,


making an offering to

Priapus in a first-century
(Bandinelli 197

Buddhist monastic architecture. Typical of


classically inspired Indian architecture, the side

column
arch

is

S14).

rises

from a pot.

lunette beneath the

decorated with the honeysuckle motif (cf.

turbaned male stands outside the arch

with his hands forming the gesture of adoration.

165

397-98;

this relief may relate

very similar to a priest

bunches of grapes hanging from the voluted ends

The arch itself represents the chaityawindow motif and was a popular element in

embellishments

figs.

and

evident by the presence of the wine cups and

of the arch.

indicate that

scenes frequently were used

as architectural

Dohanian 1961,

may

the arch are divine rather than

1, p.

Roman

107,

fig.

relief

96).

S43

Eagle

S43

An

Eagle

Copper

alloy;

eagle with prominent wings stands on a base,

which

Pakistan; second century

V% in (3.5

cm)

uneven

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund; M.81. 153.

and

circular in front but truncated

is

in back. Similar birds were

Taxila from the Sirkap and Bhir

found

in

mounds. This

particular bird could have been used as either a

support for a bowl (see Marshall {195


p.

2:

184, no. 323) or symbol on a

3: pi.

596;

1975,

1 ]

stupa, as in the bronze stupa from the Gai


collection in Peshawar {Lyons and Ingholt 1957,

496). There, four similar eagles alternate

fig.

with four palmettes on the top of dome. The


surface of the object

much

is

too corroded for any

of the details to be discerned.

S44

A Tutelary

Couple

S44

A Tutelary

Pakistan;

Gray

with his right leg raised and bent, the

Couple

100-150

schist; 12 in

Gift of Tom and

left leg

placed on a footstool. Wearing a dhoti, scarf, and

(28.4 cm)

turban, he holds in his right hand a spear or

Nancy Juda; M.83.66

staff,

Literature: Larson et al. 1980, p. 49.

left

parts of which are attached to his knee; his

hand

rests

on

The woman,

his knee.

elegantly coiffed with a garland decorating her

A couple sits
conversation.

in a relaxed

The

manner

as if engaged in

divinity of both

is

by the presence of the nimbus. The

hair,

wears a garment covering her entire body.

on a footstool Her

emphasized

Her

man

supports the back of a child,

sits

feet rest

hand

left

who

sits in

her lap

and embraces her neck with both hands. The


object in her right hand

is

no longer

recognizable.

common

This type of relief was


in

Gandhara, and the pair generally

as

Panchika and Hariti

(cf.

identified

is

S64). She

is

always

shown with one or more children, and he


either dressed in a tunic

and leggings,

is

like a

Roman
He usually carries a spear or staff and money

soldier, or dhoti, in the Indian fashion.

tutelary deity-cum-yaksha, Panchika

general of Kubera, or Vaisravana,


Hariti was a
in

is

bag.

the

god of wealth.

Mother Goddess extremely popular

Gandhara

(see also S50), especially

among

Buddhists. Images of both were placed in


monasteries; this small

was intended

for a

relief,

however, probably

domestic shrine.

Typical of Gandharan sculptures, all three figures interact

The

with one another.

folds of Panchika's dhoti are rendered

with

greater naturalism than one encounters in

Mathura. This sense of naturalism, derived from


Hellenistic tradition,

is

also evident in the

delineation of the muscles of Panchika's body.


Stylistically, the figure

of Hariti compares

closely with another discovered from the ruins of


a private

house

1965-66,

at

Shaikhan Dheri (Dani

pi. xvi).

The

stratified context of the

excavation allows the sculpture to be dated to the


rule of

Kanishka

(c.

78-102). Thus,

around 100 and certainly no


seems probable

[66

later

for this relief.

a date

than 150

S45

Bodhtsattiu

S45

Bodhisattia

Pakistan; second-third century

Gray

schist;

From

the Nasli and Alice

68

in

(172.7 cm)

Heeramaneck

Collection

Museum

Associates Purchase;

Literature:

Heeramaneck 1979,

1985a, p. 71,

fig.

Wearing

a dhoti

with his

left

no. 11; Pal

10.

and shawl, the figure stands

knee slightly bent on a plain,

shallow base, which


a

M.83. 105.

more elaborate

may have been

pedestal.

inserted into

The Gandharan

subject characteristically wears sandals.

plethora of ornaments adorns his body. In

addition to an articulately carved torque, he

wears a necklace decorated with two makaras and

around

a strand of pearls

his right

arm.

cord

with three amulets diagonally crosses his body.

His ear ornaments are

in the

shape of a lion

(simhakundala), and his armlet


floral

his

designs.

He

is

decorated with

has a moustache and urna, and

head once was covered with an elaborate

bejeweled turban,

now damaged,

the design of

which may be reconstructed from the better preserved head in the collection (S46).

nimbus behind

He

broken.

The

circular

his head and right forearm are

holds a garland in his

left

hand.

Although the exact


identification of the figure

is

represents a bodhisattva

beyond doubt. Many

is

uncertain, that

such figures have been found from various


in

Gandhara, but

in

most

cases the left

it

sites

arm

is

broken (Lyons and Ingholt 1957, figs. 288-98).


In examples where the arm is undamaged, the

hand holds

a waterpot, the distinctive attribute

of the bodhisattva Maitreya. In a theophanic


relief

showing

Ingholt 1957,

a preaching
fig.

Buddha (Lyons and

254; see also fig. 316), one of

the flanking bodhisattvas holds a garland with

the

left

usually
vara,

hand. Since the


is

Buddha

in such reliefs

flanked by Maitreya and Avalokites-

whose emblem

is

a lotus flower, one could

identify the garland-bearing bodhisattva as

Avalokitesvara.
Stylistically, this

image

is

bodhisattva

remarkably similar to several others,

the closest being

more than

six feet tall,

now in the
museum (Lyons and Ingholt 1957, fig.
With its halo, the Los Angeles bodhisattva

recovered from Takht-i-bahi and

Lahore
289).

probably would have been as


the Los Angeles bodhisattva
elaborate, although the

167

The turban of
even more

tall.
is

modeling

is,

perhaps,

somewhat
in the

and

drier

less sensitive

than that seen

Lahore Maitreya. Nevertheless, both

bodhisattvas cannot be too far removed from the

two that

flank the

the year 5

which

Buddha
is

in a relief dedicated in

considered to refer to the

Kanishka era (Pal


even

if

et al. 1984, p. 191). Thus,


one believed the Kanishka era began in

142, the dated sculpture cannot be later than


150. Even

more

solid evidence

is

and 176, certainly no

later

than the year 200.

fourth-century date for the Lahore Maitreya and


other such bodhisattvas, as suggested by
Ingholt, therefore, seems unacceptable.
likely, these

More

were carved within a century of the

Buddha triad of year 5 and, hence, a date around


200 for this impressive cult image of a
bodhisattva seems to suit the evidence better.

offered by the

Shaikhan Dheri excavation, where a similar


statue of Maitreya, not as elaborately

ornamented, was discovered from a layer that


can be firmly dated to the period of the Kushan

monarch Vasudeva

(Dani 1965-66,

no. 2). Vasudeva probably ruled

S46

Head of a

pi.

xix,

between 142

Bodhisattva

S46

Head of a

This head once belonged to a bodhisattva figure

Bodhisattva

Pakistan; second third century

Gray

From

schist;

18 V32 in (47.0 cm)

the Nasli and Alice

Heeramaneck

that was even larger than the life-size

may have
The head is

bodhisattva in the collection (S45) and

stood well more than seven feet

tall.

Collection

remarkably similar to that of another large

Museum

bodhisattva figure discovered from Sahri Bahlol

Associates Purchase;

M. 71. 1.45

in

Gandhara (Bachofer 1929, 2:


probably carved sometime

left),

century.

[68

The museum's head

pi.

147, top

in the

displays a

second

more

The

elaborately carved turban.


difference between the

two

is

principal

earlobes are decorated with two springing lions,

in the presence of

whose forepaws merge into garlands. The turban

the prominent crest with tapering tenon in the

obviously represents a head covering

museum's head.

printed textile and encrusted with gems.

Several other bodhisattvas

display this feature (Lyons and Ingholt 1957,


figs.

31315). The tenon

device;

it

was used

not a decorative

Its

makara pendant

or griffins at the sides. Their elongated, arched

or meditating

bodies

make them remarkably agile, and, but

for

bodhisattva. Such medallions, with grooves at

the hind legs, they would appear to be makaras.

the back to

The form,

fit

onto

a tenon,

were discovered

at

Sahri Bahlol (Lyons and Ingholt 1957, p. 140).

The bodhisattvas

oval face

is

in fact, anticipates that of a

Such extensions of the

lion's

dragon.

body may

reflect

influences of the animal type favored by the

characterized by sharply outlined features: long

Scythians. (For a similar lion handle on an

nose with broad,

incense burner, see Lyons and Ingholt 1957,

flat

bridge, moustache, half-

shut eyes, and prominent urna.

The elongated

493.) The hair


horizontal

S47

features are the

attached to the front and prancing winged lions

to attach a medallion

Buddha

containing a tiny

is

most prominent

made of

The Distribution of the Buddha's

S47

is

wavy

lines at the back.

Relics

The Distribution of the Buddha's

Although

Relics

Indian Art Special

cm)
Purposes Fund; M.84.

schist;

several such reliefs

depict the scene (Lyons and Ingholt 1957,

Pakistan; second-third century

Greenish gray

147, 152-54, 167), this

in (10.8

preserved. Moreover,

it is

is

relief

depicting the distribution of

Buddha Sakyamuni's

quite rare to see

Behind

a rectangular table

brahmin Drona, who was selected

is

seated the

On

fact, these reliefs are

earliest representations in

tables,

Indian art of such

which must have been introduced by the

Bactrian Greeks. These

reliefs

further

demonstrate that cloths were used to cover

eight portions of crushed bones and ashes, which

tables.

table.

Drona

and three on

is

in the pot in front of the

flanked by four figures on his

his right.

At the extreme

fourth figure, whose foot can


base, almost certainly has

still

broken

left

right a

be seen on the
off.

Attired in

dhoti, shawl, and turban, each tribal chief holds


a

cup or container to carry away the

Drona

is

about to distribute.

169

relics,

the

the

the cloth-covered table with elaborate legs are

must have been brought

is

table legs differ in all

design variation. In

to distribute

the relics to representatives of eight tribes.

all

examples, which together exhibit considerable

bodily remains after his

cremation at Kusinagara once embellished a


stupa.

pot included. The

figs.

one of the best

eight tribal chiefs represented, and in none

This small

fig.

delineated as sideburns and

which

Such

reliefs

should be of

interest to students of Christian iconography

because they anticipate artistic representations of


the Last Supper of Christ.

S48

Male Figure
be shaven, except for a substantial tuft extending

down

the center of the head like a molding.

The

back bulges out considerably, and the arms are


folded in front of the chest.

The

piece

is

supposed to have

been found in Dir, near Swat in Pakistan. The


body's unusual cylindrical shape

is

similar to

clay figures of the Kulli culture of southern

Baluchistan, dating to the fourth-third

millennium B.C. (Piggott 1950, pp. 107-9, n g9).

The

characteristic features of Kulli figures are

described by Piggott:

They all terminate at the waist in a


flat-bottom pedestal

and the arms

hands on the hips (once


There

is

slightly splayed,

are akimbo with

only, raised

above the breasts).

no attempt at naturalism in the face, which

is

pinched out of the clay into a fantastic aquiline


profile,

making an absurd caricature resembling

nothing so much as a sacred hen, with the eyes made

from

centrally pierced applied pellets

and no

indication

of the mouth.

The

description of the facial features of the Kulli

figures

is

appropriate for the bearded male here

discussed. All Kulli sculptures, however, are

S48

Male Figure

Pakistan, Dir;

Red

Gift of Wallace

While not

third century (?)

c.

terra-cotta;

female.

4 Va in (12.

cm)

figures, this object clearly

Thompson; M.70.95.

as old as the Kulli

demonstrates the

remarkable continuity of the type.

It is a

example of what has been characterized

The manner

in

which the

legs protrude

from the

graphic

as the

timeless variety of Indian terra-cottas.

hollow cylindrical body indicate that the figure


is

seated. Shallow pellets

with pinholes mark the

beard along the chin. The sunken eyes are also


similarly fashioned with pierced pellets.

eyebrows are

S49

Gods and Animals on

fairly heavy,

The

and the head seems

to

the Rocks

S49

Gods and Animals on

The fragment once formed

the Rocks

Pakistan, Peshawar division

(?);

early third century

the upper right-hand

portion of a relief depicting an incident from the


life

of the Buddha. Frequently represented by

Gandharan

(39.4 cm)
From the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck

complexity, the scene describes the visit of Indra,

Collection

lord of the gods, to

Gray

schist; 15

Museum

in

Associates Purchase;

Literature:

Zimmer [1955]

pi.

Dohanian 1961, no. 8; Rosenfield et


pp. 28-29; Heeramaneck 1979, no.
1985, pp. 193-94.

was living

M.73.4.6

i960,

artists

with ebullience and

Buddha Sakyamuni while he

in a cave near Rajagriha.

Unlike their

counterparts in the subcontinent, Gandharan

70;
al.

1966,

sculptors lavishly depicted the rocky exterior of

12;

Czuma

the cave with angels and animals rejoicing at this


special occasion.

In this deeply cut relief are rep-

resented three gods, one with a garland, flying

down from
The

the heavens in attitudes of respect.

rocks are filled with cavorting animals and

birds, including lions,

monkeys, goats,

deer,

and peacocks. Although the forms of the animals

170

are conceptualized, they are a

animated
tivity

lot.

The scene

is

of Orpheus found in West Asia (Lyons and

remarkably

observed with sensi-

and gentle acuity: note the pair of female

monkeys carrying their babies on their backs.


The undercutting of the figures is so deep, as

much

as

an inch from the background, that the

relief acquires a strong chiaroscuro,

making

the forms

more

articulate

lively.

Complete examples of this subject

have been found in the Peshawar and Taxila

regions (Lyons and Ingholt 1957,

The Peshawar example


which,

if

13031).

dated to the year 89,

referring to the Saka era of A.D. 78,

would correspond

much

is

figs.

to A.D. 167.

The carving

is

deeper in the museum's fragment, more

reminiscent of early Byzantine

171

reliefs

reliefs

Gandharan

pi. xviii, nos.

of the story

1-2). To produce

during the second and third centuries


artists

must have seen

Hellenistic versions of the

While most

earlier

Orpheus theme.

scholars have dated this

fragment to the third century,

thereby

and

Ingholt 1957,

such

charming

Czuma

(see

Literature) has suggested that the piece


fact

may

be slightly earlier than the A.D. 167

in

relief.

55

Goddess with Children

S50

Goddess with Children

Pakistan, Swat Valley;

Gray

phyllite;

43

V2 in

Striking a columnar, frontal position, the

250300
(no. 5 cm)

goddess stands with her

c.

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lenart;

Her lower garment


M.78. 105

Literature: Pal 1978a, p. 46; Carter 1982,


p.

255.

her bare torso

is

feet placed well apart.

worn

is

like a long skirt,

adorned with two strands of

She also wears bracelets, anklets, and two

pearls.

Her

different ear ornaments.

delineated and arranged in a


garland.

Her

hair

finely

is

bun adorned with

left

hand supports a child

her breast. Another child kneels on her

more

shoulder, and three

at

left

are depicted near her

The boy writing on a slate between her


The other two, one

feet.

right hand holds a cluster of grapes

S42), and her

(cf.

and

feet

looks like the Buddha.


carried

on the other's shoulders, appear to be

after the

woman's grapes.
In the context of Gandharan

Buddhist
Hariri,

goddess

art, this

who may

identified as

is

be represented independently

or along with her consort (see S44). This figure

doubtlessly was modeled after the well-known


Hariti image discovered from Skarah Dheri,

north of Peshawar (Bachofer 1929,


right).

Both

figures

150,

2: pi.

wear a similar hairstyle,

garland, and ear ornaments and hold a cluster of

grapes in their right hand. Moreover, in their

hand they hold

a child in a similar fashion at the

breasr and another sits

left

shoulders.

left

Although the

on their

feet

left

and base of the

Skarah Dheri Hariti are broken, the outline of a


seated figure can

still

be discerned berween her

Thus, the iconographic relationship

feet.

between the two figures

There
differences.

is

evident.

are,

however, stylistic

The Skarah Dheri

Hariti

clad, while this figure has a bare

fully

is

upper body and

arms. The other Hariti stands with slight


dehanchement while this figure
,

disrinctly

is

more

rigid.

provincial quality marks the modeling

of the form and proportions of the Los Angeles

treatment of

figure, noticeable especially in the

the muscle-bound arms and stiff garment. In


fact,

the plastic qualities of this figure

much

is

found from

closer to those apparent in sculptures

the site of Butkara in the Swat Valley (Faccenna

1962,

pis. cl, cliii,

the female breasts are

clxvi, cxciv). There, too,

somewhar

flar

and

left

uncovered, the faces are similarly broad, with

open eyes and

garments

clearly delineated pupils,

are rather crudely rendered.

Butkara sculptures

are,

inscribed and dated to the year 291


referring to the
it

The

of course, of the Kushan

period, while the Skarah Dheri Hariti

would make

and the

Vikrama

era of

is

This date,

57-58

B.C.

a sculpture of about A.D.

23334

(see

Khandalavala 1984). According to others

(see

Czuma

1985, p. 232), the Skarah Dheri

Hariti should be dated to A.D. 277. In either


case, a date in the

second half of the third

century for the Los Angeles Hariti seems


reasonable from the Butkara and Skarah Dheri
evidence.

172

if

S3'

Bocibisattiu

S51

Pakistan or northwestern India;

The style of the figure is even


more intriguing. Von Schroeder (see Literature)

third fourth century

suggests without supporting evidence that the

Copper

figure is from Kashmir and of the sixth century.


The treatment of the garment, especially in the

Bodhhattva

6 V2 in (16.5 cm)

alloy;

Gift of the

Ahmanson Foundation; M.74.9

Literature:

von Schroeder 1981, pp.

rendering of volume,

12-13.

is

characteristic of

Gandhara, although the folds are simplified.


Originally the bodhisattva probably stood on a

small rectangular base.

He

wears a dhoti with a

Unusual

the attention and importance given

is

to the sash tied

below the waist, which

rather heavy sash tied in large knots around his

characteristic of

hips. Parts of the sash fall in a V-shaped loop in

as the

front and

down

his shoulders

clasp,

He

the legs.

somewhat

also

A scarf is draped around

and held over the


as in the

Mathura yakshi

ornaments include

armlets, ear ornaments, and torque.


is

(S70).

seems to wear a sacred cord diagonally

across his body. His

arm

by

breast

left

bracelets,

The

left

empty. The right arm, slightly turned

toward the body,


reassurance.

is

crested turban covers the head.

The back of the

figure

was neither modeled nor

Because the figure


it is

assume that the

is

without

difficult to identify. If one

hand held

left

can

a waterpot, as in

entry S99, then the figure represents Maitreya.


In

to

figures,

circular, flat

more
such

torque

is

Mathura and Gandharan

bodhisattvas and gods, while the crested turban


is

more

typical of Mathura.

treatment of the scarf


sculpture. Another

is

The

also

Mathura

peculiar capelike

found in Mathura
trait is reflected in

rhe disposition of the right hand, which


similar to the right hand of the

who seem

it is

to the

to turn the

is

Mathura Buddha

Gandharan bodhisattvas,
palm completely toward

the body (see S99-100). Finally, the plastic


qualities of the simplified, almost abstracted

finished.

any emblems,

common

(S58) than

raised in the gesture of

Mathura Kushan

Balarama (S59). The

is

Gandharan stone

reliefs

Maitreya

is

frequently

represented as a princely figure, like other bodhisattvas, distinguished only

flanked a central

by the waterpot or

hand. This figure probably

flask held in his left

Buddha image

173

in a triad.

body

are quite unlike the

of Gandharan figures but

Gupta

modeling
is

more

characteristic

typical of

sculptures. Thus, the bronze

been created by an

may

artist strongly influenced

the artistic conventions of Gandhara and

Mathura.

have

by

S$2

The Goddess Anahita (?)

S52

garment hugging her hourglass

The Goddess Anahita (?)

Afghanistan; third fourth century

Copper

alloy; 5

in

is

said to have

been found

is

in

Afghanistan. Both technically and artistically


the sculpture raises interesting problems.

ears.

like

it is

plaited hair

is

form, as

treatment of the

the sculptor deliberately wanted to

if

emphasize

flat

its

two-dimensionality.

The

relatively

figure a plaquelike appearance.


is

Another curious

the extended, rectangular lug attached

to the back.

Almost three inches long,

function remains

unknown. Such lugs

were attached to a nimbus, but in

nimbus would have been

its

exact

broken.

is

down

few locks of hair also come

her face

Although she has few


attributes,

seems possible to identify her

it

as

Anahita, the great goddess of the ancient


Iranians. Indeed, the shape of her figure with

probably has specific iconographic significance.


In the Avesta, the ancient religious text of the
Iranians, the goddess

described:

is

usually

this case the

The slim-waisted goddess


Her

stands frontally on a now-missing base.

Ardvi Sura Anahita, who stands carried forth in

the

shape of a maid, fair of body, most strong, tall-

a disproportionate

formed, high-girded, nobly born of a glorious

distance from the figure.

are broken.

hand

strands behind her

high breasts, pinched waist, and flaring hips

shallow depth and flaring garment give the

feature

right

arm, which

left

and curl up against her cheeks.

known from any

struck by the very

The

falls in six

archaeological site in Afghanistan. First of all,

one

on the

bracelet remains

placed on her hip.

Her

Nothing quite

at

shallow crown tied by strings behind her head.

16

Only one
This figure

hem

and along the arms. She wears a necklace and

Ancient Art Council Fund and Indian Art

M.85.

is

her ankles and etched, stylized folds in the front

(13.3 cm)

Special Purposes Fund;

figure

indicated by the flaring and undulating

wearing along her


feet

She wears a chiton with a clasped

belt around her narrow waist. The volume of the

race,

a mantle fully embroidered

with gold. Ever holding the baresma in her hand,


according

to the rules,

she wears square golden earrings

and a

on her ears bored,

golden necklace around her

beautiful neck, she, the nobly born

Ardvi Sura

Anahita: and she girded her waist

tightly, so

may

breasts

be well-shaped, that they

pressed { Darmesteter 1 969

She

is

may

82-83}.

2: pp.

that her

be tightly

crown with

further said to wear a golden

streaming down" and a garment made of

"fillets

young beaver

An

animal skin.
the relief of

heavy folds of

skins. Indeed, the

may

her garment

well indicate that

it is

interesting parallel

made of

offered by

is

Anahita in the well-known Sasanian

investiture scene at

Naqsh-i-Rustam

in Iran

(Goddard 1965, pi. 100). There seems no doubt


that the wavy folds here are a linear version of the

more voluminous and

lively

rendering of the

garment's bottom edge around the

goddess in the Naqsh-i-Rustam


pattern

may

of the

feet

relief.

The

also be noted in the slightly earlier

relief of Shapur

(Goddard 1965,

pi.

ioi)and

in

a second-third century portrait of a princess at

Hatra (Colledge 1977,

pi.

136).

In the modeling of the goddess

the sculptor has adhered

much more

closely to

textual descriptions than to the

contempo-

raneous Naqsh-i-Rustam

The

relief.

constricted

waist of the goddess indeed gives added

emphasis to her breasts, whereas in the monumental

relief

no such distinct transition

is

made

between the waist and hips and the breasts are


almost nonexistent. Indeed, her
general

which

physiognomy

is

full breasts

and

reveal Indian influences,

not surprising for an object created in

Afghanistan. Because of the rarity of comparative materials (cf. Staviski

1979,

fig.

169), the

date suggested for this stylistically enigmatic

bronze

174

is

tentative.

Uttar Pradesh

S53a-b

Ttvo Fragments of a Copes tone

S53a

\"J^^">,

/I.,,

>

S 53 b

Museum, New

Ttvo Fragments of a Copes tone

S$3a-b

Museum

fur Indische

Kunst, West Berlin. All, including the smaller

50 b.c.-a.d. 5
Mottled red sandstone; height 6 Vi in (16.5 cm)

fragment

each; width, a, 39 Va in (101.0 cm);

incised on the rolling top of the stone.

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura area

(?);

From

the Nasli and Alice

1979, no.

1977

M.8i.90.2ia-b
Heeramaneck

(b only);

in

two

pieces, originally these

fragments belonged to a single copestone (cf.


Si 7) at least six feet long. As with most such
copestones, only one side

for the heads, faces,

and slightly more rotund

is

is

an agile animal and from the position of their

forelegs

seem ready

carved. Generally
different

Jain monuments, although some must also have

from a

fotmed parts of

railings for

Hindu

temples.

The

exact location of where this copestone was found

not known, but Mathura

is

a strong possibil-

Several other fragments are in the National

175

is

The

remarkably simple, the hoofs and

legs are sparingly articulated. Nevertheless, each

these copestones are associated with Buddhist or

ity.

carved

on each fragment. Of the animals, three are


lionesses and one is a horned goat or sheep. But

modeling

is

is

belly of the sheep, the animals are identical.

5.

Although now

recessed frieze of animals

alternating with a honeysuckle motif

Heeramaneck

Associates Purchase;

Literature: Hartel

contain a single line of inscription

V2 in (64.0

Museum

(b),

cm)

,25

Collection

Delhi, and

to pounce.

The honeysuckles assume two


forms. The four leaves of each spring

half-lotus, but theit positions are reversed

in alternate representations. In

one the upper

and curl up

leaves are plain

at the

end and the

lower leaves are palmettes with vertically folding


tips.

curl

In another the lower leaves are plain and

up

at the

end and the palm leaves above fold

back onto themselves. Above this

row

frieze is a

of alternating bells and buds suspended from an


astragal. This particular design

may

be seen in

Hartel further identifies this

Suryamitra

as a

kingdom with

king of the ancient Panchala

its

capital at Ahichchhatra, about

150 miles northeast of Mathura. Suryamitra

is

generally considered to have ruled sometime in

the second half of the

century B.C. Hartel,

first

however, considers the fragment b to have been

other railings at Bodhgaya, Mathura, and

carved somewhat later than the others because of

Kausambi

certain paleographical considerations and

(P.

Chandra 1970,

p. 59).

The incomplete
copestone

Brahmi

b,

inscription on

written in the Prakrit language and

script,

can be read:

"Ramno Gopalya

because the bells do not have horizontal lines.

The

first

seven bells in a, however, do have

horizontal striations, which

may simply have

putrasa Suryamitrasa pithamadena Kasl[p]."

been omitted from the others due to chance or

From other fragments Hartel

lack of time and need not necessarily indicate a

(see Literature)

has reconstructed the entire inscription and

later date. Similar bells also

proposed the following translation: "Caused to

Bharhut (Cunningham 1879, pl s XL-XLVin).

be

made by KasTputra Yasaka,

adorn copestones

at

the confidant of

king Suryamitra, the son of Gopali."

