AN EXTRAORDINARILY RARE AND SPECTACULAR TERRACOTTA RELIEF OF A THINKING PRINCE SIDDHARTA UNDER THE BODHI TREE, ANCIENT REGION OF GANDHARA 犍陀羅罕見紅陶浮雕悉達多菩提樹下證道圖
Scientific Analysis Report: A thermoluminescence sample analysis has been conducted by Arcadia, Tecnologie Per I Beni Culturali, Milan, dated 4 February 2019, reference no. 116L, 117L. The result is consistent with the suggested period of manufacture. A copy of the thermoluminescence analysis report accompanies this lot.
Expert's note: The frescoes painted to the two columns on the present sculpture display a decidedly Chinese influence. Numerous such mural paintings have been found in Imperial tombs in China dating to the Northern Qi period (550-577), but the paintings on the present sculpture are among the oldest Buddhist frescoes in the history of mankind. They are also closely related to the paintings on the ceilings and walls of the Ajanta Caves, which were painted between 200 BC and 600 AD, and are the oldest known frescoes in India. They depict the Jataka tales, stories of Buddha's life in former existences as a Bodhisattva. The narrative episodes are shown one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research on the subject since the time of the site's rediscovery in 1819.
Kushan period, 4th-6th century. Superbly modeled, Prince Siddharta is standing in contrapposto, his feet resting on two small lotus pedestals, a prostrate caparisoned elephant at his feet. One hand resting on his waist and the other raised with one finger placed on his forehead in a deeply pensive expression. He is wearing loose-fitting robes cascading in voluminous folds and richly adorned with fine jewelry and billowing scarves. His serene face with heavy-lidded almond-shaped eyes and slender lips forming a calm smile. The hair arranged in wavy locks secured by an elaborate floral headdress. All below a canopy representing the legendary bodhi tree.
Provenance: A private collection in Venice, Italy, acquired in the Italian antiques trade between 1985 and 1992. Leonardo Vigorelli, Bergamo, acquired from the above. Leonardo Vigorelli is a retired Italian art dealer and noted collector, specializing in African and ancient Hindu-Buddhist art. After studying anthropology and decades of travel as well as extensive field research in India, the Himalayan region, Southeast Asia, and Africa, he founded the Dalton Somare art gallery in Milan, Italy, which today is being run by his two sons.
Condition: Superb condition, commensurate with age and presenting magnificently overall. Some wear and weathering, firing flaws as expected, some nicks and cracks, losses to exposed areas, remnants of old varnish. The ancient pigments are remarkably well-preserved. Overall, fully consistent with the high age of this sculpture and with no visible signs of repairs or touchups worth mentioning. Drilled holes from sample-taking.
Dimensions: Size 59 x 81 cm (excl. stand), Height 63 cm (incl. stand)
Mounted on an associated stand. (2)
Prince Siddharta is flanked by two flying apsaras as well as Maitreya to his right and Padmapani to his left, the bodhisattvas each standing on lotus pedestals and similarly dressed, Padmapani holding a lotus flower in his hand, both backed by halos and standing below similar leafy canopies, all framed by two massive columns, each with a superbly painted fresco, depicting a bodhisattva with a halo.
This sculpture is a perfect example of the rich cultural interplay and hybrid art styles of the Gandharan empire in the first centuries CE. It represents the bodhisattva who will be born as the historic founder of Buddhism, Prince Siddhartha, sitting in a celestial abode called the Tushita heaven, where he teaches the gods and meditates on his future birth. Like other Gandharan bodhisattvas, he looks like an earthly prince, richly dressed and bejeweled.
The kingdom of Gandhara lasted from 530 BC to 1021 AD, when its last king was murdered by his own troops. It stretched across parts of present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. Gandhara is noted for its distinctive style in Buddhist art, which developed out of a merger of Greek, Syrian, Persian and Indian artistic influences. Gandharan style flourished and achieved its peak during the Kushan period, from the 1st to the 5th century. In the 1st century AD, Gandhara was the birthplace of some of the earliest Buddhist images.
The use of hard-fired earthenware instead of stone such as schist, marble or sandstone became popular during the later Gandharan period from the 4th to 6th centuries AD. Fired clay was expensive in the area, because the wood needed for the firing process was scarce. Therefore, such a large and expensive sculpture would have been a highly meritorious Buddhist offering. Only a few terracotta statues from this period and of this spectacular size have ever been recorded.
Compare a related terracotta sculpture of a pensive Prince Siddharta, dated 4th-6th century, in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art, object number 2010.17. Note the similar pose with one finger placed on his forehead and one foot resting on a separate lotus pedestal.
科學檢測報告：米蘭Arcadia，Tecnologie Per I Beni Culturali 研究所2019年2月4日出具的熱釋光檢測報告，編號116L，117L。結果表明年代與上述建議相符。隨附檢測報告複印件。
專家注釋：這件有明顯的中國風格影響。在北齊時期（550-577）的中國皇陵中發現了許多這樣的壁畫，但現在浮雕上的故事是最古老的佛教故事之一。它們還與阿旃陀石窟的穹頂與牆壁上的繪畫密切相關，這些繪畫創作於公元前 200 年至公元 600 年之間，是印度已知最古老的壁畫之一，描繪了本生故事，佛陀的前世生活故事。自 1819 年該遺址被發現以來，他們一直是該主題研究的核心領域。
來源：義大利威尼斯私人收藏，1985至1992年間購於義大利古玩市場。貝加莫 Leonardo Vigorelli購於上述收藏。Leonardo Vigorelli是一位退休的義大利藝術品經銷商和著名收藏家，專門研究非洲和古代印度教佛教藝術。在學習人類學和數十年的旅行以及在印度、喜馬拉雅地區、東南亞和非洲的廣泛實地研究之後，他在義大利米蘭創立了 Dalton Somare 藝術畫廊，如今由他的兩個兒子經營。
尺寸：59 x 81 厘米 (不含底座)，高63 厘米 (含底座)
犍陀羅王國從公元前 530 年到公元 1021 年，當時它的最後一位國王被自己的軍隊殺害。它橫跨今天的阿富汗和巴基斯坦的部分地區。犍陀羅以其獨特的佛教藝術風格而聞名，它的風格融合了希臘、敘利亞、波斯和印度的藝術元素。犍陀羅風格在一世紀至五世紀的貴霜時期蓬勃發展並達到頂峰。在公元一世紀，犍陀羅是最早的佛教造像的發源地。