A POLYCHROMED STUCCO HEAD OF BUDDHA ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 4TH/5TH CENTURY

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 8
A POLYCHROMED STUCCO HEAD OF BUDDHA
ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 4TH/5TH CENTURY

Sold for HK$ 4,660,000 (US$ 595,553) inc. premium
A POLYCHROMED STUCCO HEAD OF BUDDHA
ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 4TH/5TH CENTURY
61 cm (24 in.) high

Footnotes

  • Remarkable in its scale and state of preservation, this head is from a colossal representation of Buddha produced for a once monumental stupa along the ancient Silk Road in modern day Afghanistan. It presents one of the earliest and most influential sculptural traditions representing Buddha in human form, and bespeaks these thriving centers of Buddhism in the first half of the first millennium CE. This head is perhaps the only one of two or three massive examples surviving in such excellent condition.

    Whereas most Gandharan stucco sculptures have suffered far more from exposure to the elements and political changes in Central Asia over two millennia, the face's impeccably smooth surface is preserved in its near original glory. The artist's fine molding of Buddha's wavy locks endure, radiating from a central widow's peak, flowing over the domed ushnisha, and terminating before the ears in curls. Also, the original polychrome decoration is mostly intact. Brushstrokes in red cinnabar accentuate the hairline, nose, and lips. Thick black lines run across the arches of his brow and his eyes. The gaze half covered by lowered eyelids, evoking Buddha's detachment from the mundane.

    The only known Gandharan stucco head larger than this example and surviving in equally excellent condition is in the David R. Nalin Collection, at a height of 102.5 cm (Basu, Displaying Many Faces, China, 2004, pp.82-3, no.83). In her footnotes, Basu surveys the archaeological records that discuss the remains of monumental stucco Buddhas in Gandhara, mostly found at Hadda and Takht-i-Bahi. The Nalin head also shows a hollow, unfinished back, indicating these monumental heads were worked separately from their corresponding bodies and attached to shoulders by an armature.

    A related colossal head of Buddha in the Musée Guimet was collected in Hadda at the Tapa Kalan Monastery in 1926 (MG 17273, see Jarrige et al., Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet , Paris, 2001). A smaller, but finely preserved head from Hadda, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (IM.3-1931), shows the same oval depression used to define the philtrum across all these related stucco heads. Further comparisons to the present sculpture's sensitive modeling can be made with a stucco head of Buddha in the Tokyo National Museum (I. Kurita, Gandharan Art II, The World of the Buddha, Tokyo, 2003, p.121, no.326), and another example formerly in the Cleveland Museum of Art (Hollis, 'Central Asian Stucco Sculptures', The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, vol. 32, no. 3, March 1945, pp.26–7).

    Published
    Johnathan Tucker, The Silk Road: Art and History, London, 2015, p.52, fig.54.

    Provenance
    Spink & Son, Ltd., London, 1990
    The Elizabeth and Willard Clark Collection, California


    彩繪泥塑佛首
    犍陀羅,約四/五世紀

    高61釐米(24英吋)

    3,000,000-5,000,000港元

    可設想在古代絲綢之路上現今的阿富汗境內有一座曾經宏偉壯觀的佛塔,佛塔中有一尊巨型佛像,而本拍品便源自這樣一尊佛像。佛首體量大,品相完好,展現現存最早期及最具影響力的佛像雕塑傳統之一,同時也見證了一千五百年前的佛教聖地的繁榮。此尊或為存世不多的兩三件大型頭像中品相最好的一件。

    儘管在過往兩千年的中亞,犍陀羅灰泥雕像飽受自然環境侵蝕和政權更迭的影響, 此件佛首卻得以保存其近乎原貌的細緻與完美。藝術家精心塑造的波卷髮紋得以保存下,從佛陀的美人尖發散到頂髻,最終收於兩耳,線條自然流動。此外,原本的彩繪裝飾留存幾近完美:鮮紅色的朱砂突出了髮際線、鼻翼跟雙唇,厚重的黑色線條穿越其眉峰,並勾畫出雙眼。佛陀雙目眼瞼低垂,寓意智慧超凡,不受世俗塵垢之汙。

    目前僅知有一件保存完好的犍陀羅泥塑佛首比此件尺寸更大,屬大衛納林(David R. Nalin)收藏,高102.5釐米(Basu,《Displaying Many Faces》,中國,2004年,頁82-3,83號)。在作者的頁腳註釋中,Basu 探討了現存巨型犍陀羅泥塑佛像的考古紀錄,此類佛像多出土於哈達(Hadda)及塔克-巴西(Takht-i-Bahi)。大衛納林的佛首背部未完成並中空,表示這些巨型頭像和它們的身軀是分開製作,後通過支架連接。

    另外一件相關的巨型佛首原屬哈達的塔帕-卡蘭寺院(Tapa Kalan Monastery),後於1926年被吉美博物館收藏(MG17273,參見Jarrige et al.,《Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet》,巴黎,2001年)。此外,倫敦維多利亞及艾爾伯特博物館還有一件較小但保存完好的哈達佛頭(IM.3-1931),可見相似的橢圓形的凹陷於人中部位。另有一件藝術性同樣上乘的是現藏於東京國立博物館的泥塑佛陀頭像(栗田功,《犍陀羅藝術 II 大美之佛像》,東京,2003年,頁121,326號);還有一件於克利夫蘭藝術博物館舊藏(Hollis,"Central Asian Stucco Sculptures",《The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art》,卷32,3號,1945年3月,頁26–7)。

    著錄
    Johnathan Tucker,《絲綢之路: 藝術及歷史》,倫敦,2015年,頁52,圖54。

    來源
    Spink & Son, Ltd.,倫敦,1990年
    Elizabeth與Willard Clark夫婦收藏,加州
Contacts
A POLYCHROMED STUCCO HEAD OF BUDDHA ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 4TH/5TH CENTURY
A POLYCHROMED STUCCO HEAD OF BUDDHA ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 4TH/5TH CENTURY
A POLYCHROMED STUCCO HEAD OF BUDDHA ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA, CIRCA 4TH/5TH CENTURY
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% up to HK$2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from HK$2,000,001 to HK$30,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12.5% over HK$30,000,001 of the Hammer Price.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.