S54

Nature Goddess

S54

She stands in a columnar,

Nature Goddess

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura;

first

hieratic posture, her left

century

From

the Nasli and Alice

emphasized. The garment

Associates Purchase;

Literature:

1985a, p. 69,

figs.

closed

fist

is

is

indicated by the

gathered folds between the legs, a tassel across

M.86.21

Heeramaneck 1979,

its

Kushan-period sculpture, the mons veneris

Heeramaneck

Collection

Museum

hand with

placed resolutely near her abdomen. Typical of

Mottled red sandstone; 63 in (160.0 cm)

the right thigh, and striations below the knees.

no. 18; Pal

6-7.

multilayered chain belt secures the garment

around the hips.

arm

A scarf is carefully draped across

This larger-than-life figure probably once graced

the bent left

an outdoor shrine and was very likely

any way with the display of the torso. The now-

circumambulated by devotees. The figure


sculpted in the round, and a tree
the back.

Whatever her exact

is

is

fully

attached to

identification, the

raised,

figures.

are

damaged

condition, she

is

with a majestic presence.

monumental

figure

does not interfere in

with the hand forming the gesture of

reassurance as was usual with early divine

her importance

goddess. Despite her

it

broken right arm very likely was originally

close association with the tree clearly signifies


as a nature

so that

She wears a necklace, her ear ornamenrs

now damaged beyond

recognition.

The

was almost certainly rendered in the same

worn by females

in the railing pillar (S55).

tree at the back, rising

hair

style

The

from the bottom with

slender shoots and clusters of leaves springing

from the trunk, exrends to her head.

176

The

figure

is

stylistically

similar to the Sanchi tree dryads (S29).

The

differences are largely in matters of details and

subtle nuances of modeling. For instance, the

outline of the torso in this figure

perpendicularly to the waist,

falls

flares

almost

out rather

sharply and straight until the middle of the


thigh, and then tapers to the knee.
is

The abdomen

indicated by a very slight bulge, and the

kneecaps are prominently rendered. Although


the heavy breasts, ample hips, and fleshy thighs

emphasize the sheer physical presence of the


figure, the clear

and taut outline

swelling volume.

The back

is

restrains the

summarily

modeled, with emphasis on the

tree.

Nevertheless, the sensuous quality of the body

is

enhanced by the upper edge of the garment that


closely

hugs the hips and the two

fleshy arcs that

indicate the buttocks.

177

S55

Railing Pillar with Figures

S55

Color plate, p. 55

first

Mottled red sandstone; 21

From

and other

Railing Pillar with Figures

Uctar Pradesh, Mathura;

the Nasli and Alice

in (53.3

cm)

itself

exact religious affiliation

not particularly sacred.

is

Most of the

Heeramaneck

pillar

was once

occupied by an elegant female, whose bust

Collection

Museum

The

places.

of this pillar cannot be determined; the subject

century

Associates Purchase;

Literature: Rosenfield et

al.

now

only remains. She holds a partly fluted cup in her

M.85.2.2

1966, pp. 30-31;

right hand.

The bejeweled

flowering tree and

Beach 1967, p. 162; Meister 1968, p. 108;


Trubner 1968, p. 5, fig. 3; Glynn 1972, fig.

1;

The

balcony.

is

pillars

lady stands below a

observed by a couple from a

supporting the arched roof

topped with lion capitals. The couple above

Pal 1974b, p. 27; Trabold 1975, p. 12, no. 2;

are

Heeramaneck 1979, no. 21; Fisher 1982,


Czuma 1985, pp. 91-92.

undoubtedly are watching some sort of rite.

p.

40;

Placing her right index finger to her

woman

at the left

This railing part or upright once supported a

companion

copestone such as that discussed in entry

watching the bejeweled

S53a-b. Indeed, the balustrade above the


this relief depicts

tree in

such a railing, which

surrounded religious edifices in Kushan Mathura

lips,

the

admonishes her male

to be quiet. Very likely they are

perhaps a princess,

lady,

perform a particular and popular

rite

known

as

dohada. During this rite young girls touch or


caress a particular tree to increase its capacity to

blossom. The word dohada

meaning "milking"
and antiquity of
sport,

is

derived from doha,

or "to yield."

The popularity

this rite, also regarded as a

vouchsafed in ancient Indian literature

is

and provided

a frequent

theme

for sculptors

(Sivaramamurti 1970, pp. 12, 3941).


In an earlier publication

Rosenfield (see Literature) identified the tree as


the asoka and

commented upon

representation.

He

the scene as an as'okadohada


the asoka flowers

young

girl

wine cup
to

make

when

who carries

is

its realistic

did not, however, identify

It is

the trunk

cup

also necessary

believed that
is

kicked by a

in her right hand.

when

a girl attempts

the bakula tree flower by spraying the

with wine from her mouth. Indeed, the

tree

flowers

on

of bakula.

this tree are not the

As the

asoka but clusters

fifth-century Sanskrit poet

Kalidasa wrote, "In the vicinity of the madhavT


creeper bower fenced by kuruvaka trees are the
raktasoka tree with

its

waving tender shoot and

the lovely bakula tree; the one, along with me,

longs for the foot of this lady friend of yours and


the other mouthfuls of wine on the pretext of

blossoming again" (Sivaramamurti 1970, p. 40).

with beautiful

The decorating of railing pillars


females engaged in mundane

activities appears to

have been a characteristic of

Kushan-period architecture

at

Mathura.

Furthermore, Kushan-period sculptors were


fond of dividing the pillar into two sections, a
larger,

lady,

lower section containing a voluptuous

much more deeply

cut and naturalistic than

the earlier Bharhut relief figures, and a smaller,

upper section representing a balcony, usually


with a couple watching the female below.
Typical also of Kushan-period sculptures are the
distinctive hairstyles.

Men

wear their hair

combed into the shape of a cap with a fringelike


row of striations along the front. Women display
a prominent coque de chevelure. The design of the
fluted

cup held by the lady can be traced

to

Hellenistic sources (Marshall [1951} 1975,


pi.

178

130, no. 226a).

3:

556

Crossbar

S56

Crossbar

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; first-second century

Mottled red sandstone; 9

V-i

cm)

in (24.7

Purchased with Harry and Yvonne Lenart Funds;

M. 85. 224.
Crossbars were used in railings as in two
sculptures in the collection (S29). Carved on

both sides with two different motifs, this

example probably

is

from an ancient Buddhist

shrine in Mathura.

On

one side

(a)

is

wheel

surrounded by a garland. The seventeen spokes


of the wheel alternate with knobs, the exact
function of which

is

not known. They

may be

imitations of pinheads used in a real wheel.

garlanding of the entire wheel rim

is

The

unusual,

quite different from the use of similar garlands at

Bharhut, which hang from a projecting wheel

hub (Barua 1979, pis. L-Ll). The wheel is one of


the most important symbols in Buddhist art,
signifying the religion itself and
ically the first

more

specif-

sermon of Buddha Sakyamuni

at

Sarnath, near Varanasi

On
which appears
motif

in early

Mathura

the reverse

to have

(b) is

the lotus,

been the most popular

Buddhist

art, especially in

for decorating crossbars.

As on

the

other side, the corners of the central raised

Side a

section are filled with lotus buds. (For other

examples of similar crossbars from Govindnagar


in

Mathura, see R. C. Sharma 1984,

20-25.)

Sideb

179

_..

figs.

Mayadevi

S$ 7

Mayadevi

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura;

ioo

c.

Copper with green patina; 2

/s in (7.3

cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Subhash Kapoor;

M. 84. 169.2
Literature: Pal 1985a, p. 71, fig. 9.

The figure is identified


of Buddha Sakyamuni.

as

Whatever

Mayadevi, mother

When

viewed

vertically,

the disk behind her head appears as a nimbus.

standing figure, whether divine or mortal,


usually does not place the right

the head in such a gesture

assumed by

recumbent

hand behind

himself in his death scenes (Pal et

in fact, a cushion

nimbus

is flat

not only
rests,

is

is

evident by

its

form.

the form depressed where the head


is

in

offered by the figure in entry S55.

slightly varied

form of the

is

coque de chevelure of

similar to that seen in

some

of the well-known Bhuteswar ladies, while the

worn by
I

rounded and substantial

made

the three, the closest

arrangement of the bouffant

and straightedged. Here, however,

but the edge

is

Among

the bronze figure

1984,

al.

nimbus behind the head

pp. 77, 121). That the


is,

comparison

The

Buddha

exact identi-

very similar to stone figures in the collection

(S54-55, S70).

figure, as in early

its

bronze probably was

Mathura during the Kushan period. In general,


the modeling of the figure with swelling breasts
is

more commonly

representations of Mayadevi or the

fication, the

979.

a tree dryad

figs.

31, 59).

is

identical to that

from Kankali Tila (Roy

Few bronzes can, with such


Kushan Mathura, and

certitude, be assigned to

and, thereby, clearly three-dimensional.

the two that were excavated from Sonkh are of

Furthermore,

rather mediocre

lines indicating folds or

radiate at regular intervals

from the

feature not seen in any early

seams

center, a

nimbus but which

is

characteristic of cushions (Pal et al. 1984, p.

138). Indeed, that the figure

necklace slips

is

lying

down

is

by the manner in which the pearl

also suggested

down

her

left

shoulder. Thus, this

fragment was part of a more complex bronze

showing

a female lying

on

a cot

with her head

resting against a cushion or pillow supported by

her right hand.

The

figure probably represents

Mayadevi dreaming about the future Buddha,

who would

enter her

womb

in the

form of the

The function of the hole on the


cushion is not clear. It may have been made

elephant.

180

later.

figs.

workmanship (Hartel 1976,


3334). This fragmentary bronze Mayadevi

with

its

elegant coiffure, however,

crafted in

form and

detail.

is

superbly

The unknown

sculptor was observant and skillful and no less


self-confident than those responsible for the

much-admired voluptuous stone females of

Kushan Mathura.

Triad with the Buddha

S}8

**

S58

Triad with the Buddha

The two

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; 100

Sakyamuni

Mottled red sandstone; 16 V2 in (41.9 cm)

for a

From

the Nasli and Alice

Heeramaneck

Museum

Associates Purchase;

Literature:

his left

M. 71. 1.44
2; Montgomery

Dohanian 1961, no.

and Lippe 1962, pp. 36-37; Rosenfield


1966, pp. 34-35; Heeramaneck 1979,

et al.

no. 19.

behind

are rather similarly fashioned except

few noteworthy differences. The figure near

arm wears

a turban

projecting above his

Collection

figures

hand cannot be seen;


flywhisk.

The other
stele.

He

ornament. His

in his right

left

hand he holds

figure inclines so far right

and arm project beyond the

that parts of his head

edge of the

with the crest

left ear

is

without ear ornaments or

turban and wears a necklace and what has been

Buddha Sakyamuni

is

flanked by two divine

identified as an animal skin. Interestingly, his

indicated by tiny curls that later became a

attendants on the upper half of a slightly curv-

hair

ing, rectangular stele. In the complete stele

characteristic of

Sakyamuni would have been seated


posture on a lion throne.

in the lotus

The disproportionately

is

c.

100, sandstone. Mr. and Mrs. James

W.

Alsdorf, Chicago.

the Buddha's importance. His

arm

are covered

clenched
knee.

fist

The

by

garment,

left

shoulder and

his left

hand with

would have been placed on the

right

arm

is

raised to the shoulder

with the hand turned sideways, displaying the


gesture of reassurance.

The

figure

by a buttress ornamented with a


Sakyamuni's face

is

is

supported

floral

design.

distinguished by wide, star-

ing eyes and a gently smiling expression.

The

earlobes are extended as a sign of his superhu-

manity.

The urna and

181

spiral

topknot are absent.

(see Si 10).

With

his

right hand, he holds a dumbbell-like object,

generally identified as the thunderbolt.

The upper

smaller size of the two attendants emphasizes


Buddha Sakyamunt Uttar Pradesh,

Sakyamuni

would have displayed

part of the stele

a scalloped

nimbus. Three

scallops are visible near the thunderbolt bearer's

head on the

left.

Also missing are the two flying

angels bearing garlands and, perhaps, branches

and leaves of the bodhi tree under which


Sakyamuni was enlightened.

This Buddhist image very

was fashioned

likely

in the first century

Mathura, and

tors at

it

is the thunderbolt (1949, pp.


172-77). The problem with van Lohuizen-de-

principal attribute

by sculp-

Leeuw's suggestion

remained the standard

is

that Indra

is

well

probably into the third century. Several complete

represented in the art of this period at Mathura

examples remain

and elsewhere and he

(see Pal et al.

All are very similar with only

1984, p. 192).

minor

variations.

The most noteworthy innovation in this stele is


the manner in which the thunderbolt bearer's
hair

rendered in tiny curls. In

is

all

prominent

usually with a

The small

figures

and

a few other

known being

crest rising

Buddhist

The
dants generally

is

figures, the best

reliefs,

is

attendant in such Buddhist triads

always
as an

is

often clad in

with an animal skin tied around

fig. 54).

his

neck, both inappropriate garments for Indra.

The

hairstyle of this figure certainly mitigates

thunderbolt

divinity of the two atten-

an attribute of the bodhisattva

is

who

Vajrapani,

The

frequently appears as the

Buddha's guardian in Gandharan art of the

While

period.

yet to be established. In

the identification of these two

may

attendants as bodhisattvas

such as the well-known Katra

example (Coomaraswamy [1927] 1985,

is

Gandhara and Mathura,

dressed, both in

against his identification with Indra.

not disputed, their exact

identity, however,

some

on Jina

the inscribed Maitreya from

Ahichchhatra (Rosenfield 1967,

latter serving as a

distinctive attribute. Moreover, he

a short skirt

from the

snail-shell curls occur

never shown without a

is

crown, the

tall

Indian prince, whereas the thunderbolt-bearing

other

examples he and his companion wear a turban,

center.

turban or

not be certain,

they undoubtedly represent two yakshas, one of

pi.

xxiii, no. 84), the figures hold only the flywhisk

whom

and, therefore, cannot be distinguished. In

who

others, such as this example, one figure

yaksha and a bodhisattva. The dumbbell-like

is

was

at

times distinguished as Vajrapani,

Buddhist tradition

in the

known both

is

as a

distinguished not only by his hairstyle and

thunderbolt occurs only in the hands of these

accoutrements, but also by the thunderbolt in

figures,

his

Coomaraswamy sought

hand.

to identify this

figure as a yaksha called Vajrapani (thunderbolt

whose

in

Gandhara nor

Indra in Mathura or Gandhara holds a similarly

shaped implement. The thunderbolt in the early

Buddhist

Lohuizen-de Leeuw argued

bearer), while van

strongly for his identification with Indra,

and neither Vajrapani

(see S84),

art of Andhra

more

Pradesh

is

quite different

closely resembling a shaft

with

three prongs.

S59

The God Balarama

or

Serpent-King

The God Balarama

S59

or

Although

Serpent-King

all

such figures are

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; 100125

usually identified as Nagaraja, king of serpents,

Mottled red sandstone; 55 in (139.7 cm)


From the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck

there seems a strong probability that this figure

Collection

deified heroes

Museum

Associates Purchase;

represents Balarama, or Samkarshana, one of five

M. 73.4.

left

larger-than-life

male figure stands with legs

if

attached to the raised right arm.

The

in the

hand, a distinctive attribute of Balarama

Kushan

Mathura. Balarama was inordinately fond of

preserved, would have formed an

impressive canopy above him. Part of the hood


still

group by the

identification can be

rather than Nagaraja, particularly in

spread wide apart against a coiling serpent,

whose hood,

as a

The

deduced from the outline of the wine cup

Literature: Rosenfield et al. 1966, p. 33.

worshiped

Vrishnis at Mathura.

is

figure

drinking and, in

fact,

died while inebriated.

The

serpent-king usually holds a pot containing an


elixir in his

lowered

left

hand. Indeed, the same

wears a dhoti, recognizable by the hemline

iconography was used in another Mathura

below the knee and pleated section between the

sculpture, where the context clearly identifies

legs.

and

Cord

tassels

hang down the right thigh,

a scarf, tied diagonally

below the prominent

navel, forms a very substantial knot beside the

right hip.

broad necklace hugs the neck, and a

garland of flowers adorns the chest.

hand almost certainly held

which can

still

The

the figure as Balarama represented against a

multihooded serpent with


and

his left

1966,

fig.

be discerned; the right hand once

hand

raised

wine cup (Joshi

38).
Stylistically, the sculpture is

left

a cup, the outline of

hand holding

his right

clearly related to the equally

monumental

figure

of a nature goddess in the collection (S54). Both

displayed a gesture characteristic of a universal

images exhibit the surging volume and heroic

monarch (chakravartin)

quality characteristic of Mathura sculpture of the

in ancient India.

Kushan

period. Notwithstanding the emphasis

on mass and expressive contour with subtle

182

modulations of outline, conscious deviation from

This Balarama

stylistically

an example from Chargaon near

the vertical axis, asymmetrical disposition of the

parallels

projecting knot, and flattened, but animated

Mathura, dated by inscription to the fortieth

coils of the serpent, this

enormous power and

is

a sculpture

vitality.

of

Noteworthy

is

the

prominent delineation of the genital organ, a


typical

Kushan-period feature.

yearoftheKanishkaera(Bachofer 1929, pi. 97).


If the inscriptions refers to the Saka era
beginning in the year 78, the Chargaon Nagaraja

would have been sculpted about

museum's example,
dated to the

183

first

18.

The

therefore, could safely be

quarter of the second century.

S6o

Head of the Buddha


S6o

This strongly modeled head once belonged to a

Head of the Buddha

Buddha Sakyamuni. The

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; 150-200

standing figure of the

!/ in (36.2 cm)
From the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck

impressive proportions indicate that the image


originally

Collection

larger in the tradition of the

Mottled red sandstone; 14

Museum

Associates Purchase;

Literature:

Glynn 1972,

fig.

M. 69. 13.9

must have been

at least life size if not

well-known

examples dedicated by the Buddhist

monk

Bala

in the first half of the second century

2.

(Coomaraswamy [1927] 1985, pi. xxn, no.


A nimbus was once attached to the head.

83).

Except for slight damage on the


nose, lips,

and chin, the head

well preserved

is

and proportioned, forming a perfect


the modeling

is

The

oval.

and

essential features are articulately defined,

subtle and expressive.

The

remarkably calm visage expresses an inner serenity.

The urna

indicated by a circle above the

is

The

bridge of the nose.

The

now

hair

earlobes are elongated.

was arranged into a

spiral topknot,

broken.

On
the hairline usually

most such heads


is

(see

S58)

delineated by a straight

line following the curve of the

temple rather

than the undulating line of this example. The


deviation

is,

therefore, interesting as

is

are not quite as

broader lids

open

make

as in other faces,

the countenance

the facial

The

expression and treatment of the eyes.

eyes

and the

more

contemplative, thereby anticipating the


expression that became typical of Gupta-period

Buddha images

Si 10). In other respects,

(see

however, the head

is

not dissimilar to the

standard Kushan type. Thus, these deviations

may

indicate the

work of a highly individual

sculptor and a date in the second century.

56/

Head of the Buddha


S6 1

Head of the Buddha

the larger heads, and the ears are

more

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; second century

summarily rendered. Indeed, the

ears are

Mottled red sandstone; 4 in (10.2 cm)


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Phillips;

precisely rendered in the other examples.

urna probably was a circle between the eyebrows,

M. 82. 230.

and part of the

spiral

topknot

still

The

remains.

Of

interest are the parallel incisions along the

This diminutive head once belonged to a small

Buddha image

may have been intended for a


With its large, staring eyes and

that

domestic shrine.

smiling countenance,
to

two other examples

S60).

it is

closely related in style

piece, however,

not quite as sophisticated, although


interesting.
in other

The nose

no

The eyebrows

flares rather

are simple
and lack the modeled articulation of

184

is

less

not as finely chiseled as

Kushan-period figures and

disproportionately.
incisions

is

it is

In fact, the caplike hairstyle has


this little

head than

it

Generally, no attempt

Buddha.

more volume

in

does in the other two.


is

made

in

most other

early-Kushan-period Buddha images to indicate

in the collection (S58,

The workmanship of this

hairline indicating the long hair of the

the hair in this manner, although in other figures

(S55) the hairline

is

similarly demarcated with

small, parallel incisions.


artist deviating

Once

again,

from the norm.

we

see an

This hairstyle, with the hair


pulled back and gathered in a spiral knot,

known

in Sanskrit as

shell." It appears to

is

kaparda meaning "cowrie

have been used in Mathura

only for early-Kushan-period

and, hence, the figure

Buddha images,

often characterized as

is

kapardin. In any event, the hairstyle clearly

demonstrates that one of the important


supernatural signs of the
curly hair

was

tradition, the

Buddha

According

a later invention.

Buddha

his short,

to

cut off his hair at the time

of his renunciation and presumably was a

tonsured

monk

after his

enlightenment. Early

sculptors of Mathura, however, preferred to

him as
tonsured monk.
represent

S62

Head of a

a kapardin yogi rather than a

Bodhisattva

S62

Head of a

This

Bodhisattva

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; second century

Mottled red sandstone; 4

V2 in (1

.4

cm)

little

head probably once belonged to a

bodhisattva image. This identification

is

supported by the presence of a dot between the

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Pratapaditya Pal;

eyebrows and by a comparison with a more

M.76. 147.2

complete

Literature:

Czuma

1985, pp. 82-83.

relief

of a bodhisattva seated in the

homage from a monk


(Coomaraswamy [1927]

yogic posture receiving

and flying divinity


1985,
dot

is

pi. XXIII, fig. 87).

Known

as the urna, the

a sign of greatness that appears primarily

on the forehead of the Buddha

as early as the first

century a.d. Although intended to represent a


tuft of hair, in

most images

appears as a dot.

it

The head may have belonged

to an

image of

either Avalokitesvara or Maitreya, although the


latter

is

more

likely.

Stylistically, the

head

is

very

by

similar to the bodhisattva relief illustrated

Coomaraswamy, who dated


early

Kushan

The

period.

it

generally to the

facial features are

almost identical, and both heads are covered

bow

with turbans consisting of a prominent


in the center

lotus

by a clasp adorned with an open

and garlands. This type of turban

significantly

differs

from the more characteristic

Kushan-period turban with prominent


is

held

crest that

distinctly taller than the height of the

turban.

The manner

in

which the hair

is

shown

in curls along the front edge of the turban

is

also a rare feature in early-Kushan-period art

(Rosenfield 1967,
this

head

museum

is

closely

figs.

43, 54). The style of

comparable to the Mathura

Karttikeya dated in the year

(Rosenfield 1967,

bodhisattva in

fig.

49), a meditating

the Kronos collection (Lerner

1984, pp. 30-35), and a small bodhisattva


recovered from the Govindnagar site at

Mathura (R. C. Sharma 1984,

fig.

exact date of this image, therefore,

depend

on whether or not the year

160).

The

would
1 1

of the

Karttikeya image refers to the Saka era of A.D.


78, about which there is a difference of opinion

among
185

scholars.

S63

Male Head
S6}

Although only

Male Head

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; second century

Mottled red sandstone; 6

Vi in (17.

cm)

partially preserved, the

back of

the head having been sliced off along with the


ears

and parts of the turban, the head

is

Purchased with Harry and Yvonne Lenart Funds;

unusual example of a portrait sculpture.

M.85. 1592

Stylistically, it is closely related to a

monumental head
National

also

an

more

from Mathura, now

Museum, New Delhi

(P.

in the

Chandra

1985, p. 64, no. 16). Long considered a fine and

example of Kushan-period portraiture, the

rare

head has been frequently published. The present


head

is

no

rendering, perhaps of

less a sensitive

an important donor. Notwithstanding the


idealization preferred by Indian artists, the
features

seem

modeling

is

sufficiently particularized.

especially refined,

The

and various

planes have been delineated with subtle


plasticity. Altogether, the representation

and expressive, and even


identified, there
aristocratic

is

if

is

lively

the figure cannot be

no doubt about his

and dignified bearing.


In addition to their general,

formal kinship, the heads have similar sideburns

and delicately expressive


their turbans, however,

eyes.

is

The design of

different.

This figure

wears a turban similar to that of the small


bodhisattva head (S62).

The absence of the urna

and more individualized delineation of the


features identify this portrait as a mortal rather

than divine representation.

186

S6 4

The

God Kubera and Spouse


The God Kubera arid Spouse

S64

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; second century

Mottled red sandstone; 6

Vi in

(16.5 cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Subhash Kapoor;

M. 85. 72.

The small

rectangular relief

figures, each squatting

front with

is

carved with two

on a base decorated

two widely crossed staves or bamboos.

Mortals and divinities were

Both
graphically this relief

in

commonly

earlier of the

stylistically
is

and icono-

closely related to the

two Mathura museum sculptures.

There, too, only a couple

is

represented and the

represented in this posture in Kushan-period

female holds a child in her lap. While the

Mathura. The corpulent male figure represents

identity of the male figure as

Kubera, god of wealth. The object in his right

the identification of the female as Hariri (Joshi

hand cannot be

1966)

identified with certainty, but

appears to be conical and


spear.

The

abraded,

is

object in his

may

left

it

be the point of a

as

can be

more clearly in two similar reliefs in the


Mathura museum (Joshi 1966, figs. 40, 69).
slightly smaller, female

companion seems

to

object held in her right hand probably

represents a lotus.

weapon

is

(Pal 1977). In a
is

also associated

Hindu

is

shown with

also a prescribed

Buddhist context Hariti


with Kubera

texts Kubera's

either Sri-Lakshmi or Riddhi,

ever

certain,

described in early texts as corpulent

S44), while in

suppott in her lap what remains of a child; rhe

damaged

is

generally

seen

The

Kubera

is

be questioned. As lord of the yakshas,

and fond of alcohol; the lance

hand, although

almost certainly a wine cup,

may

Kubera

a child.

Thus,

here does represent Hariti, then

conclude that such Mathura

(ct.

companion

none of whom
if

is

the goddess

we must

reliefs

were used in a

Buddhist rather than Hindu context. In any


event, such

Mathura

reliefs are clearly

the

counterparts of Gandharan steles with a tutelary

couple as illustrated in entry S44.

187

56 5

Relief with Three Goddesses

S65

Relief with Three Goddesses

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; second century


1 cm)
Ramesh Kapoor;

Mottled red sandstone; 6 Va in (17.


Gift of Mr. and Mrs.

M. 85. 212.

Triads of goddesses are not


relief may

This broken

three figures as
right

arm of a

is

have contained more than

evident from part of the broken

fourth figure on the right.

three figures that are

now

The

partially preserved are

female, and each sits identically on her haunches.

Raised to shoulder level the right

arm

of each

displays the gesture of reassurance, the left

seems to

rest

each goddess

on the
is

left

arm

thigh. Thus, basically

almost identical to that seen in

another contemporary relief representing Kubera

and

his spouse (S64).

clearly

human, the

While two of the heads

third broken head

been that of an animal such as a goat

(cf.

Animal-headed goddesses were portrayed


other such Kushan-period

188

reliefs.

are

may have
S66).
in

unknown

in

Kushan Mathura, goddesses are


five or six. The fourth

also

depicted in groups of
figure in this relief

serving as a

may

common

well have been a male

spouse. Because they

do

not have any specific attributes they are difficult


to identify.

group of six, however, could

represent the six Krittikas or Pleiades,

suckled the infant

Kumara

who

after his birth, or

they could be identified as six mother goddesses,

who

later

came

to be regarded as part of the

Saptamatrika group.

566

Fertility Couple

566

Almost certainly the animal-

Fertility Couple

headed god

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; second century

Mottled red sandstone; 10 Va in (27.3 cm)

M.85.212.

is

of

ttadition,

In any event, according to Jain

Naigamesha was responsible

considerable iconographic significance.

