Ancient province of Gandhāra
2nd-3rd century
H. 20 cm or 7 ⅞ in

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This beautiful Atlas is quite characteristic of the documented representations. These muscular male figures were intended to appear on the tablets covering the base of reliquary tumuli (stūpa), as evidenced by the structures excavated by archaeologists in Taxila and Haḍḍa. Whether as part of a frieze or on individual panels separated by pilasters, these characters are of several different types. Some, such as the Atlas we propose, have the notable characteristic of having wings, and their faces are youthful. Others, most often having beards, are represented crouching, crushed by heavy modenatures.

We like his dynamic and athletic attitude, as well as his youthful face with slightly rounded cheeks, highlighted by a classic hairstyle of curls of hair that we imagine to be supple. His wings spreading on both sides make all the originality of this elegant sculpture evoking both the West and Asia.


Provenance: Private collection, Switzerland, acquired between the mid 1960s and early 1970s.