FRIEZE WITH A BODHISATTVA
Frieze in a gray schist typical of the valleys of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It depicts a front facing bodhisattva in low relief. The figure is standing next to a column with his hand raised as a sign of confidence. He is dressed in princely attire and wears pectoral ornaments, a long monastic uttarasanga cloth draped around him and a richly ornamented hairstyle raised up into a bun. He is nimbed by a sun. According to custom, this piece would be leaned up against the wall of a stupa or temple, therefore the back is flat. Good state of preservation, signs of erosion and some missing parts. This piece has a base.
The art of Gandhara was born on Indian soil and served Buddhist religion. It appropriated iconographic elements drawn from religious repertoire and skillfully combined them with sculptural techniques imported by the Greek soldiers of Macedonia and then Bactria who followed Alexander the Great. This period witnessed the first representations of Buddha in human form ; in accordance with the Greek belief that viewed gods as men. They thus testified to a theological evolution revealing a new need for images of devotion as spiritual support. The Bodhisattva embodies the Buddha at the stage before he reahes enlightenment. His is on earth to show other men the path to follow to reach Nirvana.