The

transferring the

animal-headed male figure on the right

raises his

woman

right

arm

very likely
closed

it is

fist is

like that of a horse,

of a goat. His

left

the man's wrist.

intriguing question.

arm with

placed against his waist.

in a shallow basket,

baby

companion
lies

which may be hanging from

On

his right stands a female

holding what appears to be a flywhisk in her


right hand.

Her

tassel or bag.

left

hand may be clutching a

Between the two

is

to

a small boy.

embryo

Who exactly

is

is

an

his female

also not clear. In another relief of

is

the period (B.

N. Sharma 1979,

Naigamesha

seated on a throne and one of the

is

three females in attendance

is

pi.

fanning

24)

him with

flywhisk. Interestingly, there, too, a child stands

between the throne and the flywhisk-bearing


lady and a second

shallow basket.
flanked

woman

Whether

Naigamesha on

determined.

189

for

embryo of Mahavira from one


another. Whether in fact the infant

held in the basket represents this

in the gesture of reassurance.

Although the head looks

protects

Hindu literature is a companion


of Kumara. He also came to be identified with
Kumara.

this relief

who

in early

children and in

Although fragmentary,

Naigamesha, who appears

literature of the Jains as a yaksha

Ramesh Kapoor;

Gift of Mr. and Mrs.

is

holds an infant in a
a second female

his left

cannot be

S6 7

The

God Kurnara
56 7

The

This fragmentary sculpture, probably used in a

God Kurnara

domestic shrine,

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; second century

Mottled red sandstone;

'/>

cm)

in (14.0

is

an extremely rare

representation of the

Although there

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Kurit;

is

god Skanda,

Kushan Mathura,

flourishing cult of this deity in

M. 85. 213.

in

or Kurnara.

ample evidence of the

no other images of the period has he been

He

portrayed so clearly as a child.

is

usually

depicted in Kushan Mathura and on coins (see

C12C)

as

left in

no doubt that the god

an adolescent. In this example

to reach adolescence. His extreme youth

indicated by his
features

bun

and

plump

hairstyle.

figure

we

who

a child

is

are

yet

is

is

and boyish

His hair

is

gathered in a

top of the head with two plaits falling

at the

over the shoulders. His ornaments include large,

doughnut-shaped earrings and


rests against his chest.

a locket,

which

The lower garment does

not cover his sexual organs. Although a child, he


nevertheless stands like an adult, holding the
spear with his

left

hand. The right hand was very

likely raised to the shoulder

and displayed the

more complete

gesture of reassurance as in the

and much larger image of the god dated in the


year

1 1

(Rosenfield 196.7,

fig.

49).

plain cir-

cular nimbus, parts of which remain at the back,


clearly

S68

announces the child's divine nature.

Mother Goddess

S68

During the Kushan period

Mother Goddess

posture with legs extended was

Uttar Pradesh; second century

Red

terra-cotta; 14 Vi in (36.8

cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lionel Bell;


Literature: Larson et

al.

assigned to a variety of female deities, loosely

M. 81. 269.

identified as

1980, p. 43, no. 5.

children,
their

Straight and rigid, the goddess sits on a hollow,


cylindrical stool.

The

right leg

is

held in the right hand


is

held in the

left

hand

is

The

S74).

The modeling

is

perfunctory, the hands and feet coarsely

rendered.

The

navel

is

prominent, and the

pointed breasts are placed rather high on the


torso.

some

The goddess wears an apronlike skirt and


Her elongated ears are

are

benign

carry

figures, others display

their strictly frontal

posture and severe facial expression. Similar

been excavated from the Kushan-

period tank at Sringaverapur near Allahabad

(Thapar 1981,

object

missing, a shallow cup

(cf.

Mother Goddesses. Some

awesome nature by

figures have

broken, the

head has been recently reattached. The hands are


placed symmetrically on the knees.

this

commonly

pi.

xxixa-b). Smaller figures

carrying children or shallow cups are attached to

Kushan-period votive tanks found

at

Ahichchhatra, Kausambi, and other


Uttar Pradesh (Kala 1950,
S.

Agrawala 1947-48,

Kausambi

pi.

sites in

pi. LIU, nos.

2-4; V.

xxxix). Some

figures, characterized

by hollow,

molded heads, and appliqued

necklace but no bracelets.

cylindrical bodies,

curiously shaped, and her facial features are

limbs and ornaments, as in this sculpture, have

crudely delineated.
hair, is

The back, except

even more summarily treated.

190

for the

been excavated from a layer datable to about 200


(G. R.

Sharma i960, pp. 78-79,

pi. 47).

i9i

S6 9

The Lion Avatar of Vishnu ( ?

569

The Lion Avatar of Vishnu ( ?

represented as a composite figure with an

Uttar Pradesh, Kausambi; second century

anthropomorphic body supporting the head of a

Buff terra-cotta; 3 Vh in (9.2 cm)

lion.

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund; M.82. 18.

representation was discovered in

same posrure

in

lion

seated frontally on his haunches on a

is

troughlike base with his hind legs bent at the

knees and fronr legs fully extended. His tongue

hangs out, and his phallus

is

The back

erect.

is

plain without any modeling.

An

Some

years ago, however, at least one

which the god

shown

is

carried in the animal's'paws, together wirh the

context of the represenration, identifies the

almost identical piece,

Kausambi (Kala 1950, p. 74, pi.


lv; Kala 1980, fig. 204). In Kala 1980 the piece
is mounted as a toy cart with the axle passing

plaque.

through the hole of the barrel-shaped base

well

in the collection (S26). It

cylindrical base

is

as in

possible

was once attached to a

and served

as a toy or

mobile

votive object.
interesting feature of the

which suggests that

his erect phallus,

is

the lion probably

divine rather than mortal

is

and may represent Narasimha, the man-lion

Vishnu

avatar of

Andhra

(see Si 29).

From

the

is

is

the

ithyphallic nature of the divine animal as in this

An

erect phallus

is

not incompatible

with Narasimha, whose association with yoga

is

known (Gopinatha Rao [1914-16] 1968,

1:

pp. 149-50, pi.

An

1).

earlier tradition of

representing Narasimha theriomorphically


clearly

demonstrated by a Kushan-period stone

is

Lucknow museum
6).

now

in the

(Srinivasan 1979, p. 41,

fig.

In this sculpture, too, the theriomorphic

Narasimha

is

seated exactly as he

is

in the Los

Angeles terra-cotta plaque.

Gupta

period this incarnarion of Vishnu generally

Thus, there
the lion in these

Kausambi

serves both a secular

ithyphallic lion

explain

if it

the other

.S70

interest

figure of the

sculpture recovered from Bhita and

An
animal

Of particular

Narasimha.

figure as

ancient city of

that this example, too,

but

with two human arms added to the shoulders


(Waheed Khan 1964). The sword and wheel

representation in the

ram

as a lion seated in the

as the figure here discussed

probably from the same mold, was found in the

the toy

Andhra Pradesh

is

a possibiliry that

terra-cotta plaques

An

and religious purpose.

would otherwise be

were simply a child's

Kausambi piece

difficult to

toy.

Kala dates

to the first century.

Female Figure

S70

9293), she may have stood on a grotesque

Female Figure

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura;

dwarf and, hence, may be idenrified

200

c.

Mottled red sandstone; 28 V2 in (72.4 cm)

From

the Nasli and Alice

Stylistically,

as a yakshi.

however, she

is

quite different from the Bhuteswar yakshis,

Heeramaneck

Collection

which

Museum

she shares qualities with the yakshi from Fyzabad

Associates Purchase; M.78.9. 16

Lirerature: Rosenfield et

1966, pp. 31-32;

al.

Beach 1967, p. 163; Meister 1968,

p.

no. 26;

Czuma

in the Bharat

Krishna

p. 108;

971,

around 100. Rather,

Kala Bhavan, Varanasi (Anand

fig.

118),

and

similar female figures from

Trabold 1975, cover and pp. 12-13;

Heeramaneck 1979,

now

are generally dated

several other

Mathura generally

dated to the second-third century. Similar also

1985,

a piece in a private collection in

103.

New York

is

dated

to the second-third century (Lerner

The sculpture may once have served


pillar or upright. If it did,

section

as a railing

comparison with the museum's figure and

then the upper

must have been similar

1984, pp.
8-9), while another, offering perhaps the closest

recovered from Jaisingapore near Mathura, has

to the other

fragmentary pillar in the collection (S55). The

been assigned a circa third-century date {In

back

Image of Man, p. 112, no. 66). Indeed, both

to

slab,

however,

accommodate

possible that

it

is

thinner and

is

nor recessed

a crossbar as are orhers. It

is

was an end piece, and, hence, the

groove would have been on the right. The width


of the sculpture

most of which

is

unusual for a railing

are narrower.

architectural function, there

pillar,

Whatever her exact


is

no doubt that,

which represent the

the

these figures are strikingly alike in their elegant

proportions, posture with emphatic thrust of the


tight hip, clear and

smooth contour, and

modeling. Thus, a circa 200 date

svelte

for this yakshi

seems eminently possible, and, while


Rosenfield's suggestion (see Literature) for a late-

unacceptable, he

fourth-century date

is

hallmarks of Kushan-period art at Mathura, she

when he comments

that this

symbolizes the abundance of nature. As with

figure "reaches a higher level of refinement than

like other such figures,

several othet well-preserved

examples recovered

from Bhuteswar or Mathura (Bachofer 1929,


192

pis.

is

correct

charming female

any of the dozens of known Kushan-period

figures of the type"

and that

it

may have been

created by a "sculptor uniquely gifted for his

time."

Indeed, several features

make

this figure unusual, if not unique. Usually, in

such Kushan-period female figures the


veneris

is

mons

conspicuously displayed, but here the

sculptor has decorously and deftly used the ends

of the realistically rendered tape or belt to cover


her nudity. She holds one of the two ends of the
belt with her left hand,

attached to the thigh.


strings

and

tassels

are unusual.

two fingers

The

are still

articulately carved

hanging along her

Another uncommon

thigh

left

element

is

the

almost invisible, diaphanous upper garment


containing her voluptuous breasts.
outline of the
breasts

and

is

hem

is

The

faint

etched across the top of her

attached by a clasp to the other

portion draping her

left

shoulder.

Few female

Kushan period are known to wear


such an upper garment, which is reminiscent of
figures of the

the extremely light and gossamer cottons for

which India was famous


the

Roman

West

as early as

times. Finally, her proportions are

somewhat more

Kushan

in the

naturalistic than those of earlier

figures (see S54),

hips are not quite as

full.

and the breasts and


These variations indi-

cate that the sculptor responsible for this

what enigmatic

193

figure

some-

was indeed inventive.

S7*

Female Figure

S71

Although rendered

Female Figure

Uttar Pradesh, Kausambi

Red

terra-cotta;

From

6 Vh

(?); c.

terra-cotta figure stylistically

200

M.72.

garment

1.2

Literature: Rosenfield et al. 1966, p. 10;

Czuma

is

held in place by a chain girdle.

long, wide scarflike cloth hangs from the chains.

Her ornaments

1985, p. 125.

left leg

Her diaphanous

rather sharply bent at the knee.

Associates Purchase;

this

very similar to

her body resting on her right hip and the

Heeramaneck

Collection

Museum

is

S70. She stands with arms akimbo, the weight of

in (16.2 in)

the Nasli and Alice

medium,

in a different

consist of bangles

and

a necklace

with an arrow-shaped pendant.

The
figure,
is

exact provenance of this

probably intended for a domestic shrine,

not known. She presumably was viewed only

from the front since the back

not modeled.

is

Closest parallels for this figure

may

be found

among

the terra-cottas from Kausambi, where in

at least

two examples

is

encountered a similarly

distinctive treatment of the cloth

between the legs


xxvii-xxviii

(see

Kala 1950,

for similar

proportions). Thus,

hanging

pis.

xxi, xxvb,

modeling and

Kausambi remains

possible source for this figure, although


(see Literature) has recently

Czuma

suggested a Mathura

provenance. Similar figures were also found from

Ahichchhatra, which makes


piece

194

is

from Uttar Pradesh.

it

certain that the

SJ2

The Goddess Durga Destroying

S72

the Buffalo

Demon

The Goddess Durga Destroying

The goddess

the Buffalo

Demon

buffalo

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura;

Mottled red sandstone; 9

c.

200

the form of the animal during his battle with the

Vi in (24.

cm)

goddess.

The theme,

therefore,

as

M.84. 153.

demon). This representation

Czuma

Kushan-period

1985, pp. 13536.

are small,

Standing

in dehanchement

with her right hip

prominently thrust out, the goddess effortlessly


strangles a buffalo with her
In her other

two principal arms.

unrecognizable object on the

sword, a shield, which

may

left

and two disks

carries,

along with a

be represented by the

The
sun and moon,

known

usually

it

is

typical of

of the subject, and, as

reliefs

all

seems certain that they were used

in

domestic shrines. The Mathura sculptors of the

Kushan period

clearly

were responsible for

creating this image type.

The

hands she holds a sword and

above her head. She usually

is

Mahishasuramardini (destroyer of the buffalo

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Pratapaditya Pal;

Literature:

Durga, and the

is

demon Mahishasura, who assumes

the

is

artists

used the well-

known

yakshi type to represent the goddess. In

fact, in

form and

style the

goddess

very similar

is

As with

to the yakshi in the collection (S70).

effaced object held in one of her left hands.

most Kushan-period female

disks, no doubt, represent the

taper to rather narrow ankles, which are adorned

the one on her

left

consists of a crescent

and

figures, the legs

with large doughnut-shaped anklets. Her

ornaments, square shoulders, and rather

circle.

clumsily jointed arms are also characteristic of

Kushan-period sculpture.

The manner

in

which the

goddess destroys the animal without using any of


her weapons

The

is

unique to Kushan-period

reliefs.

buffalo looks almost like a calf, in

conformity with the hieratic scale that demands


a relatively larger size for the goddess.

the animal lunges at the goddess, she

him

unruffled and holds


calf.

totally

one would fondle a

Yet the intent undoubtedly was to show the

goddess killing the

The

as

Although
is

demon with

her bare hands.

which she accomplishes her task

ease with

effectively expressed

is

by contrasting her

equanimity and equipoise with the diagonal and


forceful depiction of the
forelegs, taut body,

animal with his raised

and open mouth with tongue

hanging out.
In textual descriptions of the

theme,

all

of which belong to a later period, the

goddess decapitates the buffalo with her sword

and then drives her trident into the demon who


emerges from the buffalo's neck. Thus, the
Kushan-period

artistic configuration

followed an earlier textual tradition,


this relief the

obviously

now

lost.

In

goddess does not even carry a

trident. Instead,

two attributes

are introduced

by the unknown sculptor, the sun and moon,


clearly representing the

cosmic nature of the

goddess. These two symbols were especially


significant for the dynastic cult of the

emperors. The
her bare hands

mode
is

of killing the

Kushan

demon with

in keeping with the

literal

meaning of the word mardana (crushing)


epithet Mahishasuramardini.

195

in the

S73

The Androgynous Form of Siva and Parvati

Sj3

The Androgynous Form of Siva and Parvati

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; second-third century

Mottled red sandstone; 12 Vs

in

(30.8 cm)

The image type

Uma)

which Siva and Parvati

in

androgynous form

who

is

(or

combined

are represented in a

known

as

Ardhanarisvara

half-woman). The image was created

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Kurit;

(lord

M. 85. 213.

during the Kushan period to express the

Literature: Pal 1985b.

nonplurality of the godhead. Although similar


to the

is

Greek concept of the hermaphrodite, the

Indian androgynous form was composed in a


different manner. Usually, as in this image, the

deity

is

represented as half-male and half-female,

the two halves clearly distinguished along the


vertical axis.

Siva

and the

Thus, the right half always portrays


left half, Parvati.

In this small, but rare

representation (only three other Kushan-period

known

representations are

Czuma

[see Literature

and

1985]), the androgynous figure stands

against a tapering shaftlike Sivalinga that


partially

flat at

The slim

the back.

figure

is

is

generally contained within the contours of the

arm and shoulder and

linga, except for the right


left

The two

hip.

halves are articulately

differentiated along the vertical axis, the right

half being male and the

left,

female. Beginning

at the top, the typical coque de chevelure hairstyle

of Kushan-period females at Mathura

on the

left

side of the head,

which

is

is

seen only

considerably

narrower than the right side. The eyes are shaped


differently,

and the right ear

is

ornament, while a moustache


the
a

mouth on

The

the right.

without any

is

added above

left side

displays

prominently carved breast, ample hips, and

fleshy waist as befitting a

woman. The

penis with one testicle

is

depicted only on the

right half and

away from the female

tilted

is

manner

half in a

that appears to have been

Kushan-period Ardhanarisvaras

characteristic of

from Mathura. The


out

much more

erect

left

thigh of Parvati swells

emphatically than does Siva's,

but his shoulder

much

is

broader.

Common

to

both are the string of pearls around the neck and


sacred cord descending diagonally from the
shoulder.

left

Both wear bangles, but Parvati has

more of them. The design of their armlets


different. Siva's right

hand

is

is

raised to the

shoulders in the gesture of reassurance and holds


the rosary; Parvati's

and holds

arm hangs along her body

a flower.

But
back, the figure

The

is

for the flat linga at the

sculpted almost in the round.

slim, elegant proportions and svelte

plasticity clearly indicate a date closer to third-

century figures (870-71) rather than to those of


the

first

figure

century (S54). Sensuous though the

is,

Parvati's voluptuousness

brazenly displayed.
less

The form

is

not

in general

concerned with swelling volumes

is

as in early-

Kushan-period sculpture. The expressive


contours instead reflect a linear fluency anticipating the

196

Gupta

sculptural style.

S?4

Mother Goddess

S74

Mother Goddess

circular

and pierced. The most distinctive

Uttar Pradesh; second-third century

feature of the figure

Buff terra-cotta; 12

face

/4 in

(32.4 cm)

Gift of Marilyn Walter Grounds;

M. 83. 2 2 1.5

is

the very individualistic

with high cheekbones, recessed mouth and

chin, and broad shape.

The

hair

is

pulled back

into a wide bouffant adorned at the forehead

Like entry S68, this

a similarly attired, seated

is

goddess. Here, however, she holds a cup with her


right

hand and

Also, her right

rests her left

arm

is

hand on her knee.

completely covered with a

row of bangles and her

left

arm

is

more

sparsely

with a pendant or clasp. The figure

is

strangely

reminiscent of pre-Columbian sculptures.


Nevertheless, despite their differences, the two

goddesses in style and iconography are related

and very

likely

belong to the same region.

ornamented. The proportions of the two figures


considerably

differ.

Here the goddess has

stunted body but longer legs.

The

a rather

breasts

and

nipples are proportionately placed, but the navel


is

much

the

too high.

The

outline of the ears follows

same general shape, but here the lobes

are

197
!

S?5

The Boar Avatar of Vishnu

S75

overburdened with

The Boar Avatar of Vishnu

had sunk

evil,

to the

bottom

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; third century

of the sea. Although an ancient myth, the story

Mottled red sandstone; 22 V2 in (57.

did not capture the imagination of artists until

From

the

the Nasli and Alice

1 cm)
Heeramaneck

Associates Purchase;

1974b,

Literature: Pal

Czuma

period,

fig.

M. 72. 5 3.8

93; Pal 1985b;

1985, pp. 132-33.

subject of multiple symbolism, the

myth of

museum

Earth's rescue from the primordial waters by

this
is

form of a boar has both

cosmogonic and moral implications and

known
In the

in

many

different versions

is

(Gonda 1969).

most popular, the demon Hiranyaksha had

dragged Earth, personified

bottom of the ocean;

in

as a

woman,

to the

monumental

theme were carved. This


Mathura

museum (R. C. Sharma 1976, fig. 44) provide


evidence that the subject was earlier represented

Vishnu

in the

several

sculpture and a small relief in the

by Mathura

when

representations of the

Collection

Museum

Gupta

is

artists.

The

relief in the

inscribed and

Mathura

possibly older than

is

example, but because the head of the figure

missing and the inscription does not mention

Varaha the boar, a certain identification cannot


be made. Thus, this

may

well be the earliest

unquestionable representation of the boar avatar


of Vishnu in the history of Indian art.

The sculpture shows Varaha as a


The head sits solidly
powerfully modeled body. The sculptor has

another version Earth,

human with
on

a boar's head.

attempted to indicate the muscles of the chest,


stomach, and right arm. As

Kushan-period male

is

usual with

figures, the genitalia are

prominently shown under the garment, which

is

held in place by a knotted cloth belt. Across his

shoulders Varaha wears a scarf with clasp and


thick garland of flowers,

known
The

typical attribute of Vishnu.

as a

vanamala, a

resolute posture

of the god, with arms placed on the thighs,

imparts a sense of stability as well as superhuman


energy. His colossal size

is

further emphasized by

the three diminutive figures near his left


shoulder. Earth, personified as a goddess, stands

on a

lotus.

She holds another lotus with her right

hand and part of her scarf with her


is

left

hand. She

obviously being lifted from the waters by her

right elbow,

which

is

supported by Varaha's

snout. Varaha holds a lotus

bud with

his left

hand, thereby emphasizing the casualness of his

The couple watching the divine


probably two humans and are even

effortless deed.

rescue are

smaller in the hierarchic scale.


Originally, the sculpture

probably was about thirty inches high, perhaps

even

taller if

it

had been encircled by a nimbus,

and may have been enshrined

in its

own

temple.

Although the proportions are somewhat


different, the

modeling, with

musculature,

is

its

emphasis on

reminiscent of the

Ardhanarisvara (S73).

The

capelike treatment of

the scarf draping the boar's shoulders


in a

Vishnu image

for

which

also seen

a fourth-century

date has been suggested (Joshi 1966,

While

is

fig.

72).

the facial features and plastic qualities of

the Vishnu strongly reflect the

Gupta

style, this

Varaha well expresses the Kushan-period aesthetic.

198

Sj6

The God Sua


\<>

The

God Sua

Wearing

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura or Ahichchhatra

(?);

and folded shawl, Siva stands

a dhoti

with his

erect

evenly on either side of

feet placed

third century

the pleats of his garment.

Buff sandstone; 27 in (68.6 cm)

tied a sash, its ends

Museum

He

M.69.

purchase with acquisitions fund;

in

15.

Literature:

Dohanian 1961, no.

1972,

5;

fig.

Harle 1974,

p.

18;

Glynn

19, fig. 54; Pal

1974b, pp. 6, 45; Trabold 1975, pp. 14-15,


Pal 1979, p. 220.

fig. 7;

Around

his waist

is

overhanging his right thigh.

wears various ornaments, and his hair

tied

is

an ascetic's chignon adorned with a string of

and crescent. Across

pearls

The

cord.

his torso

the sacred

is

third eye on his forehead and erect

The

penis are prominently indicated.

principal

hand displays the gesture of reassurance

right

and holds the

rosary, the

carries the waterpot.

corresponding

The upper

left

left

hand

hand grasps

the trident, while the other right hand holds a

malletlike object. This attribute cannot be


firmly identified and

form of an

may

While
with Siva

figure

represent an unusual

ascetic's staff (dandd).

the identification of the

without doubt,

is

provenance

its

and date are questionable. The figure


closely related to

Mathura than

to

is

more

Kushan-period sculptures of

Gupta

representations. In

stance, proportions, long,

columnar

garments, and modeling, the figure

its

legs,
is

remarkably similar to an Ahichchhatra Maitreya


of the late-first-early-second century (Pal 1979,
figs.

6-7). Several details, such as the

delineation of the shawl, two necklaces, shape of


the
is

left

hand, and manner in which the waterpot

held are similar in the two sculptures and to

another second-century Maitreya from Mathura


(Bachofer 1929, 2: pi. 88).

which the upper

left

hand grasps the trident

Kushan-period

characteristic of

of the trident itself with

and pointed bottom

Gupta
prongs

sculptures.
is

not

tridents but
pillar

While the manner

is

its

figures, the

in

is

form

long, narrow stem

frequently encountered in

The unusual shape of the

known from Kushan-period

is

similar to that seen in a

dated to 380 (Williams 1982,

Mathura

fig.

16).

Also, compared with the two second-century

sculptures cited above, this figure seems

somewhat dry and

archaic, as appropriate for a

sculpture attempting to copy an earlier style.

Thus, a third-century date seems consistent with


the evidence.

As

to the provenance, the

sculpture could have originated at either

Mathura or Ahichchhatra.

199

$77

Male Head
Male Head

Although

Uttar Pradesh, Kausambi

(?);

Reddish brown terra-cotta; 6


Gift of Eleanor

third century
!/

in (15.9

group of heads

larger than the

discussed in entry S78a-f, this head, too,

cm)

Abraham; M. 82. 2 19.2

is

probably from Kausambi. Like others


recovered from the

may have been


made body by

site, it

inserted into a separately

means of tenon. The nose of the

mouth

shaped, and the


corners.

The

a perfunctory

oval face

well

is

has deeply cut

lips are slightly parted,

and

at least

attempt was made to render the

teeth, again a reflection of the strong sense of

naturalism that motivated some artists of

Kausambi. The wide-open eyes with their


prominently grooved pupils are especially
arresting and

make

in

Sj8a-f

Six

The

this a portraitlike head.

turban with central crest was

commonly

seen

Kushan- and Gupta-period sculpture.

Human Heads
Sy8af

Six

Kushan-Gupta

Human Heads

levels (G.

R. Sharma i960, pp.

museum

Uttar Pradesh, Kausambi; third century

7479). Those in the Allahabad

Reddish brown terra-cotta; a, 2 Vs in (6.0 cm);

extremely similar in style and type to the

b, 3 Vz

in (8.9 cm);

(7.3 cm);

e,

c,

2 Vs in (6.7 cm); d, 2 Vs in

Vim (6. 3

cm);/, 3

9/i6in(9.o

Purchased with funds from Christian

cm)

Humann;

museum's specimens and have been dated


generally to the

Kushan period (Kala 1950, pp.

67-68).

Of the

M. 72. 47. 3-8

six terra-cottas,

certainly represent heads of boys (c d)

These

six

human

from the ancient

heads are said to have come


city of

Kausambi, where

excavations have yielded a large harvest of

The heads are handmade


round. The necks often form

female

(a).

The remaining
The

a wide variety of hairstyles

The tenons may

also have

may

and headgears. Both

Kala and Sharma have remarked on the


preponderance of foreign ethnic features

permitted the heads to swing from side to side,

these strange heads. Certainly both

and thus they may have been items of decoration

reflect in their naturalistic

and amusement. Most examples excavated

Hellenistic physiognomies.

between 1957 and 1959 were recovered from the

and one, a

e-f) cannot

characterized by particularized faces and

and modeled

tenons, which were probably inserted into

{b.

heads, like others from the

site, are

cylindrical bodies.

three

two

be definitely identified sexually, although


portray a female.

similar detached heads.


in the

are

among

a and

modeling strong

The charming,

shaven-headed boy wearing a skullcap (d)


probably also represents a foreign type, perhaps a

200

Central Asian, whereas the curious helmetlike

headgear worn by

e is

strongly reminiscent of a

Parthian crown. Thus, although the exact

and sensitive modeling

familiarity with Hellenistic

sense of observation.

models and keen

similar perspicacity and

function of these terra-cotta heads with their

sophistication were also displayed by the terra-

strikingly varied countenances cannot be

cotta sculptors of Patna during the

determined, they appear to be characteristic of

Maurya period.

Kausambi during the Kushan and early Gupta


periods. The high degree of individualization

S78b

St8c

S78e

S 7 8d

201

. __

clearly betray the artist's

much

earlier

A Buddha
S79

The gently swaying

A Buddha

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura;

c.

