A SCHIST FIGURE OF MAITREYA ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 3RD CENTURY

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Lot 3062
A SCHIST FIGURE OF MAITREYA
ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 3RD CENTURY

Sold for US$ 348,500 inc. premium
A SCHIST FIGURE OF MAITREYA
ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 3RD CENTURY
23 3/4 in. (60.3 cm) high

Footnotes

  • 犍陀羅 約三世紀 片岩彌勒菩薩坐像

    With consummate skill the sculptor has achieved a majestic enthroned Maitreya. The marvelous naturalism conveyed throughout the torso and robe, as the latter slackens and contorts around the powerful figure, is a testament to the virtuoso who carved it.

    His jewelry is defined in both life-like volume and minute detail. His earrings consist of prone lions. His necklaces comprise a bejeweled collar overlain by a torque terminating with leogryphs biting either side of a beveled stone. Equally, his string of amulets, sacred chord, and trefoil armbands show nothing stylized or left to the imagination. The same arrangement of cylindrical amulets can be seen on a standing Maitreya in the British Museum, published in Zwalf, Gandharan Sculpture, London, 1996, p.38, no.52.

    The curling flames in the plinth below refer to the cremation of Shakyamuni Buddha. The iconography is common among Maitreya sculptures, signifying his role as Shakyamuni's successor and future Buddha (compare with an incense-burner or lamp, showing flames rather than smoke, flanked by a worshipper in ibid., no.111.) As Mahayana Buddhism spread from Gandhara to China, images of Maitreya became the focal point of a widespread cult, the idea of a messianic savior appealing to many living under the chaotic political climate and civil unrest of the Six Dynasties period (220-589 CE) that followed the collapse of the Western Han Dynasty in the beginning of the 3rd century - the time around which this sculpture was likely made. The link between the art of Gandhara and early Buddha images in China is demonstrated through a comparison of the facial features and robes between the present lot and a gilt bronze Buddha held in the Harvard Art Museums (acc.#1943.53.80.A), which is among the earliest devotional Buddhist images made in China.

    Compare the near identical face and hair of a standing Maitreya with similar pointed ends of the robes and arrangement of amulets in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston published in Chutiwongs & Leidy Buddha of the Future, New York, 1994, p.70, no.38. Similarly, see these reflected in another held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art published in Behrendt, Art of Gandhara, New York, 2007, p.55, no.44. Compare other seated Maitreya in the British Museum in Zwalf, Gandharan Sculpture, London, 1996, pp.45-7, nos.65-70. For a discussion and examples of the double-looped chignon, its origins, and Western affiliations, see Schmidt, Bodhisattva Headdresses and Hair Styles in the Buddhist Art of Gandhara and Related Regions of Swat and Afghanistan, Ohio State University, 1990, nos.276-81.

    Published
    Carlton Rochell Asian Art, Indian and Southeast Asian Art: Selections from the Robert and Bernice Dickes Collection, New York, 2010, no.4.

    Provenance
    Mathias Komor, New York, 1964
    Robert and Bernice Dickes Collection, New York, 1964-2010
    Carlton Rochell Asian Art, New York
    Private Collection, New York, 2010-2015
    Private New York Collection
Contacts
A SCHIST FIGURE OF MAITREYA ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 3RD CENTURY
A SCHIST FIGURE OF MAITREYA ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 3RD CENTURY
A SCHIST FIGURE OF MAITREYA ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 3RD CENTURY
A SCHIST FIGURE OF MAITREYA ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 3RD CENTURY
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