Lot 1390: Gandharan Stupa and Disciples Freeze Panel
December 8, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 2nd-3rd century AD. A schist relief frieze with a large stupa in the centre with three tiers of parasols to the top with streamers flowing out; dome of stupa decorated with bands of floral and geometric motifs and resting on a square base with rosette decoration; to either side of the stupa three monks in long robes, two at the top waving fly whisks, and one at the lower left holding a burning censor; large column to the right with figure of a lion to the top. 61.2 kg, 58cm (23"). Property of a London gentleman; acquired before 1995. The stupa is the oldest Buddhist religious monument. Stupas originated as pre-Buddhist tumuli in which kings were buried in a seated position. After the death of the Buddha, his remains were cremated and the ashes divided and buried under eight mounds with two further mounds encasing the urn and the embers. The earliest archaeological evidence for the presence of Buddhist stupas dates to the late 4th century BC in India. In early Buddhist art the stupa would often stand as a representation of the Buddha himself as the Buddha strictly informed his disciples not to make images of him and worship them. This changed with the arrival of the Greeks into Central Asia and India and the introduction of Hellenistic art styles and the emphasis on depicting the human body. The shape of the stupa represents the Buddha, crowned and sitting in meditation posture on a lion throne. His crown is the top of the spire; his head is the square at the spire's base; his body is the vase shape; his legs are the four steps of the lower terrace; and the base is his throne.
Condition Report: Fine condition.