300

figure stands with his legs

widely spread apart. The volume of his garments

by the hemline falling above

Mottled red sandstone; 19 in (48.2 cm)

is

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Phillips;

the ankle and multiple pleats.

M. 84. 227.

covers the body.

clearly indicated

forms a

shawl fully

Below the neck part of the shawl


pronounced V-shaped collar. The right

arm probably was

raised to shoulder level with

the hand displaying the gesture of reassurance as

The

in entry S58.

left

hand probably held the

end of the shawl near the hip.

was attached

certainly once

The

nimbus almost

to the head.

practice of representing the

volume of the upper garment by

parallel folds

probably was borrowed by Mathura sculptors

from Gandhara. Early-Kushan-period Mathura

Buddhas

draped in thin, transparent

are

garments, the volume indicated by shallow


incisions

around the

left

shoulder and more

substantial folds encircling the left upper

arm

Gandhara, however, the garment,

(see S58). In

which covered the entire body, customarily was


represented by bold, ridgelike folds. Because of
this dense,

heavy garment,

Gandharan

artists

it is

Buddha with

portraying the

believed that

were naturalistically
a

wool shawl.

When

Mathura sculptors attempted

to imitate this

particular feature, the shawl

became a formal

design.
In the

Mathura museum

are

several figures stylistically similar to this

Buddha
which

Sharma 1984,

(R. C.

figs.

12224),

suggested.

The

figure certainly

is

f r

been

a late-Kushan-period date has

much

earlier

than other fifth-century Gupta Buddhas.


Typically, in these later, stylized figures riblike
folds

form

symmetrical design and the

around the neck are semicircular.

collarlike folds

Here the garment does not quite form the


trough typical of Gupta-period Buddhas and

seems to drape the body somewhat more


naturalistically.

Moreover, the pronounced V-

shaped collar more closely relates the figure to


late-Kushan-period Buddhas than to Gupta
Buddha images. Noteworthy also are the

remnants of such early features


breasts

as the

prominent

and genitalia and placement of the

hand against the hip. The form, however,


as

volumetric

as in

greater emphasis

left
is

not

Kushan-period Buddhas, and


placed on a more linear

is

definition of the contour.

The proportions,

too,

with rather extended legs and slim body,


anticipate the typical

Buddha of the

fifth

century. These considerations suggest a date

around 300 for

this

damaged, but important

Buddha image. The date may

also

be

substantiated by comparison with another


figure,

in the

which can be dated with some certainty


second half of the fourth century (R. C.

Sharma 1984,

202

fig.

134).

S8o

Male Head

S8o

This head once must have belonged to an almost

Male Head

Uttar Pradesh or Bihar;

Buff terra-corta; 10
Gift of Mr. and Mrs.

'/_>

c.

in

300
(26.6 cm)

Ramesh Kapoor; M.79. 186

life-size figure.

human

is

Whether

difficult to

the head

divine or

is

determine. The

disproportionately large ears with elongated


earlobes

would indicate

human. The unusual

god rather than

hairstyle, however,

consisting of a shaven head, except for a wide


tuft that

may

is

brought forward on the forehead,

signify a particular ethnic type.

The

tuft of

hair may, in fact, represent a piece of cloth. Seen


in profile, the nose

is

sharp and prominent, and

the thick lips protrude considerably. Its

pronounced bow shape


extended that
projection

is

it is

so unnaturally

not clear whether part of the

meant

to represent a

The

exact provenance of the head

but

it is

likely to

Pradesh or Bihar.

203

is

moustache.
is

not known,

have originated in Uttar

.,..

Andhra Pradesh

58

The Buddha Sakyamuni Sheltered by Muchalinda

S8i

The Buddha Sakyamuni Sheltered by

Muchalinda

Andhra Pradesh, Nagarjunakonda; third century

White limestone; 16

V2 in (41.9

cm)

Gift of the Michael J. Connell Foundation;

M.71.54
Literature:

Pope 1942, pp. 32, 50; Pal 1976,

pp. 30-31;

Newman

204

1984, p. 22, hg.

9.

Carved

shallow

in rather

broken

Along the bottom

off.

is

decorated with the lotus motif.

when

occasion

molded border

The scene

sculpture

relief, this

depicts a triptychlike shrine with one panel

photograph

Buddha,

at

Bodhgaya,

enlightenment
below

muchalinda

published in 1942 (see Literature) shows the

out, and the serpent-king

and protected the master

coil

below

after his
sat

meditating

A violent

tree.

diagonal break in the center continuing to the

bottom. Thus, parts of the serpent's

represents the

the

storm broke

Muchalinda appeared
by

for seven days

spreading his hood above the Buddha's head.

the Buddha, adjoining pillar, and lotus at the

There are several representations of the theme

bottom were restored sometime between 1942

Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda, a region in

and 197

when

the

museum

The

acquired the

center of the shrine

relief.

which serpent worship has been popular since


ancient times.

is

The

occupied by the Buddha meditating upon a seat

formed by the

whose

scaly coils of a serpent,

Two

behind the Buddha's head.

relief,

nimbus

polycephalic hood encloses a plain

lightly etched

throne placed below a

was also a

The Buddha wears

tree.

arms

the typical monk's robes. His

are free

from

the upper garment, and his hands rest on his lap


in the

meditation gesture (dhyanamudra). His

hair

indicated by small curls.

is

framed

On

to embellish a stupa,

published

first

however, the piece


the figure of the

Buddha

The

feet

the

Mitra 197

and hands of the Buddha

coarsely rendered.

garment

The manner

in

1, pi.

126).

somewhat

are

which part of

folded back over the shoulder like

is

rather unusual.

is

for

remarkably similar to

is

(cf.

Most Buddhist

Nagarjunakonda were

at

during

gesture of adoration. Dressed as a prince, the

the third and fourth centuries.

the' rule

built

of the Ikshvaku dynasty during

approaches the master with hands joined in the

figure

is

was

it

from Nagarjunakonda,

is

others recovered there

monuments

like a picture, the serpent-king

When

attributed to the Amaravati region. Very likely,

an epaulet

his left,

exact provenance of the

which was used

not known.

slender columns, the tops of which are lost in the


foliage above, indicate that the seat

at

distinguished by a serpent's head

is

attached at the shoulder.


the other side also

The broken panel on

may have

portrayed another

such figure.

S82

Scenes from the Life of the

S82

Buddha

Scenes from the Life of the

Buddha

Andhra Pradesh, Gummadidurru

young Siddhartha having watched the peasants


struggle sat below a

(?);

third century

White

sun's heat.

limestone; 15 Vz in (39.4

Literature: Pal 1976, pp. 30,


p. 89; Pal

et al.

The
been

fairly

versions.

depicts one of

the most significant miracles from the early

of the Buddha,

Siddhartha.

Known

(wood-apple)
of

it

in

when he was
as the

life

the young

miracle of the

tree, there are

Buddhist

still

Jambu

two primary versions

for

both versions), the

child Siddhartha went with his father to see a

plowing

festival.

He was

left

under a Jambu

tree

along with his nurse. Taking advantage of her


distraction, the child sat under the tree

began
the

tree alone did not

and

The Buddha

body

a sick

man, an old man, and

205

must be

is still

the lady on his

with her head covered. The

left

other adoring figure

nimbus

is,

encircles the

included. She

no doubt,

his father.

young Buddha's head. His

hand forms the preaching gesture

(vyakhyanamudra), although turned toward his


body. His

left

hand

is

placed in his lap in the

meditation gesture (dhyanamudra). This


particular combination of gestures

is

not

encountered in other Buddhist figures.


divine

(?)

Two

attendants holding flowers or

of the central composition, thereby suggesting a

young man and the event takes

that changed his

young man

move. All present,

place after he had seen the three miserable


sights

as a

although his nurse

shrine rather than solely a narrative panel.

Separated above by a shallow

venerated the child. In the second version


is

shown

flywhisks are added to the columns on either side

including his father, were impressed and

Siddhartha

is

shadow of

to meditate. Miraculously, the

Jambu

popular in the early art of the region,

dressed as a prince, rather than as a child,

right

literature.

In one version (see Sivarama-

murti 1956, pp. 249-50,

subject appears to have

and the sculptor here has combined both

fig. 5.

The lower portion of this fragment

tree to escape the

other version.

32-34; Pal

1985a, p. 68,

Jambu

story then continues like the

Ahmanson Foundation; M.72.50.

Gift of the

1984,

cm)

The

life. It

dead

appears that the

railing or trellis

is

a depiction of Siddhartha'

departure from his mansion after he had decided

to renounce the world. This scene, too,

by columns and carved

is

in very shallow relief.

Curiously, however, Siddhartha himself

represented, and a riderless horse

is

by several attendants, one of whom


parasol.

As narrated

framed

is

not

accompanied
carries a

animal cantered through the city

while the citizens slept in the


night.

streets,

middle of the

The placement of this scene immediately

above the miracle of the

Jambu

tree, or

is

not

uncommon

in the early

sculptural tradition of this region. Even after the

image of the Buddha was introduced

in the

second century, Andhra artists continued to omit


his representation

from narrative scenes.

This and the following three

in the texts, the horse's

hoofs were upheld by yakshas to muffle the noise


as the

represented below,

reliefs

(S83-85) were acquired together and very

likely are

from the same

site.

All four, like the

depictions of the miracle of Muchalinda (S81),

once served

as architectural

embellishments

stupas. These four fragments

may

for

have come out

stationary shadow, appears not to have been by

of Gummadidurru in the Krishna district, where

chance. Siddhartha obviously had a premonition

excavations have revealed the lower portion of a

of his impending renouncement as he sat under

stupa "with

the tree and


in a vision.

without a

may
The

rider,

have seen his future departure

its

drum veneered by

representation of the horse

A damaged

although Siddhartha

the decoration of the

is

a splendid

array of sculptured slabs" (Mitra 1971, p. 212).

inscription at the site indicates that

third century.

The

drum was completed

reliefs are

in the

similar to other

third-century sculptures discovered in

Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda, which are


better

documented and discussed than those

from Gummadidurru.

Jfe

206

Relief with Figures

and Animals

and A nimals
Andhra Pradesh, Gummadidurru (?);

S83

Relief u ith Figures

third century

White limestone; 14 Va in (36.2 cm)


Ahmanson Foundation; M. 72. 50.

Gift of the

Literature: Pal 1976, pp.

Detail of drum slab, Arnaravati, third


century, limestone. British

Museum;

1880,7-9,79.

207

33-34.

This fragmentary relief probably once showed

Buddha on

the
still

the

This

left.

visible bent left

is

Although damaged,

evident from the

arm clothed

in a

garment

of rags was

church

recommended

for all

Buddha

in the early

monks, but only

rarely

seen wearing one. Behind the

Buddhist
is

Museum

arm

is

adoration in a panel in the upper tier of the

slab.

is

a heraldic lion with

head turned toward the Buddha, and behind

the animal

is

the bust of a female. Another lion

was tepresented above.

On the right of the lion

a small rectangular panel

who

the elephant Nalagiri,

and attacked the master

finally

is,

the

is

The Los

at

about the shoulder

enshrined Buddha in the Amaravati

Thus, the broken-off Buddha figure

museum's fragment would

in the

also have stood in a

similar fashion, as evident by the bent position

of his

left

Of particular

arm.

interest

is

the

design of the Buddha's robe and spirited

instead of the garland bearers depicted in the

broke loose

Amaravati

slab.

in the streets of

Rajagriha. Ultimately, however, he was

which

slab of a

in the

representation of the scene with the elephant

perhaps,

tamed

by the Buddha. The recessed space below


panel

is

showing two men

sttuggling with an elephant. This

(see illustration).

upper right-hand portion


level of the

his

this

divided into several squares, some of

are filled

with projecting lotuses. Along

bottom two young men, the bust of one and

head of another

engaged

S84

British

a turbaned attendant, another stands in

shrine. Beside this panel

drum

with a

it

complete stupa from Amaravati, now

Angeles fragment would have once formed the

the

left

by comparing

this piece

with a design of squares. Such a patchwork robe

it is

possible to reconstruct the original position of

still

remaining, appear to be

in conversation.

Relief with Vajrapani

S84

Mitra has suggested that the

Relief with Vajrapani

Andhra Pradesh, Gummadidurru

Cincinnati relief

(?);

third century

p. 212). If

White limestone; 17

must

in (43.1

cm)

it is,

also be

is

from Gummadidurru (1971,

then the Los Angeles fragment

from that

site, for stylistically

are

Literature: Pal 1976, p. 34.

are the differences in design of Vajrapani's

turban. Also, the throne

What

this piece

would have looked

like

when

complete can be determined by comparing

Museum (see illustration). The


museum's fragment obviously shows the middle

Vajrapani's figure, with

portion of the left-hand side of a scene depicting

qualities of the

Cincinnati Art

flesh in the

it

fragment.

still

The two

this

rides a lion.

pronounced

roll

of

male body

in early

Andhra

(see S58), the scene here clearly is

transcendentalized by the addition of the fiery

holding the thunderbolt (vajra) against his chest,

god

its

relief.

Like the early Mathura triads

with Vajrapani

figures are Vajrapani,

and another divine companion. Above,

does in the Cincinnati

sculpture.

seat

remain attached to

does not

midregion, exemplifies the plastic

symbolizing the presence of the Buddha. Parts of


the flaming pillar

it

obscure the prominently delineated genitals of

it

Vajrapani as

empty

must have been placed

lower in the museum's piece, for

with a better-preserved relief now in the

the worship of the fiery pillar, the

they

remarkably similar. Noteworthy, however,

Los Angeles County Funds; 72.2

man

or

second lion and rider were

pillar

symbolizing the cosmic

pillar

and

mysterium tremendum. Moreover, the four riders

with lions

may

represent the four directions.

above him, while a similar pair must have been

reluctance to depict the

placed on the other side.

clearly

shows that

retained
it

as

its

Buddha

in such scenes

in this region the

potency

for a

much

The

symbol

longer time than

did in other schools of early Buddhist art, such

Mathura and Gandhara.

208
I

Relief,

Amaravati, second third

century, limestone. Cincinnati Art

Museum, given anonymously;


1952.187.

209

S8$

Fragment of a Rail Coping

S85

Fragment of a Rail Coping

Andhra Pradesh, Gummadidurru

(?);

third century

White limestone; 8 Vs in (21.3 cm)


Gift of the Ahmanson Foundation; M. 72. 50.
Literature: Pal 1976, p. 33.

This fragment

is

part of a

rail

would have looked something

that from

Mathura (S53a-b). The

rail

elegantly proportioned figures, as

coping that

originally

like

coping surrounding the stupas in the Andhra

more elaborately carved. Usually,

wide panel

much

(Barrett 1954, pis. xl-xli), the

carving

most prominent

motif being a meandering, heavy garland


carried

on the shoulders by

are often seen

lively yakshas,

running and are either

210

who

with

is

the head

attached to this fragment, or playful

dwarfs.

typical

country, however, was considerably larger and

below the rounded top contains

still

The

floral

yaksha

is

surface of the garland

designs and beads.

is

adorned

The head of the

turbaned, and the features of his

beautifully proportioned face are sensitively

and articulately rendered.

Age

of the Guptas

(fourth-seventh centuries)

Introduction
With a new
at once serene

beauty of definition

and energetic,

definitely crystallized

variable in the
the

Ganges

it

{Gupta art)

spiritual

and universally

and

establishes the classical phase of Indian art,

voluptuous.

The formulae of Indian

accepted; Sonographic types

and compositions,

Kusana period, are now standardised informs whose

valley,

and of which

the influence

taste are

now

still

influence extended beyond

was felt, not only throughout India and Ceylon,

but far beyond the confines of India proper, surviving to the present day

{Coomaraswamy

(192-1) 1985, pp. 71-72}.

Coomaraswamy 's summation

Gupta age cannot be improved. The

of the art of the

period was one of high intellectual and cultural achievement and, artistically, one of
the most creative.

The

ideal

forms created by the unknown

artists

of the

Gupta

period served as paradigms of beauty for successive generations in India and the
various countries of Asia where Indian religions and cultural ideas were

transplanted.

Whether

or not the age of the

other comparable period of Indian history,

it

Guptas was more


certainly

spiritual than

any

was a time of sophisticated

urbanity, witnessing a remarkable efflorescence of literature and drama, a continued

vigorous commerce, especially with Southeast Asia, and cosmopolitan attitudes and
refined aesthetic tastes.

New

ideas introduced

by the influx of foreigners during the

previous Kushan age were absorbed and molded, and probably for the

first

time in

the subcontinent's history a kind of pan-Indian spirit prevailed across the country
inspired by cultural rather than political ideas. Both religious and artistic ideas

seem

to have easily crossed political borders within the country

vast oceans

and traveled across

and deserts to inspire cultures in distant lands. The art of

remarkable period in Indian history

group of sculptures

is

this

represented in the collection by a richly varied

in stone, stucco, terra-cotta,

and metal

as well as

by gold coins.

Despite the disintegration of the Kushan Empire, artistic activity

continued unabated in ancient Gandhara. Stucco, however, seems to have replaced


gray schist as the principal sculptural

medium during

the fourth and fifth centuries.

Although stucco, which was an invention of the late-Hellenistic period


Alexandria, appeared as early as the

first

century at Taxila,

it

in

became popular

wide area of Gandhara only during the Gupta period. Because of the

fall

across a

of the

imperial Kushans and disruption of commerce, the monasteries in Gandhara very


likely

found stucco to be cheaper than stone. Since stucco was colorfully painted or

211

monuments must have looked

gilded, the

Kushan
of the

during the

just as attractive as they did

age. In his accounts of his travels through the region during the

decade

first

century, the Chinese pilgrim Fa-hsien (Faxian) recorded the flourishing

fifth

condition of the monasteries and waxed eloquent about the stupas and devotion of
the populace.

observed,

The stupa of Kanishka was not only

"Of all

intact,

still

but

monk

as the

the topes and temples which [the travelers] saw in their

journeyings, there was not one comparable to this in solemn beauty and majestic

grandeur" (Legge 1965,

p. 34).

By

the time another famous Chinese pilgrim,

Hsiian-tsang (Xuanzang), arrived in the region in the


century, not only was this stupa in ruins, but

first

quarter of the seventh

most of the monasteries

in the region

were destroyed largely due to the invasions of the Huns during the previous century.

The museum's
Gandhara
sires in

collection of stucco sculptures

from ancient

quite extensive, although their exact provenance

is

the region produced stucco sculptures, the best

present-day Jalalabad district in Afghanistan.

The

is

not known. Several

known being Hadda

in

exquisitely painted and

poignantly sensitive head of a bodhisattva, generally attributed to

Hadda

(S91), remains one of the finest such heads recovered from the region. It also

epitomizes the distinct

Hadda

style

noted for

"moving, spiritualized

its

realism" (Rowland 1966, p. 72). Because of the fragility of the material,

surviving stucco sculpture from Gandhara consists of heads.


only possesses a

number

of heads of bodhisattvas and the

of devotees both male and female. Even more interesting


figure (S90).
Entrance

to

Gupta

temple,

Deogarh, sixth

century. Photograph courtesy Mrs. J.

Apart from

its rarity, it

characteristic of stucco sculpture.

Hellenism

in

The

collection not

Buddha but
is

much

also probably

a seated, headless

provides a good idea of the abstracted modeling

The naturalism

Kushan-period sculpture

is

that

was a direct legacy of

now eschewed

for a

simpler and

at

times

LeRoy Davidson.

impressionistic formal statement. There

is

less

details of jewelry. In contrast, the sculptors

feeling

and

spiritual ecstacy, not

concern with garment folds and

were more interested in registering inner

through dramatic distortions but by a subtle

and serene expressiveness. Part of this change

in aesthetic intent

dictated by the greater malleability of the material

doubt the

result of influences

The
up

as follows.

artists

but largely

it

was no

from Gupta India.

essential features of

Gupta

itself,

may have been

Gupta

aesthetics can be succinctly

summed

did not deviate fundamentally from the styles that they

had inherited. Rather, they combined the plasticity of Sanchi and Mathura with the
linear elegance of

Amaravati to create a new form that

is

vibrant, suave, full, but

buoyant, spiritually moving, although not devoid of sensuous appeal. Preferring


neither the Hellenistic naturalism of Gandhara, the expansive
earthiness favored by

Mathura

artists of the

Kushan

period, nor the brazenly

luxuriant elegance of Amaravati, the sculptors of the

balance between the spiritual and the sensual.

energy of the earlier schools

is

replaced by a

Gupta age achieved an

The dynamic

more

volume and

vitality

and heroic

restrained animation, supple

grace, and clarity of expression. Precisely because of its sustained elegance

of feelings, expressed with utmost simplicity, the

ideal

and depth

Gupta aesthetic continues

to elicit

universal admiration.

These characteristics become

Buddha head

(S60) with one created by

clear

Gupta

by comparing a Kushan

sculptors (Si 19), both from Mathura.

Indeed, Mathura continued to flourish as an important center for sculpture

during the age of the Guptas, although other regions, too, became highly creative.

212

Mathura sculptures of the period

are not only varied iconographically, but they

also display a remarkable stylistic diversity.

Mathura

At

two Buddha images from

least

(Si 15, Si 18) demonstrate vividly a stylistic intercourse

with the

other important school of sculpture that developed during this period at Sarnath.

This interaction

also reflected

is

While

collection (Si 31).

by the splendid golden bronze Buddha in the

these two schools with their distinct styles predominate in

the collection, there are several other significant sculptures from Uttar

Pradesh, both in stone and terra-cotta.

Most

existing iconographic and aesthetic manuals appear to have been

systematized during the Gupta period, although

borrowed from

Many

earlier literature.

much

material was probably

such texts were incorporated into the

Hindu

puranas and Buddhist canonical literature and were widely diffused not only across
the subcontinent but to other Asian countries as well. Such systematization was
largely responsible in providing a

images

more

in different parts of the country,

stylistic coherence, in general,

unified theoretical basis for the carving of

and hence one notices a greater degree of

and iconographic consistency, in particular, within

each religious tradition. Iconic forms of the divinities of

became more

rigidly

three religious systems

all

determined and codified during the Gupta period, and there

developed a stronger proclivity toward representing cosmic forms with multiple


limbs.

Some iconographic

concepts, at an incipient state in the

Kushan

period, were

expanded and elaborated further during the age of the Guptas. Thus, Gupta
gave shape to

them

in

new

many

Hindu

different forms of the principal

guises.

deities

artists

and represented

To mention only a few examples, the concept of the avatars of

Vishnu, the Krishna legends, the two major epics, the various myths related to Siva,

and the diverse aspects of the Goddess added enormously to the


In Buddhist art, too, images of the

Buddha were not only made more uniform, but

the gestures and postures were elaborated and stabilized.


the bodhisattva, although introduced in the

the

Gupta period and contributed

The age
the

Kushan

The important theory of

further adhered to

became popular during

period,

significantly in creating

also witnessed a similar expansion of the

Gupta period

artistic repertoire.

new iconographic forms.

pantheon of the Jains. Artists of

more uniformly

codified canons of proportions

than had their forebears. All this systematization no doubt somewhat restricted the
artist's

freedom of expression,

as far as religious art

expansion of the repertoire easily

Although

is

satisfied his creative

uniform aesthetic underlies

concerned, but the enormous


impulse.

much

of

Gupta

sculpture,

regional differences are distinct and easily perceptible. Thus, although the stucco

sculptures of Gandhara were influenced by the aesthetics of the

Gupta

period,

nevertheless they are rendered in a style strikingly different from contemporary

works rendered

in

century Mathura

Uttar Pradesh.

is

Or

again, a

Buddha head

(Si 19) created in fifth-

notably different from one carved at about the same time in

Sarnath (S126) and another made from terra-cotta at Devni Mori in Gujarat (Si 37).

Notwithstanding such

stylistic variations, sculptures created

between the fourth

and seventh centuries across northern India and the Deccan share certain essential
qualities that

may

be regarded as the hallmarks of Gupta sculpture. These include a

harmonious balance between form and movement, compact, but elegantly modeled
plastic mass,

and a predilection

for

simple surface patterns and adornments. The

primary concern of Gupta sculptors was with the

human form, whether

in the guise

of a divinity or mortal; animals and nature were included in images and


largely as

reliefs

symbols or ornaments. Their representations, however, even when

formalized or stylized, are no

213

less lively

and elegant than the

human

forms.

While

most sculptures of the period


the heartland of the
(Si

are

from Uttar or Madhya Pradesh, which constituted

Gupta Empire, two unusual

38 39). Carved from blue-gray

sculptures are from Rajasthan

schist, these sculptures,

probably of Mother

Goddesses, represent a localized version of the Gupta aesthetic.

With

their elegance

and spontaneity these sculptures exhibit a remarkable naturalism and subliminal


grace.

Both the

volumes and sparse surface embellishments of these graceful

plastic

figures reflect a refined simplicity.

Although the hips

voluptuous, the outline of the figures

is

are expansive

fluently defined with

and the breasts

utmost economy.

Especially appealing are the radiant faces with their delicate features and expressive
freshness.

While

these fifth-century Rajasthani sculptures reflect vestigial

influences from Gandhara, the impact of the classicizing

much more pronounced on


tile

Gandharan schools was

the art of neighboring Kashmir. Although the

Harwan

of the third fourth century (S98) presents a uniquely expressive and enigmatic

style,

perhaps derived more directly from earlier Parthian traditions than anything

else in the region,

by and large most Kashmiri sculptures of the

centuries bear a close affinity with

period or even from the


attributed to

Kashmir

Gupta age

Gandharan

art.

Very

has survived in the

in this catalogue are indeed

little art

Kashmir

valley in the seventh century, but

seventh

from the Kushan

Valley. If the objects

from that region, then the group

forms one of the most impressive assemblages of early Kashmiri


early monasteries were already in ruins

fifth to

art.

by the time of Hsiian-tsang's

Many

of the

visit to

Kashmir had already become famous

the

as a place for

Buddhist learning by the year 400, when the famous Buddhist translator

Kumarajiva was brought there by

kingdom of Kucha

for his

his

mother from the distant Central Asian

higher education. Despite Hsiian-tsang's rather dismal

was from Kashmir that Tibetans adopted Buddhism during the seventh

picture,

it

century.

Although secluded by mountains, Kashmir appears

to have

been a

cosmopolitan and hospitable valley during the period and was occupied by both the

Kushans and the Huns. Other Central Asians,


court or came to trade as did the Tibetans.
traveling to China. It

is

too,

found patronage

at the

Monks from Kashmir were

Kashmiri

already

not surprising therefore that, like Gandhara, Kashmir

should have developed an eclectic tradition, combining elements from Gandhara,


Central Asia, and northern India.

214

Afghanistan and Pakistan

Catalogue

S86

Roundel with a Male Bust

Roundel with a Male Bust

S86

Afghanistan
Silver;

(?);

early fourth century

diameter 2

Va in (5.4

cm)

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund; M.82.159.1

This relief representation of a male bust

surrounded by stylized foliage or wings


have been found in Afghanistan.

The

said to

is

figure

wears a coat with decorated round collar and

what look

His

like epaulets.

adorned

left ear is

with a simple earring, his right hand holds a


nosegay.

The handsome

articulated features and

with well-

face

moustache

shown

is

in

three-quarter profile. His softly luxuriant hair

While

appears to be rolled above the forehead.

no band can be recognized, a hole


of the rolled hair

With

its

may have

in the

distinguished, noble bearing and

particularized features, the bust probably

belonged to a prince, perhaps of Iranian or


Parthian origin.
Stylistically

and icono-

graphically, the object relates to a small

1rs&

middle

held a precious stone.

group of

Sasanian silver bowls with medallions enclosing


similar busts (Harper 1978, pp. 31-32). This

piece originally could indeed have functioned as


-

a medallion for a bowl.

