Stone bust of Serapis, Gandhara, 2nd century
Lot 12
A schist bust of Serapis Ancient Region of Gandhara, 2nd century
US$ 10,000 - 15,000
£6,100 - 9,200

Lot Details
A schist bust of Serapis
Ancient Region of Gandhara, 2nd century
Carved in the round, he wears a tunic with the hem draped over the left shoulder and across the back, the contours of his face exquisitely modeled with a bulging chin surrounded by his arched mustache and the thick swirls of his beard, his open eyes framed by pronounced cheekbones, a broad nose, and his prominent forehead, his hair falling to his shoulders in curly locks ordered by a headband and surmounted by the calathus.
3 3/4 in. (8.5 cm) high

Footnotes

  • Serapis was a composite Greco-Egyptian god devised by Ptolemy I Soter (c. 367 – c. 283 BCE), the first Macedonian ruler of Egypt after Alexander the Great's death in 323 BCE. The name is blend of Osiris and Apis and the syncretic god was promoted as the patron deity of Alexandria to unite the Greek and Egyptian populations under his rule. The calathus on his head is a borrowing from Osiris and represents a grain measure, symbolizing fertility and the earth's bounty.

    The busts of Serapis in this sale (see also lot 11) serve as skillfully modeled documents to the Greco-Roman diaspora which populated Gandhara following Alexander the Great's invasion in 327 BCE. Serapis busts are also found as the central element in necklaces of large Bodhisattvas such as the torso in Metropolitan Museum of Art (1995.419), see Kurt Behrednt, The Art of Gandhara in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007, no. 54, p. 71 and the Maitreya in the Norton Simon Museum of Art, see Pratapaditya Pal Asian Art from the Norton Simon Museum, vol. I, Pasadena, 2003, no. 30, p. 63.

    Published:
    Martha Carter, Silk Road Art and Archaeology, vol. VI, 1999/2000, fig. 10, p. 14.

    Provenance:
    Private American Collection
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