V-

-~

_;

W4

figure in the
> *fc

The

Tehran bowl

is

solitary,

female

shown smelling

flower very similar in shape to that held by this

iSf>.

nobleman. In Sasanian medallions the busts


generally are portrayed in strict profile, whereas

here the head is shown in three-quarter profile.


The design of this figure's jacket, with round
collar

and two dotted bands,

those

worn by princes

1967,

pis.

The Hatra

in

is

very similar to

Hatra (Rosenfield

136-39; Colledge 1977,

fig.

while the comparable Sasanian material


to the late third early fourth century.

incompatible with the evidence.

is

dated

Thus, an

early-fourth-century date for this piece

215

23).

sculptures are of the second century,

is

not

2
3

S8 7

The

God Kumara
S8j

The

Pakistan, Swat Valley

Gtay

schist; 5 in

Gift of

At

God Kumara

Mr

(?);

earlier statuettes of

fourth century

known

(12.7 cm)

and Mts. Ramesh Kapoot;

two other

least

similar, but

Kumara from Gandhara

(Pal 1977, pi. XI,

fig.

are

15; Marshall

[1951] 1975, 3: pi. 65k), and very likely each


a copy of the same original. Since all three

M. 85. 212.

is

examples are rather small and portable, they may


This small statuette, probably from the Swat

have been modeled after an important ancient

Valley in Pakistan, teptesents the child-god

Gandharan

Skanda, ot Kumata.

With

apatt on a natrow base, the

his feet placed well

god stands

holds a now-broken speat and rooster


in a loincloth

fit

mly and

He

is

and adorned with necklace,

The two columnar


appendages on either side of him probably

eattings,

and

clad

with them

image

cult

Noteworthy

are

heavy sash, which


naturalistically in

however, has not been delineated over the

tiara,

plain, circular

and the head

out on either side


is

surrounded by a

nimbus.

museum's example appears

to

have misunderstood the function and form of the

child-god

from the

Only minor

the fact that the Swat sculptor

is

intended to be the ends of his sash, which,

fly

pilgrims to carry away

differences distinguish the three figures.

responsible for the

tiara.

loincloth. Curly ribbons

for

after a yisit to the shrine.

is

is

rendered more

both other examples. The

given rather heavy proportions with

thick, muscular legs in

three sculptures, but

all

the modeling of the Swat example

The

refined as in the other two.


figure are rendered
details are executed

more

not as

is

eyes of this

obliquely, and the

somewhat

carelessly.

This figure represents the


second type of
in

Kumara image

youthful god

plump and

is

S41) the

(see

portrayed as a fully armed and

is

attired general. In this

childishness

was popular

that

Gandhara. In the other type

image type the

deity's

emphasized by giving him rather

stocky proportions

(cf.

S67). Also, he

stands like a defiant peasant-boy rather than an

elegant general as in the earlier representation.

S88

Head of the Emaciated Buddha


S88

Head of the Emaciated Buddha

Afghanistan or Pakistan; fourth century


Stucco; 5 Vi in (14.0

cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Kurit;

M. 85. 213.

This well-modeled stucco head once belonged to

an image of the emaciated Buddha, a subject


that enjoyed great popularity in ancient

Gandhara. Before

his final

enlightenment

at

Bodhygaya, Sakyamuni went through several


stages of meditation during one of

which he

denied himself food for a great length of time.

He became so emaciated as a result


and bones were

left

on

that only skin

his body. This

extreme

him

self-mortification, however, did not bring


satisfaction,

and

later

he was to preach against

all

such severe ascetic practices.

The

subject inspired the artists

number of stone
The emaciated

of Gandhara to create a large


sculptures of various sizes.

Buddha

strangely was not a popular

elsewhere in India.
sculptors

may

Its

theme

appeal for Gandharan

be attributed to their penchant for

the strongly naturalistic, Hellenistic aesthetic


tradition. Representations of the

theme

are quite rare. This fine example,

with

in stucco
its

subtle

delineation of the gaunt face and lean cheeks,

sunken

eyes,

and furrowed brow,

restrained expression than


in stone examples.

216

is

is

more

usually encountered

S8g

Head of the Buddha


S89

Head of the Buddha

Afghanistan or Pakistan; fourth century


Stucco; 27 V2 in (69.3

The Leo Meyer

cm)

Collection; 50.25

Pope 1942, pp. 29, 43; Trubner


1950b, pp. 14-15, no. 13.

Literature:

With

its

cranial

bump

intact, this

head would

have measured well more than thirty inches

and the figure

itself,

tall,

whether seated or standing,

would have been monumental. Gigantic Buddha


images, especially in stucco, have been
discovered from various sites in Gandhara and

Afghanistan. They inspired the making of the


colossal

Buddhas

that are such a striking feature

of the early Buddhist cave temples in China.

This head probably

from Hadda

is

from Afghanistan, perhaps

in the Jalalabad district,

where

Buddhists were especially active from the reign


of Kanishka and where

some Buddha

figures

were almost sixty-six feet high (Hallade 1968,


pp. 138-39).

The well-proportioned head


finely

modeled. The sensuous

lips

is

and half-shut

eyes anticipate the introspective expression

considered to be characteristic of Gupta Buddhas


(Si 37).

The Gandharan

artist preferred to

provide the master with a head covered with

wavy

hair,

which

is

rendered with particular

sensitivity in this example.

covered the cranial

bump.

probably was painted

as in

Hair also would have


Originally, the head

S91 92. The hole

at

the bottom of the neck indicates that the head

and body were made separately and joined


together.

217

$9

Male

Figure, Probably Bodhisattia Maitreya

S90

Male

Figure, Probably Bodhisattia Maitreya

Afghanistan or Pakistan; fourth-fifth century


Stucco with

traces of color; 17 V2 in (44.4

Gift of Ravi

Kumar

Prakashvati Jain;

in

memory

M. 85. 288

cm)

of his mother,

may

head of this figure

If preserved, the

have

looked somewhat like those of the bodhisattvas


in the collection (S91,

S94-95). Very

likely, the

figure represents a bodhisattva perhaps

The

in conversation.

at the ankles, is similar to that

ascetics in the

of one of the

Nara-Narayan panel

frequently seen in

engaged

posture, with legs crossed

Gandhara

for

(Si 22)

and

is

meditative

figures as well as for the teaching Maitreya

(Rosenfield 1967,

was

figs.

99a, 100).

The posture

also given to Maitreya figures in

contemporary and

his right

Chinese Buddhist art

later

The

figure wears a dhoti,

arm and shoulder

are left free of the

shawl, the volume of which

prominent

on the

folds

left

and

is

indicated by

arm and by

shallower

bands across the body. These bands appear to


have been painted in red as was the plain torque

around the neck and rather large ornament


around the right upper arm. The only other

adornments

are the heavy, plain bangles

arms. The figure

is

which was

seated on a lotus,

The

on both

left

hand

rests casually over the left leg, the right

hand

also painted all

with closed

around his

raised to the chest. This

fist is

unusual gesture

feet.

is

very likely symbolic of the act

of teaching or conversation.

The
sculpture

is

exact provenance of this

not known. Comparable sculptures

from Hadda are primarily in the Kabul

Guimet,

Paris

Museum

59, 70-71) and Musee


(Hallade 1968, pis. 108-9, 112).

(Rowland 1966,

figs.

Similar figures with heads intact are in the

Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University,

um

where

it is

attributed to

Hadda, and Muse-

of Fine Arts, Boston (Watt 1982, p. 162,

no. 152). Such sculptures were also excavated by

Marshall at Taxila ({195

1975,

1 ]

3: pi.

150b),

although there the lotus petals are modeled and


not painted as in the museum's sculpture.
Therefore, Hadda, rather than Taxila, seems a

more

Head of a

likely source for this elegant figure.

Bodhisattia

Color plate, p. 57

S9 1

Head of a

Bodhisattva

Afghanistan, Hadda; fourth-fifth century

Stucco with color; 10 Ya in (27.3 cm)

From

the Nasli and Alice

Heeramaneck

Collection

Museum

Associates Purchase;

M.80.6.4

Dohanian 1961, no. 9; Rosenfield et


1966, pp. 17, 3637; Trubner 1968, p. 7,
fig. 5; Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Literature:
al.

1975, pp. 20, 147; Heeramaneck 1979, no. 14;

Czuma

218

1985,

p.

222.

This elegantly serene head with

much

of

its

original paint intact belonged to a bodhisattva


figure.

Luxuriant rings of curly hair held by a

band cascade

down

the right side of the face,

thereby emphasizing the


direction of the gaze.

tilt

The

of the head and

rest of the hair

is

pulled back and gathered into a fan-shaped

topknot secured by a twisted cord. The


auspicious urna

neck,

lips,

placed slightly off center.

winged lion-shaped

lines

on the

ornament on

ear

the right, eyes, hairline, and cloth band above.

The moustache,

pupils, and eyebrows are

The

painted black.

-XJfc."

is

Earth-red pigment highlights the

hair

was very

likely tinted

blue-black or indigo.

Two outstanding

qualities of a

bodhisattva are his compassion and sympathy for

human

frailties

and imperfections. These

qualities are poignantly

conveyed by the pensive

gaze and gentle expression of this remarkably

Although many similar

sensitive stucco head.

bodhisattva heads have been recovered from


Taxila in Pakistan and

Hadda

in Afghanistan,

few achieve the tender expressiveness and subtle


pathos of this example.

While

it is

extremely difficult

to be certain of the provenance of such heads,

very likely this example

from Hadda. In none

is

of the Taxila heads has the original pigment been


as well preserved.

At

least

two heads with almost

identical faces, although different hairstyles,

were found in Hadda (Barthoux 1930,

3: pis.

5od, 79d). This particular hairstyle with curly


rings was popular in

S92

Gandhara and Afghanistan.

Head of the Buddha


Head of the Buddha

S92

Afghanistan, Hadda; fourth-fifth century

Stucco with traces of color; 9 Va in (24.8 cm)

Given anonymously; M.55.1


Like the visage of the bodhisattva (S91), the

countenance of this Buddha


gentle, pensive expression.

is

characterized by a

The

pupils are

painted black, and traces of black pigment

remain on the eyebrows and

hair.

Red has been

used in the urna, hairline, eyes, ears, chin, and


neck.

The manner of delineating

the urna with a

red circle appears to have been characteristic of


several

Hadda

figures

(Barthoux 1930,

pis. 5,

The scalelike hairstyle is similar


Buddha head from Taxila (Marshall

12b, 5od, 5 id).


to that of a

[1951] 1975,
it is

3: pi.

158, no. 53). Thus, although

extremely difficult to be certain of the prov-

enance of this head, very likely

219

it is

from Hadda.

S<)}a-b

Tuv Female Heads

S93ab

Two Female Heads

Afghanistan or Pakistan; fourth fifth century


Stucco; 9 V2 in (24.2

cm) each

Gift of Marilyn Walter Grounds;

M. 82. 225. 6-7

S93b

S93a

Despite their identical size and similar expressions of grief, the

two heads represent

demeanor

females. Their mournful

is

different

expressed

not only by their eyes but also by their furrowed

brows and tightly closed

Although the

lips.

the faces are different.

While the

face of a

ever,

among

Museum,

n.d.}, no. 49).

as

lips

of b are

more compressed, the upper

lip

being almost nonexistent. The eyes are


differently shaped,

wider

lid,

more
slit

eyes.

hairstyles are held in place

whether

in

The

Whatever

by a substantial band.

eschewed the narrative intent of the stone

Kushan

are of grieving

If,

women, then

indeed, these faces


in the

Buddhist

context they would have formed the retinue of


the

Buddha

in the scene of his death. In the

surviving death scenes

220

made

in stucco,

two heads

sensitively

their exact identi-

from their expressive features


are strongly Hellenized.

few

women

Such

modeled heads have been recovered

sites in

Gandhara and Hadda. Some heads

from Hadda are remarkably Hellenized, and

many show
1930,

pis.

a similarly furrowed

60c, 62a, 63d, 93h).

identical hairstyle also

may

brow (Barthoux

An

almost

be seen in a female

head from Taxila (Marshall {1951} 1975,

period. Representations

of females are rather rare.

fication, it is clear

from

is

rather similar

The sculptors of stucco figures,


Gandhara or Afghanistan, generally

sculptors of the

however, the

not to be interpreted

one of sadness, then they may represent

that the

idealized in a with a

whereas in b the lower portion

broader, resulting in

If,
is

Nara National

pensive worshipers or donors.

is

symmetrical, the two halves of b are different.

The

the mourners are two tree goddesses

(Arts of Buddha Sakyamuni [Nara:

expression on their faces

heads are similarly proportioned, the shapes of

how-

are not present. In earlier reliefs in stone,

3: pi.

i6ig). Thus, the provenance of these two heads

cannot be certain.

43

S94

Head of a

Bodhisattva

S94

Head of a

Tilted to the

Bodhisattva

left, this

classicized head

is

Afghanistan, Hadda; fourth-fifth century

distinguished by a prominent nose and pensive

Stucco with traces of color; 8 Vi in (21.6 cm)

gaze, a frequent characteristic of stucco heads

Gift of Marilyn Walter Grounds;

M. 84. 220.

from Gandhara and Afghanistan. Although


exact provenance

head

is

is

its

not known, very likely the

from Hadda. Red paint

adheres to

still

the neck, ears, lips, nose, eyes, hairline, and

The

fillet.

hair,

irises are

painted gray-black.

parted in the middle, which must have also

once been gray-black, cascades


either side of the face
ears,
is

The

one of which

and

is

in

waves on

pulled back over the

retains

still

down
its

ring.

The

fillet

twisted and adorned with three circular,

painted disks, one of which


hair

is

is

broken. Part of the

gathered in a topknot surmounted by a

bow. The rough, unfinished state of the back

and figure were attached

indicates that the head


to a wall.

S95

Head of a

Bodhisattva

S95

Head of a

As with other bodhisattva heads (S94), the back

Bodhisattva

unfinished, suggesting that the head was

Afghanistan or Pakistan; fourth fifth century

is

Stucco with traces of color; 8 in (20.3 cm)

meant

Gift of Marilyn Walter Grounds;

M. 84. 220.

to be

viewed only from the front. The


quite different in other

facial features are

examples. The nose of this head

is

not as strongly

defined, and the nostrils are larger.

more roundly shaped, and the chin

The eyes
is more

are

prominent. Both earrings are well preserved, but


part of the face on the
is

left is

damaged. The

arranged around the forehead like a canopy or

molding with

honeycomb design and

place by a shallow
rosettes.

The

rest

fillet

rosettes.

still

is

held in

decorated with three

of the hair

is

gathered in a

topknot surmounted by a fan-shaped


Traces of red

221

hair

crest.

adhere to the ears, hairline, and

The pupils

are painted black.

Sg6

Male Head
Male Head

S96

Pakistan; fourth-fifth century


'/ in (
5 1 cm)
1
Anthony A. Manheim; M. 81. 205

Stucco; 6
Gift of

Despite

idealization, the face has an

its

individual expression and very likely was a

An

portrait of a lay worshiper or donor.

hangs from the

the right ear

left ear,

is

earring

broken.

Distinctive are the shaven head and tuft of hair

attached to the middle of the forehead like a

pendant and longer

from the middle

tuft rising

of the head and curving to the right. This


particular hairstyle was popular

among some

Scythians, and a similar head of a shaven boy was

recovered from the Dharmarajika stupa in Taxila


(Marshall [1951} 1975,

i6oh;

3: pi.

also

cf.

M.

Bussagli, Painting of Central Asia [Geneva: Skira,

1963], p. 86, for a painted representation in the

well-known reliquary from Kucha of a naked,

winged musician with the same

597

hairstyle).

Contemplating Bodhisattva

S97

appropriate gesture for Avalokitesvara, whose

Contemplating Bodhisattva

Pakistan or Kashmir;

fifth

Copper

(10.8 cm)

alloy;

Va in

primary task

century

is

to save suffering

art of eastern Asia, however,

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

M.85.9

humanity. In the

such contemplative

figures are frequently identified

with Maitreya

and occasionally with Siddhartha. The position

Crowned, but sparsely ornamented,


is

wicker

One

seat.

or gesture of the right arm, however,

seated in a relaxed posture on a

bodhisattva

of the two lotuses in front of the

base supports his

the right leg

left foot;

and placed obliquely

raised

is

The

the edge of the seat.

at

Various considerations lead to


the conclusion that this bronze was created in
fifth-century Gandhara.

The

earlier

abdomen,

and Swat generally dated

crosses the left shoulder,

The

and loops

arm. In addition, a sacred cord

body diagonally

encircles the

shoulder.

left

face

also

and crown are

from the

much

left

effaced;

very likely three triangular lobes formed the

crown. The ears have elongated lobes. Rather


curious are the holes on the bits projecting from

behind the

ornaments may have

ears; additional

been attached to them. The

stem on which
object.

The

rests

right elbow

and the hand

is

left

arm holds

a lotus

an effaced, unrecognizable
is

placed on the thigh,

raised to the shoulder with the

index finger pointing to the chin. Repairs

be seen at the front and back.

and hole on the top of the

nimbus was once used


back of the figure

is

may

lug at the back

seat indicate that a

to set off the head.

The

summarily modeled, the

wicker seat, however,

is

rendered in the round.

This figural representation of

figure

is

certainly

than several other examples from Kashmir

figure wears a dhoti; a light shawl drapes the

back over the

not

is

described specifically in any iconographic text.

to the seventh century

1975b, pp. 134-35; von Schroeder

(Pal

pp. 84-85).
the shawl

is

98i,

The treatment of the dhoti and way


draped around the arm are seen

frequently in Gandharan bodhisattva figures.


The somewhat awkward manner in which the
left

hand holds the lotus stalk

characteristic of

1957,

figs.

the stem

Another

is

also

415, 417), whereas in

later versions

grasped more naturalistically.

detail that points to

realistic representation
is

is

Gandhara (Lyons and Ingholt

Gandhara

the

is

of the wicker seat, which

encountered quite often in Gandharan

sculpture (Pal 1975b, pp. 23435), while in


later

bronzes only the wicker design

around the
wicker seat

seat,
is

which

is

is

repeated

placed on a lotus. The

used quite frequently in Gupta

coins of the fourth century (C27b, C29b).

More

importantly, the knots are tied in exact imitation

the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the

of knots occurring on a Gandharan relief that

compassionate one, was popular in Gandhara

unlikely to have been carved after the third or

and Kashmir, although the type was also known


in the art of

3 35)- The

Kushan Mathura (Lerner 1984, pp.


position of the right hand is usually

taken to symbolize contemplation, an

fourth century (Lyons and Ingholt 1957,

is

fig.

463). Despite such strong similarities with

Gandharan sculpture,
this

Kashmiri provenance

for

bronze cannot be ruled out altogether.

222

Kashmir

S98

Tile with Figures

S98

This

Tile with Figures

terra-cotta;

Given

in

20

memory

Va in (52.7

cm)

Humann

of Christian

Robert Hatfield Elsworth; M.82.152


Literature: Fisher 1982, p. 33.

one of many identically stamped

that

tiles

once decorated the low sidewall of a courtyard in

Kashmir, Harwan; third-fourth century

Red

is

by

monument

near the village of Harwan, not far

from Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir. While the


considered to be Buddhist, in a

site generally is

recent article (see Literature),

has been

it

proposed that Harwan

may have been occupied


before the Buddhists by members of another
religious sect known as the Ajivikas. There is
some merit

suggestion for the strange

in this

iconography of the

tiles is difficult to

explain in a

Buddhist context.

The museum's
others of this type,

At

the

of geese, one with


carrying water
in

is

bottom above

tile, like

most

divided into three sections.

simple molding

is

row

wings outspread, each

its

lilies in its bill.

Above the

frieze

two recessed rectangular panels are identical

images of naked ascetics seated on their


haunches. Three numerals
eight

are written in

raised divider

and

three, seven,

Kharoshthi script in the

between the two panels. Above,

behind a balustrade

like that in the

Kushan

upright from Mathura (S55), are six confronting

men, who appear

to be

engaged

in conversation

with one another. The pair on the


to the

left is identical

two on the right, and the same stamp

obviously was used. All have shaved heads,


except for those

who

back of each head

is

face to the right.

a lock of hair.

At the

The second

and sixth figures have substantial beards, while


the

first,

fourth, and fifth figures wear large,

plain earrings.
different faces

The
and

four figures have distinctly

features.

Curved
the seated ascetic

is

like a

bow, the body of

emaciated and extremely

gaunt with thin, spindly limbs. His cheeks are


sunken, his eyesockets are cavities, and his long

^
223

hair and beard are

unkempt. The posture

is

curious, reminiscent of the fetal position.

The

importance given to

hardly

this strange ascetic

is

in

keeping with Buddhist practice. More

he

may be

likely,

the only example of an Ajivika ascetic

The geese

to have survived in Indian art.

at the

bottom obviously were added to emphasize the

principle of asceticism.
bird

metaphor

also a

is

usually

The

bird can

swim on

the surface of the

water without being attached to


soar through space

homeless

who

for the ideal ascetic,

addressed as the paramaharhsa (great

is

gander).

cosmic emblem, the

and wander

he can also

it,

S99

back and a tuft

at the forehead.

Frequently, however, shaven brahmins kept a


similar tress of hair on their heads in the
facetious belief that they could be pulled into

heaven by the lock. In general, though, the

physiognomy of the paired heads indicates

distinctly different ethnic type than that

depicted in contemporary Gandharan

art.

While

Harwan

is

highly localized, their attribution to the


Just as intriguing as the ascetic

assumed

tress at the

the style of these curious figures from

freely like a

ascetic.

are the heads

Asian peoples shaved their heads, leaving only

above him, which generally are

Some

to represent foreigners.

third-fourth century

evident from the

is

paleography of the numerals and scientific

Central

examination of one of the

tiles (see Literature).

Bodhisattva

S99

Kashmir;

Copper

From

Maitreya: the ascetic's hairstyle and waterpot.

Bodhisattva
c.

The antelope skin is rarely worn by Maitreya in


any period but became a fairly common feature

400

alloy; 10 V2 in

(26.7 cm)

the Nasli and Alice

Heeramaneck

of Avalokitesvara after the seventh century. Also,


only from about the

Collection

Museum

M. 69. 15.2

Associates Purchase;

Literature:

Dohanian 1961, no.

1970, pp. 93-95.


Pal 1973,

fig.

fi

g- 3;

10;

fig.

4;

10; Pal 1975b, p. 32, fig. 38;

Bhattacharya 1980, p. 106,

pi. vi/7;

G.

von

Salter 1982, p.

than the princely figure encountered in the

Kushan

period.

emblem

of an ascetic,

The antelope

skin, a typical

generally after the

is,

century, also an attribute of the

3g; Klimberg96; Czuma 1985, p. 213-14.

Schroeder 1981, pp. 7779,

century was

Avalokitesvara represented as an ascetic rather

Huntington

Glynn 1972,

fifth

fig.

Brahma. Certainly

Brahma

is

fifth

Hindu god

in the art of Gandhara,

frequently represented, he

is

where

seldom

given the antelope skin. The waterpot and

This much-published bronze remains one of the

most intriguing
collection.

figures in the

While most

museum's

of salutation (namaskaramudra) by Huntington,

scholars agree that the

(see Literature) identifies

range between the second and sixth century,


its

Kashmir

attribution varies from

Gandhara

to

Clad in a dhoti, the figure

right

hand

palm

is

turned

likely

not possible, very

he represents the bodhisattva Maitreya. In

is

Kushan

The
this figure are to be

is

emphasized by

and antelope skin flung across

his

shoulder. In addition, he wears the sacred

cord.

Primarily because of the


antelope skin, Huntington has identified the
figure as Avalokitesvara.

Otherwise the

bodhisattva displays the basic characteristics of

224

Buddha image,

closest stylistic parallels for

found

than Kashmir or Swat.

pendant, bracelets, and ear

an

period.

Swat

ornaments, his ascetic nature

as

seen frequently in Gandharan steles of the

necklace with a

left

is

any event, the figure probably served

toward the body. Although he wears a long


floral

in

Thus, while an exact

hand. The fingers of the

are broken, the

his hairstyle

and Brahma

art.

identification of this figure

as

stands on a lotus base and holds an ascetic'sleft

to Maitreya

acolyte and once flanked a larger

to Swat.

waterpot in his

common

him with

Avalokitesvara. Dates suggested for the bronze

while

is

Gandharan

figure represents the bodhisattva Maitreya,

Huntington

gesture of the right hand, regarded as the gesture

is

in

Gandhara

Of these

rather

three regions,

the least likely. Certainly, the shape and

features of the face differ

from Kashmir and Swat

bronzes but relate closely to a late-fourth- or

Buddha probably
made in Gandhara (Pal 1975b, p. 193, no. 72).
The treatment of the dhoti is remarkably similar
early-fifth-century bronze

to that

worn by a standing bodhisattva on the

left

(Huntington 1970,

fig.

now in Karachi
2). The peculiar

of the right hand

also

encountered in

of the

Buddha

in a stele

is

comparison with the Siva from Uttar Pradesh


gesture

ear ornaments,

Gandharan bodhisattvas of the Kushan period


and survived

in Kashmiri-style

(S76); note the similar hairstyles, facial features,

and rather simplified modeling

of the body, unlike the

seventh-eighth-

more

century bronzes, whose provenance remains

Gandharan bodhisattvas. The

uncertain. In these later bronzes the fingers are

more open and do not

generally

much more

fingers of the left

in this

example are

Gandharan

naturalistically proportioned. Also in this

example the waterpot


manner. In

all

the waterpot

is

is

hand, but here

Despite the similarities with

figures

invariably suspended from the


it is

placed on the

Si 00). Another feature found

palm

more frequently

Kashmir,

is

the

in

Swat or

manner of representing the

lotus

with both rows of petals pointing downward

(Huntington 1970,

fig. 3).

Thus, the

cumulative evidence points to a date closer to the

Kushan

period.

late-fourth- or early-fifth-

century date seems also to be supported by a

225

this fascinating

here attributed to Kashmir because of

bronze
its

is

strong

technical affiliation to later Kashmiri bronzes.

(cf.

Gandharan sculptures of the Kushan period,


rather than in later bronzes from either

contemplative

figures of the fourth-fifth century.

Gandharan sculptures,

held in a distinctive

Gandharan and Kashmiri

eyes, however, are

reflect the

and pensive expression typical of Gupta or

elongated, while the

hand

naturalistic

treatment characteristic of Kushan-period

Sioo

The Bodhisattva Maitreya

Sioo
Copper

fifth

over the

century

alloy; 2 Vi in (6.3

Gift of Neil Kreitman;

No

a topknot.

The Bodhisattva Maitreya

Kashmir;

left

animal skin, however,

Although the

cm)

M. 85. 73.

hair are

is

flung

shoulder as with the other Maitreya.


facial features

no longer recognizable,

and

this tiny figure

undoubtedly was made sometime during the

Both

and iconography

in style

bodhisattva

fifth

this seated

standing figure originated. The iconographic

similar to the better-known

is

He

standing figure in the collection (S99).

century in the same region in which the

is

similarities are rather striking,

and both bronzes

seated on a rather summarily delineated lotus

reveal the

same technique of using a hollow stem

with a long hollow stem, which must have been

below the

lotus.

inserted into a tenon. Thus, the figure

may

have

been part of an altarpiece flanking a Buddha or


an embellishment to a stupa. The form of the
dhoti and

facial features

can no longer be

recognized, but the necklace with pendant and


plain bangles are of the

same type

standing figure. Similar also

which the waterpot

is

is

the

held in the

waterpot has a spout and

is

seen in the

as

manner

in

hand.

left

The

therefore of the

known in Sanskrit as a kundikd,


commonly used by brahmins and ascetics. The
variety

right

hand

is

turned toward the body with the

fingers bent so that the index finger


are touching

one another. The hair

and thumb

is

arranged in

Fragment of a Plate with a Couple

S101

Fragment of a Plate with a Couple

Kashmir

(?); fifth

century

Terra-cotta; largest diameter

4 Ve

in (1

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Pratapaditya Pal;

226

cm)

M.84.226

The modeling of the form,

however, seems somewhat smoother and more


abstract in this seated figure.

plate or shallow bowl.

At the center

is

beaded

medallion enclosing an intimate composition of


a

couple in dalliance seated naturalistically. The

male figure holds

in his right

and turns toward

his female

embraces his neck with her


not

It is

this

hand

left

figures,

even

precisely

facial outlines

in their

figurines" (Dani

1965-66,
is

p.

where

high

third century, as

pi.

In the

is

stamped, a

as early as the

Harwan

evident from the

is

On

xxxi).

medallion enclosing
relief.

Kashmir

familiar technique in

(see S98). Pottery

be

"emblemeta

47,

museum's fragment the design

arm.

a private collection are said to

from Kashmir. The

such terra-cotta plates

are considered to be Hellenistic

a single bust in rather

fragment was found, but other similar

fragments in

for

probably date to those found in Gandhara and

the base of each example

a flower (?)

companion, who

known

The models

period.

This pottery fragment probably belonged to a

stamped with

tiles

figural designs

has also been found in fairly large quantities in

of both

abraded condition, relate to

Tapa

Sardar, Afghanistan (Antonini 1977).

arms

are folded across the chest

Kashmiri-style figures. Such couples in dalliance

were a popular motif in the art of the Gupta

S102

Personified

Wheel

Si 02

Personified

Wheel

Kashmir; sixth century or

earlier

Copper

cm)

alloy; 2 Va in (7.0

Gift of Neil Kreitman;

The wheel behind his head is rendered


an unusual fashion. The wide rim is grooved,

clasped.
in

M. 82. 95.1

but the spokes are bent to the right, perhaps to

movement.

indicate

This

With

but animated figure represents

tiny,

Chakrapurusha, the personified wheel held


attribute by the

Hindu god Vishnu

as

an

Chakrapurusha

(Si 17).

his

overhanging

is

reminiscent of two other

Depicted as a dwarf wearing a short dhoti,

examples that cannot be dated


(Pal

which would have been attached

figure, however,

to a larger

pedestal with an image of Vishnu.

The

tilt

of the

Vishnu.

He wears a

torque, bracelets, prominent

armlets with crests, and disproportionately large

He

earrings.

appears to be smiling. His face

The

is

later

than 600

1975b, pp. 65, 78). The execution of this

Two

away.

is

not quite as sophisticated.

on the right foot are crudely rendered;

toes

those on the

head indicates that he was looking at

belly,

stocky legs, and realistic dhoti, the

Chakrapurusha stands on a small circular base,

figure's

with the fingers

left foot

appear to have been rubbed

features of the

charming

figure are not

encountered in any other image. The whirligig


treatment of the wheel

unique and appears to

is

dominated by large eyes with deep sockets that

be the earliest Indian representation of a type of

were once

nimbus with

His hair

is

filled

with

silver; his

nose

rolled above the forehead

is

effaced.

and

gathered into a lotiform bunch at the top. His

similarly curved rays encountered

eighth ninth-century Buddhist

in later

paintings in Central Asia.

An

earlier

example

occurs as a stamped design on a pottery shard

Tapa Sardar, Afghanistan (Antonini

found

in

1977,

fig.

manner

10).

in

The other unusual element

is

the

which the arms are disposed. This

appears to be a more tentative version of the

crossed-arm position, usually symbolizing

humility (vinayahasta), assumed by various


attendant figures in
earliest

such figures

Chakrapurusha

Gupta
is

One

sculpture.

of the

a representation of another

in a fifth-century

Mathura

Vishnu image (Begley 1973, fig. 5). In the two


earliest Gandharan or Kashmiri Chakrapurushas

now known

this particular gesture

is

not

encountered. This further indicates that the


sculptor of this bronze was following an earlier

iconographic tradition, perhaps of the


century,
later

which proved not

Kashmiri

feature

is

artists.

fifth

to be popular

Another possible

early

the design of the large, open earrings,

popular with Gupta- and Kushan-period

Thus, a sixth-century date


certain, but the figure

somewhat
227

with

earlier.

may

for this

artists.

bronze seems

well have been

made

5/oj

Syncretic Goddess

S103

Syncretic Goddess

or

Kashmir; sixth century


Black schist;

From

(14.0 cm)

5 Vi in

the Nasli and Alice

Fortuna. Thus, the identification of

and Fortuna

Heeramaneck

century, had

Associates Purchase;

Literature: Pal 1977, figs.

is

The

appropriate.

lion in the

Indian context, and certainly by the sixth

Collection

Museum

Roman

the Indian Sri-Lakshmi with Ardoxsho, Tyche,

M. 7 2. 53.6

become

goddess Durga,

closely identified

who had borrowed

it

with the

probably

during the Kushan period from the West Asiatic

11-12.

goddess Nana, whose cult appears to have been


This small image, probably intended for a

popular in the Kushan Empire. Similarly, the

domestic shrine,

crescent

a fascinating

is

example of the

moon

also

is

kind of religious syncretism that prevailed in the

(Mukherjee 1969, pp. 11 12). In

northwestern regions of the subcontinent until

the goddess Sri-Lakshmi

the sixth century.


sits

on

A goddess

wearing a chiton

couchant lion between two columns

Nana
Gupta coins

an attribute of

is

shown

similarly

seated on a couchant lion (C25). Thus, this


slightly

damaged sculpture graphically

terminating in lotiform capitals. Her righr hand

demonstrates the fusion into

grasps a lotus, and her

various conceprs from Hellenistic, Iranian, and

cornucopia, which

is

left

hand holds

a strange

animal head, pot, and lotus.

broken

off,

composite of

of

Indian religions.

Two elephants, now

once stood on either side of the

a single icon

Although

its

provenance

uncertain, very likely the sculpture was

An

is

made

in

goddess and poured water over her head. Behind

Kashmir.

her a crescent

of a goddess wearing a chiton with similar swirls

part of the

is

attached to her shoulders, and a

nimbus

animals above,

is

carved as a lotus.

The

lotus in her right

now

almost

stylistically identical figure

was recovered from the town of Vijbror, which

hand and

missing, indicate that she

was known in ancient times

Gajalakshmi

illustrates a small

chiton, a legacy, as

discussed here. Although

Romanized

is

the cornucopia, from the

art of

Gandhara. In Kushan-

period coins the cornucopia

is

the chief emblem

of a goddess identified as Ardoxsho,

who

is

conceptually no different from the Greek Tyche

not known, the piece

is

Kak

its

forelegs crossed as

its

lion in the

is

64) also
type

original location

Kak

museum's

The

with

(p.

relief of the

dated by

century.

is

to the sixth

relief is seated

a lion in a frag-

mentary sculpture from Pandrethan, also an old


city like Vijbror in

228

Vijayakshetra or

Vijayesvara (Kak 1923, p. 59).

represents Gajalakshmi. She wears, however, a

earlier

as

Kashmir (Kak 1923,

p. 39).

Sio4

Male Head

Ushkur

Male Head

Si 04

Kashmir, Ushkur; sixth-seventh century


Terra-cotta; 5 V in (13.6

name of a

the

is

village near

Baramula,

thirty-four miles west of Srinagar. Baramula,

where the

cm)

river

Jhelum

flows out of the Vale of

Purchased with Harry and Yvonne Lenart Funds;

Kashmir,

M.85. 193.

connecting Kashmir with Panjab. The area

is

an important western pass

at

rich in archaeological

Ushkur being considered


foundation.

The

is

remains and monuments,

village

Kushan

to have been a

is

identified with

Huvishkapura, a settlement established by the

Kushan king Huvishka


and Ushkur remain
sites in

Kashmir

(see

as the

Ci2a-c). Akhnur

two most important


Both

for terra-cotta sculptures.

have yielded a considerable, although

amount of Buddhist

fragmentary,

Most

sculptures.

scholars agree that the brick stupas

and

sculptures from these two sites date to the

sixth seventh century.

Although an exact
identification of this head

is

not possible,

may

it

have represented a bodhisattva or devotee.

cursory comparison with similar heads from

Gandhara (S89, S92)


that

Ushkur

their

artists

Gandharan

clearly points to the fact

were heavily dependent upon

colleagues. Nevertheless,

differences are perceptible in the shape of the face

and

features.

The cheekbones

are

more

and

fleshy

swelling, anticipating the facial type that

became more

characteristic of eighth-century

Kashmiri sculpture. The

lips are

somewhat more

compressed, and the chin forms a more distinct


loop.

The

upward

eyes have a stronger

especially the right,

and the eyebrows

slant,
rise

more

sweepingly from the bridge of the nose. The hair


is

rendered by sketchy, furrowed lines,

apparently a characteristic of

Ushkur

This head appears to have been

figures.

made from

mold, and the clay representing the top of the


head and hair was separately attached. The back

lumps of

of the head was filled in with additional


clay roughly applied.

S105

The Goddess Durga Killing

Demon

the Buffalo

project above her ears.

What

Demon

damaged

is,

Kashmir; seventh century

which hangs rhe two ends of the ribbon. With

The Goddess Durga Killing

Si 05

Dark gray
Christian

schist; 5 Va in

the Buffalo

(14.6 cm)

Humann Memorial

plain

nimbus

her right foot clearly

Fund; M.84. 180

looks like a

in fact, a crescent over

shown and adorned with

plain anklet the goddess presses

down on

back of the crouching animal. Her

The goddess Durga stands

One

triumphant over a buffalo on a rectangular

upon the

pedestal decorated with plain moldings in the

hands holds the buffalo's

front

and

sides.

She wears a chiton, which

spreads out like a long skirt at the back.

ornaments include

down

a large garland,

two

to her thighs,

is

Two

and two different ear

additional

229

which loops

pulled back and tied with

a ribbon that keeps in place the

side bouffants.

Her

pearl necklaces, the

larger one with a pendant,

ornaments. Her hair

two ornamented

floral

left foot,

completely covered by drapery, presses

majestically

ornaments

buffalo's nose.

tail,

down

of her two right


the other thrusts

the trident into the animal's shoulders.

hands carry a

bell

and waterpot. Except

Her

left

for the

broken bell-bearing arm, the small sculpture


in

good condition.

the

is

The crouching,
posture of the buffalo with

all

many

flying sideways in

helpless

four legs bent and

folds are strongly

reminiscent of Sassanian influence." There are

contrasting heroic attitude of the goddess are

other reasons also to suggest a Kashmiri rather

characteristic of several representations of the

than Afghani origin for the museum's Durga.

theme discovered

The dark gray

distinct
reliefs.

Afghanistan and

in

is

quite

from either Kushan- or Gupta-period

Unfortunately,

three Afghani reliefs

all

damaged except for the buffalo


(Kuwayama 1976, figs. 7-9; Taddei 1973). As
are badly

in the

Afghani fragment from Gardez, the

goddess here also holds the

with one of her right hands.

tail

of the buffalo

A close

with sculptures from Afghanistan

schist

is

the same material used for

the syncretic goddess in the collection (Si 03)

and

also for other

Kashmiri sculptures (Kak

1923, p. 64; Klimberg-Salter 1982, p. 102,


26).

back

The
is

pi.

representation of the crescent at the

again similar to that seen in the statuette

of the syncretic goddess.

relationship

seventh-century date seems

consistent with Afghani material generally dated

is

demonstrated by the treatment of the ribbon in

to the

the back of the head, which

sculptures of the sixth-seventh century showing

least three

is

characteristic of at

images, although none are of the

goddess (Kuwayama 1976,

The design of the ribbon

strong Gandharan influence.

moon

example

or Artemis), absence of a lion, and

differs

demon

of the

sculptures, while similar ribbons occur in the

tradition.

Kumara

figure

found in Kashmir

(Kak 1923, pp. 65-66). As Kak

writes:

"The

streamers attached to the back of the head and

230

goddess's

chiton,

considerably from that of the Afghani

impressive

The

back (relating her to Nana,

15, 21-22).

figs.

in this

seventh-eighth century and Kashmiri

at the

human form

are features indicating an early

Sto6

The

God Ganesa
Si 06

The

God Ganesa

Kashmir; seventh century

Copper

alloy; 3 V\ in (8.3

cm)

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

M.84.67

The Hindu god Ganesa, distinguished by

his

elephant head, stands gracefully on a rectangular


pedestal.

He

bracelets.

serpent, slung diagonally across his

He

holds in his

in his

lower

down on
a

upper right

left

hand

his

broken right tusk;

a battle-ax placed upside

the pedestal; and in his upper

left

hand

bowl of sweets. The end of his trunk, with

is

broken

off.

The back

is left

sophisticated.

Other examples

Afghanistan

(Kuwayama 1976,

may be

figs.

seen

46).

This Ganesa significantly does not wear a crown,


unlike
istan,

all

other examples, whether from Afghan-

Kashmir, or

Pradesh.

Chamba

in

Himachal

flattened lug at the back of the head

nimbus was

separately

attached.

The rectangular base with simple

moldings

is

very similar to those seen in a sixth-

century bronze Vishnu in Berlin and fifth-cen-

rather plain.

Although small, the


well proportioned

figure

is

and sensitively modeled,

especially the legs, rotund belly,

heel of the right foot

is

stylistically

and head. The

slightly raised in a

graceful and naturalistic posture.

may be

more

indicates that the

which he would have been busy nibbling the


sweets,

is

dated later than the seventh century,


in

lower right hand a circular object, very likely a


rosary; in his

ship here

of similar images of Ganesa, which cannot be

wears a short dhoti and plain

body, forms his sacred cord.

Chakrapurusha (Si 02), although the workman-

The bronze

compared with the small

231

tury

Buddha

in

Kansas City (Pal 1975b,

p. 65).

Haryana

S107

The

God Rama
Sioj

The God Rama

Haryana, Nacharkherha

Brown

He

period as a god and avatar of Vishnu.

century

(?); fifth

terra-cotta; 18 V2 in

(47.0 cm)

Gift of Marilyn Walter Grounds;

has

remained the ideal Hindu king, and Gupta


emperors very likely modeled their popular

M. 83. 22 1.6

image of

archer-portrait coin types after the

Rama.

The Gupta-period Brahmi


figure's left

thigh identifies

Rama. Hero of the Sanskrit

Rama had come

As was quite common

inscription near the

him

as the

god

epic the Ramayana,

to be regarded

by the Gupta

of the

in the art

Gupta period, Rama is dressed as a warrior


worn by Gupta monarchs

in a tunic like that

(C28a-c) and possibly wearing pajamas. In


addition, he wears across his chest a cross-belt

His

(channavira), characteristic of a hero.

principal attributes are the bow, half of

remains attached to his

left

which

hand, and arrows,

placed in a quiver behind his right shoulder. His


raised right

hand displays the gesture of

reassurance; very likely he

was addressing or

confronting another person in the complete

composition.

Themes from
were quite popular

the

Ramayana

for narrative reliefs

decorating the walls of both brick and stone

temples in a large area of north-central India

during the Gupta period.

Of all

temples in which terra-cotta


none, however,

is

at a site called

one of these

reliefs

were used,

The only Ramayana


were found some years

inscribed.

panels with inscriptions

ago

the brick

reliefs

Nacharkherha

in Haryana. In

part of a couplet

is

written

above the scene, and in another the name of a


character

is

inscribed as an identifying label (Sri

Yogananda 1970). Thus, the museum's panel


with Rama very likely belonged to a Guptaperiod brick temple that once stood at

Nacharkherha.

Rama

stylistically is similar to

the figure of his younger brother,


Sri

Lakshmana

Yogananda 1970). Lakshmana


and wears the same

strikes

identical posture

His

face

is

(see

an

hairstyle.

also characterized by large, open eyes,

obliquely sweeping eyebrows, and elongated


ears.

Rama's

face

is,

however, more expressive,

revealing a stronger personality.

232

Uttar Pradesh

S108

Goddess

Si 08

The

Goddess

basic iconography of this goddess

is

similar

an earlier sculpture (S68) with a

Uttar Pradesh; third-fourth century

to those seen in

Reddish brown terra-cotta; 10 Va in (27.3 cm)

few modifications. Here the goddess has four

Gift of Paul

F.

Walter;M.83.2i9.i

The two

instead of two arms.

principal hands are

placed on the knees. Although the

hand

left

is

broken, neither hand appears to have held any


attributes.

With

the two other hands she seems

to be placing a garland

on her head. This

unusual feature, which, so

far,

is

an

has been

encountered only in images of Durga killing the


buffalo

demon

(Harle 1970). As Harle

convincingly has shown, Durga in those images


is

engaged

to her

in placing

on her head

given

a garland

by Ocean, when the gods were equipping

her for battle against the

demon. In

this

particular figure, however, no element


specifically identifies her

with Durga, and,

therefore, the act of garlanding oneself

must

may
demon

have had a broader significance. The gesture

symbolize the goddess's victory over the

and may have been suggested by Hellenistic


iconography, where mortal victors are often
presented with a wreath by Nike, the goddess of
victory. Since

victory,

it

Durga

herself

is

goddess of

would not be too farfetched

this seated figure as a

form of Durga,

to identify

who

is

accepting the accolade of the gods after her


spectacular victory.

The

figure once again

is

characterized by the kind of unrefined modeling

of earlier sculptures (S68, S74), although an

attempt has been made to distinguish

in outline

and volume the upper part of the body from the


stomach. The breasts are not quite as prominent,

and the open, staring eyes protrude conspicuously.

The

slightly

open mouth

is

quite large,

but the ears, although perfunctorily rendered,


are

ornamented and more proportionate. The

apronlike garment

appears to be nude.

233

is

missing, and the figure

Sioy

The Goddess Durga Killing

the Buffalo

Demon
The Goddess Durga Killing

Si 09

the Buffalo

Demon

Uttar Pradesh; third-fourth century

Reddish brown terra-cotta with color;

3/4

cm)

in (24.7

M. 84. 220.

Gift of Marilyn Walter Grounds;

The goddess Durga

rigidly stands

on a shallow

base formed by the gently curving bottom of the


oval plaque. She

wearsa short

and

incised lines, bangles,


pellets.

Her elongated

and her head

hand holds
the

is

in the

The upper right


pointing downward,

corresponding

With

recognizable.

ornamented,

ears are not

not crowned.

a short trident

weapon

by

skirt, indicated

a necklace of three

left

hand

not

is

her principal hands, she

holds the buffalo stretched across her knees by


the head and

tail.

To

my

knowledge,

Indian representation of the theme

shown holding

in

is

no other

the goddess

the animal in such a manner, as

she were about to give

good spin and hurl the

it

if

creature as far as possible. That she has not yet

used her trident indicates that the animal

is still

The short garment may, in fact, represent


a skirt made of leaves usually worn by tribal
figures. In literature Durga is frequently
alive.

associated with tribes such as the Barbaras,

Pulindas, and others. This


is

may

why

explain

she

not given a crown of any kind.


Stylistically, the figure is

closely related to the seated

although the body here


larger breasts.

The

is

eyes

goddess (Si 08),

much slimmer with

do not protrude

much, but the shape and

as

features of the face are

remarkably similar. Traces of black paint


adhere to the

was daubed

feet,

and

it

in vermilion

still

appears that the piece

powder

until recent

times.

Si 10

Buddha Sakyamuni
Si 10

Buddha Sakyamuni

The

right

hand of the Buddha

is

The head

raised in the

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; third-fourth century

gesture of reassurance.

Mottled red sandstone; 9 !/4 in (23.5 cm)


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Phillips;

a circular nimbus decorated with a lotus

M. 82. 165.4

edges. Because the top of the lower

is

set off against

surrounded by a row of rosettes and scalloped

shown hugging the

hips,

it

may

garment

is

be assumed that

the figure originally stood on a base. Usually in


seated Buddhas, the folded legs

covered the band, although

it

would have

can be seen in the

well-known seated Buddha from Katra

Mathura museum (R. C. Sharma 1976,

The sculpture
unusual as

Gupta

2 34

it

styles.

in the
fig.

33).

stylistically is

combines elements of Kushan and

The

facial features

and expression

with half-shut eyes are characteristic of Gupta

boyish face, as

Buddha images, but the urna, right hand with


stumpy fingers, hand rest, and absence of

a youthful

webbing between the

Mathura image of Parsvanatha probably of the

fingers are elements of

Kushan-period images. Likewise, the garment


draped over the

Kushan

left

rather than

of the nimbus
fifth-century

shoulder

is

depicted in the

Gupta manner. The design

not as elaborate as that seen in

is

Buddha

figures but

with third-fourth-century

is

steles.

most striking feature of the figure

Si

consistent

Perhaps the
is

the rather

Head of Siva
Si 1

Head of Siva

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura; fourth century

Red

terra-cotta;

From

4 in (10.2 cm)

the Nasli and Alice

Heeramaneck

Collection

Museum

Associates Purchase;

Literature: Rosenfield et

Pal 1981, p. 41.

235

al.

M.73.4.8

1966,

p. 37, no. 23;

if

the sculptor wanted to represent

Buddha.

adolescent face

may

similarly puffed and

be seen in an inscribed

early fourth century (R. C.

69).

The

Sharma 1976,

halo in that sculpture

designed. This

may

is

fig.

similarly

in fact be a representation of

the infant Buddha, whose cult was popular in

Buddhist countries outside India.

When

published,

may have been

head

An

first

it

was suggested that

this

part of a vessel or Siva image.

almost identical head forming part of a

Sivalinga was found in

Allahabad

Mathura and

museum (Ghosh

now

is

1961, p. 69,

LXXixc). Indeed, but for the opposite

Allahabad head, the two heads

The head

is

pi.

tilt

of the

are so similar that

made from

they could have been

in the

the

same mold.

distinguished by a

tempted

to identify the

image of Indra, who

is

head

eye

is

depicted vertically (see S76). Most

Kushan-period Sivalingas have highly rubbed


faces,

but one or two examples clearly show the

third eye horizontally delineated (Pal 1979, pp.

220-21,

figs.

15, 17).

The best-known

representation of Siva with the horizontal third


the enigmatic, inscribed image from

eye

placed third eye on the forehead, partly broken

Kausambi (Williams 1982,

turban, and torque that looks like an

uncommon

ruff.

At

first

glance, one

may

be

belonging to an

given the horizontal third eye, while Siva's third

moustache, bushy eyebrows, horizontally

Elizabethan

as

generally turbaned and

is

to see Siva

fig.

31). It

is

not

wearing this type of

turban in Kushan-period representations in

keeping with his epithet ushnisbi (turbaned one).

Si 12

Male Head
Si 12

Male Head

Covered with a red


back and

Uttar Pradesh; fourth century

Red

terra-cotta;

Gift of Eleanor

3/4

in (17.2

cm)

Abraham; M. 82. 2

slip, the

sides of the face originally


19.

head

may have been used

is

as a

hollow

at the

mask. Both

were framed by

The moustache is elegantly curled


end, and the open mouth reveals a row

flowing curls.
at either

of teeth. If the circle between the eyebrows

meant

to be a third eye, then the figure

represent Siva himself or a Saivite deity.


display of teeth

is

may
The

would then suggest a fearsome

being; the teeth of a female head in the collection

manner (Si
damaged

are exhibited in a similar

nose and neck are partly

13).

The

Gupta-period figures generally


have flowing, curly locks. This head with

its

well-modeled features reveals the kind of


sophistication characteristic of Gupta-period
terra-cotta

236

temple figures

(cf.

S107, S122).

Si 13

Female

Head

Si 1 3

Female

Uttar Pradesh

Head
fourth century

(?);

this

Reddish brown terta-cotta; 9 in (22.9 cm)


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lionel Bell;

head

Uttar Pradesh because of its general affinity with

M. 8 1.269.

Gupta-period terra-cotta from Ahichchhatra

(V. S.

This striking female head with carefully


arranged coiffure

modeled

coiled into an elegant

hair

is

bun

at the

tive,

is

in the

round.

is

doughnut-shaped

the display of a well-formed

upper row of teeth and expressive grin. The large


eyes are without pupils,

prominent.

An

ear

and the eyebrows are

ornament hangs from the

earlobe, the right having been broken.

necklace encircles the neck only in the front.

237

Agrawala 1947-48). The figure cannot be

precisely identified.

The

top of the head. Even more distinc-

however,

is

While the exact provenance of


not known, it very likely is from

left

known

No Mother Goddess

to have such a grinning face,

hairstyle

would

is

and the

also be unusual for a goddess,

although suitable

for a yogini.

Si 14

The Androgynous Form of Siva and Parvati


The Androgynous Form of Siva and Parvati

Si 14

Uttar Pradesh

(?);

Buff sandstone; 14

cm)

in (36.1

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

is

the placement of

the conjoint figure in front of Siva's bull rather

fourth century
l

feature of this composition

than near a linga. Siva

M.85.8

matted

hair, partially

is

distinguished by his

rendered third eye,

moustache, and erect phallus. Parvati has an

The Ardhanarisvara image type

continues the form developed during the Kushan


period by artists in Mathura (see S73).

what appears

elaborate coiffure including

basically

novel

to be a

garland and rosette, a prominent breast, and

widely flaring hip. Altogether the composite


deity has four arms, unlike the
representation.
right

hand

is

The

two

in the earlieV

attribute in Siva's upper

broken, the second hand probably

held a rosary and formed the gesture of


reassurance. Parvati holds a waterpot by her side;

may be

the object in the other hand

a book.

modeled bull with

Siva's powerfully

its

burgeoning form stands behind the androgynous


figure like a solid bulwark.

The
interesting sculpture
to have

come from

exact provenance of this


is

not

known, but

said

it is

The image of Siva

Pakistan.

standing against his bull was popular in Kushan-

Ci3a-b, C16) and continued

period coins (see

to

be used frequently in the northwestern region of


the subcontinent, including Kashmir.

The

buff

sandstone, however, was not employed in

Kashmir but was used commonly


Pradesh and parts of

Madhya

in Uttar

Pradesh. Apart

from the stone, the smooth abstract modeling of


the figure precludes a Kashmiri or Afghani
origin.

The

plastic qualities of the figure clearly

reflect a stylistic relationship

sculptural tradition of the

with the Gupta

Ganges

Valley, while

the shape and features of the face as well as the

matted hair of Siva are reminiscent of Mathura


figures (Si 16).

Unlike Gupta-period

figures,

however, the eyes are wide open rather than halfshut.

Within the

collection, the sculpture

may

be compared with the bronze bodhisattva (S99)

and third-century Siva (S76).

It is

probably

later

than a Kausambi third-century Siva-Parvati

(Williams 1982,

Mathura
1982,

Si 15

fig.

31), but earlier than a

fifth-century Siva-Parvati (Williams

fig.

77).

Buddha Sakyamuni

Buddha Sakyamuni

Si 1 5

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura;

In the corners of the lower

350-400

section of the throne are

Buff sandstone; 18 Va in (47.6 cm)


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lenart;

is

M.83.8

worshipers.

abraded,

The

headless

Buddha

is

seated in the meditation

two

lions, in the

middle

Buddha flanked by two kneeling


The Buddha's head, although

a meditating

is

intact

and suggests what the missing

head above must have looked

like.

The

eyes seem

posture on a lion throne. Part of his

almost fully closed, the earlobes are elongated,

undergarment

the hair consists of small curls, and the head

seat.

His

left

is

spread fanlike in front of his

hand holds the gathered end of the

crowned with

bump. The two worshipers

is

also

upper garment that drapes his body. The

have long ears and an ascetic's hairdo, although

garment

they probably are not monks.

is

also indicated over the right

arm and

around the neck. The right hand with webbed


fingers

is

raised in the gesture of reassurance.

Very likely the figure represents the

Sakyamuni.

238

Buddha

is

The Buddha's head

surrounded by a plain, circular halo.

Notwithstanding the damages


sustained by the sculpture,

image

for various reasons.

the sculpture

was made

in

is

it is

an important

Despite the fact that

carved from buff sandstone,

it

Mathura. Sculptures from Mathura

generally were carved in mottled red sandstone,

but buff sandstone began to be used


the second century (R. C.

124, 126, 133-35, 138).

at least

Sharma 1984,
Although the

from

figs.

have

is

characteristic of the Sarnath school,

two Buddha images from Govindnagar

at least

come

to light that

show the drapery

without folds (R. C. Sharma 1984,


147).

The museum

figure

from Mathura (Si

figs.

135,

The garment of the

meditating Buddha on the pedestal

is

the object of veneration generally

such as the wheel or bodhi


in

which

a divine figure

invariably

is

is

is

symbol,

tree. In all instances

represented, he

meditating bodhisattva

usually

is

Maitreya.

identified as the future

The concept

also

rendered

with incised folds following the Mathura

mode

The Buddha stylistically is very close to a


Buddha from Govindnagar dated to the
fourth century (R. C. Sharma 1984, fig. 135;
Williams 1982, fig. 19). The treatment of the

Buddha,

was prevalent

in

Gandhara, but there, too, the meditating figure

on the pedestal generally

also possesses a fourth such


18).

Buddha on the pedestal, scenes of worship


are more common in Kushan-period Buddha
images than in those of the Gupta period. Also,
of the

appropriately turbaned and bejeweled and

transparent garment without any parallel folds


generally

To return to the identification

is

a bodhisattva

identified as either Siddhartha or Maitreya.

Thus, the presence of a Buddha

is

rather

unusual, although at least in another

Buddha

image, the figure from Mankuwar, Uttar


Pradesh, dated 459, two meditating Buddhas

(Si 20).

are included in the pedestal (Harle 1974, fig.

standing

While an exact identification of the second


Buddha in the museum's sculpture is not

garment end
several

in the left

hand

is

encountered in

Mathura Buddhas that generally may be

55).

possible, he very likely represents Maitreya,


is

portrayed both as a

this attribution

is

Buddha and

who

bodhisattva. If

correct, then this

may

be one

placed in the third-fourth century (R. C.

of the earliest representations of Maitreya as a

Sharma 1984,

Buddha.

1982,

fig.

figs.

126, 13334; Williams

22).

239

Sn6

Head of an

Ascetic

Head of an Ascetic
Uttar Pradesh, Mathura (?); early fifth century
Reddish brown sandstone; 9 in (22.9 cm)
From the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck

S1 6

Associates Purchase; M. 78. 9. 17

Literature:

1950b,

admired, scholars disagree about the


provenance, age, and identity of this attractive
head.

While

it

has been tentatively associated

with Mathura, the head

Collection

Museum

Although frequently published and much

Trubner 1950a,

p. 24, fig. 39;

106; Rosenfield et

al.

Heeramaneck 1979,

p.

1966, p. 36, no. 20;


no. 29.

not carved from the

mottled red stone characteristic of sculptures

from that region. Reddish brown stone was used

290; Trubner,

Zimmer [1950] i960,

is

pi.

in several parts of

Madhya Pradesh,
The range of dates

Uttar and

including Mathura.

suggested for the sculpture

falls

between the

fourth and sixth century. Close comparisons,

however, can be

made with

from Mathura dated to the


fifth

century (Harle 1974,

1978,

at least three heads


late fourth or early
figs.

50, 102; Pal

p. 20).

sensitively

While the facial features of the


modeled head are rather similar to the

three heads cited earlier, this particular face with


its

are

smiling expression

much wider

is

more youthful. The

contemporary Buddha head


(Si 19).

The

lips

than in the other heads or near-

hair

is

in the collection

pulled back and tied in the

ascetic's hairstyle as in

contemporary Siva

images, and the ears are elongated as appropriate


for a divine

image. The absence of the third eye,

however, precludes an identification with Siva,

and hence the head may have belonged to a


divine ascetic.

240

Si ij

The

God

Vishnu as Vamana

Si 17

The God Vishnu as Vamana

Uttar or

Madhya Pradesh;

Dark brown
Christian

c.

rather the head

covered with tiny circles

forming a crowning topknot. The

400

terra-cotta; 7 Va in (19.8

Humann Memorial

is

cm)

Fund; M. 81. 240

doubt, represent small curls

Buddha and Jina

heads.

no

circles,

of

as characteristic

The topknot and


Buddha

elongated ears are also reminiscent of

Clad

in a dhoti, the erect figure

holds the three

images.

Among Vishnu

characteristic attributes of Vishnu: the club,

wheel, and conch


right

(cf.

S140).

The empty lower

hand displays the gesture of charity

(varada). Like the standard representation of

Vishnu, the figure


necklace.

is

adorned with bracelets and

The elongated

earlobes are not

Vamana

an

avatar of

images,

Vishnu and one of his

twenty-four emanatory (vyiiha) forms

Vamana

short, curly hair.

means

literally

"dwarf," and on one occasion,

wears

when

the gods

were threatened by the demon-king Bali, Vishnu

ornamented; instead two rosettes protrude from

incarnated himself as a dwarf brahmin and

the middle of the ears. Unlike other Vishnu

subdued

representations, no

crown adorns

this figure,

shown

ambition.

Bali's

as a

Vamana

hair as befitting a

Pradesh, he

(K.

is

and

Madhya

represented with Vishnu's


a

head fully covered by curly hair

Desai 1973, pp. 101-2,

S.

is

brahmin novice. In some

regions, however, particularly in

attributes

generally

dwarf with two arms and long, loose

75). In such

fig.

images, as also in this terra-cotta version, the


figure

is

meant

to represent

Vamana

as

one of

Vishnu's emanatory forms rather than as an


incarnation. Such an identification

would

explain the attributes and the fact that he

is

not

depicted as a dwarf.
In material and form this

plaque stylistically

Durga

(Si 09).

is

related to the terra-cotta

That most Vamana

curly hair have been found in

figures

with

Madhya Pradesh
may

or

Rajasthan suggests that this terra-cotta

belong to central India rather than Uttar

The known examples

Pradesh.

made

good deal

plaque, which

later

than this terra-cotta

may be one

of the earliest

representations in Indian art of

emanation.

were

in stone

Why Vamana was

Vamana

as

an

given the closely

cropped hairstyle generally associated with the

Buddha

or twenty-four Jinas

is

not known, but

during the Gupta period this hairstyle

found

in

Lakulisa.

241

is

also

images of the deified Saiva teacher

Sn8

Buddha Sakyamuni

Sn8

Buddha Sakyamuni

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura;

400-425

Buff sandstone; 27 in (68.5 cm)

When

on a plain base

in slight dehanchement

hand would have been raised

Purchased with funds provided by the Art

reassurance, and his

Museum

end of the garment

Council;

M.79.83

Buddha would have stood

complete, the

left

head of Sakyamuni (Si

more

like the slightly


19).

Unlike that of

Mathura Buddhas

familiar

the upper

any folds

although

The head of the Buddha

would have been something


the

garment

His right

would have grasped the

as in a similar,

seated, figure (Si 15).

later

in the gesture of

(see Si 20),

transparent and without

is

with the seated Buddha. The dhoti

as

is

secured by neatly tied narrow bands with the

ends falling naturalistically on the

nimbus

originally

left

thigh.

was attached to the head and

shoulders.

Although
carved slightly

later,

it

the figure stylistically

related to the seated headless

may

also be

may have been

compared with

Buddha

is

(Si 15). It

several other

Mathura Buddhas recovered mostly from


Govindnagar (R. C. Sharma 1984,
142-47). One

is

figs.

135,

dated 434-35. Another

comparable head belongs to a late-fourth-

Buddha from Govindnagar in the


National Museum, New Delhi (R. C. Sharma

century

1984,

fig.

135), although in terms of

proportion, modeling, and execution, the

museum's fragment seems


sophisticated.

The sculpture

attributed to the
century.

242

to be

first

is,

somewhat more
therefore,

quarter of the

fifth

Si 19

Head of Buddha Sakyamuni


Si

Head of Buddha Sakyamuni

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura;

This

450

c.

finely

carved head was created by sculptors

of the Mathura school during the

Mottled red sandstone; 12 in (30.5 cm)

Many complete Buddha images

From

known, one of which

the Nasli and Alice

Heeramaneck

C.

Collection

Museum

Associates Purchase;

Literature: Rosenfield et

Beach 1967,

p.

Trubner 1968,

M.82.6.3

163; Meister 1968, p. 108;

in this style are

dated in the year 435 (R.

Sharma 1984, figs. 142-43). Except for a few


museum's head compares closely

with the head of the dated Buddha. The slightly


puffier face

Heeramaneck 1979,

p. 8, fig. 6;

century.

details, the

1966, p. 35, no. 19;

al.

is

fifth

no 30.

and strong curve of the chin, also

encountered in other Buddha images of the


period,

may

indicate a slightly later date for this

head.

Buddha images

Typical of

of

the period, the eyes are half-shut, suggesting

inner concentration and compassion.


full

The

lips are

and sensuous, the underlip being especially

prominent.

Among

the

superhuman

signs,

noteworthy are the elongated earlobes,

bump, and

substantial cranial

articulately

rendered snail-shell curls that cover the head.

The

hairstyle

characteristics of the

bump

now typical
Gupta Buddha as is the

and cranial

are

absence of the urna.

S120

Buddha Sakyamuni
Si 20

Buddha Sakyamuni

Typical of

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura area;

Red sandstone; 10
Gift of

Vi in

fifth

figures, the

(26.6 cm)

begin in a V shape

Maureen Zarember; M.85. 19

they

This

is

a rare

Mathura Buddha

volume of the upper garment is


indicated by deeply grooved parallel lines, which

century

example of a portable stone image

rings

fall

to the

at the

neckline and widen as

hem, imitating the concentric

formed when

a stone

is

dropped into

Buddha in the Mathura style of the Gupta


period. Most known examples of Mathura
Buddha images are much larger and were

of water.

intended to be used in monasteries or large

sixth-century bronze figure (Si 31).

of the

shrines. Small sculptures such as this

been carved in large numbers

away with them

for

must have
and

use in domestic shrines. Such sculptures

may

for

where Buddhism prevailed.

the gesture of reassurance, the

figs.

Thus, despite

diminutive

of considerable historical significance.

243

relief

Mathura Buddha

images of the Gupta period (R. C. Sharma 1984,

148

illustrates a similarly

figure closely

comparable with the

139-41;

fig.

museum's example).

p. 67).

this

The missing

nimbus may have been decorated with various

off as Thailand (Pal

1978b,

hand would

head would have been a miniature version of the

damaged

damaged condition,

left

have held the end of the drapery as in the late-

smaller stone image from Sarnath surfaced as far

its

a pool

hand would have displayed

vegetal motifs characteristic of

well have served as models for artists in the


distant lands

right

larger head of entry Si 19, while the large

pilgrims to

as sacred souvenirs

carry

The

is

Sl21

Head of Bhairava
S121

Head of Bhairava

Uttar Pradesh;

fifth

century

Reddish brown terra-cotta; 4 in (10.2 cm)


Gift of Mr.

John

L.

and Mrs. Maria C. Bicocchi;

M. 82. 220

This

finely

modeled, expressive head once

belonged to an image of Bhairava, the terrifying

form of Siva.

Siva's third eye

is

clearly

marked on

The face also has a beard and


moustache. The frightening expression is
the forehead.

perceptively conveyed by the rolling eyes,

protruding eyeballs, and open mouth. While the

commonly represented, in
few Bhairava images is the mouth depicted so
angry eyes are quite

widely open, as

if

the figure were about to

swallow the universe.

The gaping mouth may

also indicate that Bhairava

is

laughing aloud to

instill terror into the hearts of evildoers.

When

exactly images of

Bhairava began to be fashioned

One

is

not known.

of the earliest complete representations

possibly of the fifth century, was discovered at

Ahichchhatra
lxiii).

(V. S.

Agrawala 1947-48,

There, too, the belligerent god

with his mouth wide open as

Xx

244

if

is

pi.

shown

he were howling.

Sl22

The Sages Nara and Narayana


Si 22

The Sages Nara and Narayana

Uttar Pradesh;

Red

fifth

22 V2 in (57.2 cm)

terra-cotta;

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lenart;


Literature: Pal

1975, p. 16,
fig.

This impressive panel once

adorned a Gupta-period brick temple, the exact

century

1970-71,

p. 77, fig. 3;

9; Srinivasan

fig.

location of

M.69.38
Trabald

1978-79,

pi. iv,

which

is

not known. Similar panels

with Vaishnava themes decorated the

fifth-

century brick temple at Bhitargaon (see


illustration). Panels primarily representing Saiva

subjects are said to have embellished a

21.

fifth-sixth-century temple in Ahichchhatra.

Separated by a tree and hourglass stand, two


ascetics

engage

in discourse.

emaciated figure
a

sits

on

faceless,

wicker stool and reads

manuscript to his obese companion. The two

represent

Nara and Narayana, anchorites, who

lived in a forest hermitage.

Nara

"man") represents humanity and


with the god Vishnu.

He

is

also

(literally,
is

identified

equated with

Both

sites are in

Uttar Pradesh, and the close

stylistic relationship

of the figures on those

panels with this example suggest that the

museum's panel must belong

to the

same region

and date. The Bhitargaon temple does indeed


have a panel depicting the Nara-Narayana

theme, which appears to have been quite popular


in north-central India

during the Gupta period.

Arjuna, one of the heroes in the Mahabharata.

No

clue individually identifies the saints, even

though two distinct figures are depicted: one


well fed, the other emaciated. Their hairstyles
are different, but

across their left

both wear the antelope skin

arms.

'

m^Tt*
Gupta

------- .._,.:.

temple,

Pradesh,

fifth

245

,iSSi

Bhitargaon, Uttar
century, brick.

Photograph courtesy Mrs.


Davidson.

..

J.

LeRoy

Si2j

The Planet Rahui?)

Although regarded

The Planet Rahu (?)

S123

Uttar Pradesh;

fifth

as a planet,

demon, who causes the

century

Reddish brown terra-cotta; 6 V2 in (16.5 cm)


Gift of Marilyn Walter Grounds;

M.83.221.1

Rahu

really

eclipse of the sun

literally seizing them and swallowing


them up. Hence, the emphasis placed here on

molded plaque, which probably

seven or eight representing the planets and could

eyes, furrowed brows,

The thick

in clawlike strands

Two

is

with a beard, fangs, open

terrifying

mouth, angry

or band.

Rahu,

then the plaque must have formed part of a set of

well-preserved,

forehead.

is

head with two hands projects from a

once embellished a brick temple. The head

made

moon by

the two enlarged hands. If indeed this

A demonic

is

and

and lined

hair falls over the forehead

and

identical

is

held in place by a ring

have been used above a


the

fifth

to place

century

it

lintel

within a shrine. By

had become

common

practice

images of seven or eight planets above

doorways of temples, and possibly palaces,


keep

to

evil influences at bay.

ornaments adorn the

pierced earlobes.

The head may

demon

or

more

specifically

represent a

Rahu, one of the nine

planets collectively worshiped to

ward

off evil.

246

....

S124

Plaque with Two Female Figures

Si 24

Plaque with Two Female Figures

Uttar Pradesh;

fifth

necklaces. Bracelets are indicated with incised

century

lines

on the forearms, and only the figure on the

Reddish brown terra-cotta; 8 Vs in (20.6 cm)

right wears anklets.

Indian Art Special Purposes Fund;

rolled

M. 74. 40.

foreheads.

Two

ladies stand side

shake hands. The

left

by side

the

more

left

and

Each wears
garment.

they appear to

hand of the lady on the

hangs limply along her


stands

as

side.

The other

left

figure

While

the figure on the

The hands and

hand placed on her sromach.

a differently patterned skirtlike lower

One garment

stamped and pricked

is

decorated with

circles

and pinholes, while

hair of both

seems to be

their facial features are similar,


left

has a distinctly larger face.

feet are

rendered crudely as in

several other terra-cotta figures (Si 08-9).

The

gracefully with her head inclined to


left

The

back to reveal rather broad and high

identity of the ladies or

provenance of the plaque

is

not certain. In

probability they do not represent cult figures and


the plaque
relief.

may

have formed part of a narrative

Despite the somewhat crude execution,

the lower section of the other has a chevron

the intimate relationship of the figures

pattern. Rather curiously, a single shawl extends

expressively represented. There

across the lower breasts of both figures, as if to

possibility that the plaque

emphasize their close relationship. Each

(cf.

woman

wears earrings and pellets with holes arranged as

247

all

V. S.

is

is

is

a strong

from Ahichchhatra

Agrawala 1947-48,

pis. LXVII, xix).

Sl2$

Buddha Sakyamunt's Sermon


Si 25

to

Indra

Buddha Sakyamunt's Sermon

Uttar Pradesh, Sarnath;

c.

Indra

450

Cream-colored sandstone; 18

Museum

to

in (46.4

cm)

purchase with County funds; 69.3

Literature: Pal

1970-71, pp. 76-77; Pal

1974b, pp. 20, 48.

The principal figure in this stele represents


Buddha Sakyamuni seated in the yogic posture,
his

hands engaged in the gesture symbolizing

teaching, specifically

known

as

turning the

wheel of the law (dharmachakrapravartanamudra).

Above him only one of two

flying celestials

now

remains. In the frieze below are three figures and

an elephant. The elephant helps identify the

crowned

figure as Indra, king of the gods.

The

other two abraded figures probably represent

monks.

248

Notwithstanding

its

In contrast to the hieratic and

iconic

character, the stele represents the occasion in

rather detached representation of the

Buddha Sakyamuni's

the scene below

life

when Indra came down

from the heavens to the Indrasala cave in

Magadha

(ancient Bihar) to hear a

true religion from the master.

this

delineated with considerable

naturalism and animation. Especially

sermon on the

To date,

is

Buddha,

is

the

compelling

is

the lively portrayal of the

elephant, which reveals the artist's powers of

One

only representation of the subject from Sarnath.

observation and empathy for the animal.

The

immediately reminded of the delightfully

story

more frequently was depicted

in the

Buddhist narrative art of the Kushan-Satavahana


period, and the only other

example occurs

known Gupta-period

in the rock-cut reliefs at

Kanheri

is

of cavorting elephants on the

lifelike studies

painted ceilings of the fifth-century Buddhist


caves at Ajanta.

near Bombay.

S126

Head of the Buddha


Si 26

Head of the Buddha

Uttar Pradesh, Sarnath;

c.

This finely carved head epitomizes the ideal

475

Cream-colored sandstone; 10 in (25.4 cm)

From

the Nasli and Alice

Heeramaneck

created at Sarnath during the

second half of the


the oval face

is

fifth

century.

The

outline of

defined with simple clarity, and

the idealized features relate to one another in

Collection

Museum

Buddha image

Associates Purchase;

M.79.9.2

harmonious proportion. The modeling of the

Literature: Rosenfield et al. 1966, pp.

smooth

Pal 1978b, p. 69;

the sculpture's plastic qualities.

36-37;
Heeramaneck 1979, 31a b.

the

surfaces

is

remarkably subtle, enhancing

Compared with
Mathura Buddha head of about the same

period (Si 19), the Sarnath example

more

linear but

There are

also obvious

differences in the proportions of the

and delineation of the


is

suaver and

somewhat remote and detached

in its expressiveness.

Sarnath head

is

hair.

two

faces

The bump on

the

considerably less prominent,

while the curls, although equally articulate, turn


in the opposite direction. In this, the
artist

Sarnath

seems to have deviated from the prescribed

norm,

for the hair of the

Buddha

is

supposed to

curl to the right (dakshinavarta), as in this head.

249

Si2ja-b

Two Columns

V>

Si27b

Si:

Detail, Si

27a

Si2jab

Two Columns

Uttar Pradesh, Sarnath area;

c.

500

Cream-colored sandstone;
57 V2 in (146.0 cm) each

From

the Nasli and Alice

Heeramaneck

Collection

Museum

Associates Purchase;

Literature: Rosenfield et

al.

M.83.

.a

1966, p. 52; Pal

1978b, pp. 72-73; Heeramaneck 1979, no. 34.

Carved

in the

round, these two columns

probably supported the ceiling of either a hall or


portico of a

Hindu temple.

Similar columns

stand in Sarnath (Williams 1982,


displaying the same crisp, but

fig.

still

234),

somewhat

indurate quality in the carving of the ornamental


motifs. Strongly

modeled and deeply carved, the

exuberant vegetation
size

is

rich in chiaroscuro.

The

of the columns suggests the modest

proportions of Gupta-period temples.

The

base of each

column

is

carved into a pot overflowing with lotuses and


luxuriantly scrolling leaves.

At the bottom

corners four lions carry the pot, while four


figures,

two males and two females, stand on

half-lotuses at the top corners (see detail of a).

250

Detail,

Derail, Si

Si27b

27b

Some

figures hold flowers or garlands; the

lance-bearing males

The

may

two

represent guardians.

gracefully proportioned figures

assume

various postures and are distinguished by elegant

Gupta period.
of each column is

hairstyles characteristic of the

The

shaft

adorned with three bands rich with foliage,


garlands, and rows of beads.

Some

of the foliage

has been deftly carved into leonine faces of glory


{kirttimukha), while the central

band has four

projecting celestial beings {gandharva) emerging

from the surface with garlands

The

(see detail of b).

capital consists of a shallow pot

placed on a lotus, above which


section with an

may

simple square

image of a god. One of the

figures represents

other

is

with foliage

Ganesa seated on a

lotus; the

be Kubera. The potbellied Ganesa

with his elephant head

is

seated in a relaxed

posrure (see detail of b). His right hand holds his

broken tusk, his


of sweets.
is

hand probably held


figure in a, too,

is

bowl

obese and

seated with the feet touching at the toes. His

head

as well as the object

stomach

251

left

The other

are broken.

he holds across his

S128

A Dwarf Drummer

A Dwarf Drummer

Si 28

Madhya Pradesh;

Uttar or

From

the Nasli and Alice

500

c.

Reddish buff sandstone; 24

3/4

in (62.9

cm)

Heeramaneck

Collection

Museum

M.69.13.10

Associates Purchase;

Literature: Pal

1978b,

Heeramaneck 1979,

p. 85, no. 34;

no. 33;

Kramrisch 1981,

p. 84.

This boldly carved figure represents a gana

who form

"multitude" or "people"),

(literally

the impish dwarf attendants of Siva. Both in


literature
as

and the visual

arts they are represented

plump and rambunctious

various duties for the

and

belly.

performing

This particularly jovial fellow

his wife.

about to beat the small

ample

figures,

god and entertaining him

drum

tied

around

is

his

Except for a charm around his neck

and two large earrings, he

is

naked, displaying

his rather substantial sexual organ.

Bathed

slightly mischievous smile, his face

is

in a

framed by

cascading sausage curls, characteristic of the

Gupta
is

period.

The well-modeled,

expressive face

distinguished by large eyes that seem to

twinkle, thick lips and nose, and high

cheekbones.

That

it is

Gupta period

is

provenance

not known.

is

a sculpture of the

undoubted, but
It

its

exact

may have come from

the bordering region of today's Uttar and

Madhya

Sl2C,

Pradesh.

The Man-Lion Avatar of Vishnu

Color plate, p.

Si 29

39

The Alan-Lion Avatar of Vishnu

Uttar Pradesh, Mathura area; midsixth century

Mottled red sandstone; 33 A in (84.5 cm)


From the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck
X

Collection

Purchased with funds provided by the Jane and


Justin Dart Foundation;

M. 81. 90. 20

Literature: Harle 1974, p. 51, fig. 112; Pal

1978b,

p. 102;

Heeramaneck 1979, no. 39.

This impressive cult icon of Narasimha, the

man-lion avatar of Vishnu, was used either

as the

principal side figure in a Vaishnava temple or

the central focus of worship in a temple

dedicated to this particular incarnation. Because


of his heroic character and awesomeness, temples

dedicated to Narasimha usually were built by


royalty. In this avatar
as

Vishnu descended

to earth

half-man, half-lion to destroy the tyrannical

demon-king Hiranyakasipu, who was


of Siva. Thus, the

myth

a follower

definitely reflects

sectarian bias.

As with Narasimha images


from the Gupta period onward, the god
basically

and

252

human,

lion head.

is

except for his additional arms

Wearing a dhoti and adorned

with various ornaments and the vanamala

a female.

garland, the god rigidly stands flanked by two of

(lildkamala) with her right

his personified attributes. All three originally

her scarf with her

would have stood on

wheel

a circular

nimbus

a rectangular base. Parts of

She holds a flower of dalliance

(see Si

02)

is

is crowned by a lotus
grow out of his rich mane.
The broken right hand of
Narasimha probably would have been extended

that seems to

myrobalan

as in a

more complete and

conventional image in the collection (S140); the

corresponding

left

hand holds

a conch.

The two

is

a powerfully

with broad shoulders, strong

figure

somewhat disproportionately

limbs, and

elongated thighs and legs. His grimacing lion


face

with rolling eyes, arched, scowling

eyebrows, and prominent moustache


caricature in

its

almost a

is

The

expressive exaggeration.

columnar stance

rigidity of the

the club on the right and wheel on the

graceful dehanchement of his two elegantly coiffed

feminine in gender, the attribute

A Jain

modeled

his

lower hands rest on the personified attributes,


left.

Because the Sanskrit word for club (gadd)

S130

male who stands with


his chest.

Narasimha

shoulders, and his head

and held

arms crossed against

are still attached to his

hand and one end of

hand. The personified

left

is

is

is

relieved by the

attributes.

personified as

Family Group

Si 30

A Jain

Family

A couple

G roup

Uttar Pradesh, Sarnath area;

550600

Cream-colored sandstone; 20 in (50.8 cm)


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lenart;
Literature: Pal 1978a, p. 54.

M.77.49

is

seated under the leafy canopy of a

on top of which

stylized fruit-bearing tree

meditating Jina. The male

on

his

The female holds an

child holds a ring in his

his right

hand on

hand.

left

identical flower in her right

hand and supports a child with her

The

hand

rests his right

thigh and holds a flower in his

sits a

left

hand.

left

hand and places

his mother's left breast.

second child stands beside the male, while two

more children seem

to be

climbing the

leafy

canopy. Four other boys are amusing themselves

by instigating a rams' fight

in the recessed panel

below. At the upper corners of the stele are two

cherubs flying in front of stylized clouds and


bearing garlands.

The

principal figures in such

reliefs usually are identified as

the parents of a

Jina. Since there are twenty-four J inas, however,


it is

difficult to

determine which Jina

represented here.

The

little

is

boy seated on

his

mother's lap has the same hairstyle and

elongated earlobes as the meditating Jina,

whereas

all

the other boys have hairstyles typical

of mortals and also sport ear ornaments.


clue to a

more exact

the tree, which

is

identification

is

The

provided by

identical to that above one of

the four Jinas in the four-sided shrine (Si 34).


precise identification of the tree, however,
difficult to

determine. These

reliefs

is

obviously are

the Jain counterparts of Buddhist family groups,

such

as those representing

Panchika and Hariti

(S44). In fact, boys cavorting with

found on Buddhist

rams are

also

reliefs.

The sculpture
from the Varanasi area and

is

is

very likely

closely related to

the near-contemporary shrine (Si 34).

It

may also

be compared with a midsixth-century Jain


sculpture from

Mathura (Williams 1982,

fig.

230), where almost identical garland bearers

amid

253

clouds.

fly

Si

Buddha Sakyamuni

Color plate, p. 61

Si 3

Buddha Sakyamuni

Uttar Pradesh

Coppet

alloy

(?); late

sixth century

with color; 15

Vi in

(39.4 cm)

Gift of the Michael J. Connell Foundation;

M.70. 17
Literature: Los

Museum

Angeles County

of Art

1975, pp- 21, 147; Pal 1975a, p. 51; Pal

1978b,

p.

10; von Schroeder 1981, pp.

216-17; Pal 1984,

p. 201.

Originally, the figure

would have stood on

nimbus would have

rectangular pedestal and a

been attached to the back of the head.


Otherwise, considering
in

finger of the left hand.

age, the sculpture

its

good condition, except

for the

broken

is

little

The bronze appears

to

have been preserved in a Tibetan monastery,

from which

it

emerged

The

in the late 1960s.

slim, elegant figure stands

with his weight placed on the right leg and hip


thrust out gently.

The upper garment hugs

length of the body and

flares

the

out considerably on

either side, almost like a toga.

His right hand,

with prominently webbed fingers, displays the


gesture of reassurance, and his

holds the end of his robe.

with three

The

left

hand gently

The neck

is

marked

and the earlobes are elongated.

lines,

curly locks are covered by black paint, and a

small knob crowns the cranial


Characteristic

the urna

is

bump.
of Gupta-period Buddha images,

not delineated. Except for the outline

of the right arm, the back


flat

surface,

is

treated as a plain,

showing some flaws

in casting

and

ancient repairs.

Although the exact provenance


of this elegant figure

is

not known,

it

relates to

Mathura and Sarnath Gupta-period stone


Buddhas. While the striations on the garment
occur only in Mathura Buddhas (Si 20),

its

transparency and wide troughlike flaring are

more

typical of Sarnath

Buddhas. The oval

face

and smooth, abstract modeling are reminiscent


of Sarnath rather than Mathura. Thus, this

bronze seems to combine stylistic

traits

of

Mathura and Sarnath and. hence, the attribution


to Uttar Pradesh.

S132

The God Revanta and Companions


Si 32

The

God Revanta and Companions

Dressed in the northern attire of boots, trousers,

Kushan emperors

Uttar Pradesh, Sarnath area;

and tunic,

early seventh century

(Cioa-c), Revanta faces front

Pale cream sandstone; 23 in (58.4

cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lenart;

1974b,

Literature: Pal

p. 18; B.

M.73.87.

N. Sharma

1975, frontispiece; Pal 1978a, p. 41.

is

Surya, and

regarded as a son of the sun god,


is

horse traders.

worshiped

He

this relief, as a

as the

generally

is

patron deity of

portrayed, as in

hunter returning from the hunt.

254

as

he

sits astride a

horse walking to the right. His hair, like that of

many of his companions,


a

Phrygian cap.

hand and
is

Revanta

like Surya or the

cup

He

is

shaped in the form of

holds the reins in his

in his right hand.

He

left

presumably

celebrating a successful hunt by drinking, for

one of his attendants behind the horse's head


holds a

flask.

of the horse,

Two more companions walk ahead


the one above carrying a sword. Of

the two figures behind, one holds a parasol above

more than one

feature of Revanta's iconography

The

Revanta's head, and the other carries an animal,

points to Iran.

perhaps a trophy of the hunt. Another realistic

representation of the hunt, a popular royal

element

pastime in Gupta India.

booted

is

dog licking
Along the bottom is a

the hunting

foot.

his master's

including cymbals,

two kinds of drums,

flute,

and conch.
is

this

one of the most

elaborate representations of Revanta the hunter,


also

among

the earliest

known

in Indian art.

Indeed, nothing in this sculpture announces


Revanta's divinity.

He

is

not provided with a

halo,

and

Why

Revanta should have been portrayed

hunter

is

his parasol bearer

a mystery,

and

is

it is

the same size as he.


as a

possible that the

its

graphic

iconography, the

relief is also interesting for its narrative

composition. Although the figures are arranged

on two

Not only
it is

Apart from

frieze of

dancing musicians playing various instruments

relief provides a

levels

without

much

foreshortening, the

relative proportions of the various characters in

the principal scene are

rendered than

is

more

realistically-

usual in such compositions.

Figures of symbolic importance, such as

Revanta, the parasol bearer, and the servants


carrying the animal and wine flask, are
frontally,

moving

shown

even though they are meant to be

to the right.

Thus, while the

artist

concept of the hunter-god was influenced by

complied with the formal requirements of a

Iranian royal and cosmic imagery. Sasanian silver

narrative composition, he did not ignore

plates displaying hunting

monarchs must have

been familiar in India during the Gupta age, and

altogether the

This

is

demands of accepted iconography.

also evident in the

placement of the

musicians below. Although clearly separated

from the scene above, they nevertheless are a


remarkably

255

lively

group.

S133

Sim's Family

Si 33

Siva's

Museum

Family

Uttar Pradesh

(?); c.

600

Litetature: Los Angeles County

Buff sandstone; 38 in (96.5 cm)

From

the Nasli and Alice

Associates Purchase;

Heeramaneck

256

Museum

of Art

Bulletin 19, no. 2 (1973): 50, fig. 44; Archives of

Asian Art 27 (1973-74): 99,

Heetamaneck 1979,
pp. 58-59.

Collection

M. 7 2. 5 3.

fig.

22;

no. 51; Kramrisch 1981,

This image type in which Siva and Parvati are

members

seated with or without other

family generally

of their

Uma-

referred to as

is

in Hindu iconographic texts.


synonym of Parvati and Mahesvara, of

While Kramrisch (see


Literature) is correct in commenting on the
uniqueness of the image and dating it to the

Mahesvaramurti

sixth-seventh century, her suggested

Uma

provenance

is

Siva. In this particular

Siva

is

example the three-eyed

seated on his bull in the posture of grace

(lalitasana),

while his spouse

on her

whose head

lion,

more formally

sits

hidden from view

is

is

Siva's hair

Parvati's coiffure

encircling the back of her head. She wears

two different kinds of ear ornaments, that


left

forming

ear

in her

a long tube.

Siva holds a snake with his

upper right hand and a trident with


corresponding

left

the universe, another

embrace

his

hand. His lower right hand

grasps a fruit, probably the

arm

lemon symbolizing

is

outstretched to

his wife's shoulder. In

Uma's

she holds a piece of fruit and rests her


right thigh, as does Siva. In her left

grasps a mirror.

plain circular

hand

right

arm on

her

hand she

nimbus
head up

at

an unnatural angle to gaze admiringly at his


master, while
his

Uma's

lion

is

shown growling with

tongue hanging out. The

beneath them

is

lively tableau

formed by their two sons,

Ganesa and Kumara, and two acolytes,


including the skeletal Bhringi,

interact

who

looks

up

at

Ganesa and Kumara seem to

Siva as he dances.

with one another, and the whole

ensemble

is

reminiscent of puranic descriptions

of Siva's family

life,

when he and

his spouse often

watched the antics of their sons and beloved


ganas.

The

representation

in the strong contrast

is

unusual

between the hieratic

quality of the pair above and animated scene

below. Siva

is

while Uma's

sternly dignified

facial

and majestic,

expression and posture convey

aloofness, if not disdain.

During the Gupta

period this posture generally was assigned to

Mother Goddesses rather than

unknown

to

Uma. The

sculptor certainly did not represent

Siva's

spouse as a timid, acquiescent female, as

she

generally

is

shown

257

in

such compositions.

is

very difficult to accept this

work

it is

as a stylistic

Maharashtra.

On

monuments

is

of

the contrary, the elongated

somewhat reminiscent of a

terra-cotta

Agrawala

194748, pi. xliv), while Uma may be


compared with the similarly seated Mother
Goddesses from Madhya Pradesh (Harle 1974,
figs. 3032). Parvati's coiffure with coiled bun

worn by female

at the

back of the head

in the

Gupta-period temple

(Williams 1982,
cylindrical ear

fig.

is

at

figures

Deogarh

204), while the curious

ornament

is

more commonly

found in figures from Bihar. Thus, Uttar Pradesh

surrounds each head.


Siva's bull turns his

are five centuries later,

Siva head found at Ahichchhatra (V. S.

elegantly arranged in a large

is

highly unlikely. Apart from the fact that the

Markandi temples

faces are

is

arranged in a towering ascetic's chignon,

bun

Maharashtra

not rendered in the style of the

supported by a lotus. Both

ornamented.

are elaborately

in

precursor. Moreover, the sculpture generally

behind the standing female on the right. The

pendant leg of each

Markandi

rather than Maharashtra

is

for this intriguing sculpture.

more

likely source

S134

Shrine with Four J was

Color plate, p. 63

Shrine u ith Fourjinas

S 1 34

Uttar Pradesh;

c.

600

Cream-colored sandstone; 23 in (58.2 cm)


Gift of

Anna Bing Arnold; M.85.55

Literature: Pal 1985a, pp.

7273,

figs.

13, 15.

Sideb

Side a

This image type with fourjinas individually


portrayed on each side
(auspicious on

is

all sides)

known

as

head of the Jina on side a

Sarvatobhadra

and was popular among

seven hoods of a serpent.

is

surrounded by the

The other

three Jinas

have oval nimbuses, each with a border

the Jains. In this cosmic representation the four

decorated with crosshatchings and small lotuses

Jinas preside over the cardinal directions. These

or rosettes.

shrines

may

The Jina with

thus be regarded as the Jain

counterparts of the four-faced Sivalingas or

serpent canopy

Buddhist votive stupas with four Buddhas

figure,

presiding over the four directions.


originally

would have had

The

a pedestal

He

shrine

and
a

All four figures are identically

portrayed except for the individual on side

b,

has a different hairstyle. Completely nude,

each Jina

lived during the ninth century B.C.

and

serpent,

his

most distinctive attribute

which plays

hairstyle

is

Adinatha,

is

regarded

which

is

bump. The heads of three Jinas

known

covered with short, curly

hair.

One on

are

side b has

as

Jain patriarchs. His hairstyle

Like the Buddha, each has extended ears and a

seated in the meditating posture.

Siva's

as

known

Rishabhanatha, also

who

while his animal

cranial

the

a significant role in his

Siva's,

is

is

hagiography. The Jina with the distinctive

tiered structure.

who

the seven-hooded

Parsvanatha, a historical

has remained one of the most popular or the

Jinas,

crowning elements consisting of umbrellas or

who

is

mount

is

reminiscent of

emblem

as well.

as

the earliest of the

is

the bull,

He alternatively

is

Vrishabhanatha, also an appropriate

epithet of Siva.

long hair pulled back with a few strands coming

down

the shoulders. Each Jina

a single tree,

on side

which forms a

is

leafy

protected by

canopy above;

the canopy has been destroyed.

The

258

Ife

Sided

Side

The two remaining


difficult to identify precisely,

one

is

in various regions of

Jinas are

but most certainly

Mahavira and the other Neminatha.

Mahavira

is

it

associated with a different type of tree

is

a stele representing

suggested (Williams 1982,

which a date

in

fig.

230).

Although the sculptor of the

and

museum's impressive shrine


can be

can, thereby, usually be identified. In this

appears that the same tree

for

the second quarter of the sixth century has been

Parsvanatha, Neminatha, and Mahavira. Each


is

Pradesh. Stylistic

Rishabhanatha from Mathura

discusses in detail

the lives of only four: Rishabhanatha,

Jina

Madhya

seen in several Gupta-period

the closest example

a Jain canonical text,

mentions twenty-four Jinas,

may be

sculptures from Sarnath and Mathura. Perhaps

the last of the twenty-four Jinas.

Although the Ka/pasutra,

parallels

little

is

unknown,

doubt that he was

a master.

there

He

has

is

eminently succeeded in infusing the figures with

represented on each side, and the tree very likely

extraordinary spiritual force. His restrained, but

instance, however,

is

meant

it

to represent the asoka,

which came

to

be associated with Jain tree-shrines (chaityavriksha)

from early times (U.

P.

Shah 1955, pp.

67-71).

The
sculpture

is

from which

exact provenance of the

not known.
it is

The cream-colored stone

carved was popular in the

Varanasi area of Uttar Pradesh but was also used

259

sensitive

modeling has resulted

in

images of

vigorous plasticity and serene dignity.

Bihar

S135

Female Bust

Si 35
Bihar

The

Female Bust
(?);

terra-cotta bust

distinguished by

is

strongly modeled countenance with unusually

fourth century

Reddish pink terra-cotta; 3 Vs in (8.6 cm)

distended earlobes.

From

well proportioned, and the

the Nasli and Alice

Heeramaneck

Collection

Museum

very thin.

Associates Purchase;

Literature: Rosenfield et

its

al.

M. 84. 32.4

1966, p. 37.

The

flat

The sloping shoulders


chest

is

are

body probably was


unusual, without any

indication of breasts. Small pellets were perhaps

attached separately to the chest. Notable also are


the very thick and heavy lips.
a flat

band pierced by

a hole,

The

hair

is

held by

and the eyes are

widely open.

The shape and treatment of the


lips relate this piece to

in the collection,

(S80).

another terra-cotta head

which may be from Bihar

Bihar provenance

is

also suggested

by a

comparison with other terra-cotta figures found


in a site called

Belwa heads

Belwa (Shere 1961,

are characterized

fig. 3).

by thick

lips

Some
and

highly distended, rectangular earlobes as in this

example.

260

Si i6

Buddha Sakyamum
S

Bihar,

Tan

Buddha Sakyamum
Bodhgaya area

(?);

400-600

chloritic schist; 15 in (38.0

Gift of Michael Phillips;

261

cm)

M. 84. 227.

Buddha Sakyamuni

seated in the meditating

is

posture on a cushion atop a throne supported by

two

with pot-shaped capitals. His hand

legs

gesture indicates that he

is

engaged

below the throne. The wheel

a pedestal

52-53, 57-59, 73-75). The

figures (Asher

1980,

while more

pi. 29),

motif of the rectangle

specifically the curious

enclosing a square, which decorates the halo,

is

flanked by two listeners seated on cushions with


their legs crossed at the ankles

pis.

rippling effect of the Buddha's undergarment

can be paralleled in several of the Shahabad

in preaching

the law, further symbolized by the wheel placed

on

(Asher 1980,

and hands joined


nimbuses

often encountered in later

Bihar (Rosenfield et

Buddha images from

1966, p. 41,

al.

29).

fig.

Finally, in

proportion and modeling, this

behind their heads indicate that they are divine

Buddha

probably somewhat

figures; they are, however, not distinguished

inscribed

from each

Bodhgaya of the second half of the seventh

in the adoration gesture. Circular

other. Originally, at either side of the

throne back were makaras, only one of which

is

The damaged nimbus behind

Buddha

is

adorned with concentric

century (Asher 1980, pp. 43-44,

These

the

composition, the stele

pi. 62).

may

have been

carved earlier than the Sarnath image.

Buddha with widespread,

folded legs

The
is

somewhat reminiscent of the Bodhgaya Buddha

consisting of a rectangle enclosing a square.

Both

than an

parallels notwith-

standing, this relief possibly

circles of

and a motif

flames, lotuses, beads, scallops,

earlier

Buddha Muchalinda image from

remains, and winged lions, whose heads are

broken.

is

in

iconography and

is

undoubtedly related

of the year 64 (Gupta era


to

= A.D.

384) as well

the seated Jinas in the sculpture of

as

Neminatha

the well-known late-fifth-century preaching

from Rajagriha

Buddha of Sarnath, with some

pis. 11, 15). Secondly, the scalloping in the halo

interesting

differences (Harle 1974, fig. 70). In that

example the throne


wheel

legs, the

is

supported by similar

also

is

flanked by figures, and the

is

deer clearly indicate that the scene represents the


master's
In the

first

sermon

in the deer

park at Sarnath.

museum's example the audience

consists

of a pair of gods. In addition, no streamers

from the wheel

winged

as in the

Sarnath

stele.

fly

While

and makaras are also present on the

lions

Sarnath image, their positions are reversed here,

and

their

forms are

delineated.

The

much more

perfunctorily

nimbus

decorative motifs on the

are quite different from the design of the Sarnath


halo.

Only the

scallops are

common

Even more

significant are the

differences in the proportions,

of the Buddhas.

facial features

this

image

broader

is

face.

to both.

rarely, if ever,

in

southern Bihar (Asher 1980,

seen in sculptures of this region

after the fifth century.

the winged lion, in

period images.

Gupta

common

a carryover, as

from Kushan-

art

The flame

this

image

generally

feature in the art of the


it

does occur the motif

Gupta

is

is

not

period,

added to the

edge of the aureole. Thus, whether the sculpture


is

of the

fifth

or seventh century, the addition of

the flame motif in the inner halo

unusual. In Gandharan

is

most

Buddha images

flames

emanate from the master's shoulders, while in


sculptures from Amaravati in

flaming pillars symbolize the

Andhra Pradesh
Buddha (see S84).

modeling, and

As a matter of fact, the design of the flames here

The Buddha

is

in

not unlike that seen on the pillars. Such flames

squatter with a shorter neck and

emerging from the neck surround the Buddha's

The

head in an unusual gilt bronze of the

ears are

wider and not

Buddha heads

elongated as in other

as

(Si 19,

ninth-tenth century from Nepal (Pal

et al.

Si 26), and the curls on the head are rendered

1984, p. 265, no. 136). In a rare Chinese

somewhat

sculpture of Maitreya, discovered in Shensi

sketchily.

While the garment is


Buddha, the

severely plain in the Sarnath

sculptor of the Bihar figure has attempted to


indicate

is

immediately from the back

of the Buddha's head.

and when

is

unique feature of

are the flames issuing

This

more

naturalistically the folds

wrinkles of the robes. Unusual also

is

and

Province and dated 47

rather bold flames

similar to those in this sculpture

emanate from

the figure's body in the innermost circle of the

aureole

the

(T Akiyama and

S.

Matsubara, Arts of

treatment of the ends of the robe below the knee

China: Buddhist Cave Temples, trans. A. C. Soper

and the way the pleats of the gathered portion

[Tokyo: Kodansha, 1969],

cascade below the

left

arm. These details have

Buddha image.
The most likely place of origin
intriguing Buddha is Bihar, perhaps the

yet to be observed in any other

for this

Bodhgaya

area. Several sculptures

from that

region have been carved from the same light

brown

chloritic schist.

The proportions of the

figures

and the manner

in

halo

rendered are similar to seventh-century

is

which the

lotus

on the

sculptures from Shahabad district and Nalanda

262

fig.

147).

Gujarat

Si 37

Head of the Buddha


Si 37

Head of the Buddha

Gujarat, Devni Mori;

This

375400

Mori

Purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs.

Manheim and Rexford

Stead;

is

from

a stupa that

was

systematically excavated at a site called Devni

Buff terra-cotta; 8 in (20.3 cm)

Paul E.

Buddha head

M.79.8

in

northern Gujarat (Mehta and

Chowdhary 1966). The stupa was decorated


with a large number of terra-cotta Buddha
images,

all

seated in meditation and of a

remarkably uniform

style.

Only minor

differences, such as in the shape of the face or

Buddha
some disagreement among

hairstyle, distinguish the various


figures.

There

is

scholars about the date of the stupa and, hence,

of the sculptures.

monument

While the

excavators date the

about 375, others consider the


sculptures to have been modeled between 400
to

and 415 (Williams 1982, pp. 58-60; Schastok


1985, pp. 27-32).
certainly

The Buddha head almost


was cast in a separate mold and then

attached to the body.

No

evidence suggests that

the images were painted as were other terra-cotta

and stucco monuments of the period. The


with

features of this almost circular face

half-

shut eyes, well-proportioned nose, sweeping

eyebrows, and elongated earlobes are articulately

modeled. By contrast, the curls on the head,


although substantial, are rendered
as little circlets.

The

less precisely

ushnisha at the top

present but not the urna. Although

Mori Buddhas

reflect influences

is

some Devni

from

northwestern Gandhara, this particular head


related

more

to the later

is

Buddhas of Uttar

Pradesh (Si 19), especially in the degree of


idealization. Controversy regarding its date
aside, the sculptures of

Devni Mori

are of great

significance for the art history of the region.

Rajasthan

S138

Mother and Child

Si 38

Mother and Child

In this elegant

450500

Rajasthan, Tanesar-Mahadeva;

30 in (76.2 cm)
Heeramaneck

Her head

Foliated dark green schist;

her right shoulder.

From

upper garment, which

the Nasli and Alice

Collection

Museum

breast. In addition,

Literature: Pal 1971;

50,

fig.

M. 82. 42.

Associates Purchase;

a floral tiara,

Shah 1972; Harle 1974,

p.

92; Pal 1978b, p. 88; Heeramaneck

1979, no. 41; Pal 1983,


1985, pp. 82-85,

pl-

306,

p.

xxxih,

1985a, p. 72,

fig.

covered by her

above her forehead she wears

which seems

be the immediate

to

target of her rambunctious son.

He

obviously

231; Pal

p.

Indian context only a very individualistic


sculptor would have attempted to express so

12.

This and the following sculpture once belonged

moment

in the intimate relationship

between a mother and child with such candor

and perception. The naturalism and

group of now-dispersed images that were

scattered under a tree near the village of Tanesar-

psychological perceptiveness expressed in this

Mahadeva, about thirty miles from the

sculpture

Udaipur

in

city of

Rajasthan (see R. C. Agrawala

in the

mother playing with

group represent

expression

other school of Indian sculpture has

clearly derived
is

left

There

between an infant and

in their plastic

his mother.

As with

this

most of these images only the

halo announces the divinity of the mother.

Whether

the

depicted in

same goddess and divine child

all

Matrika,

is

Mother Goddesses, known

uncertain. In a recent publication

represents the Matrika.

The Mother Goddesses

more

when accompanied by

hieratically,

children. In this

even

group of

sculptures, however, they strike remarkably


varied postures and the child

performing different antics.

is

If

shown
they represent a

particular mythical personality, then the goddess

must be

identified as Parvati

Skanda, or Kumara.

264

and the infant

is

a refined simplicity

as

about these figures

volume and surface embellish-

ments. Although the hips are expansive and


is

fluently

defined with utmost economy. Especially

appealing are the radiant faces with their


as

Schastok (see Literature) suggests that the group

usually are portrayed

and relaxed spontaneity exhibit

breasts full, the outline of the figures


are

such examples or whether they

represent different

suave and the

remarkable naturalism and subliminal grace.

expressive portrayals of the tender relationship

representation, in

much more

The Tanesar sculptures with


their elegance

us such

from Gandhara, but

softer.

a divine

male child. Indeed, no

is

the modeling

1 961). Apart from a couple of male figures,

most sculptures

is

indulgent mother gently restrains him even as

fleeting a

to a

is

tied over her left

she lowers her head away from his grasp. In the

55;

Huntington and Huntington 1985,

is

trying to pluck one of the flowers, while the

Schastok

fig. 8;

fig.

example the

goddess demurely stands carrying the child near

delicate, refined features.

265

St 39

Tantric Goddess

Si

,'

This

Tantric Goddess

450500

Rajasthan, Tanesar-Mahadeva;

the only divine female figure from

is

Tanesar

who

without a child and has four

is

may

30 in (76.2 cm)
From the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck

arms. Her very large belly

Collection

was probably following the

Museum

some goddesses

Foliated dark green schist;

Associates Purchase;

Literature: R. C.

197

M.82.42.

Agrawala 1961,

Shah 1972; Harle 1974,

Heeramaneck 1979,

no. 44.

fig.

16; Pal

p. 50, fig. 93;

is

pregnant. In point of

suggest that she

however, the artist

fact,

texts describing

as potbellied (ghatodart).

the regional goddesses included in the

period text Matsyapurana


(V. S.

Agrawala 1963b,

description
the goddess

is
is

258). But as no

given; an exact identification of


difficult to

determine.

She seems to hold

hand

Gupta-

one called Ghatodari

is

-p.

Among

in

one right

horn suspended by two strings. In

another hand she holds what looks like a spear

with a thick shaft and unusual head; with a third

hand she grasps

The

tail

a bucketlike ascetic's waterpot.

of a snake slithers between her breasts.

She also seems to wear a sacred cord with a ring


attached to

it.

The bump on her head may be

topknot or even an effaced skull; her hair

flies

wildly around both sides of her head. Because of

had

the spear,

her as the

Mother Goddess Kaumari, the

earlier (see Literature) identified

personified energy of

Kumara

of the other attributes and

(see S142).

traits,

Most

however, are

unusual for Kaumari. Although the figure's


obesity, flying hair,

awesome

and snake characterize an

deity, her face

is

serenely radiant.

Schastok (1985, p. 85) has recently suggested


that the goddess represents an angry

form of Devi or Durga, such


however,

is

as

and cosmic

Chamunda, who,

generally portrayed as emaciated.

Whatever her exact


identification, she

is

an unusual manifestation of

the Great Goddess. She

is

one of the

earliest

representations of a potbellied goddess and

is

prototype of such later Buddhist deities as


Ekajata and Parnasabari with their prominently

rotund bellies (B. Bhattacharyya 1958, p. 285,


fig-

266

I73>-

Madhya Pradesh

S140

The God Vishnu


Si 40

The God Vishnu

Madhya Pradesh (?); early fifth century


Reddish brown sandstone; 6 7/ in (17.4 cm)

Although small and probably meant


domestic

the relief

altar,

is

a typical

for a

example of

Gupta-period Vishnu images that were popular

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Pratapaditya Pal;

in a large area of north-central India,

M.84. 153.2

the

modern

states of Uttar

including

and Madhya Pradesh.

Stylistically, the sculpture is closely related to

well-known Vishnu images from Uttar

several

Pradesh of the
(Harle 1974,

and the way


dhoti

seem
(cf.

is

first

figs.

in

half of the fifth century

61-62), but the stone

itself

which the volume of the short

indicated by parallel horizontal lines

to point to a

Madhya Pradesh provenance

S142).

The god stands firm and erect


is damaged at one corner.

on a plain base, which

His adornments include a garland of wild


flowers, plain bangles, necklace, ear

and

tall

crown decorated with diamond-shaped

crosshatchings.
his

plain, circular

nimbus

is

quite characteristic of Gupta-period

Vishnu images, with two arms bent


and two arms
resting

on

pedestal.

upper

left

fully outstretched

a club

and

The conch

is

at the

elbow

with the hands

wheel placed on a
held vertically in the

hand, and the round object in one of

the right hands

offsets

head and shoulders. The placement of his

arms

267

ornaments,

is

the myrobalan fruit.

S14I

Doorjamb with Guardian


Doorjamb with Guardian

Si 41

Madhya Pradesh; late fifth century


Reddish brown sandstone; 42 in (106.6
Gift of Neil Kreitman; M.77. 153

in)

This lower portion of a typical doorjamb